So I traveled to a an international conference this weekend. I finished the letrozole, but am still on daily lupron, estrogen patches, and my meds for anxiety and depression (in the process of tapering off two of them and continuing with one). The lupron was already opened and has to be refrigerated. The nurses told me that the refrigeration is to discourage bacteria growth and not for stability of the medication. She said we’d be ok, if it wasn’t refrigerated 100% of the time, but that we’d have to be extra careful with sanitation when preparing and administering it.
So I had my whole set-up ready to go. First I put the lupron bottle in it’s box then wrapped it in bubble wrap, partly to help keep it upright and partly to keep it from freezing. I packed it in an insulated reusable grocery bag with cold packs. In the outside pocket of the bag, I had a copy of my doctor’s note on letterhead from the clinic and the top of the outerbox where the actual prescription sticker is. A while back, I had to take home a pre-filled needle of medication from the clinic. They sent it in a hard case that zips shut. I kept stored the needles and alcohol pads in their and put that in the outer pocket too. I also had an extra copy of the letter from my doctor in my carry on. I was prepared.
It turned out to be no big deal. They didn’t even look at the doctor’s note. I just told them that I had a refrigerated medication with me. They put it through the scanner and then did an extra check by just looking inside the main compartment of the bag and waving some kind of sensor near the box of medication. That was it. They also did an extra check of my carry-on, I’m guessing because I had like five prescription medication and a whole bunch of over the counter supplements and things in their. Once we got up to the x-ray machine, the whole thing took like 5 minutes.
Then, when we got on the plane, I asked the flight attendant if they could refrigerate it for me. He said they weren’t allowed to, but he could give me as much ice as I wanted. He also said that we could use the bathroom or he’d clear out the galley when I needed to administer the injection.
Our flight ended up being pretty turbulent and the seat belt sign was on for the majority of the flight. It was a redeye and we had our own row, so my partner did the injection quickly in our seats when no one was looking. Happily, we did not hit any bumps at that moment. I put the cap back on the used needle and put it in an inside pocket of the hard case. Once we got to our destination airport all the bathrooms had needle disposal bins, and I was able to dispose of the needle safely.
One thing that I didn’t think about was the time change. I actually have to do the injection around 2am here to keep the time between doses consistent. This also affects when I change the estrogen patches. I’ve been keeping all the used needles capped and in the hard case. I plan to dispose of them at the airport prior to going through security on our way back.
So that’s the DL on traveling with needles:
- It’s no big deal
- Have a doctor’s note just in case
- Have a plan to safely dispose of needles
- Mind the time change