Back in October, my husband and I took a quasi-anniversary trip to Hawaii. I call it quasi because it was, first and foremost, a golf trip. My husband's hobby/favorite pastime/obsession is golf, and he's managed to become a golf course rater for GolfWeek. Every year or so, he has a golf trip (actually, it's a golfing extravaganza), that he's required to attend. The raters have several trips to choose from, but when he saw the opportunity to return to our honeymoon spot (it's been nine years), he took it!
So I went along for the ride, knowing that I'd be on my own during the day, but would have him all to myself for dinner and beyond. Thus, I called upon my good friend Maureen to join us for the trip. Laying by the poolside sipping umbrella drinks is always more fun with a friend. She said yes, and even brought two of her friends along. We had a blast! We were only with Maureen and her friends (now OUR good friends) for 1/2 the trip, so we got in plenty of 2nd honeymoon time, don't you worry. Oh, and Johnny got in plenty of golf, too.
That long-winded introduction is all in an effort to set the stage for my most recent sunning mishap. As you know from previous posts, (or if you have lupus, you already know this), I don't do sun exposure. I used to. To the hilt. But for the first, oh, five years with lupus, these pasty white arms saw no sun rays at all. I wore hats, long sleeve shirts and pants EVERYWHERE - and I didn't invest in a new bathing suit for a very long time. I had no reason to. I never wore one. But, over the last few years, as my health has drastically improved and my disease activity has been next to nothing, I've been able to venture out into the sun now and again, limiting (and testing) the sun's effects - first up were my legs, next were my arms, and eventually, I bought a new suit. Make that two. Of course, I'm always diligent about sunscreen, hats and cover ups, but letting myself be in the sun for just a short period of time feels good, and I feel like I've earned it. I wrote a post this summer about the fun in the sun Deirdre and I had - and I know that years ago, I would have been forced to pawn off that outing to her dad. But not now!
That said, when I'm at the beach or pool, I always search out an umbrella (ALWAYS), and usually keep my cover up on until I'm ready to take a dip. And of course, I lather up with sunscreen before, during and after. That's what's so crazy - I'm such a routine person, and I have this little checklist of the things I do in preparation for the sun: hat- yes, sunscreen -yes, cover up -yes, and yet one day during our trip to Hawaii, I skipped the lotion. Ugh! What was I thinking? Actually - here's exactly what I was thinking:
We were moving hotels that day - so I had already checked out of my room when I headed down to meet my friends for a last minute visit poolside. I KNEW I would be under an umbrella the whole time, I KNEW I would be down for less than an hour, and I KNEW that with a cover up on and a towel fashionably draped over my legs, the only thing really getting reflective sun would be my arms. And because they're the tannest (if you can call them that) part of my body, I thought they could handle it. Hmmm. Shows you how much I know.
Even though I wasn't "out" in direct sunlight for ANY length of time...my arms (and a little v-neck portion of my neck) ended up getting burned. Not a bad burn. Not a burn that hurt. Just a burn that made me feel flu-ish for a few hours that night. No swollen joints, no achiness, just some flu-like fatigue and nausea, but enough to remind me that I have lupus. And sun and lupus don't mix.
It's silly, really. The burn could have been prevented, and while my few hours of fluishness passed before it could make a dent in our plans, I just shouldn't have let it happen. Onward and upward however. There's always the next Gorman Family vacation in February - this time to Jamaica. Hat - check. Lotion - CHECK!
So there you have it. You can write a book about living well with lupus, and you can still manage to fall off the wagon. Oh well. Feeling how bumpy that road is was a good reminder.