My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Author: My Life as a Puddle (page 2 of 15)

Help! Please Endorse My Blog
By Friday

My Life as a Puddle 2017 WEGO Health Awards Nomination

Dear Sweaty Friends,

Friday Is The Deadline

I need your help! The deadline to endorse me for Best In Show: Blog for the 2017 WEGO Health Awards is this Friday. After that, the judges take over to determine the winners. Please help me climb the ranks.

Here’s a video below detailing what you need to do. I feel really dorky recording myself, and I was a sweaty mess afterward and had soaked the towel I was holding my phone with. (If the video won’t display for some reason, watch it on Facebook.)

VIDEO: My Life as a Puddle WEGO Health Endorsements

How to Endorse Me – Three Options

  1. Go directly to my WEGO Health page and click the orange “Endorse My Life as a Puddle” button.
  2. Click the orange “Endorse Me Now” button on the right side bar here on my website (if you’re reading this on a mobile device or in the email version of this blog post, you won’t be able to see this).
  3. Go back to this post and fill out the form that’s embedded in the post (this WILL work from a mobile device).

Give Hope

If you’re able to view my video, you’ll see I showed you a sneak peek of my vision board. Many of the things I’ve placed on it have already come true. One of the images on my board says Give hope.

It is my mission to create hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time. I work really hard on this blog and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to create awareness about this condition. Heck, I’ve even forced myself to record videos now and feel horribly awkward doing it. But you can’t grow if you don’t push yourself.

Winning this award will help me – and us as a sweaty community – to spread public awareness about a condition that can be mentally, emotionally and socially debilitating. I’ve got big plans for my sweaty self, some of them coming up very soon and which I’m excited to tell you about in upcoming blog posts.

Yours in Sweat,

Maria

Share the Adventure Alaskan Cruise: Day 1 Embarkation

(This is the first in a series of posts about my Share the Adventure cruise with Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine. Disclosures:  1) I was not asked to write about the cruise, but so many amazing things happened on this trip I must tell you about them. 2) I paid for this cruise myself. However, the cocktail dress and jewelry you’ll see me wearing in the photos below is sponsored by Chico’s.)

Year of Adventure

Sometimes we have to travel a bit first on the inside to explore the thoughts, secrets and beliefs we’ve been holding. Once we have a map to them, we’re better prepared to chart new territories and open ourselves up to new experiences. I’m not typically one who says Sure, I’ll book a cruise – by myself – room with someone I’ve never met before and hang out with nine other strangers for a week.

But when Oprah declared 2017 her year of adventure, I wanted in on that, too. I applied to become an O, The Oprah Magazine Insider in February and got the news in March I was one of just 50 people selected nationwide! So when I heard about the cruise to Alaska in July, I said yes. I will continue to say yes to anything the O team asks me to do, although I might draw the line at tattoos and body piercings. 🙂 Other than that, bring it on.

Meeting My Roommate

Prior to even discussing the cruise, I had placed the O-shaped cabin window image from O magazine on my vision board.  As a handful of the Insiders were deciding whether we could go on the cruise,  Chris and I kept talking about manifesting it and making it happen.  I put my feelers out for some freelance writing and editing gigs to help fund my cruise, and it worked. I also got two refund checks in the mail from my health insurance company (an insurance company refunding?!), which also helped fund the cruise.

Chris and I got to know each other via social media before we met at the dock in Seattle. Once I found her at the pier, I knew I didn’t have to worry about rooming with her. She is pure, unadulterated joy.

Chris Lowe PowerHoopz

Chris, my beautiful, joyful roommate for the Alaskan cruise with Holland America and O, The Oprah Magazine

As someone with hyperhidrosis, a slew of random thoughts had been running through my head about being her roommate:

  • What if the room didn’t have carpet? Would I leave a trail of sweaty footprints?
  • What if Chris liked the room temperature hotter than I did? Would I be a sweaty mess?
  • How am I supposed to get ready in front of her when I constantly have to stop to wipe off my sweaty hands amidst blow drying my hair and doing my makeup?

Thankfully, Chris asked me some questions ahead of time because she took the time to understand my condition. I am grateful for this. Chris is from Florida, so we solved the problem of room temperature a couple of ways: I turned the thermostat down just when we were getting ready so I wouldn’t sweat as much, and I wore summer pajamas to bed. Meanwhile, she wore a sweatshirt and pants to bed. Wuss. 😉

OMagInsiders Cruise to Alaska with Holland America Line

OMagInsiders meeting for the first time on our Alaskan cruise with O, The Oprah Magazine and Holland America. (L to R: Me (Maria), Shelley, Chris, Amy, Allison, Tonya, Sarah, Lisa; Megan and Christine in front row)

Chico’s Cocktail Party

Since it was our first night on board, Chico’s hosted a cocktail party so that we could meet and mingle with some of our fellow cruisers. As Chris and I were walking down the hall on the way to the party, her shoe broke! There was no way she could keep walking on it, so we returned to our room where she MacGyvered a solution – hula hoop tape!

I said to Chris, “Hurry up! You’re going to make me late for the most important night of my life!” I started to freak out because being late makes me sweat, and I didn’t want to arrive with sweaty hands as my first impression when meeting all these new people. But before I could go into full freak out mode, Chris had me laughing so hard it didn’t matter anymore. She taught me that you always have a choice in the energy you bring to a space, and this first night on board is one of just many examples where she helped me be a better version of myself and place my hyperhidrosis on the back seat.

Chris Lowe PowerHoopz

Broken shoe? Just fix it with hula hoop tape!

I got a chance to meet the O Magazine team, including Editor at Large and Oprah’s BFF Gayle King. Gayle was very busy talking to everyone, and she carried a notepad during the entire cruise to interview people . She got some really great stories that she later shared on stage.

I came prepared with two handwritten cards – one for her and one for Oprah, as I didn’t think I’d be able to meet Oprah since her schedule was completely booked for the days she was on board. When I got my turn to meet Gayle, she said she couldn’t accept anything but to give the cards to her assistant, Joseph. I found Joseph, and he graciously placed my cards in his backpack. I’m hoping Gayle and Oprah received the cards and were able to read them. They contained my Denver Woman’s Press Club winning essay, a way for them to get to know me as a writer and one of their OMagInsiders, plus a thank you message for all of the work they’ve done to help me shape myself as a woman.

Maria Thomas and Gayle King

Waiting patiently for my turn with Gayle King,
handwritten cards in hand.

Put Down What You Carry

Poet Mark Nepo says,

We must put down what we carry in order to let more of ourselves enter.

I’m so glad I left my baggage on the curb that day to board that ship. Stay tuned for more stories about the O-mazing experiences I had on this cruise. I’m still astounded by what happened. This cruise allowed me to chart new territories and explore just how far I can go despite my hyperhidrosis.

Oprah journal My Life as a Puddle

My new Oprah journal that was waiting for me on my bed at the end of the first night on board.

Pre-Cruise Inspiration

Before I tell you all of the amazing stories that happened while on board the Share the Adventure cruise to Alaska with Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine, I’d like to share this first. It came in the mail just days before I flew to Seattle to board the Ms. Eurodam. I never would’ve taken this cruise had it not been for my connection with O Magazine as an OMagInsider. The cruise truly was a dream come true.

Hallmark dream card

Back in 2000, I found my biological father Bill thanks to the wonders of Facebook. I never thought I’d be one of those people who had a Facebook reunion story to tell, but I’m so grateful it’s now a chapter in my life. While we’ve only seen each other a handful of times, he (and my extended family) have been there for me in good times and in bad. So when something bad happened to him, the last thing I expected was a handwritten card from him to arrive.

A couple of months ago, Bill was involved in an accident and lost the fingers on his right hand. As a woodworker and jack of all trades, he works with his hands. They are his livelihood and the best way he knows how to express his love to those around him. (Maybe I’ll share one of my favorite handmade items from him in a future post.)

This accident was devastating, but through it all he has managed to maintain a pretty positive outlook on life. He’s had frustrating days for sure, but he keeps on keeping on and refuses to let it slow him down. He got back out on his boat and caught a fish using his non-dominant hand. He got a new tablet to make texting and stuff easier. He’s got several surgeries in the near future, one of which is Thursday. Please send him good vibes!

But the thing that really touches me is that he took the time to pick out this Hallmark card – in fact, the card was almost late getting to me in time for the cruise because he said he had a hard time finding just the right one. “When you care enough to send the very best” is Hallmark’s slogan for a reason, so when Bill found this one he knew it was a keeper. Using his opposite hand, he diligently wrote, letter by letter, this message. (I can hear him most likely slinging a few cuss words while he was at it.)

Inside the card was some spending money for my trip to Alaska. Isn’t that sweet?

I’ve saved this card in my memory box as a constant reminder of strength and resilience. Perhaps I get my don’t-let-hyperhidrosis-get-you-down attitude from Bill. He and I are a lot alike. I hope one day all of us can go on a family cruise together. I’ll leave you with this quote, which I mentioned in my first-ever Facebook Live video last weekend. Please view it if you haven’t already.

I can be changed by my circumstances, but I refuse to be reduced by them.
~ Maya Angelou

 

Missed My Radio Segment?
Tune in Now

Travel Bags With Annita

It’s not too late to tune in to Travel Bags With Annita. Listen below to my segment about hyperhidrosis, how it got me to where I am, and meeting someone in the middle of the ocean who also has hyperhidrosis!

On-Air! Travel Bags With Annita

My Life as a Puddle and Travel bags with Annita

I’m a featured guest on this radio show! Please tune in.

Join me on the radio show Travel Bags with Annita. I’ll be interviewed by creator Annita Thomas about my Alaskan cruise with Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine and how my hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) may or may not get in the way of having an amazing time. Plus, you’ll get a sneak peek about the stories I’ll be telling soon on my blog. They include celebrity encounters! Can you even?!

You’ll also hear from fellow #OMagInsiders Makes Me Wander and Single Mom Chic.

Just click the blue “Listen Live” button on Annita’s website (links above and in image) to tune in from 3-4 PM EST.  I’ll be on the second segment.

Thank you, Annita, for featuring me as a guest and letting me spread my message of hyperhidrosis hope and awareness. This was the most relaxed I’ve ever been when speaking about my condition. That’s what happens when you’ve got a good interviewer. 🙂

Nominated! WEGO Health Awards Best in Show: Blog

Hello everyone! I am thrilled to announce that I have been nominated for the WEGO Health Awards Best in Show: Blog.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate me. I deeply appreciate your support and kind words. This nomination will help me to further spread my message, which is to create hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time.

How You Can Help

The nomination process is now closed, so now it’s up to the judges to decide the winner. But you, my dear readers, can still help!

If you read my blog or follow me on facebook, Twitter or Instagram and have been inspired, reassured, felt less alone or less ashamed of your excessive sweating condition or have found treatment options based on what I’ve shared, I kindly ask a small favor:

Please visit my WEGO Health profile and endorse me.  All you have to do is click “add nomination” at the bottom right. This will help show the judges how I am trying to impact lives all over the world, offering hope and radical candor about this condition that can be mentally, socially and emotionally debilitating.

Hyperhidrosis affects five percent of the global population – that’s 367 million people! But it’s under-recognized and under-treated due in large part to lack of awareness and the shame and embarrassment those who have it may feel.

If you’ve felt less than, different or disgusted by your own body, it’s time to start advocating for more awareness, better hyperhidrosis treatments and more clinical trials. You can help do so by endorsing my nomination. Together, we can spread the word about hyperhidrosis.

Thank you.

Hyperhidrosis Is a
Safety Problem

I have a panic attack every other Friday morning at approximately 7:00 a.m. It’s short lived, about 60 seconds. Here’s why:

hyperhidrosis and syringe safety

When you’re afraid to inject yourself with life-saving medication for fear the syringe will slip,
that’s a major hyperhidrosis safety problem.

You might be asking yourself what this is that I’m holding. It’s a pen syringe containing a life-saving medication used to treat ulcerative colitis (UC), among other medical conditions. I was diagnosed with UC, an autoimmune condition, four years ago. After a terrible flare in spring of last year, I ended up in the hospital unable to stop the amount of blood and mucus I was expelling. I became anemic, dehydrated, nutritionally deficient  and generally hated my life for a period of months because of this disease.

Before I was hospitalized, I had been on oral medication that worked well for a time. I had my first flare of symptoms return a couple of years ago, which were treated with steroids. I won’t bore you with my treatment protocols, but long story short I did what they call “step therapy.” Just like a pyramid, by the time I was hospitalized I had reached the top of the options list and had to go on this biologic medication. It’s some serious s&h#.

Hyperhidrosis and Needle Safety

I have to self-inject twice per month. The first time I received the medication it was a large dose – four injections – and then it tapered down to one injection every other week. Those first four I had to have a nurse do for me. Now I can do it myself, but each time I have to psych myself up while simultaneously try not to psych myself out.

Just thinking about injecting gets my sweating going. I have to wash my hands several times under ice cold water to help cool them down. Then, I rub the alcohol swab over my stomach two inches away from my belly button, making sure to rotate the injection site each time I dose. Once the alcohol is dry, I take a clean kitchen towel and use it to pinch my skin in my left hand. Ever try holding your stomach skin with wet hands? It’s near impossible.

With my right hand, I’ve already removed the lids on each end of the pen. I grasp it firmly, place the needle end on my stomach and push the top of the pen. As it makes a deafening click, I hold my breath for the next 10 seconds until I hear the sound of the syringe being emptied.

Once the injection is complete, I lean back in my chair and take a deep breath, thankful that I’ve managed to inject without the syringe slipping from my sweat-ladled hand. If it were to slip, I’d lose a precious dose of medication that keeps my body functioning.

There is no backup plan. I’d have to call my pharmacy and wait for another replacement dose to be drop shipped, delaying my dose as I watch the half-life of the previous dose I injected slowly wane.

Why This Matters

We need better (and more) treatment options for hyperhidrosis. This isn’t just Oh, I have an annoying sweating problem and wish it would stop. There are serious medical problems and risks associated with having hyperhidrosis, as I’ve just explained above.

So what do we do? We MUST share our stories and raise awareness about a condition that can be socially, emotionally, professionally and medically debilitating. Some days I consider it a downright disability.

My goal is to share my story with the FDA and lobby Congress for more clinical trials and research funding.

Hyperhidrosis affects 367 million people. That’s 5% of the global population. Think you’re alone? Think again. The FDA needs to become more aware of the excessive sweating epidemic.

So, if you happen to think of me on Friday mornings around 7:00 a.m. Mountain Time, please send me some good vibes for a dry injection. My next dose is July 14, which also means I will be traveling with my syringe and dealing with airport security and extra screening. Yeehaw.

What about you? Are any of my sweaty friends out there also dealing with another medical condition concurrently where it becomes a safety problem having HH? Insulin-dependent diabetics, anaphylaxis, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, etc.? Please share your story in the comments below. I will take them with me to the FDA.

I’m On an Oprah Website!

I’m thrilled to announce the O Mag Insider website is now live. You can find me listed under the Writers, Media Mavens and The Complete List sections. Please head over to this beautiful site where you can learn more about me as well as meet my fellow Insider friends. Thank you to the team at O, The Oprah Magazine for all the work they did to create the site. I am honored to be part of this group!

Also make sure to check out the sweepstakes & contests page – some really cool stuff is up for grabs!

O Mag Insiders - The Inner Circle of O

Eeeee! I’m featured on an Oprah website.

 

Hyperhidrosis Fears

hyperhidrosis fears my life as a puddle

(Image Credit: Francisco Galarza)

When it comes to your hyperhidrosis, what are your fears about being excessively sweaty? There are many things those of us who have this condition worry about. While I may not be “afraid” of some of these things per se, they do make me think twice about how I might be able to prepare in advance. Here are some of mine, in no particular order:

  • Walking barefoot on someone else’s wood or tile floors and leaving sweaty footprints behind
  • Shaking hands when meeting or greeting someone and then watching in shame as they wipe off their hand afterward
  • Networking events and having to shake multiple hands multiple times
  • Holding a baby and getting him or her wet
  • Crossing the street with a child and losing my grip on such a little hand
  • Being able to safely lift and move furniture
  • Carrying a stack of handouts around the office and then passing them out
  • Applying lotion or sunscreen and not being able to wash my hands immediately afterward
  • Going through airport security

I can think of a million others, but I want to hear from YOU. What are your hyperhidrosis fears? What does your sweating make you worry about? Leave me a comment below!

Missed Me on the Radio?

My Life as a Puddle on Unlimited Realities with Lisa Zimmer

Missed the live radio show? You can still listen! (Image credit: Juja Han)

Grab a cup of coffee, put your earbuds in, and sit back and take 15 minutes for yourself today. If you missed my live radio debut last week on Unlimited Realities with Lisa Zimmer, you can listen to the archived version. My portion starts around the 18-minute mark.

I was a bit nervous doing the show, but I think that’s normal the first time we do something new, isn’t it? I strategically prepared myself and had a few paper towels next to me to absorb any drippage. Once I started talking, though, it got easier for two reasons.

First, I am passionate about hyperhidrosis education and awareness; I will do just about anything in the name of it. Because I live with excessive sweating, I know it like the back of my hand (see what I did there?) so it’s become easier to talk about it over the years.

Second, although I haven’t met Lisa the show host in person yet, her warmth and compassion shines through in her voice and her vibe. I immediately felt comfortable talking with her. She intuitively knew what to say to make me feel right at home like we’re old friends, like when she said this:

I love pioneers. Pioneers are my gig, and you’re a pioneer. – Lisa Zimmer

After the show was over, I had a moment. I cried. Cried because this stupid condition that I have and am trying to coexist with actually got me to where I am today – an advocate, a pioneer, a writer who is using my voice to let the world know that we are more alike than unalike, but that it is our differences that make us unique and give us a light to shine on the world. My light just happens to shimmer and drip.

I cried because if it weren’t for Lisa J. Pieretti and the International Hyperhidrosis Society, I would still be suffering in silence and feeling like a freak.

My life changed in April 2011 when I attended the IHHS symposium in Denver as a patient volunteer. Lisa, her staff, and the dermatologist who treated me that day understood what I was going through. They didn’t shrink back in disgust when they touched my hands and feet. I walked out of there that day – hands swollen and sore from the Botox injections – feeling like I needed to do something. Why? Because of validation.

This is how the IHHS made me feel that day:

So please, be a good sweaty friend and hop on over to Blog Talk Radio to listen to my voice and learn more about hyperhidrosis. And remember, you’re not alone in your sweating angst.

(A special thank you to the team at O, The Oprah Magazine for recognizing my passion and selecting me as one of just 50 #OMagInsiders nationwide. Through this year of adventure, I’m meeting and connecting with some wonderful people, one of whom is Lisa Zimmer. I am forever humble and grateful for this opportunity.)

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