Cancer is constantly teaching me lessons. Sometimes, I don’t mind the lessons. This one, I mind. A lot.
This weekend’s lesson was of the “I really should have considered this could happen” kind.
I got sunburned. Even while I wore sunscreen.
Apparently, chemotherapy can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. This was one of those side effects I overlooked. Being fair-skinned, I always wear sunscreen, but…obviously not enough this time.
I mowed the grass and then stayed outside for a little while to “oversee” Barry digging a hole for an ag meter faucet. I’m good at overseeing things like that. :)
I didn’t think I was outside for very long, and, did I mention, I WORE SUNSCREEN. But I didn’t wear sunscreen that had zinc oxide in it (which blocks the suns rays) and I probably did not apply it as liberally as I should have. Now that I’ve done my research, I know that chemotherapy drugs can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Oh, hindsight. Why do you always show up so late?
It’s painful and annoying and frustrating and makes me mad at myself. So in order to spare some of you guys or another future cancer patient from my experience, here’s what I learned:
Some chemotherapy drugs can make your skin more sensitive. This can sometimes last for several years following treatment. If you’ve had chemotherapy, you can ask your doctor whether you need to take special care to protect your skin. – Macmillan Cancer Support
You may find that your skin is more likely to burn in the sun or react to chemicals. So be careful when you are in the sun, and wear at least factor 15 sun protection. – Cancer Research UK
Skin reactions can be independent of dose and can persist long after the drug causing the allergic reaction has been discontinued. - chemocare.com
I also found these tips to prevent sunburn during chemo at About.com:
- Stay out of direct sun from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
- Use fresh sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)–toss out last year’s supply.
- Lather extra sunscreen on high, rounded skin: Nose, tops of ears, exposed scalp, shoulders, knees, and tops of feet.
- Slide some lip balm with sunscreen on your lips. and keep the tube handy for reapplication.
- Dress for protection: Wear a wide-brimmed hat; loose, long-sleeve top; flowing, long pants.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your skin, and the rest of your body, hydrated.
I should have considered the possibility this could happen. Fortunately, the sunburn is not everywhere that was exposed, which is kind of weird in itself. But, hey, I’m just going to be thankful that I did not get burned all over.
I feel like one hot tomato. :)
Hope you have a great Monday, that your week gets off to a great start, and you do not learn any “hindsight” lessons this week!