Sunshine...It’s the Little Things That Make the Biggest Difference

I am a sun baby.  I am a lizard.  I take time to warm up.  I love the sun.  The heat. It makes me happy.  I function so much better in it.  The cold makes me miserable and I am often in 5 or 6 layers in winter.  This spring, we have had some wonderful weather and heat (although, most in the UK whine when it gets over around 20 degrees Celsius and can’t cope because it’s ‘too hot’). I love it when it’s between 25-30 degrees.  This is my temperature range.  My ideal. I really should move abroad where there is warmer weather all the time…

The importance of sun safety

For the last 10 summers, I have had to chase the shade when the sun and heat have appeared.  In a way, I suppose I am lucky that I live in the UK and hot weather is normally a rarity rather than the norm, and normally for no more than a few days at a time.  Factor 30 (sunscreen) has been my friend, applied before leaving home in the morning and again at lunchtime.  Doing my best to avoid the direct sun and to be in the shade between 11am-3pm, or to not go outside until late afternoon/early evening.  Outside of these times, I could go in the sun but for not more than about 30 minutes, as my skin would turn red very quickly and I would begin to burn.  I hate burning. It’s SO stupid as, generally speaking, it's completely avoidable.  In this country, because we never know how long the sun will be here for, a large percentage of the population goes outside all day with very little or no sun pretention on and get badly burnt.  Repeatedly.  It makes me SO angry.  The rage about it is probably ridiculous, but skin cancer isn’t funny.  It isn’t nothing.  And you CAN, in so many cases, prevent it.  Argh. Anyway, back to me and the sun.

I became ‘glow in the dark white’ throughout the year.  And it made me really upset that I couldn’t lie in the sun.  I used to go such a lovely brown.

So this year, when the sun appeared, I immediately creamed up and tentatively went in the sun to see what happened.  And I didn’t go red.  I could sit in the sun. At midday!  And all day. I didn’t have to chase the shade around the garden.  I didn’t have to worry about burning in a moment.  And this is huge!

Finding happiness in summer

It makes me happy.  Life is challenging at the moment, but to be able to go in the sun when is it out is massive to me.  The current oral chemotherapy I am on is the only one in its little TKI (Tyrosine-kinase inhibitor) family that DOESN’T impede the melanocytes, so you CAN go in the sun, as you AREN’T massively photosensitive.

I can’t actually get into words the happiness this makes me feel.  For the first time in 10 years my spring/summer isn’t impeded, well, by having super sensitive skin, other things are still a bit challenging… and I have one less thing to worry about.

I start a new drug in around 9 weeks’ time.  I’ve asked my consultant to find out the impact it has on the melanocytes and melanin production.  I really hope, with all my heart, with all my fingers and toes crossed, that I will still be able to be a sun baby and I don’t have to give it up again.

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