Perhaps the greatest benefit of living in Baltimore is the fact that my doctors are at John Hopkins Hospital, which as you may or may not know, has some of the best doctors in the world specializing in Lupus. Considering I’ve had some pretty pathetic doctors growing up, I’d say this is a major improvement. Go me!
What my team, as I often refer to them as, reminds me of every time I visit is that the sun is not my friend. Well duh, it’s the one thing Lupus has successfully proven to me. Southern California + Jewel = many trips to ER and the ultimate change from Discoid to also include Systemic Lupus. Only me!*
While I’m not afforded the luxury of only thinking about the sun and all its evilness during summer, I do ensure I take extra precautions during the summer months to protect myself.
How? Let me show thee the ways:
- Sunscreen and I basically become one (just like the Spice Girls’ song)
- I add a large scarf to my car to drape over any part of my sun-exposed body
- Buy new hats if necessary (this year it was necessary)
- Plan my outfits based on how much outdoor activity will take place during the day
- Do my best to stay the heck out of the sun’s way (which isn’t always easy!)
This list isn’t at all meant as exhaustive but I want to emphasize that when you have any illness or skin condition which by default means you are sun sensitive, it’s a good place to start. I’d be lying if I said that I do all the above everyday but what I can promise you is that I think about the sun and how it interacts with Lupus almost constantly. Even when I’m doing something I know deep down is bad for me, I am aware that it is bad and that I should try harder. Like anything, it’s a process and it takes time, but making certain things habit can definitely help.
*Being that I am not the only person living with Systemic Lupus and probably not Discoid either, this probably isn’t true but I am dramatic. Aren’t we all?
Photo: Isaiah Harris