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I am a 68 year old scc survivor with no tongue and no ability to swallow. All my nutrition is through bolus feedings with a syringe into my g-tube. I use Nestle Isosource 1.5 liquid formula. In my travel in the US, I have always carried all of my tube feeding supplies with me. I can pack 8 days worth (2 cases) into one checked bag (35 lbs). This gets to be more of a hassle if the stay will be over a week, and I am not sure about getting through customs in Europe.

Does anyone have any experience with foreign travel with a feeding tube, especially to Europe? My wife and I would like to travel to Spain in the next year, and I am trying to see what my options are. I have not been able to locate any suppliers of tube feeding formula or supplies in Spain, though I am sure that they exist.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Earl Johnson


Earl
squamous cell carcinoma first diagnosed in 2004
more than a dozen procedures over the years
radiation treatments in 2006
partial glossectomy/resection in 2009 - able to speak, eat and drink normally afterward
complete glossectomy/resection in September 2019
radiation + chemo in Nov/Dec 2019
all nutrition through gastric tube (bolus feedings with syringe)
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Most of the people that I have communicated with that travel extensively only take pre made foods for the air travel days. It’s a matter of convenience. But like me they bolus feed blended normal food with a syringe in their daily routines. We all think that with a little time spent understanding good nutrition, it’s a superior long term solution with the right blender to getting good nutrition, and maintaining healthy weight and digestive system.

Finding peg supplements in a foreign country without a local doctor to prescribe them is problematic, and blending real foods that you can find and buy in any market far simpler. If you had to take with you enough cans or packages of food for a vacation, it is a lot of stuff to manage and haul around from place to place. I can take my blender in a small overhead roll on suitcase, and a supply of disposable syringes, usually a couple for each the days of trip. They are also used from taking my crushed pills and meds. All that in one small roll on. I take some real food blend meals in foil packets for use in airports and the first night at a hotel if we are getting in too late to shop.

Any hotel room that has a mini bar can be emptied out and used for the perishable foods. But I blend lots of things like different nuts and some veggies and fruits that do not require refrigeration. I do take sone zip lock bags of whey protein to supplement that, if I haven’t found suitable protein sources in the city. Since this is what I’ve been pegging for years, there’s really no change in my diet, my weight gain is stable, and I eat healthier than anything out of a can, or how I used to eat before the PEG.

With some 20oz paper cups, I can blend a batch big enough to get me through two days. Often the hotel will allow me to keep it in their kitchen refrigerators, so blending is not an every day thing. If I don’t feel like doing it, I can always blend up a meal from a restaurant just thinking it with a little water or milk.

If you want to learn more about eating this way, I would be happy to help you navigate this transition. B


Brian, stage 4 oral cancer survivor. OCF Founder and Director. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.
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Like Brian, I use blended foods. I live in CA and go to England several times a year as well as Spain. I do take some cartons on commercial formula. And I do buy things similar to "Ensure" in Europe. And I use the Ensure as a base for blended food. I don't always eat as well as I like, but if I am gone only for a couple of weeks I think it is OK. I don't always get access to a blender, so often I just add proteins powder and olive oil to my blend. get lots of cals that way. Not as easy to get the right stuff in the UK, Spain and France a bit better. One think, very difficult to get was syringes. On my last trip i was down to one!!!!


steve
72 yo
SCC 2009
Radiation/Chemo, clear 2010
Active triathlete
NPO and bad voice after 12 years
But doing great
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I travelled all over the UK using two things:

1). An inexpensive blender and fine mesh strainer I bought in London and left in Ireland
2). Amazon. They were amazing. We travelled around quite a bit and seein as I amPart formula - part blended diet, their deliveries were important. I used a brand of liquid formula (meal replacement) called Saturo and it was great. I would order ahead for delivery at the hotel if our next stop (we stayed about a week in each spot). Only once we’re they a day late. And every hotel was more than willing to accommodate the receipt of the Amazon parcel ahead of our arrival. Saturo is made in Germany.

We ran into a hiccup with Ireland seeing as they do not have Amazon. I just made sure I carried enough liquid formula into Ireland to cover our stay there.

I was tickled with how WONDERFUL the people were and how well Amazon worked.


Donna,69, SCC L Tongue T2N1MO Stg IV 4/04 w/partial gloss;32 radtx; T2N2M0 Stg IV; R tongue-2nd partial gloss w/graft 10/07; 30 radtx/2 cispl 2/08. 3rd Oral Cancer surgery 1/22 - Stage 1. 2022 surgery eliminated swallowing and bottom left jaw. Now a “Tubie for Life”.no food envy - Thank God! Surviving isn't easy!!!! .Proudly Canadian - YES, UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE IS WONDERFUL! (Not perfect but definitely WONDERFUL)
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Just like Earl, I no longer have a tongue, fortunately I can swallow a bit, but, most is through my tube. Been at it since last July.

My wife, daughter and myself took a Caribbean cruise in December last year, I took my blender and some O-ring syringes, only had to use the blender once. We spoke with the dining room Mgrs and they had everything blended for me!
From breakfasts in the dining room, the buffet at lunch or odd hours ( filled a plate, or 2) the chef liquified it for me they even put it in large mugs so I could get it all, even dinners. Looked at the menu the evening before and they had it ready for us when we hit the dining room. The only thing they said they couldn’t do was the mozzarella sticks, gooped up the processor.

At the end of each meal I added some water, made it thin enough to drink, and had a decent taste of my meals.

I was very worried about the trip, took bunch of stuff along just in case. I think I put on a couple lbs, too.
My point is, don’t be afraid to talk to kitchen staff.


1st time around was 2010, Sqamous Cell Carcinoma. Radiation, chemo, surgery: Radical neck dissection.
Cancer free until 2021.
This time around, started 2021, tumors on tongue.
May 2021 partial glossectomy, October ‘21 removal of a few more recurring on tongue.
February til May 2022 immunotherapy....no improvement
July 2022, total glossectomy, living the new normal.
PET February’23 another SCC on neck....next surgery April ‘23, see where it goes from here.
Still fighting.

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