Good Day Sunshine!
I was so happy not to wake up to dark grey skies and dreary, slushy rain. It was 27 degrees outside today, but the sun was out and I had the whole day off. I woke up singing, Good Day Sunshine! Click below so you can sing along too!
After the regular rigmarole of the morning routine, I headed out to the eye doctor (all clear on the Plaquenil retinal screening—hooray!) and then to the chiropractor (all popped and cracked back in alignment, three cheers!) and then I planned to go shopping for some new work clothes—I couldn’t put off buying black work pants any longer. I was driving and singing along with the radio for a little while when I realized I had a slight headache. Then my hands started to burn. All the sudden I was really, really tired. It always takes me a day or two to remember what happens when the sun shows up on the scene again each spring. Welcome back photo sensitivity.
The sun was the lead player in how I discovered I had Lupus. Of course, I had no idea at the time—nor did a slew of doctors and a pack of specialists or a host of tests.
I haven’t been able to put my hands on the pictures from that day. I took my younger brother to Six Flags with a bunch of friends and we spent the whole day in the beat-down, hot-as-it-gets-in-Western-New York sun.
Before that day I had never known a sunburn. My fair olive skin always gave way to a honey colored tan befitting my Southern Italian roots. From childhood, when I would sun worship my way through summer playing on our block or splashing in the pool, there was never a time when I shied away from a single ray.
Back to Six Flags. That was the first summer since I wore sleeveless tops since I was six or so. I think I am 32 there. My mother and I joked that this was just purely scandalous. She started calling me a Glory Girl (this has stuck). So I got a sun burn this day, which was novel to me. I was like, “Check this out—I think my skin is going to actually peel.” I was fascinated, a bit pink, and tired. Days past and the sun burn on my arms faded, except for that double thumbprint on my arm.
I wore the same shirt from the amusement park to work one day. From across the parking lot, my best friend shouted to me. laughing: “Do I need to rough up that husband of yours? Is he shaking you and leaving marks?” I was shocked for two reasons. One—the mark was still there and it was two weeks later, and two—it was noticeable from a fifty yards away. Still, I didn’t think enough of it to have it looked at. It was a bruise or something, right?
(to be continued)