My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: air flow (page 1 of 4)

Underarm Treatment Study: What to Know Before You Go

Hello sweaty friends! Check out the facelift I gave my blog. It’s much more modern looking now, don’t you think?

Last week I told you about the new underarm treatment study that’s currently enrolling participants who have axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating in the underarms). I’ve been to the dermatologist in my area twice now for the initial screening, and there are several things I took note of that will help you as you begin your own clinical trial process.

This was the first time in my life I was actually hoping I’d sweat really bad!

1. Stop Wearing Antiperspirant Several Days Before Your First Appointment

You will undergo a sweat test, and this first appointment when they do it is crucial. If you don’t meet the sweat measurement protocol at visit 1, you won’t qualify for visits 2 – 4, which are also pre-screening visits. The day of visit 1, you’ll arrive between 7 and 11 am with clean-shaven underarms (at least for the ladies; men, I’m not sure) and wearing no deodorant or antiperspirant. They’ll place cotton pads under each arm and measure the amount of sweat over a 5-minute period. Once they remove the pads, they are placed in a vial, capped, and then the weight of the vial is measured. I believe the protocol is 150mg total (how they can measure sweat in milligrams is beyond me – I think it should be grams or milliliters, but I’m no scientist) between the two underarms. Note: it’s okay to wear plain deodorant for the several days approaching visit 1. The day of the visit you will wear nothing.

2. Wear Proper Clothing

I arrived in a short-sleeved dress, leggings, and a cardigan. Since my armpits were covered by my dress, I had to wear a paper vest from the waist up. Now, normally doctor’s offices and paper gowns get me really worked up and sweaty, but this time it wasn’t happening. Crazy, right?

Before I changed clothes into the paper gown, I had already been in the exam room for about 30 minutes answering questionnaires and giving some medical history to the staff. There was plenty of time for me to adapt to the temperature of the room and calm down a little bit. Plus, the staff were really nice and made me feel very comfortable, reducing my fight-or-flight  response that those with hyperhidrosis normally experience. Because of this, I was not sweating under my arms like I thought I would. I was actually cold sitting there in the flimsy gown.

We attempted the sweat test a second time after I slipped my cardigan on over the gown and sat there for a few minutes. I tried to think of things that would make me get riled up and sweaty, so I pulled out my phone and started texting Lisa at the International Hyperhidrosis Society. She’s the one who told me about the study, so I started angrily typing to her that the sweat protocol was outlandish and would reduce the number of participants these dermatologists would get. My hands were nice and drippy after that, and apparently it got my pits wet enough, too. The round 2 sweat test was successful, and I qualified for visits 2 – 4.

underarm study paper gown

My paper gown was soaked after the underarm sweat test.

So, ladies, wear a tank top and a long-sleeved button up shirt or a cardigan, that way you don’t have to do the paper gown and can keep some of the heat trapped inside to produce an adequate amount of sweat. Guys, I’d also recommend a tank top undershirt if you have one, layered with a button down shirt so you can keep both on as well. They just need to be able to access your underarms to place the pads.

3. Hydrate Before Visit 1

If you pass the sweat test, you will then have blood drawn; ladies will have a pregnancy test via urine performed if they are of child-bearing age. I didn’t know this, so my veins weren’t exactly plump and ready for the nurse. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids the day before and the morning of visit 1 so that your veins are primed for the taking and you have to pee.

blood draw

Be prepared for a blood draw if you pass the sweat test at visit 1.

4. Seat Yourself Strategically

Visit 1 is probably the longest visit you’ll have. The staff will go over your medical history, you’ll meet the dermatologist, perform the sweat test, have blood drawn, etc. I was there for nearly 2 hours, and most of the time I was sitting on the exam table on that horrific crinkly and noisy paper. So imagine what it’s like sitting there that long on hard vinyl with a thin layer of paper over it. Absolutely no air flow. Combine that with the leggings I was wearing (which don’t normally make me sweat), and you have the perfect recipe for a puddle.

And I can’t believe I’m about to post this picture on the Internet, but here you go. This one’s for my sweaty homies.

sweaty exam table at doctor's office

The exam table after I sat there sweating for almost 2 hours. Waahhh!

 

So decide where you’re most comfortable sitting, but also think about what will make you sweat the most, because for once you do want to be a wreck in order to qualify for the clinical trial. There was a chair in the exam room, so after I was dressed I moved to the chair to finish the appointment.

Up next, visit 2. Stay tuned for more sweaty adventures. And, if you haven’t called 866-72-SWEAT to enroll in the study, what in the sweaty hell are you waiting for?! Join me, and together we can find an effective treatment for hyperhidrosis.

The Thompson Tee – Thanksgiving Promo

If you are looking for a shirt to wear that’s sweat-friendly, doesn’t show pit stains, and actually keeps you cooler as you sweat, then you need to check out the Thompson Tee. Right now, from November 21-28, you can get one for 20 percent off using the code president Billy Thompson created just for you, My Life as a Puddle readers. That code is Puddle2014.

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I’ve got several of these shirts myself, both the men’s and the women’s versions, so I’ve personally tested these out and done things like shovel snow in a fleece sweatshirt and winter coat. You know, stuff that really makes you sweat under all those layers. These shirts work!

A few of my favorite things about the Thompson Tee:

  • they are made in the good old USA
  • 30 days risk-free – wear it, wash it, try it
  • earth-friendly manufacturing process that doesn’t produce VOCs
  • they are comfortable underneath dress clothes – button-down shirts, blazers, and suit coats.

And, I correspond regularly with the president of the company to give him feedback on these products. What’s better than firsthand experience from someone with sweaty underarms?

So grab ’em while the price is hot and before YOU get hot.

Go to www.thompsontee.com and enter code Puddle2014 for 20 percent off. Let me know what you think.

A new bamboo/Spandex version is also available now, too, so I’m looking forward to trying one of these next.

Want more info? Read my other posts about the Thompson Tee.

Hyperhidrosis and Oprah

Last month, I flew to Houston to attend Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend. It was amazing. While I didn’t get to be up close and personal with Oprah herself, I still saw her from the big screen as she spoke to the audience about creating a bigger and better life for yourself. Oprah gave the keynote address on Friday evening, and then on Saturday she was joined onstage by Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Rob Bell.

Before the big event that first night, I went to O Town, a pop-up town square with interactive booths. I’m glad I went as soon as it opened, because the entire thing was outside. In Houston. With humidity. Not cool for someone who has a sweating condition.

 

Entering O Town at Oprah's The Life You Want Weekend

Entering O Town at Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend

 

One of the stops in O Town was the Toyota booth. Here, you could decorate a journal using scrapbook paper and tons of accessories. The line was pretty long by the time I joined, so I had to stand in the sun for a long time before the line moved inside the tent. Once I got out of the sun, I realized there wasn’t any air flow inside the tent. Uh oh.

The journal decorating area consisted of leather couches and stools and was in the back corner of the tent, even farther away from any of the air that had managed to creep inside the periphery. I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to decorate my journal. Sitting down on the leather furniture when I was already sticky from the heat combined with sharing scissors, glue, and everything else with a bunch of other people was no bueno for my puddle life. So, I stood in line long enough to grab my journal and a few pieces of decorative paper, and then I hightailed it out of that stagnant, muggy tent, deciding I’d finish my journal when I got home and could control my environment.

The journal I was supposed to decorate but couldn't because of my sweaty hands.

The journal I was supposed to decorate but couldn’t because of my sweaty hands.

 

After the failed journal line, I made my way over to the Oil of Olay booth, where I got a mini makeover by a makeup artist. Oprah’s camera crew was there and filmed me while I was in the makeup chair. 🙂

Getting a makeover while Oprah's film crew put the camera on me.

Getting a makeover while Oprah’s film crew put the camera on me.

 

Once I made the rounds at each booth, I could tell I was getting dehydrated from the sun and all the sweating I was trying so desperately NOT to do. At least I had the foresight to snag a washcloth from the hotel room on my way out the door. I stuffed it in my purse and used it discreetly every now and then to wipe off my hands. I also grabbed a flyer from the IKEA booth, which I used to fan myself and block the sun when I was in line. It was time to say peace out to Oprah and escape to an air-conditioned restaurant for some lunch.

That night in the arena, I was fine sweat-wise and could take notes without any problems. I, of course, brought my sweat-friendly notebook and favorite pen to minimize any sweat marks and paper curling (read more about paper and pens for hyperhidrosis). I also got a fabulous handout from Oprah that I used as part of creating a new vision statement for my life. It’s important to check in with yourself on a regular basis and analyze whether your life is going in the direction you desire (like when this crazy thing happened to me). If it’s not, it’s time to re-frame your life and choose different thoughts. Your thoughts create your life.

As I went through the exercises with my favorite life teacher, Oprah, I could see where I was headed with my new vision statement (read more about stepping outside of your hyperhidrosis). While I won’t share it all here, I will tell you that it includes no longer talking to myself in the self-deprecating voice that is reserved for me; I can be my own worst enemy. How many of you have a sweaty inner monologue like I do? It goes something like this:

You’re disgusting. Look at the sweaty mess you are. You’d better apologize as soon as someone notices your sweat. You can’t do this, this, or this because of your stupid hyperhidrosis. Why did this happen to me? I’m not good enough. I wish I could be like everyone else and live in a dry world.

Sound familiar? Why do we do this to ourselves? Compare our sweaty lives to the lives of others? Act like we’re less than, freakish, an embarrassment? You, and I, are exactly enough just as we are. So sit with yourself awhile – sweaty hands, feet, armpits, groin, or wherever it is that you sweat – and love yourself through it.

Accept and allow who and how you are to come forth. Yes, we want a cure for our excessive sweating and yes, we’ll never give up hope and will keep trying treatments for hyperhidrosis. But in the meantime, stop the self-hatred. Hold your head high. You are enough, and you are loved despite the sweating that might make you think you’re less than. You’re safe here. So own it.

Here is part of my vision statement. I hope it might help you in some way.

I choose to live as my authentic self, no longer apologizing or comparing who I am to others or betraying the nudges of my own heart. ‪#‎TheLifeIWant‬

The workbook from Oprah in which I created a new vision statement for my life.

The workbook from Oprah in which I created a new vision statement for my life.

Start to walk through life palms out, hands up.

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Hyperhidrosis and Fingerprinting

Getting fingerprinted with sweaty hands can be a problem. And no, I’m not a criminal who had to be checked into the police department. But that would be a good story, I’m sure. Bad decisions make good stories. Back when I was still in college, I had to be fingerprinted in order to do my student observation in a local high school. I was pursuing a teaching certificate at the time, and part of the requirement was a full background check including fingerprints so I could get clearance to enter the school.

One of my readers emailed me and asked if I have any tips for getting fingerprinted when your hands are really wet. I do!

Explain Yourself

Call ahead of time and speak to the people who will be collecting your fingerprints. Tell them you have hyperhidrosis and may require some additional time for the prints. Once the people know what they’re dealing with, they may have ideas already that they can begin thinking about and even implementing to help you complete the process.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Ask if you can come in early so that your body can adapt to their room’s temperature. Additionally, you can ask if a private appointment is possible. When I had mine done, all of the other students in the teaching program were there at the same time. You know what that means – LINES. I hate standing in lines. They make me sweat. Your best bet is to have both – a private appointment so you’re by yourself where you can arrive early and just hang out for a bit to get used to the room temperature. Whenever I arrive somewhere, it takes about 10-15 minutes for my body to adapt.

Bring Some Sweaty Supplies

You may not need all of these items, but bring whatever works best for you to help you get dry enough to get good prints.

  • A fan for air flow
  • A towel to wipe your hands
    – Wash the towel and test it for fuzz factor, as you don’t want fuzz on your fingertips right before you get them inked.
  • Rubbing alcohol
    – Alcohol will help to dry your skin and evaporates quickly.
  • A bowl of ice
    – If you’re really having a hard time controlling your sweat, immersing your hands in ice may help to cool them down. If you can get your wrists in there, too, that will help cool your overall body temperature through the pulse points on your wrists.
  • Really thin plastic wrap
    – I’ve not tried this personally, but you might be able to stretch it over your fingertips and still get a fingerprint to come through.
  • Baby powder
    – I’m not sure how this will affect the fingerprint transfer, so ask the professionals first. But, it might be absorbed fast enough in your sweaty hands to give you a brief window of time to place a drier finger on the paper or scanning machine.
  • Wear jeans
    – An old job of mine required me to clock in using my fingertip on a glass plate that scanned my fingerprint. Sometimes rubbing my finger up and down on my jeans helped me get a better scan.
  • Paper towels to wipe off the ink afterward
  • Ask to go outside to be fingerprinted
    – Depending on the climate, I tend to feel more comfortable and more dry out in the open air.

Create an Environment to Thrive

Based on all of these tips, the biggest one for me is to be able to adapt to the environment. So make sure you are giving yourself plenty of time in the space wherever you’ll be fingerprinted. I do much better when I don’t have to walk into a room and go straight to the action. Slow down, try not to over-think it, and then when you feel comfortable approach the person who will be helping you. Bring a magazine or something to distract yourself with for a few minutes. You don’t want to get caught in the vicious inner monologue many of us experience when we are in a situation that we know has high potential for sweat factor. Good luck!

Have you been fingerprinted with sweaty hands? What was your experience like? Leave me a comment below!


Copyright © 2011-2014 My Life as a Puddle

 

 

Yoga Products for Sweating

I decided to try yoga classes again despite my fears of sweating in public in close proximity to others, especially in compromising and vulnerable positions. Yoga classes can be intimidating for those with hyperhidrosis. The fear of dripping sweat all over the mat, on clothing, and on the floor is hard to overcome. But if you make the choice to do one thing every day that scares you, then maybe you, too, can finally be one of those people who doesn’t let their excessive sweating rule every aspect of their lives.

Find a Yoga Class

lululemon offers free yoga classes every week at their stores. I didn’t know this until my sister dragged me into one of their locations. If this is your first time doing yoga, I recommend locating some free classes first before you join a yoga studio or pay for individual classes at a gym. It’s a good way to test out different styles of yoga to see which you like best. It’s also a good way to lean into the discomfort factor of being around other people when exercising and sweating. Remember, sweating when exercising is good and very normal, but for those of us with hyperhidrosis this is taken to a whole new level physically and emotionally.

Wear the Right Clothing

My sister owns quite a bit of lululemon clothing and begged me to try on some of their yoga pants. I had no intention of buying anything, but once I tried on a pair of their Wunder Under crops, I was in love. They are crazy comfortable, and what sold me on them was a combination of things: they came down past my knees, which is an area that sweats very inconspicuously on my body sometimes. The fabric was also thick enough that I didn’t worry about anything showing through if I bent over or stretched my legs. The texture of the fabric also is important for those of us with excessive sweating. The Wunder Unders are very soft and smooth; I could wipe my hands on them, and they didn’t show wet marks or leave salty white stains behind when they dried.

As far as yoga tops go, I don’t own any from lululemon. Yet. However, I do have some racerback tanks made out of polyester that work well for me. You can find some pretty decent items at sporting goods stores online or at department stores like Kohl’s. A couple of the tanks I like are the BCG Women’s Racerback Tank Top – which has moisture wicking fabric to help keep you cool – and the Marika Dry Wik Performance Striped Racerback Tank.

If you’re worried about your feet sweating during yoga, there are yoga socks for this, which I’ve written about in my post Hyperhidrosis & Yoga.

Create a Safe Zone

Since it was my first time doing a yoga class indoors, in a retail store location and not a gym or studio, I wasn’t sure what to expect temperature-wise or air flow-wise. I arrived early so that I wasn’t rushed, since we all know that feeling rushed and being in hurry-up mode is an instant trigger for a sweat fest.

At lululemon, they supply the yoga mats for you, so all I brought with me were my yoga socks, a hand towel for wiping off my hands and feet, and a full-size towel to spread on top of the mat supplied. I also brought a water bottle, since staying properly hydrated is important when exercising, especially if you have the uncanny ability to make your own raindrops and further expel more water from your body than the average person. Proper hydration replenishes and refuels the body while also helping to regulate body temperature, so drink up, sweaty peeps. Sometimes I’ll add a dash of sea salt to my water since I lose a ton of salt when sweating.

So, I had the things I needed in order to feel as comfortable as I could, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect from the class.

Once Safe, Venture Out

I’ve been to two free yoga classes so far. The first time I was able to secure a spot in the back row so no one had to look at me from behind. I was in the corner directly underneath a vent in the ceiling where the air conditioning blasted out every so often. Just as I was feeling pretty good, the yoga instructor explained we would be doing a silent walking meditation outside for the first 15 minutes. She said we could wear our shoes if we wanted, but that she’d be walking barefoot. I had my yoga socks on, which I didn’t want to take off and then try to struggle to put back on again once we came back inside. I could have worn them with my flip flops, but there’s a certain dork factor to deal with there, so I decided to take them off altogether and not be inhibited by my fears of sweaty feet on pavement for all to see.

I’m proud to say I made it through the walking meditation completely barefoot with only a few pieces of grass stuck to my feet afterward, which I wiped off as soon as I returned to my mat.

Had I not gone barefoot, I wouldn’t have gotten the full benefit of the walk. The pavement and sidewalks were hot, but it felt good to feel the texture of the ground as it warmed my already hot feet. The grass felt good, too, and cooled me off for the short time I was touching it.

The second class I attended was a bit different. I had a hard time finding parking, so by the time I arrived there were already quite a few people there with their mats set up. I ended up in the front row but still underneath an AC vent. I tried not to freak out about people seeing me from behind or having to look to the side to copy what everyone was doing. I didn’t bother with my yoga socks this time. I didn’t even bother to bring them, deciding instead to leave one of my safe-zone items at home. Sometimes the socks make my feet sweat worse, so I figured I’d just let them sweat anyway and dry them off with my towel if needed.

Despite the faster paced Vinyasa flow yoga we did in the second class, I ended up doing pretty well sweat-wise. There were a few poses where I was standing up and started to sweat for whatever reason, but for the most part my feet stayed relatively dry with only a few glistening drops of sweat versus a full-blown drip attack.

It’s All About the Mat

I was thrilled to discover a mat in the pile of class mats lululemon provides that was sweat friendly. It’s called the hot (towel) mat, and it’s normally used for hot yoga. This mat saved me in class for sure. I didn’t even have to use my towel over the top of it to absorb my sweat. It’s a very thin mat, though, so I recommend placing a thicker one underneath it if you are a beginner or just like some extra cushioning when you’re contorting your body. Some of these mats have extra grippy stuff on each end, others are just the microfiber all the way across. I had the grippy version the second time in class, which I liked even better than the first one I used. lululemon also makes a towel version, so if you already have a yoga mat you can just buy the towel instead. A yoga mat tailored to your specific needs makes all the difference in the world. So grab this mat for sweat, do yourself a favor, and go live in the moment. If I can do it, then so can you.

The hot (towel) mat from lululemon makes yoga possible with hyperhidrosis.

The hot (towel) mat from lululemon makes yoga possible with hyperhidrosis.

In case you missed these posts, catch up and read about my other hyperhidrosis and yoga experiences – Hyperhidrosis & Yoga and Hyperhidrosis & Yoga – Round 2.

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Copyright © 2011-2014 My Life as a Puddle

Hyperhidrosis and Dating

If your hyperhidrosis affects your hands, dating can be intimidating. How are you supposed to address the fact that your hands are sweating when you hold your date’s hand for the first time? Not to mention the fact that I know you’re probably worrying about this scenario long before it even happens, like when you’re getting ready for your date.

One of my readers in Australia (Australia! Isn’t that awesome?) asked me about dating with hyperhidrosis. So, let’s talk about this social scenario that many people with excessive sweating may not like all that much, or may even avoid altogether because of their sweaty relationship to their own body.

Sweating While Getting Ready

For women, this can be a real problem because we’re already trying not to sweat everywhere else while we’re getting ready. The routine for us probably starts with plenty of time to spare. I don’t like to be rushed when getting ready – being in a hurry makes me sweat. We blow dry our hair, and then we might use a flat iron or curling iron, all of which generate more heat than we’d like, especially on the back of our neck. So then the hair on the nape of our neck gets wet again, even though we just spent torturous minutes under the blow dryer to get it dry. Summer with hyperhidrosis is extra challenging with the hair and makeup routine. Ladies, you do get ready with a fan blowing on you and a hand towel draped over the counter for intermittent hand wiping, right? Can I get an amen?

I always stand on a towel when I get ready. Bare floors don’t work too well for me, so I need something to soak up the sweat from my feet. And then there’s always the fun part of picking off all the hair that’s now stuck to your sweaty feet after you’re all done getting ready.

So, you’re nervous about your date (most people are regardless of whether they have hyperhidrosis), you’re trying not sweat as you get ready for the date, and then you arrive for your date, where you’re nervous about the initial meet and greet because you know it will probably involve a handshake. But you’re not sweating because you’re nervous, you’re nervous because you’re sweating. There is a distinct difference between the two.

The Dreaded Sweaty Handshake

In the past when I’ve met someone, I would always apologize for my wet hands right away. But why do you have to be sorry for something that’s not your fault? I usually would just leave it at that, but sometimes you can take the conversation a step farther and actually explain up front why your hands are so wet. I’ve had people shake my hand and remark, “Wow. Your hand is really wet!” Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Instead, you can try, “Yeah, I have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. It’s excessive sweating that typically affects the hands and feet.” or some derivative of that. Other times, you can bring up the topic later in the date when you’re talking and getting to know each other. Your hyperhidrosis doesn’t have to be the main focus of your conversation, but if it bothers you that much, get it out in the open right away. When you let out your sweating angst, it can set you free.

Talk About Your Hyperhidrosis

You don’t have to tell your entire sweaty story on the first date, but a general mention of it is usually a good idea. If the person you’re on a date with doesn’t receive it well, then that’s the not the person you want to have another date with. It takes a lot of courage to share your hyperhidrosis with someone else. So show up. Show up for yourself first and foremost, which will give your date permission to do the same. No one is perfect, and by sharing a part of yourself that can be difficult to hide you create a scenario for authenticity. You’re saying to the world, I’m real. I have things I don’t like about myself. Yet I’m still here, doing what I can with what I have right where I am.

If you’re like me, your hands don’t sweat ALL the time, just a lot of the time. Tell your date that you’d like to hold hands, but that there may be some times when you need to pull away if they start to sweat. Once your hands calm down again, then you can grasp the other person’s again. Some people may not even care when your hands start to get wet. For me, it makes it worse so I like to let go for a few minutes and get dry again.

Ideas for Less Sweaty Dates

Do not avoid dating because of your hyperhidrosis. Actively seek treatment for hyperhidrosis, and in the meantime, ask for what you need when you date someone. If you prefer indoor activities where you know there will be air conditioning, for example, then do some indoor dates for awhile until you’re comfortable enough with the other person to begin to venture outdoors. Go on early morning or evening dates when it’s cooler out. Go up to the mountains, down to the beach at dusk, up to the lake to watch the sun rise or set, or look for windy days when you know the air flow will be good.

What a Good Date Will Do

Dating is possible with hyperhidrosis. There are people out there who won’t care about your sweating, so it doesn’t have to be an issue for either one of you. Or, they will care about you, and by default care about your condition enough, that they will think of ways to help you cope with it. They will blast the AC and cool the car down before they let you get in. They will run the AC in their house when you are there, or turn on the ceiling fan, or let you sit next to the open window in the room since the breeze is blowing. They will carry your dinner plate through the buffet line at a wedding reception and pile the food on for you because lines, and handling utensils before and after other people, are a trigger for you. They will do a “hand check” and lightly caress your palms; when you ask them why they’re doing so, they will say “Because if you’re sweating, it lets me know that I could be doing something differently to help you.”

How do I know all of this is possible? Because I’ve lived every single one of these scenarios. But here’s the secret to all of this: You, and you alone, must first believe you are enough exactly as you are, hyperhidrosis and all. If you don’t believe it, then how will your date?


Copyright © 2011-2014 My Life as a Puddle

 

One Year Later

A lot can happen in a year. It’s been one year ago today since my dear sister-mother-friend Sandy left what spiritual writer Gary Zukav calls The Earth School. She left us too soon. Perhaps, though, her soul completed its earthly mission and it was time for bigger and better things. I know that she is breathing the cleanest, purest air now, tilting her head back and emitting that laugh I loved so much.

Sandy Bristoll

Sandy gave me the gift of laughter.

In September, I traveled to Martha’s Vineyard where I delivered Sandy’s eulogy for the final time at the Edgartown Lighthouse.

Edgartown Lighthouse, Martha's Vineyard, MA

Edgartown Lighthouse, Martha’s Vineyard, MA

It was more real this time. This was my final goodbye. It was a whirlwind trip. I was on the island for just under 48 hours. I did my best to soak it all in – breathe in the island air, feel the cool breeze tickle my neck, walk on the same sand she did, peruse the stores in which Sandy herself had set foot.

I bought a ton of souvenirs, evidence that I had been to Martha’s Vineyard. Would it make it more real? I didn’t know. Grasping at “stuff” was a small comfort at the time. I remember after the service was over Danny and I were in a quaint island shop. I could barely take the phone from his hands into mine to talk to one of our family friends across the miles. We all know what happens when you hold someone else’s phone up to your ear – it usually makes our hands sweat. I didn’t talk too long; holding it together in a public place after everything was over was hard. So as I talked on the phone I ended up caressing every single fabric placemat and kitchen towel I could find in that store.

The service that day at the foot of the lighthouse was perfect. I stood barefoot in the sand, a cool breeze blowing in off the water. It lifted my hair up and away from my face, a relief that I didn’t have to tuck the strands behind my ears to avoid my watery eyes. At one point during the eulogy, the waves lapping against the shore got very loud. I’m sure that it was Sandy letting us know she was there.

The altar we made for Sandy on the beach.

The altar we made for Sandy on the beach.

Danny and I scattered her ashes into the water near the island she called home.

Danny and I minutes before the island service for Sandy.

Danny and I minutes before the island service for Sandy.

This time when I delivered the eulogy, I was a lot more nervous, but I’m not sure why. A handful of her friends were there, as opposed to a church full of people. It was more intimate. I met people who knew her before I was even born, people who told me stories of what she was like as a young woman. One of them even said I reminded her of Sandy. I hold this compliment close to my heart.

We played the same three songs again: Lover of the Light by Mumford & Sons, Gone Gone Gone by Phillip Phillips, and Shower the People by James Taylor. As James Taylor played, Danny and I entered the water with Sandy’s ashes. He tipped the bag over, and together we released her into the water she craved and always wanted to go back to. Now, she was finally home, at peace as she was lulled out to sea by the waves that returned to their gentle rhythm. The waves knew. They knew to embrace the ashes and not put them back on shore.

Laying Sandy to rest

Laying Sandy to rest

One of Sandy’s friends was kind enough to bring flowers, white daisies and red roses. I never even thought to bring flowers with me; I’m so glad she did. Danny and I led the way, throwing several of them on top of the water. Everyone there soon followed, a sea of red and white floating peacefully, the roses strong yet soft, the daisies pure and light.

Flowers Flower-Processional

Danny and I stood there knee deep in the water, not caring how wet our clothes got. It was then that I finally allowed myself to release all the tears I had been holding. A few had escaped when I was in the sand, reading aloud all the lessons Sandy had taught me, but in the water my tears could mix with the sea. I was a drop of the ocean and so was Sandy.

The final goodbye, absolutely the hardest day of my life.

The final goodbye, absolutely the hardest day of my life.

I don’t really know what I’m even trying to say with this post today. I just know that I needed to write.

Watching the last sunset I'll see for a while on Martha's Vineyard.

Watching the last sunset I’ll see for a while on Martha’s Vineyard.

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Copyright © 2011-2014 My Life as a Puddle

 

Hyperhidrosis and Public Speaking

Sorry to leave you hanging with my last post, Around Here Lately, where I mentioned I did some public speaking.  Remember when my dear friend Sandy passed away in April? If you missed that post, please catch up. It’s called I’ll Love You Long After You’re Gone.  My first real stint at public speaking happened as a result of her passing.  I was asked to deliver the eulogy at her celebration of life service, an honor I still to this day cannot believe was mine.

 

I was extremely nervous about giving Sandy’s eulogy.  I wanted to write something that would honor her and share with others all of the lessons she taught me.  I wanted to be able to speak well, to get through it without sounding unintelligible amidst my tears.  In addition, I wanted to deliver the eulogy from a dry place.   I am happy to report I was able to do all of these things.  How did I do it?  I started by asking for what I needed, a skill that is crucial for people with hyperhidrosis to master.

 

Ask for What You Need

Public speaking is a surefire trigger for inducing sweat.  Remember, people with hyperhidrosis have overactive sweat glands that respond to stimuli much more easily than the average person’s do.  In order to combat the sweat fest I knew would ensue once I was standing at the podium on the alter in the church, I had to make my needs known.  The pastor  called to talk to me about Sandy so he could get to know what she had been like as a person.  When we spoke, I explained that I  had hyperhidrosis and what it was.  He knew I was fully committed to delivering the eulogy and wanted to help in any way he could.  I asked if the church had a small fan that we could plug in near the podium, which they did.

 

The morning I arrived at the church, I made sure to get there early. Being rushed or running late also makes me sweat, so I was trying to control the situation as much as I could to prevent the flood gates from opening.  I wanted to look nice for Sandy’s service so I dressed up, another trigger since dress clothes aren’t always “safe clothes” like my jeans are.  I chose a blue and white dress that matched the ocean/nautical theme of her tribute. It was made from polyester, a fabric that is really good at concealing sweat. I wore silver ballet flats that have Summer Soles shoe inserts in them for an added sweat absorption factor, plus some cotton no-show socks, so it looked like I had normal feet and a shoe selection like everyone else.

 

Trust in Yourself

When I walked into the sanctuary, I surveyed the room to get an idea of where I would be in relation to all of the people who would be gathered to honor Sandy and be staring up at me.  The podium was to the right, and when I walked up the steps to stand behind it, there was the fan the pastor had promised me would be there.  The fan was on the floor directly underneath the small ledge that would hold my paper copy of Sandy’s eulogy.  I was expecting the fan to be over to the side with just a tad bit of airflow I could feel, but it was directly in front of my feet and pointed up.  I tested out the fan speeds and settled on low.  I didn’t want to look like a supermodel at a photo shoot with my hair and dress blowing out behind me!  After placing my hard copy of the eulogy on the podium, I took out a handkerchief from my purse and placed it to my right for extra protection.  I had control over my immediate area, and I trusted that I could pull this off.

 

My view from the podium.

My view from the podium.

Have a Plan B

When placing yourself in a sweat-inducing situation, always have a back-up plan.  Mine was having the pastor sitting right behind me as I gave the eulogy.  He told me if I got up there and suddenly panicked or was crying too much that he would take over for me.  I just had to point to where I was on the hard copy and he’d take it from there.  While I knew I wouldn’t allow myself to get to plan B, it was nice to know I had an option if I needed one.  Always hope for the best, but never underestimate the importance of having additional measures put in place ahead of time.

 

Take Risks

The first 20 minutes or so of the service I don’t really recall very well, since all I could think about was what I was about to do.  Approximately 100 people attended Sandy’s service, but I didn’t know that until I got up to speak.  I was sitting in the second row of pews, with everyone arriving and sitting behind me.  Delivering Sandy’s eulogy was almost an out-of-body experience for me in some ways.  I took a risk by putting myself out there and standing up in all my sweating glory.  It was worth it, though.  Take risks for the people you love.  Trust in yourself.  When the going gets tough, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve in the name of someone else.  I was able to speak slowly, clearly, and could be understood right up until the very end when I cried while saying the last line.

Public speaking is possible with hyperhidrosis.

Public speaking is possible with hyperhidrosis.

 

Don’t Let Your Circumstances Cloud Positive Memories

Giving Sandy’s eulogy was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life.  I wrote it over a span of a few days, but her service wasn’t until 6 weeks after she passed away.  Then, right before her service, my personal life took a turn I was not expecting.  So, the grief and sadness over losing Sandy, combined with the shock and intensity of other things, could have clouded my view the day of Sandy’s service.  We always have a choice in how we respond to our life circumstances.  Never let your current situation cloud good memories, especially if you have gathered to celebrate the life of someone you love.  Be present in the moment, because it’s all you really ever have.  I am humbled and honored to have given the eulogy for Sandy.  I am proud to say that I didn’t let my excessive sweating or personal circumstances get in the way of remembering her light.

 

A tribute to my friend and surrogate mother Sandy.

A tribute to my friend and surrogate mother Sandy.

Stay tuned for Sandy’s eulogy.  I’ll share it next time, otherwise this post will be too long, and I know you probably hate scrolling because your sweaty hand has to stay on the mouse longer.


 

Copyright © 2013 My Life as a Puddle

 

 

A Vacuum for Sweaty Hands

You might be getting old if the idea of purchasing a new vacuum excites you. You might have hyperhidrosis if a new vacuum excites you because it improves your quality of life. Sweaty friends, meet my new vacuum.

 

 

I like this vacuum for a variety of reasons, but the one that stands out for me as someone who has sweaty hands is the handle. See that fabulous loop design that’s not just a solid piece that you have to wrap your hand around? This section of the vacuum is brilliant! I’ve had to wrap washcloths around my vacuum handle before and secure them with rubber bands. This doesn’t always work because the washcloth still ends up sliding right off.

 

I’ve also cut my hands before trying to remove the hose to use with the tools for the stairs. My hands slipped off the hose, and it took a couple weeks for the scraped-off skin on my fingers to heal. Which, of course, also stung when they healed since the salt in my sweat irritated the wounds.

 

This vacuum is sweat friendly because:
– the handle, the handle, the handle!
– it’s lightweight and easy to push and pull
– less effort is expended to move the vacuum, resulting in less hand and overall sweating
– the canister empties from the bottom, resulting in less dirt sticking to your hands since you barely have to touch the canister to open it
– you can shift the force of the air to “tools only”, which makes vacuuming the stairs with the hose faster so your hands are on the hose a shorter amount of time

 

Plus, it’s a sporty yellow, since vacuuming with hyperhidrosis is a sport in and of itself.

 

The Eureka AirSpeed Gold AS1001A – hyperhidrosis tested, My Life as a Puddle approved. This vacuum really sucks.


Copyright 2013 My Life as a Puddle

Hyperhidrosis and Fall

Yay! Fall! It’s by far my favorite season. The leaves are changing and the temperature is dropping, making way for new and better things in a new season of life. It’s time to shed the old things from my life this year that I’ve experienced with my hyperhidrosis because I can look forward to several months of cooler air and easier life since my sweating won’t be as bad overall.

 

Fall Trees

Fall=less sweating for me

 

There do seem to be pockets of sweat time, though. Take for example my time up in the mountains this weekend. I love Fall for many reasons. One of them is that it signals cyclocross season. My husband is a professional cyclist in addition to his day job, and his busiest time for bike races is Fall. I like cyclocross because it means I can stand outside in cooler air and enjoy the breeze and the smell of leaves. If you know me, you know I love trees. Don’t put it past me to literally stop alongside one and sniff its leaves. Fall scents rock.

 

Before we drove up to the mountains for my husband’s race, we stopped at Subway to grab some lunch. I can’t go into Subway without having a massive sweating episode. It’s horrible. I think it has something to do with the humidity level generated by the ovens used to bake the bread. I avoid going inside if my husband is with me. He has my sandwich order memorized anyway, so I just let him go inside and get it for me. If it’s me going, the sweating starts as soon as I pull into the parking lot and just gets worse from there. Once I get in line, my glands start working overtime to produce the precise amount of sweat needed to make me feel completely uncomfortable and like an outcast in my own body.

 

Depending on what type of clothing I’m wearing, my posture in line might change. Long sleeves command the arms folded position, that way both palms have some fabric to rest on. Either that or I do the nonchalant one-armed wrist hold like I’m checking my watch and holding it in place.  If I have short sleeves on, my hands will go to my pants pockets, but not fully in my pockets, since that makes them sweat more. I’ll just tease my pockets with the tips of my fingers so that my palms can rest against that gloriously absorbent fabric known as cotton. (Because yes, I can guarantee if I’m in Subway I will have jeans or jean shorts on. I would NEVER go there in dress clothes during the work day to eat lunch. Are you kidding? I’d have to go home and change if I did that because I’d soak the front of my pants with my hands.) Or, I’ll hook my thumbs in my pockets and go for the relaxed look, which cleverly disguises the freak-out session I’m having in my brain because I’m 1) standing in line, 2) sweating profusely because I’m standing in line and it’s humid, and 3) they’d better hurry me through this line because I’m sweating all for a measly sandwich and am going to smell like bread for the rest of the day regardless of how long I’ve actually been in the store. Oh, the joys of standing in line as a sweaty person.

 

My husband successfully gets our sandwiches and comes back to the car dry as bone. Jerk. We begin our drive to the mountains, and it’s about 35 degrees and raining, which is cool, but that also means we have the heater on. I have a love/hate relationship with car heaters, especially if I’m in someone else’s car. It is so awkward to sit in someone else’s car and try to bear the agony if it’s too hot for me. It’s sometimes all I can think about if I’m in the passenger seat. It’s very hard to strike a perfect temperature balance when you have hyperhidrosis, and even harder to do so when your husband has less body fat then you do and gets cold more easily. He also has a smaller waist and better legs, but I digress.

Endurance News Fall 2012 cover

My husband rocking the cover of Hammer Nutrition’s Endurance News magazine!

 

While I managed to avoid the sweating at Subway, I started to get hot and damp in the car. If you have a sweating problem, you probably know the importance of dressing in layers. I took off my puffy down vest and just had on my long-sleeved shirt, but it was over a tank top because my back sweats more now than it did before I had Botox. I got out of the car to grab some Starbucks and was slightly cold because it was windy, but also because I had just gotten over my dampness in the car. I sweat because I just do, but I also get hot more easily than the average person, and then I get cold because my sweat evaporates. My body is totally bi-polar. I’d rather be cold than hot, though. As we drove the rest of the way to the race, the sun shone down into the car as we meandered down a tree-lined street. It was blissful. The heater was off and the sun was curling around me like a warm hug, which I usually avoid because of my sweaty back. I relished those few minutes of perfection.

 

I hung out in the car until the race began. It was windy and cold, and I didn’t want to put my gloves on because then my hands would sweat despite the fact that it was cold out. So while it was warmer in the car, I kept getting too warm and felt myself slipping into a pocket of sweat time. Since I wrote this blog post longhand in my notebook (no, I do not have a tablet or iPad, but it’s on my Christmas wish list), I had to keep opening and closing the car door because my hands were getting damp and sticking to the paper. Open. Close. Sweat on. Sweat off. Perfect. Hot. The proper air flow and temperature kept evading me. I must have opened the door for fresh air at least 20 times while sitting there. The things I do for my sweaty readers, I tell you. But hey, it’s Fall! 🙂


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

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