This is a busy time of year. School's out, kids are hanging around, vacation is around the corner, sun is blazing, activities abound - it's hard to keep up with blogging, FB, friends, family etc. My daughter's 13th birthday was July 4th. She had a beach party on the 2nd out at our favorite summertime hangout - Sunoka Beach - in Summerland, BC. Notice how everything I've mentioned so far has summer and sun written in it. Normally I'd be looking forward to the sun and beach time. Following my Melanoma diagnosis and my surgery, I'm just not so into it. I found I spent the entire day on Sat. reminding the kids to reapply sunscreen, stay out of the sun after 1/2 hour, come sit in the shade, reapply sunscreen..... on and on. But the kids were so great. Most of them knew what had happened to me and they were just happy to listen to me and do what I told them to. It did my heart good when I didn't have to nag or meet up against any resistance. My 14 year old son and his friend were there as well and they were good too. Me - well - I was slathered in the stuff and under an umbrella - but, for people that know me, that's no different from normal. That's the kicker in this whole thing. I've been extremely sun smart for a minimum the last 13+ years. I've been intolerant of the heat since I've been pregnant with my daughter. So most of my friends and family are shocked that I would have gotten Melanoma. But they forget the extreme sunburns I received as a child. I grew up in an era of no sunscreen because there was none. My family wouldn't have been able to afford it probably anyways. Us kids were out playing in the sun all day and no one ever thought anything of it. Who knows if that's the only source of my Melanoma. As far as I know we have no family history. My 91 year old grandmother has a few spots of squamous cell on her face, but no Melanoma.
So the rest of my summertime plans are: find a really good broad brim hat (yeesh, I hate hats), keep reapplying the sunscreen, have already bought 2 new sun-blocking umbrellas, have bought 4 bottles of 60 SPF UVA/UVB sunscreen, and, oh, yes, the best part, I plan to have lots of fun. We have to remember not to get so bogged down in this muck that we forget to have fun. Fun and laughter boosts our immune system. And from everything I've read about Melanoma, having a boosted immune system is about the only thing that fights this thing.