those of you who've been following our story for a while probably remember that almost exactly two years ago, when the sun re-emerged here in montreal after our long first winter, i made the unhappy discovery that i had become allergic to the sun. i later found out that the condition is called solar urticaria; it's another auto-immune problem (surprise, surprise), rare but not unheard of. in my case, it resulted in large, swollen red hives whenever i was exposed to direct sun. this was true even through window glass, and even in the winter, to my chagrin. amazingly, if i removed myself from the sun, the hives, redness, and itching would disappear within half an hour or so.
i prayed and prayed to be healed, but to no avail. the problem persisted, and i began to learn to cope with it. over the past couple of years, i've started to wear long sleeves even on a hot day, hats, and 60+ spf sunscreen. when taking precautions, i found that i could be out in the sun for up to an hour before the problem started. it was inconvenient, and i figured i'd never be able to swim in an outdoor pool again or play at the beach. but i thanked God that it wasn't the kind of debilitating illness i've experienced in the past. there are certainly worse problems in the world.
but this spring, i began to notice a difference. i seemed to be able to stay out in the sun longer without any significant problems, maybe just a bit of itching. i have not taken the big step of taking off my shirt outside or walking around barefoot (which would expose especially sensitive areas), but i have been out in short sleeves and shorts since early may and haven't had one case of hives yet. i just got in from hanging the laundry and other than being quite warm — after all, it's 29C or just over 80F and i was in direct sunlight in the hottest part of the day — but i can't really sense any ill effects at all.
i don't pretend to understand why God allows these things, or why, even unbidden, he chooses to remove them. but i am grateful and as we move on from montreal, i'm happy to leave it behind! :-)