Friday, December 18, 2009

I'll never learn. The sun is hot.

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.

6 comments:

Marilyn said...

Sounds like we should vacation together! I LOVE the sun...well, I love seeing the sun and my husband LOVES golf! I love the warmth of the air and my husband is so very happy when he's golfing. I just wish I felt better and could enjoy the same things he did. Oh well, he puts up with me anyway! Merry Christmas!

Marilyn said...

Sara, do you know anything about a coorelation between antibiotics and flare involvement?

Sara Gorman said...

I know - it's hard to avoid the sun during a round of golf. I've tried riding around in the cart, staying out of the direct sunlight, but that's awfully hot and not so enjoyable. My husband and I have just come to enjoy those 4 hours apart. I do my thing, and Johnny does his. I'm okay with it...but I'm VERY good at meeting him at the clubhouse for a drink or dinner!

And re: antibiotics - do mean the correlation b/t antibiotics setting off a flare, or the treatment of a flare with antibiotics? Someone else just posed the former question to me, and I didn't have an answer for them.

However, in looking it up, back in 2002, Michelle Petri said the following,

"There are other triggers [for lupus], including drugs. Be very careful about sulfa antibiotics. Why? Some people don't have lupus until they take these sulfa antibiotics. For people who are already diagnosed with lupus, about 25-per cent will have their disease get more active if they take a sulfa antibiotic. If you need antibiotics, make sure you ask your doctor to prescribe something other than a sulfa antibiotic."

But that was 7 years ago, so things may have changed at this point. Let me know what you're thinking!

Take care and Merry Merry!
SG

Marilyn said...

Thanks for your comments. I just finished a round of Augmentin and was feeling great till one day it hit! It is probably the worst flare I've had since my diagnosis! After 3 days in bed and going back on Prednisone, I think I am finally feeling better. I have NO time to waste on this dang disease this week! Kids are out of school and there is much candy and cookies to be made. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Sara Gorman said...

Funny you mention Augmentin, because I happen to be allergic to it. The last time I took it was, in fact, before I had lupus, so my reaction was just the typical all-over-body rash. But who knows about a long-term connection. I certainly now avoid it at all costs. Hopefully, that prednisone is working - perhaps you can consider the down-time a holiday preparation intermission. :)

GALE said...

I am also careful with sun. I read an article inLUPUS NOW this summer and they had changed light ideas. I changed the trac light spots to safe bulb and wear a hat in big box stores (uncovered flourescent tubes) and the headache I get that feels like scalp is going to split is gone unless I forget my hat. I read that two hours in walmart is like one hour in the sun shine.