It's that time of year. Spring. I love spring. I do. I really do. By my birthday, I'm aching for spring. In Tennessee, you never know if it'll already be full on spring with the trees fully bloomed or still have tentative little buds on the trees by my birthday (April 17). Last year, the buttercups came in February and by my birthday the trees had been leafed out a month. This year by my birthday the trees had not quite burst forth with leaves-- they still seemed tenative.
And every year for the last decade, I have my annual blossoming, too. Every spring, when the sun comes back into our hemisphere, I break out in little (sometimes not so little) itchy red patches on my legs and arms. My face also gets itchy. My eyelids itch. Everything itches. It took a long while to figure out that I had a medical condition. I have something called Polymorphic Light Eruption (PMLE). It's not long lasting-- not harmful. The red itchy bumps I get only last until my skin adapts to the new UV rays it's missed over the winter. They leave no scar. And, if I continue to go outside with skin exposed, I don't get them any more. It's a process called "hardening."
It can, I suppose, be called a sun allergy. It's a hypersensitivity. No one knows what triggers it. There's some evidence it can lead to eventual autoimmune issues but that's not necessarily the outcome. For the most part, it's just a pain in the ass. It just means that every spring I itch like the devil and mope around the house asking Tammy, "Do you love me?" and "Are you sure you love me? I look like a freak!" And she reassures me and so long as I don't stay out of the sun too long, I'm good.
Now, if I stay indoors for weeks and then venture back out, well, here we go again. Especially on the legs. My face and arms get enough just going out and about that one break out is normally it. But unless I get some sun on my legs every couple of days, then I'll have those annoying red patches all damn summer.
As medical problems go, this one isn't a biggie. Just annoying. Looks a little freaky. Like the time I went swimming and (apparently) hadn't had sun on my ass cheeks for years. My ass and upper thighs were itchy, tender, red. It looked like I had sat somehow on a griddle.
So, spring brings me that, but it's okay. It brings me the end of the school year (thank you, baby Jesus!) and hummingbirds and rose breasted grosbeaks (which only come in the very early spring).
Winter is a long, dull affair. The world is drab and I actually do, sometimes, feel like part of my self, the most vibrant part, is packed away, awaiting the unfurling of the leaves, and the return of the hummingbirds, fireflies, and butterflies. Maybe those itchy red patches are really just me remaking myself for the new year?