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"Confetti Skin, Beauty Within" is our blog about ichthyosis and its effect on our lives. Rachel and our three boys are affected with the form of ichthyosis called "icthyosis en confetti, type 2".

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Daily life with ichthyosis: Autumn Yardwork

On Saturday, I spent the entire afternoon doing yardwork with Jennifer, and the day after that I was sore and aching.  But only a very small amount of that is a direct result of my ichthyosis.

We spent most of the afternoon in our yard, raking and bagging leaves, and other assorted yard maintenance. (The picture over on the right there shows our stockpile of 18 bags of leaves and other debris.)

And after that, I wound up doing a round of cleaning in the basement, which involved mopping the floor and dealing with the spill-over from multiple cat litter boxes. Yay.

Writing the next afternoon, I’m quite sore, thankyouverymuch. But I think that mostly has to do with me not being in shape, rather than any skin-specific issue. With the onset of colder weather here in Virginia, it’s been nice not having to worry about overheating or staying hydrated. (Of course, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are starting the exact opposite season, so they’re getting into the summer months and starting to worry about overheating now!) And since the onset of this winter has been mild, I haven’t been worrying that much about it being too cold or too dry, at least for short stints outside.

My preparation for an afternoon of yardwork was pretty easy. Jennifer was actually surprised that I hadn’t put on any Cling Wrap on my feet in the morning; I responded that my feet were actually feeling quite fine, but after thinking a bit more about it I put some on just in case, and charged outside.

As an aside, back on Monday, November 12 I wrote about my lack of mobility from a fairly nasty blister on my foot. I was in a lot of pain from my foot on Friday, November 9 and Saturday, November 10. And although things were improving when I wrote on the 12th, I was still using a cane on the evening of Wednesday the 14th. I felt a bit better and decided not to use my cane on Thursday, but that night I had a late-ish dinner after work with some friends, and walking from the restaurant over to the Metro station I regretted that decision. But on Friday evening, I was getting around without any problems.

So I think it’s a bit of an interesting turnabout that yesterday I was able to charge out and do yardwork without a lot of extra thought or preparation, when two weeks ago I was barely able to move.

For my hands, I put on a pair of disposable vinyl exam gloves, and then put on a pair of heavy work gloves on top of those. I use the exam gloves to trap moisture around my hands (similar to the Cling Wrap), so my hands remain reasonably flexible. (I prefer the vinyl gloves over latex gloves because I feel like the latex ones are a bit stinky and the powder in the gloves feels gritty after a while.) And the work gloves are standard equipment for tree-branch cutting and leaf gathering.

But other than those minor preparations, I didn’t feel like my skin played much of a factor yesterday afternoon. It was nice not worrying about overheating.

I think that most of the aches and pains I felt the next day were due to me being horribly out-of-shape. I did notice two things, though: Despite me feeling that my feet were “fine” on Saturday morning, I think they wound up cracking a bit overnight — perhaps due to more stress than usual? (Mind you, “usual” for me is sitting all day in front of my desk.) And on Saturday night, a few hours after I got out of the shower my hands had a few more cracks and fissures than usual. Sunday afternoon, those same cracks and fissures showed up again, but all of that was more-or-less “fixed” with a second (and third and fourth) layer of cream.

Some times, my mother is still surprised when I tell her I’ve been doing yard work. But there’s a huge difference between mowing the grass in the middle of the summer (worrying about overheating), shoveling snow in the depths of winter (dealing with cracked hands and feet from the cold), versus being outside on a decent autumn afternoon. (And even the summer lawn-mowing and winter snow-shoveling are possible for me, under the right circumstances and with the right preparation.)

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