My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Category: Hyperhidrosis (page 2 of 14)

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.)

Hyperhidrosis + Unlimited
Realities with Lisa Zimmer

Unlimited Realities with Lisa Zimmer

(Update: Listen to the archived version here.)

Hi friends! I’m getting ready to make my debut on the radio this week – Thursday, May 25 at 11:30 ET! That’s right, I will be live on-air discussing hyperhidrosis on the amazing show Unlimited Realities with Lisa Zimmer.  The show is a three-part approach: to inspire, to inform, and to empower. I will be joined by fellow #OMagInsiders Amy Boyle of Amy Boyle Photography (inspire); life coach, author and speaker Joshua Perez (empower); and the host of the show Lisa Zimmer, an emotional/intuitive educator and motivational speaker.

I will be second in the lineup, so if you don’t hear me right away, please stay tuned. I love the title of the show, don’t you? If you would’ve told me a year ago that I’d be on the radio educating the world about a condition that affects 5% of the world population, I never would’ve believed you. So please share this blog post with anyone you think might like to listen. If you’re a reader of mine who has been afraid to talk about your excessive sweating publicly, here’s a way for you to do so through me. I’ll be your voice.

Details for listening are in the image above – click the Blog Talk Radio link on Lisa’s home page. Please join me in spreading my message of hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time. A special thank you to the team at O, The Oprah Magazine for selecting me as one of their 50 inaugural OMagInsiders. This opportunity has led me to Lisa Zimmer and the radio gig. #yearofadventure

P.S. Can’t listen live on May 25 at 11:30 ET? No sweat! The show will be archived and available for download.

Pinch Me! My First O, The Oprah Magazine Package

My #OMagInsiders welcome box from O, The Oprah Magazine has arrived! Let’s all take a moment and bow our heads.

#oprah #yearofadventure #ups #whatcanbrowndoforyou (sponsored)

My Life as a Puddle #OMagInsiders

Because Oprah has deemed this her Year of Adventure, I am doing the same. Part of adventure is taking risks, which I’ve been doing with my blog since its inception in 2011. I started My Life as a Puddle after my first experience with the International Hyperhidrosis Society. Validation was the catalyst for me to start being more open about my sweating condition. And isn’t that what we all want? To be seen and feel connected with others?

With that idea in mind, I put on my brave girl outfit (okay, I was dressed up for a work event that day and just left my dress on), put on a fresh coat of lip gloss, and embraced my dorkdom so that the team at O – and you, the lovely person reading this – could meet me virtually and hopefully be inspired by 1) my enthusiasm for a woman and her brand that I deeply love and 2) my willingness to put my excessive sweating front and center to create hope and awareness one drop at a time. Happy viewing, friends.

When we find the courage to share our experiences and the compassion to hear others tell their stories, we force shame out of hiding, and end the silence.

~ Brene Brown

 

See that towel over on the left? I totally forgot to use it to wipe off my sweaty hands mid-video. LOL

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