How I prepare for air travel with Cushing’s disease

Travel involves extra steps when you have a chronic illness, this columnist says

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by Noura Costany |

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As of this writing, I’m preparing to travel from New York to Michigan to visit my brother. It’s my first time flying in over a year, and I’m a little nervous. Traveling with a chronic illness like Cushing’s disease can be immensely overwhelming, as it’s very different from traveling while healthy.

Following are several things I must consider before catching my flight.


Let’s start with my Mounjaro (tirzepatide). Since it’s an injectable that needs to be kept cold, I store it in a thermos or a small lunch bag. I also keep a folded-up copy of my prescription with the medication. You can never be too careful.

I usually pack my other medications and supplements in a pill case that has four compartments for each day. I make sure to pack enough for however many days I’ll be gone, plus two. There’s always a chance of my flight getting canceled, losing a pill, or needing an extra one.

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Fanny pack

Because Cushing’s disease causes me memory issues and brain fog, it’s easy for me to lose or forget things I need. To combat this, I keep my passport, ID, plane ticket, headphones, phone charger, emergency medications, and printouts (more on this below) in my fanny pack for easy access.

In case of emergency

Because I’m on medication that lowers my cortisol, I’m always at risk of my cortisol level dropping too low, resulting in an adrenal crisis. During a crisis, I have a hard time taking care of myself and communicating, so I make sure I’m prepared.

The printout in my fanny pack has clear directions on what to do if I’m in crisis, including what to do in an isolated location, such as a plane, and how to follow up with doctors. Keeping the printout close means I can easily pass it to somebody if I need to ask for help.

I also cut up my emergency meds in advance. My doctors recommend I start with a half-dose, so I want that to be easily accessible.

Pain relief

When I’m at home, I have countless forms of pain relief available. However, when I’m traveling, I have to pick and choose what I bring with me. I prioritize the following items:

  1. I have a small heated blanket that I fold up and pack in my carry-on. I can’t live without it.
  2. I’ve been having some severe nausea lately, so I always keep Tums on hand.
  3. I use Bayer pain relief because it doesn’t interact with any of my medications.
  4. I bring a heated wrist guard, which can also be wrapped around my ankle, making it perfect to pack for a trip!

Mobility aid

I have a wheelchair, but I don’t use it every day. I often try to take it with me when I go places, but I haven’t flown with it yet. Thoughts swirl through my head. What if it gets lost? What if it gets broken? For now, those worries are too overwhelming, so I’m leaving my wheelchair at home. This limits what I’ll be able to do, but at least I’ll know that my wheelchair is safe. That being said, I will request a wheelchair at the airport and have my brother pick me up inside the terminal so that I’m safe.

I love to travel. Although a lot of extra steps are involved due to my illness, I feel it’s worth it. Fingers crossed I get to Michigan safely.

Do you have any travel tips? Please share your comments below! You can also follow my journey on TikTok and YouTube.

Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.


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