Running with Sunscreen*

This morning I woke up thinking I had two classes to teach today, just like every other Tuesday. What I didn’t know was that today was a “floating day off” for the students…and I was sitting in class, alone, when I thought to check my email. That’s when I saw the department newsletter that had gone out about 20 minutes earlier telling everyone to have a great “No Class Day.”

I’m thinking that the name needs a little work, though, but I love the intention. I’ve read an awful lot, both in the press as well as individual narratives, about students who are really feeling burnt out this semester. It’s not surprising, really, because online class is harder, all the way around, on everyone: teachers, students, everyone.

If I had known, though, that we didn’t have class, I would have gotten up and gone running first thing – it was beautiful today. The sun was out, it wasn’t super windy, and it was just wonderful to be outside when Straxi and I finally did get outside to run. It was closer to lunch than I wanted, but I didn’t really care. I was just so happy to get out there in the sun.

This is the first real day of my half-marathon training, so I was so glad I could get out there and run without having to contend with rain and cold. The sun was beautiful.

Of course, I wore my sunscreen. I will never, ever go out without sunscreen again. Fixing damage is harder than I thought it would be.

When I had the cancer spot taken off my nose around Christmas (last Christmas? The Christmas before? Good heavens, time flies when one is in a pandemic), I swore I would never go without sunscreen again. Almost immediately, I became lax I’m embarrassed to say. So I’m glad that when I went back for a check up, I didn’t have any questionable stuff to be removed. They did suggest, though, that I use this prescription cream that would remove some of the pre-cancerous cells I had on my face (you can tell what they are because they’re flaky). So I went and picked up the prescription and almost fell over – my insurance covers nothing at all until we meet the deductible…which is SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. EACH.

It was $80. For a tube. A very small tube.

This $80 tube of medicine has some side effects, according to the website RxList.com:

“Common side effects of fluorouracil cream include:

  • application site reactions (such as redness, dryness, burning, erosion [loss of the upper layer of skin], pain, irritation, and swelling),
  • headache,
  • common cold,
  • allergy,
  • upper respiratory infection,
  • muscle soreness,
  • sinus infection,
  • sun sensitivity, and
  • eye irritation.

The treated area may become unsightly during therapy.”

Unsightly, you say? Unsightly?? How about horrific? How about scary? How about painful to look at? I truly looked like a burn victim. Which, I guess I really was, because this stuff burns off a layer of skin.

This experience did so much more for me to remind me to wear sunscreen than I could have imagined. My face hurt so bad the whole time I was having to put this stuff on.

So I paid $80 to give myself a chemical burn…all because I thought I wanted some color to my skin, and didn’t put strong enough sunscreen on my face at the beach as a younger woman, I didn’t look for a moisturizer with sunscreen in it, and I didn’t do all those things I should have done.*

Now I’m trying to repair the damage that the cure to the initial damage caused. I’ve put so much vitamin E on my face and drunk so much water I am really over it.

So today, you better believe I put sunscreen on my red, chemically burnt face. It hurt to put it on, but I wasn’t going out without it.

It didn’t make me run any faster, though.

This run felt so great, partly because of the weather, but also because I am so relieved my running buddy is feeling so much better!