Sun Worship Part III

Time’s Up…We Know Better

Yeah, I’ve written about my childhood days in the sun and my days as a naive adult, too. But how did I manage to continue this sun worship until I became another cancer statistic? Those of you who are still sun junkies will want to read this I hope.This sun habit is no longer sensible. It kills.

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With adult children with lives of their own, my time beyond work was…well, mine! A novel idea, I readily choose more warm weather vacations in the Spring, sought out time at the beach, and did a lot more mucking about with boats. For me, life has always been best when on, in, or near water.

My sun-safe habits were moderate. Because of sun damage at a young age, I applied sunscreen to my nose regularly. Super solar days, I’d put on a baseball cap and bring a long sleeve shirt for the end-of-the day sunburn. If at the beach, I’d turn my chair away from the late day sun. On a boat, I’d be sure to cover up my skin as the day floated along. I started wearing sun glasses more…I mean who had heard of ocular melamona?

Feel the Burn

For those warm weather Spring vacations, I did something that I felt was very smart. I went to tanning beds. Being a logical person, I wanted to not burn on vacation and be able to participate in whatever sand, sun, sea adventure that came along. By tanning, my skin had a base of tan allowing me to be out and about without worrying about frying. I wouldn’t call myself a frequent flyer for tanning, but felt better for going. Perhaps it was a vitamin D boost or perhaps it was feeling warm?

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Whatever my source of sun, mindfulness had a different spin. At the end of the day, using lotion to prevent sun damage was part of the routine. Some days, a soak in an oil bath rejuvenated my dry skin. Different home remedies might include using a vinegar soaked wash cloth or a cold compress for sunburn. What sunburn remedies do you know of? I’d like to include them in a future blog listing so let me know!

The BIG Burn

The result of my sun-safe habits?  Metastatic melanoma. Hear my sarcasm? I wasn’t protecting myself. For the most part, I was doing “after: sun damage care. In my lifetime, our culture had no fear of the sun. We worship tan bodies, warm heat, and the relaxation of the hazy, lazy days of summer. My logic on how to have that healthy glow was actually setting me up for the big burn, the burn of fighting for my life.

Are you thinking you won’t get skin cancer? Or that if you have a little area removed, that life is good so grab that beach chair? There are different types of skin cancer, all of them are scary and melanoma is deadly. You don’t want to hear this but neither did I when I got that biopsy result that changed my life. Please think again!

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Thanks for following me and please let me know how you are changing the sun worship culture in your life. #Sunsmarts are in! Love being outside and  being sun shy is where it is at now that we know better! Save a life-yours! Be practical and learn sun-safe habits. #melanoma #melanomatheskin #naturalskinrocks #cancer #mindfulness

We can-cer vive!

Janis

 

Sun Worship, Part II

Or why didn’t I get this as an adult?

An earlier blog speaks of some basic sun worship mistakes from my childhood.  The culture of the times was all about that healthy glow and rich tan skin. Really, there was nothing to get; sun bathing was the norm. Don’t let the guilt get the best of you.  Change begins today, never yesterday.

In my young adult years, say in my 20’s and 30’s, I continued to seek sun whenever possible.  My young family  enjoyed walking, hiking, playing sports,riding bikes, gardening, camping, boating, and best of all, the beach, whether lake or ocean. We were active, happy, and brown.

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My new version of light!

Time Out

My son was, and is, feral. He seeks the wild places and “needs” to be outdoors. He was lucky enough to have that most of the time as a child and to create his life around that need as an adult. For our family, outdoor adventure made us feel alive and the best times were “out”.  Dear children-I hope that your past sun history never becomes what mine has.  If I only had known and I hope skin cancer never comes in to your life.

I love being a librarian but sometimes felt work got in the way on a gorgeous summer or winter day, when the natural world beckoned.  I chuckled while doing a mid-February story time about the beach and felt like I was in heaven when I plunked down into my beach chair to read with families.  Summer reading brought the enticement of story time and programs anywhere outside; the pool, the library garden, the bookmobile at the ball field, the free lunch program all lured me in for reading in the great outdoors!

My sisters, brother, and all of our families loved our family reunions.  Sun meant fun as we spent a whole weekend together in the warmer months, traipsing kids, babies, and parents to the beach, on boats, up gorges, to outdoor fairs, through campgrounds.  See the theme in our lives?  Best days were often the maximum time out, just out.

Scoodic Peninsula, Maine!

 

I Took A Walk in the Woods And Came Out Taller Than the Trees (Henry David Thoreau)

I don’t intend to give up on my life alfresco; I intend to be #sunsmart. Wow!  This is a complete lifestyle change.  We know the drill of sunscreen, SPF clothing, and avoiding peak sun times.  There is no way, I repeat NO WAY, I will give up on fresh air and that wonderful feeling it brings.

How do you deal with the sun?  What are you learning to modify your life without giving up your outdoor adventures? I’d love to hear from you because we all have much to learn, not so much to give up. It’s that idea of balance that comes into play so much with all of us, but particularly with cancer patients. It’s easy to tip the scale.

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Enjoy the moonshine!

I am super pleased that I am wrapping my head around getting on and getting out there. Have courage, bring mindfulness into your adventure.  Don’t let melanoma rule.  Find inspiration in the new, different way that you live. Sun safety matters and so does the adventure we call life!

Here’s one easy example-Get out there and enjoy a bit of moonshine this week. Life is full and so is the East coast moon on Thursday! It might be a cloud-covered evening but hey, there’s always tomorrow!  #melanomatheskin #melanoma #thursdaythoughts #melanomamoonshine

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We can-cer vive!

Janis

Summer Solstice

sun-47083_960_720.pngAh, the longest day of the year! Abundance of daylight! Summer daze ahead!

This Is…This Was

This is… no wait, this was one of my favorite days. I’ve always been a summer girl with a birthday in June and a great love of the warmer months.  Sun worship is…no wait, was a routine of my life. Summer solstice was always a little bittersweet as I felt 14 hours of daylight was perfect and begrudged the coming of the dark.

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Happy Summer Solstice to you in the Northern Hemisphere! ‘Inti Raymi’rata, the sun festival of the Incas, is one celebration of light.  Norway, “Land of the Midnight Sun”, celebrates 24 hours of daylight now. Stonehenge is a site of ancient worship of the sun.  Celebration of the sun started long before our melanoma; its how we cancer patients react to it that really makes the difference.

Yes, I do notice on-screen ads depicting the sun fun thing…it seems everything is better during the warmer months. Whether drinking a Corona or buying a Subaru, life is incredibly perfect on sunny summer days. And this mentality is everywhere. Did I think about this before skin cancer?  Nope and the marketing is not going to change overnight either.  Life changes and how are you dealing with having a life and melanoma, too?

Sun Celebration

Favorite holidays?  Some love Christmas, others Halloween.  Any one that knows me, knows my favorite day of the year is Ground Hog Day!  Advocating for this day is easy…we start talking about Spring, no matter how far away the reality is; we can see the light at the end of the winter darkness tunnel.  Damn it!  We’re half way to Spring. And that is something to celebrate!

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Ground Hog Day, Summer Solstice, and another favorite-Winter Solstice I celebrate knowing the sun is going to come back to us all yet again. Sure I have a lot of fun with people and my Ground Hog Day initiative but hey, come February we all need to tee-hee a bit.

All of this celebration is my solar system; it’s just part of how I mark time, seasons, and living.  Appreciate sunshine, warmth, and growing vegetables. Find courage in shimmering seas,  hope dawning on one more day, inspiration in beautiful sunsets.

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Be Shady

Do what you need to do to live life with a mindfulness about melanoma and other skin cancers.  Check the EPA UV Index, seek shade, wear sun screen, avoid intense sun, wear protective clothing, and get on with life! #melanoma #melanomatheskin #sunsmarts #summersolstice #skincancer

One more rotation for all of us, now that is something to celebrate! 

We can-cer vive!

Janis

 

Don’t Fry Day

Here’s come summer! Memorial Day weekend, a time to honor U.S. military people who died in service to the country, has also become the gateway to summer fun!  Our first camping trip usually took place Memorial Day weekend and for others, it may mean getting the boat in the water, planting the garden in the northeast, or heading to the beach.  Did you know that the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend is now recognized as Don’t Fry Day by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.

Sunsmarts

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With all the warm weather fun to come, Don’t Fry Day is the perfect time to remember how important sun safety is for all of us.  Listed on the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention site are some easy #sunsmarts that we all can practice:

  • Do Not Burn or Tan
  • Seek Shade
  • Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
  • Generously Apply Sunscreen
  • Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand
  • Get Vitamin D Safely

As someone who always sought the sun and loves to be outdoors, I feel I have a choice.  I can  be sensible with sun safety or I can hide away inside.  Well, I need to be outside so I plan on doing what I need to do to be enjoying life and living with melanoma.

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After being checked for ocular melanoma recently, I’d add polarized sun glasses to the above list for visual sun safety. And yes, I have protective clothing, and have you considered a face mask?  Fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts wear them and again, I don’t want to live my life indoors.  Some days my face mask makes great sense  so I can boat, walk the beach, or garden while protecting my face (where tumors were removed and radiation added).  Wide brim hats offer some protection, depending on the fabric. Keep an eye on the UV Index, avoiding mid-day sun when possible.

A Change Would Do You Good (Cheryl Crow)

As someone who always sought the sun and loves to be outdoors, I feel I have a choice.  I can  be sensible with sun safety or I can hide away inside. I need to be outside on these beautiful, warm days, so I plan on doing what I need to do to be enjoying life and living with melanoma.  My brother in-law says “nothing changes until something changes”.  Sun attitudes need to change in our society and I am proof that it can and should be a life saving change for all of us.  New outdoor habits take a bit of will power and common sense.  Be pro-active and incorporate sun safety into your life.

May is melanoma awareness month and comes at the perfect time as we all gear up for the sunshine months we love.  I wrote about Melanoma Monday earlier this month and Don’t Fry Day is another opportunity to promote skin cancer prevention. Things happen in life that change us, and I’d be the first to admit I have worshiped the sun…a lot. With two melanoma diagnoses in the rear view mirror, it’s time for a change in my life and also time to change the culture of sun worship.

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Summer Fun!

I still plan to enjoy all the fun that summer brings…I will just have a bit more gear for cruising!  It’s not the end, it’s the beginning of a new way to love the summer months, to love life.

Happy Don’t Fry Day!  And Memorial Day – thank you to all the people in United States service who lost their lives so that we might be free.

#Don’t Fry Day  #melanoma  #melanomatheskinwerein

We can-cer vive!

Janis