A woman talks to a tan and sunglass wearing genie that has come out of a bottle of sunscreen

Genie in a Bottle...of Sunscreen

A couple of months ago my daughter and I went on spring break to Cabo, and I was pretty proud of myself that I spent a week at the beach and didn’t get a sunburn thanks to some pre-vacation planning on being sun smart.

Skin cancer and beach frustration

We then had a trip planned to Key West for her 21st birthday, which we just got back from. Before we left on vacation, I knew there was a good chance that Key West would be sunny and hot, that we would be spending time at the pool each day, and that I would once again need to be proactive so I didn’t get a sunburn. This time, though, all the required planning left me feeling discouraged. I am tired of having skin cancer. I am tired of the extra preparation before each trip. I am tired of having to pack all the extra sun protective necessities, along with an entire arsenal of sunscreen for each warm-weather vacation we go on. Okay, I may go overboard on the amount of sunscreen I bring (you can see what I took to Key West in the photo), but I want to make sure we are all fully protected.

Many different bottles of sunscreen lined up on a counter

Just plain tired of having skin cancer

I’ve realized that I am once again suffering from skin cancer fatigue. Some days I do really well in dealing with having skin cancer, but other days I just want it gone. I know that I need to be sun smart. I know that I need to plan in advance everything I need to protect me from the sun. But there are times that I am tired of planning. I’m tired of worrying about if I’m going to get too much sun.

Wishing it away

I wish I had a genie in a bottle. I know what my skin cancer wishes would be:

  1. I’d wish that I didn’t have skin cancer.
  2. I’d wish that I could just enjoy time in the sun and didn’t have to plan ahead so much to protect against sun exposure; I could instead just throw on a swimsuit and go to the pool without having to slather on sunscreen, take my hat and coverup with me, and hope for an empty chair near an umbrella. (Then again, that’s partly what got me in this situation in the first place, so that probably wouldn’t be a good idea.)
  3. I’d wish that there wasn’t even such a thing as skin cancer.

Accepting reality

But I don’t have a genie in a bottle, and I don’t want to do additional damage to my skin. I did enough of that when I was younger. So, I’ll keep practicing good sun awareness habits. I’ll overpack sunscreen products for vacations, and use them. I’ll make sure I’m wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen at the pool and beach. I’ll have a coverup and sun protective clothing to help protect my skin from too much exposure. I’ll take good care of my skin. I need to; it’s the only skin I’ve got. And you need to, unless you have a genie in a bottle.

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