Vive La France! J’adore la France! Our family holiday to France is sadly all over but we had the most wonderful time and have made some brilliant memories to cherish with our friends and each other.
We spent one busy, fun-filled week in a rustic, converted water mill with our friends – eight adults and eight children in all – complete with beautiful gardens and swimming pool. The second week the four of us then moved on for a relaxing stay in a caravan on a Eurocamp site, which was bliss.
We stayed in the Vendee region, which is in the middle of the west coast of France meaning temperatures average around the mid-20s, though we did have a few days where the temperature peaked at about 28 degrees. We deliberately chose this area because we knew it would be warm but completely bearable.
So now I have set the scene here is the most important part of this post – how Lucia managed on our ‘test’ holiday, how she coped on the flight, in the heat, in a foreign country, in a different routine, with higher risks of insect bites and generally just living differently for a few weeks. And I am thrilled to say she was absolutely fine!
Aside from her right foot having a little more swelling in the last few days (though only noticeable to me as her shoe was a little tighter), the flight and the heat had no detrimental effect on her swelling at all – her legs and feet remained lovely and soft throughout. We kept up our normal treatment routine and continued to carry out her massage every day, she wore her compression tights the majority of each day, we ensured she was well moisturized – particularly after swimming – and we all had a fantastic holiday.
Some fabulous advice from another lymphie (thanks Lauren – check out her blog laurenthatsswell.blogspot.co.uk) suggested keeping a spritz water bottle on hand to keep limbs cool and this was genius! If Lucia got a little hot and bothered at anytime we would spray water on her garments and she loved it!
We also let her run around in just her compression tights and shoes with no top on a lot of the time to keep her as cool as possible – unless going out in public of course!
Most afternoons though we allowed Lucia between 1-2 hours compression free time when we took her into the pool. We then let her dry off in the sun and put shoes on to protect her feet while she enjoyed a bit of play-time in the garden. She loved this freedom and as you can imagine wasn’t too keen on getting the garments back on again, but a little bribery works wonders.
As for the beach (my nemesis, check out a previous post), we only went twice and as always Daryn kept me nice and calm! We had fully intended on being brave and letting Lucia have a little bare leg time and possibly a paddle, however she didn’t ask to get her tights off – so obviously we didn’t offer. She was in her element running around, building sandcastles and playing with the other kids – so the pressure was off and I was more than happy.
I did assume that her feet would have some sand on them and had the bottled water ready to rinse them off, but her garments did an amazing job at keeping the sand out and she had only a few grains on her feet.
The second beach day she fell asleep in the buggy so that was that. While Daryn and Lucia chilled in the shade, Max and I did lots of wave jumping which was fab.
Weirdly, even though we were away from home, in a different country with warmer weather and new potential ‘risks’, I didn’t feel as on edge as I tend to be at home. Whether it was because we were on holiday, because of the mostly grassy sites at the house and campsite (minimizing the risk of injury if she fell) or just because Lucia was her usual normal self without any additional swelling or any discomfort, I’m just not sure.
I had of course brought along a comprehensive first aid kit but thankfully the only thing used was cream for stings. Lucia walked through a patch of nettles and then tried to pick them up leaving her with a few lumps on her legs where she was stung through her tights and on her hands. However, within a few hours these had completely disappeared.
Loving living life
We had such a wonderful time and it has proved that our get out there and do it attitude is definitely the way to go for us. I had so many fears about going on holiday to a warm country, so many what ifs and worries, but we had to take the leap as we refuse to live our lives half-heartedly. If you don’t try you will never know and had it not worked out at least we would have known through trial and error.
Lymphoedema has not and will not stop us from doing everything we want as a family and we hope that this attitude will ensure that Lucia has the same determination as she grows up.