The weather in South Carolina has been really nice that past week and pollen season is over. These two factors made it the perfect time to start staining the boat dock that extends out from the lakeside gazebo in my yard.
Last year Ed ripped up and replaced the damaged wood boards. Staining the boards is my job and much easier than Ed’s repair work.
Using a paint roller stick and a 5″ wide paint brush made the process pretty easy. I felt like I was swabbing the deck instead of staining. I love being outdoors, so I didn’t mind taking this project on.
What made the job harder for me though was the need to keep my face covered from the sun. I need to completely cover it by wearing a wide brim hat that can get in the way, especially when it is windy outside.
Today, I am sharing something personal with you that I have had to come to terms with over the past two years.
About 2 years ago, I started to see small sections of skin on my chin look patchy.
At first, I thought it was just my skin showing signs of aging, but then I started to get brown dots inside other brown dots on my chin. It looked very strange.
I went to my dermatologist to see if it was happening because of a serum or cream I was using. She looked at me and said:
“No, sadly that is not what is happening. You are showing signs of Vitiligo and unfortunately, there is nothing that can really be done about it and it may get worse and show up on other parts of your body over time.”
She was right. It has spread not just on my face, but I have new and spreading white patches also on my hands, arms and knees.
Over the last two years she has prescribed a few topical creams. When she gives them to me, she tells me not to expect much as the disorder is hard to cure. The only option would be to bleach/laser my skin like Michael Jackson did, but if I was lucky enough to have the Vitiligo clear itself up, then I would be left with bleached spots of skin, so the process is not recommended.
During the fall and winter months, it is not as noticeable because I am not outside in the sun as much.
When spring comes, each passing week into summer it becomes more noticeable as sun exposure makes it look worse. This is because the skin that is unaffected (still has pigment) gets tan from the sun and the contrast between it and the white skin where the pigment is lost shows up more. These white areas turn pink in the sun.
With each passing year, I have lost more pigment and my white patches are getting larger. If you look closely at the photo in my blog sidebar that was taken two years ago now, you can see a few lost patches of pigment starting on the right side of my chin.
Vitiligo occurs when pigment-producing cells die or stop producing melanin — the pigment that gives your skin, hair and eyes color. The involved patches of skin become lighter or white. It can happen on all skin colors. It is an autoimmune disorder and can be triggered by an event, such as stress, severe sunburn or skin trauma. Contact with a chemical is also thought to be a cause.
I feel mine was triggered by stress since it started after a very upsetting and life-changing event happened to somebody dear to me. It still upsets me every single day. This event pushed my immune system over the edge.
Allergies to foods such as gluten and dairy as well as sun exposure worsen it. I now have to address my body as a whole, focusing on healthy food, plenty of exercise and taking steps to relieve stress and ways to calm my mind. Sadly, the state of the world right now is not helping keep my stress levels down. :-(
Life outside now for me has me always wearing a wide brim SPF hat with my face covered in sunscreen. I have quite a few hats, so I can at least feel like I am making a fashion statement.
Recently when shopping online for a new hat, I came across this Burberry hat. It is just what I need when out in the sun, but the price tag is totally RIDICULOUS!!!!! $490.00!!!!
I assume it is marketed for Jetsetters whose lifestyle has them going from one tropical paradise to another all year long and who can afford to pay that price for a simple hat.
I may have to use the design as a pattern to DIY my own. :-) Most hats with flaps sold have a flap along the back to cover a person’s neck. I need to cover the sides of my face like this hat would do.
You know the old saying… “When life give you lemons, make lemonade”
I am keeping that in the back of my mind along with a positive attitude about my patchy skin and learning to “own it” with confidence. Life could throw me something a whole lot worse.
It hasn’t stopped me from doing anything… even outdoor projects like staining the dock.
So wide brimmed hats have become my must-have along with plenty of sunscreen.
Once I finished getting the dock stained…
I headed to the house to stain the second floor deck.
Now that the dock and upper deck are done, I will move onto the main deck of the house wearing one of my many hats to get the job done in style. :-)
Once I get the main deck stained, I will post about the process and brand of stain I used.
Wide Brim Hats I Like
My Favorite Sunscreens
I have tried many brands of sunscreen and do have a few favorites. I like these because they have a high SPF, can be rubbed in, have no harsh chemicals in them and no fragrance.
Opaque Sunblock Application Tip: I learned that when applying opaque white sunblock you should apply it using small circular motions, instead of swiping across your face. Small circular motions help to blend the white opaque color in better so you don’t see it. It works!