Summer is here, and with summer, comes warmer weather. And with warmer weather, comes shorts, skirts, and the like. And with those guys, come the unveiling of unsightly bruises on my extremities. I wish it weren't so, but I've been bruising easily for years, even before I was diagnosed with lupus. Granted, it's only gotten worse since my diagnosis - and while extreme sun exposure is an issue for me, I'm not as photosensitive as I once was. So now it isn't the sun itself that I dread most. It's the bruising that I've been able to cover up all winter long that I don't like!
While I'm sure the effects of medicine (prednisone, baby aspirin and plaquenil) and the effects of lupus (low platelet count, anemia) don't help, there's not much I can do to alleviate my black and blues. I try not to be too self-conscious of the bruising, and comparing notes with other lupus patients reminds me that I'm not alone. (See comments on my previous posts on bruising.)
But what works best for me? Wearing pants. Even through the heat of summer, wearing pants that cover at least most of my legs works best for my emotional well-being. I walk taller when my bruises are covered, and the days I do wear one of the two pair of shorts I own, I just try and remember that bruises are only skin deep.
This time of bruise unveiling always serves another purpose. too - it reminds me to give people a little slack. I've said before that lupus has made me a more compassionate person (thank goodness!), but it's times like this when I'm specifically reminded that we really don't know what people are up against in their private lives. Little do people know that those bruises of mine are just a small manifestation of a major chronic illness. And little do I know why others look or act the way they do. So here's hoping that the next time you see someone who looks a little "off", you'll think twice before judging. I know I will!