Seasickness - never!

Travelling with a tracheostomy and tube feeding? This is definitely possible with the right preparation.

Kurt Mayr has always enjoyed travelling. At first, they were the standard sort of holidays. Two weeks of cycling in Hungary or a trip by plane to the Greek islands. After being diagnosed with cancer, he had to change his life somewhat, however, in the end, his travels became much longer.


In May 2019, Kurt Mayr was diagnosed with floor of mouth cancer and underwent surgery in June. Parts of the tongue and lower jaw had to be removed, as well as a lymph node on the right side of the neck. He received a mandibular implant, "an excellent job by the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Team at the KUK-Linz", says an enthusiastic Mr Mayr. After radiotherapy, this was followed by logopaedic care and over the months, with a lot of practice, he was able to speak again. Ingesting food was also getting better and better. And even starting a job was possible again, his life had returned to normal to a certain extent. The trained IT specialist also travelled frequently on business. On behalf of his employer, an Austrian company in the construction industry, he travelled to Eastern Europe, among other places, with the aim of expanding the IT department. 


Privately, he resumed his discovery trips, toured Spain and Portugal, and visited the cities of London, Hong Kong, Vancouver and New York. He is particularly attracted to architecture in foreign countries. Kurt Mayr is also interested in the cultures of the different societies and is fascinated when he discovers new landscapes. But he also had negative experiences. For example, he would never again travel to "party miles" as he calls them, for example the "Playa del Carmen" in Mexico. "Nothing but loud and full of drunks" he explains. But Mr Mayr was very enthusiastic about a study trip to Iran, and another one to Ceylon. He and his wife did both as a group tour.

More time through retirement

At the beginning of 2022, however, there was another upheaval. The implanted mandibular plate had penetrated the skin over a large area, so that a correction became necessary. Unfortunately, the healing process was not quite so successful and eventually the plate had to be removed altogether. As the tongue also slipped too far back, another tracheotomy followed. After that, food intake was only possible via a stomach tube, thus making retirement in August 2022 the logical consequence of the illness. 

"But," Kurt thought optimistically, "this gives me more time to travel!" The "how", though, needed to be clarified first. "After all, I have to take the tube feeds with me, and I don't trust readily and reliable availability" he explained. Which puts air travel out of the question. So he and his wife went for the idea of going on a cruise. First of all, however, a comprehensive health report had to be drawn up for the cruise ship company. Apparently, they had safety concerns about his potential health risk. 

We had to wait three months for confirmation, then the travel preparations could finally begin. A sufficient amount of medical aids was of course a priority to ensure a continuously good supply during the long journey. Since tube feeds in particular take up considerable space for a four-month journey, Kurt Mayr booked a second cabin as storage room on the spot. 


Stability on a cruise

The couple enjoyed a number of highlights on this trip. No doubt, Rio de Janeiro - the Sugarloaf Mountain - definitely stood out. "Rio conveys an ease of life that is simply wonderful!" enthuses the pensioner. "But also Ushuaia - the southernmost city on earth. But it was very rough there, and the gusts of wind were sometimes so strong that you couldn't walk any more," he continued. 

Stability in all weather conditions is naturally an important issue not only for the ship itself, but also for the passengers on board. The editors of SCHON GEHÖRT wanted to know if he had a tip against seasickness or for a stable footing on a swaying boat deck. As a prophylactic measure, he had bought acupressure bands, but they had not needed any medicine against seasickness, Kurt was pleased about their good sense of balance, because neither of them were seasick at all on the long journey. However, he had a pang of guilty conscience about this trip. Yes, they are aware that such a cruise ship emits considerable amounts of pollutants. On the other hand, the cruise company invests a lot of money in the preservation of the coastlines, and meals that are not consumed are donated to people in need. Which at least is something, he finds. 


Cruises are simply the best way for Kurt Mayr to travel in his current life situation. And as long as he is otherwise well and can continue to travel, he naturally does not want to do without it. Therefore, he has already booked the next voyage for the beginning of 2024 - the couple have already proven their stability at sea.


Kurt Mayr, aged 63 with his wife Susemarie

Since his tracheotomy in May 2023, he has been receiving care from the Austrian branch of FAHL. He praises the good support and otherwise describes the company as being competent, reliable and fast. Apart from his passion for travelling, Kurt Mayr is also enthusiastic about photography, which he loves to use for documentation purposes. The photos shown were all taken by him.