My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: Botox (page 1 of 2)

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 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

ETS Surgery for Hyperhidrosis

Some of you have asked why haven’t I had endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) surgery. ETS is a very serious medical procedure that most people with hyperhidrosis turn to as a last resort for relief. There are pros and cons to this procedure, and the side effects, especially compensatory sweating (CS), are real and do occur. I spoke in person to someone who had ETS performed when I went to a hyperhidrosis symposium. We spoke for about 20 minutes, and he was sweating through his black T-shirt the entire time. He came to the symposium seeking Botox treatment for relief from compensatory sweating. While his original sweating had been cured, he was still suffering from the side effects of ETS surgery.

 

Because compensatory sweating can be worse than the original sweating, many people are now turning to subdermal laser ablation (SDLA) for secondary relief. SDLA typically is not covered by insurance and can range in price, with the upper end being around $10,ooo. For a treatment that isn’t guaranteed to work. I’ve also spoken with someone who has ETS and is now trying SDLA; she, I believe, is going through multiple rounds of treatment in an attempt to stop the compensatory sweating in her trunk area.

 

Only you can decide whether ETS surgery is something you want to pursue. Like any medical procedure, there are risks and benefits. The hard part about ETS is that you won’t know whether the treatment will work until after you’ve had it. They say the CS can lessen over time, but for me, this is a side effect that would be worse than my original palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. I already experience CS on my back after having Botox. I am not willing to subject myself to a procedure that is not guaranteed to work, is a serious medical procedure, and would most likely make me sweat in a different area of my body that could be more socially and professionally debilitating and harder to hide. I don’t want to have to worry even more about the types of clothes I can wear, completely sweating through my clothes and drenching a seat, or the damaging emotional impact from sweating even worse than I already do. I deal with my inner monologue enough as it is. I don’t want to give it the surround sound IMAX experience.

 

Once the nerves are ablated from ETS surgery, there is no going back. ETS is a permanent procedure. There have been no effective ETS surgery reversals reported. If you are considering ETS, please do your homework. Pay attention to the sources from where you are gathering information. Most search engine results will tout the awesomeness of ETS surgery. Of course they will. They want your money. Find a physician who is connected with the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHHS) using their Physician Finder. These physicians are IHHS-approved and will have better knowledge about hyperhidrosis. They have an arsenal of information and other treatments for hyperhidrosis besides surgery.

 

I’m not saying there aren’t successful ETS procedures performed. Some people do have great results. Only you can decide whether ETS is right for you.

 

To understand more about where I’m coming from regarding ETS surgery and how my body has responded to the treatments I’ve tried to stop my excessive sweating, you can read my post Reflections on Botox.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

My Worst Sweating Experience. Ever.

Insane, or just desperate? Sometimes I have to ask myself this question when it comes to the things I’ve tried in an attempt to achieve a drier life. Remember my Botox adventure? Looking back on that experience today, I’m convinced I must have been out of my body doing something else in order to have endured it. I was needled today at acupuncture, and I’ve been doing that for the past 2 months or so (see my posts My First Acupuncture Treatment and Hyperhidrosis and Acupuncture for more information). It has been a great experience thus far, but today’s appointment was different. I had a complete physical, mental, and emotional breakdown.

 

Each time I go in, my acupuncturist asks me how I’ve been feeling and if I’ve noticed any change in my sweating. I feel like it’s getting worse, especially in my feet. I don’t know if this has anything to do with getting acupuncture or not. It’s typical to have your body respond to treatment, either with a reduction in whatever symptoms you’re having or with the movement of energy created by the placement of the needles. After I told her it was worse, she said she’d been doing some additional research on hyperhidrosis and had a new treatment idea, which we tried today.

 

Now, I’m game for anything and am willing to test my tolerance level when it comes to having an excessive sweating problem. I can, and will continue, to go outside of my comfort zone. That’s where life begins. In today’s acupuncture session, she placed 3 needles on both of my hands, in the tips of my fingers just past the nail line and on top of my fingers next to where my cuticles are. I’ve had needles there before and have been able to deal with them. When she inserted the one in my middle finger, it stung. One of the goals with needle placement is to push yourself as far as you can go without it being uncomfortable. The deeper the needle goes under the professional guidance of a licensed acupuncturist, the better.

 

After she placed the needles in my hands and I could breathe again, she inserted 2 in my forehead between my eyes and 3 or 4 in my right ear. I think the ones between my eyes were for stress reduction, because right after she inserted the ones in my hands, I gasped and told her it just made my sweating worse. (I’m always sweaty when I first get there but have always adapted to the room after about 15 minutes after she’s done touching me.) My fight or flight response kicked in when my hands were stimulated in such a drastic way, and she said that was okay that they did that. This new treatment was an intense treatment that she wanted to try, so it made sense that my body was responding in such a way.

 

I was able to keep the needle in my middle finger in just fine. It was the one in my thumb just to the right of my cuticle that started to throb and get a bit too tingly for my liking. It’s normal to experience some tingling and pulsating of energy moving through the points targeted by the needles. But this throbbing made me uncomfortable and gave me flashbacks of what happened a week after my Botox treatment. After my Botox, I experienced numbness and tingling in my fingers, especially in my pinky and middle fingers. Now, that is some freaky stuff! I remember sitting in my friend Kelby’s car on the way to Chick-fil-A one day and literally shaking out my fingers in a panic because I couldn’t feel them.

 

I lifted my hand up so that I could pull out the needle, and then it really hit me. OMG. I’m looking at my hand with needles in it! Bleck. I’ve looked at my body fully needled before to test my bravery and been fine. This time, it was not fine. I pulled the needle out and then laid myself back down. So then my thumb started bleeding, so I had to lift my hand up again. It was impossible for me to relax after this, so my inner monologue began to start about my stupid body and my stupid hyperhidrosis and nothing is ever going to work, and now I’m laying here completely out of my relaxation zone, etc. So then I took out the middle finger needle.

 

By this time, I was so frustrated that I couldn’t keep the first needle in and just work through it that I spontaneously combusted. The tears sprang forth. Like I need more water, right? They dripped down the sides of my eyes and trailed into my ear canals since I was laying on a massage table. So then I got hot. Want a surefire way to induce heat in someone with hyperhidrosis? Just get them to cry. I’m laying there mentally ragged, wet in my ears, hot all over, and then I notice that my feet have not stopped sweating like they normally do after 15 minutes into treatment. No, they are sweating overtime to a soundtrack by Tina Turner.

 

Just then, my acupuncturist came in and she saw that my eyes were open. I looked over at her through my blurred vision and told her I had to take some of the needles out myself. She said no worries and asked why and was I okay, and then I just cried harder. Well, as hard as I could in the community style setting. I didn’t want to alter the healing energy in the room for everyone else who was there. She said it was okay and then explained about the intensity of the treatment and that I was not the first person to cry in acupuncture either because of the treatment or because of whatever else in life might be going on that day. Women who are premenstrual are more sensitive to needle pain, as are people who are fighting off colds or the flu. Sometimes the planets just aren’t in alignment for an acupuncture treatment. Life tends to get in the way of healing, doesn’t it? Well, I’m tired of my hyperhidrosis getting in the way.

 

I told her I was frustrated that nothing I’ve tried for my hyperhidrosis has worked, and that sometimes it’s just so hard to live in this world, a world that is dry and where I’m busy trying to maintain balance in my sweaty shoes. She said she can’t even imagine what it’s like to live with hyperhidrosis, but that she will do everything she can to help me.  I completely believe in acupuncture treatment, even if it doesn’t cure my hyperhidrosis. I have experienced other health benefits from it already. They say that for every year you’ve had a condition, you’ll need one month of treatment – basically forever for me. It also takes longer depending on the depth of the needles and how far you can push yourself, too. This is all okay. I control my treatment and she will never push me if it’s too uncomfortable for my body.

 

She then told me to take my time getting up and not to worry about having to cut today’s treatment short. My acupuncturist is extremely understanding and sensitive to the needs of her patients. Not once do I feel like she’s grossed out when she touches my dripping hands and feet to place the needles. I never have to apologize to her, although that’s my standard preemptive response when it comes to acknowledging my sweat with others who might have to interact with me via touch.

 

Now comes the part where I wanted to die.

 

I took a few deep breaths and then sat up to get off the table. I forgot to mention that when you enter the acupuncture room, you grab a pillowcase from the shelf to use underneath your head. Well,  I now grab two and use the other one under my feet so I don’t get the sheet all sweaty. I have stopped bringing my trusty desk fan with me as a test to see whether I needed it as a security blanket and because the area I always go to doesn’t have a nearby electrical outlet. So far, it’s worked. As I turned to pick up the pillowcases, it’s blatantly obvious how badly I’ve dripped. I managed to soak through the pillowcase. Not only that, I’ve soaked through the sheet so that it’s now sticking to the massage table. I’ve also left sweat marks on the sheet where my knees were resting on a foam roll. Awesome. But why stop there? As soon as I started walking out, I noticed that the entire back of my skirt was wet. Thank God it was a patterned skirt so you couldn’t even tell had you looked. I have never sweat this badly before in my entire life!

 

I went to the lobby and paid, and told the receptionist she’d need to change the sheet on that table. Had I had my phone with me, I would’ve taken a picture of the pillowcase and sheet so you could admire my uncanny ability to soak something. Maybe next time. Next week the acupuncture clinic is closed on the day I usually go, which is fine. I need a break anyway to recuperate from this ghastly episode called my real life.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Hyperhidrosis and Acupuncture

Today I had acupuncture for the second time in my life. Remember my first acupuncture treatment? That seems so long ago, and I’ve come so far in my life since then.

 

I found a new acupuncture place that’s on my way to and from work if I take a certain route. I checked out their website and staff biographies, found that they are ridiculously affordable, and booked an appointment. Their website offered downloadable patient forms that I could print out and complete ahead of time, an absolute must for those of us who have a knack for sweating all over the paper. Plus, I love to hand write things, and I especially enjoy filling out paperwork when I have a good pen.

 

I completed the forms with my Sharpie pen and brought them to the appointment where I was promptly complimented on my handwriting. I went to the restroom even though I didn’t have to go so that I could wash my hands with cold water to help myself cool off. That helped for about 30 seconds. I sat in the waiting room and tried to control my sweating, but it was really hard. By the time the receptionist walked me back to the treatment room, my feet had soaked my flip flops. She explained how things would work and they had me put my purse in a locking cabinet. I asked if I could leave my flip flops on when she told me to put them in the cabinet, too, and she said yes, of course. I also had another bag with me that contained my trusty desk fan that I’ve mentioned before.

 

I was led back to the office of Lisa, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. I really like her. She took the time to review all of my paperwork and asked me detailed questions about why I was there and what areas of my health I wanted to focus on. My main goal is to see whether my hyperhidrosis will be helped with long-term and regular acupuncture sessions. Even if it doesn’t reduce my sweating, I know I will gain a deeper sense of overall well-being and health.

 

We talked for about 15 minutes, and I was sweating the entire time. My feet were soaked, and I kept lifting my toes above my flip flops to try and get some air underneath them. The closer we got to the end of the interview session, the more I could feel myself sweating since it was building up to the time when she would be touching my body to place the needles. Moments before we got up, the air conditioning came on. I could feel that sweet, blessed relief of cool air coming under the desk where I sat. It was short-lived, though, as I was now ready to begin my treatment session.

 

The place I’m going to is a community style acupuncture establishment. This means that the treatments are done in one community room where all patients are sitting near each other. They do have individual treatment rooms, but those are used only for when people have needles placed on areas like their back and would have to be undressed. I bet, though, that if I requested a private room because it might help me with my hyperhidrosis, they would kindly indulge my request. Each patient gets his or her own recliner to relax in. The recliners are draped with sheets, and when you enter the room you grab a pillowcase to place behind your head on the chair.

 

I was worried that my hands and feet would leave sweat marks on the pale pink sheets they use. I asked for a stool on which I could place my fan, and they put me in the chair nearest the electrical outlet so I could plug in my source of air flow. I was really sweaty by this point. Like, droplets glistening sweaty. I positioned the fan toward my feet first, since they were the most wet, and then I ended up asking her to move the fan onto my lap for me since I already had a needle in my hand at that point.  I reclined in the chair and did my best to relax.

 

I think I had 9 needles total in my body. One in my right ear, 2 on my right hand, 2 on my right foot, 2 on my left foot, one on my left elbow, and one in the center of my left palm. Yowza. The one in my palm kind of hurt when she put it in, but she told me to take a deep breath in and then let it out as she inserted that needle. And really, what was one sharp needle prick when I’ve already endured 155 Botox injections in my palms already? Bring it.

 

The goal is for the needles to be strong and deep in the skin to maximize the effects. Lisa met me where I was as far as the deepness went, and she said if it became painful or tingly in a way that I was not comfortable with to simply flag her down or pull it out myself. After all the needles were placed, she asked how I felt, and I told her I wasn’t too sure about the one in my palm. She knew it was intense for me, but I said I’d try to keep it in and see how it went. I was able to keep all of the needles in for the 45 minutes I was in the chair.

 

Acupuncture is hard to describe, and maybe it feels different for everyone. I noticed I was really tense at first and not allowing my body to relax and melt into the chair. So I started at the top of my body and worked down, focusing on relaxing each body part into the recliner and letting it absorb my weight. Then, I focused on listening to the music they had playing. After awhile, each area where a needle had been placed would kind of light up and radiate heat and waves of energy. I never knew which area would start to go off, so it was kind of cool to be surprised by my ear, and then the inside of my calf and then my palm and elbow. I felt relaxed and almost like I was asleep, and I wonder if I actually was entering the first stages of sleep because my legs twitched a couple of times.

 

I stopped worrying about the other people around me. I was in a good chair, too, one that was in the corner next to a wall, so I only had one other person on one side of me. I think I’ll try to get that chair every time I go. My sweating ended up stopping by the end of my session, and not once did Lisa appear grossed out when she touched my feet and hands to place the needles. I told her I felt ridiculous sitting there with my fan on my lap. She said it was totally fine to have it, and I knew it was, too. I got over feeling embarrassed. It is perfectly acceptable to bring along any tools, devices, accessories, etc. as coping mechanisms to help you manage your sweat. People with hyperhidrosis deserve to have experiences just like “normal” people get to have. If I have to bring along my fan to do it, then I will.

 

I left my acupuncture session feeling really relaxed and kind of floaty, like that feeling you get right before you doze off to sleep. I’ll be returning tomorrow for my next session. I could definitely become addicted to acupuncture. And I’m totally okay with that.

 

P.S. I did not leave any sweat marks behind on the sheet! Like I wouldn’t check. 😉


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Why I Write About Hyperhidrosis

(This post is part of the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge hosted by WEGO Health. I will be writing a post a day for all 30 days. You can learn more about it here: http://info.wegohealth.com/HAWMC2012.)

 

Truth
I write about my life with hyperhidrosis because it allows me to live my truth and no longer be ashamed about the way my body is made.  Most people don’t understand what it’s like to literally be uncomfortable in your own skin. It’s something that’s difficult to ignore when it manifests physically and can leave evidence behind that it was there. Hyperhidrosis is not all that I am, but it is part of who I am. It’s part of my story. We all have a story, but how many of us are turning it into fiction rather than non-fiction? Writing about hyperhidrosis allows me the freedom to express myself while also spreading awareness and hope about a medical condition that is under recognized and under treated. If more people talked about it and released the secret and the shame, we might be closer to a cure. There is power in numbers.

 

Acceptance
I write about hyperhidrosis because it’s free therapy. I can unravel the goings on of my mind with regard to my sweat in an arena that I’ve always loved: the written word. Writing about my life as a puddle makes me more attune to my body and what I can handle vs not handle (at least, not yet ready to handle, although I’m constantly stretching myself). I’ve become more mindful of the things in my daily life that might make for a good blog post. Believe me, I’ve got a running list. It’s hard to blog as much as I’d like to with a full-time job and other things going on. I would love to see the day where I would be able to focus on my blog as my full-time job.

 

Purpose
I write about hyperhidrosis because it gives me a sense of purpose. As much as I hate having an excessive sweating problem, maybe I’m supposed to be exactly this way to create a platform to help others. I say this without any sense of ego. I am so humbled by everyone’s support of what I’m doing. I never thought my blog would get so much feedback. So, please keep commenting, following me on Twitter, posting on my Facebook page, and emailing me. I may not always respond, but I read every single one of your comments. Do you know what your purpose is? I never thought talking openly about my hyperhidrosis would be one of mine. I’ve talked about being open to experiences before. Had I never stepped out of my box in the first place to try Botox injections in my hands, I wouldn’t be doing this today.

 

So there you have it. Truth, Acceptance, and Purpose. What have you “tapped” into lately?


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle


Hyperhidrosis Quotation Inspiration

Life begins at the end of yourt comfort zone.

This card is available from http://quotablecards.com. Love this company!

This quote inspires me because it is exactly what has happened in my own life. If I look back to where I was one year ago, it’s crazy how far I’ve come with regard to how I view myself and my excessive sweating problem. Yes, I hate it on a daily basis, but I am getting better at dealing with it.

 

This blog started as a direct result of how I felt after leaving a symposium hosted by the International Hyperhidrosis Society. I was so inspired that I sent handwritten thank you cards to the executive director and one of the customer service people who was my first point of contact: post-Botox treatment and a bit of Botox gratitude.

 

I almost didn’t go through with the Botox injections. Note: if you ever consider having Botox injections in your hands or feet, do not watch the videos on YouTube. I had myself pretty psyched out by the time I was done watching them, and since I over-analyze everything in my life anyway this just gave me more ammunition. I still went to the symposium, though, and told myself I could still bail when it was my turn if I wanted.

 

But I didn’t bail. I try not to live my life with regrets, so I sucked it up, laid down on the table, and proceeded to let them poke me with 155 injections. Yes, I counted. For someone who has zero pain tolerance, I surprised myself that I was able to get through it. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Botox injections

This is me getting my Botox injections!

 

After my Botox experience, I had such a supreme sense of validation. It’s hard to put into words exactly how I felt as I left that day. I felt like I could conquer the world, like there was hope for me, like I could finally stop living behind a curtain of daily activities avoided or somehow altered in an attempt to mask my sweating. I dared to believe that something inside me was superior to circumstance.

 

It’s crazy that I picked this quote. Read this past post about my hyperhidrosis comfort zone. I’m talking about the same thing. Ha! At least I’m consistent. If I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone with regard to hyperhidrosis, this blog never would have happened. I had so many doubts. I didn’t know how to operate a blog platform, didn’t know if people would care about what I have to say, didn’t know a lot of things. Yet I did it anyway. And it was worth it.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

 

 

Hyperhidrosis Time Capsule

If I were to make a time capsule about my life with hyperhidrosis that wouldn’t be opened until 2112, I would include a series of items.

 

Video
My video would be a personal documentary about who I am and what it’s like to live with excessive sweating. I would chronicle a day in my life and detail the things that trigger me to sweat. Just the idea of recording myself-or having a camera crew around to do it for me-makes me sweat. I would charge ahead with it anyway for the greater good of enlightening other people about what it’s like to literally feel uncomfortable in your own skin. I’ve talked about how my sweaty day begins with getting ready before.

 

I would also use this video to explain that despite my physical problem of sweating, there has to be something good that will come out of it. We all face adversity. How we respond to it is a choice. I choose to have hope. Hope for a cure, hope that I can make a difference in the world by sharing my story, hope that others will no longer feel alone. Remember when I wrote about my favorite poet, Maya Angelou? She said, “We are more alike than unalike, my friends.” So, whether you have hyperhidrosis like me and travel through life as a puddle, you’re someone who has felt ashamed of who you are, you don’t like your body (or maybe you even loathe it), or you don’t yet know that you matter, that you are enough exactly as you are, you are no longer alone.

 

Paper
Also included in this time capsule would be paper copies of all of my blog posts as well as all of my reader comments that you have so kindly taken the time to leave on my blog. The beauty of paper–and the irony of how much I love real paper considering how awesome I am at ruining it with my palmar hyperhidrosis–is that it is everlasting. There’s no computer or software compatibility or latest version to download. It’s just there, unadulterated, true to form. I love hand writing cards to people, especially when they help me with my hyperhidrosis. Read about my post-Botox gratitude.

 

Photos
Since we’re talking about this time capsule being opened in 2112, I won’t be there physically to demonstrate my raindrop superpower.  These photos would be of my sweaty hands and feet and how I have an uncanny ability to ruin clothing and physically leave behind ringlets of salt from my excessive sweating. These photos would also explain my Botox adventure. I’d also love to include photos from my fellow sweaters as a physical representation of the power of community. We are designed for relationships and interactions.  C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” This is so true. Although I’ve never met most of you who read my blog, I feel like we already know each other through the commonality of our hyperhidrosis. Rock on!

 

Music
The following songs are just a snippet of how I’ve been able to reconcile my life as an excessive sweater.

Free Me by Joss Stone

This Is Your Life by Switchfoot

Strength Courage & Wisdom by India.Arie

 

Finally, I would cover my time capsule in some kind of fabric, probably jeans, as they seem to be the most sweat-friendly and absorbent fabric in my life. For those with palmar hyperhidrosis, fabric and texture is important. We have enough trouble keeping a firm grip on things, so I’d make my time capsule something that I myself would be able to hold without having to worry about it slipping from my hands.

 

If you’re new to my blog, I’m very excited that you’ve found me! Thank you for reading. To catch you up to speed, here’s a crash course on what I’m doing:
What is hyperhidrosis?
About my blog
To My Readers


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

 

Second-Round Interviews: Where the Sweating Really Begins

So if interviewing the first time with a company isn’t sweat inducing enough, a lot of places may ask you to come back in for another round of interviews. This is a good thing, as it shows they really do have an interest in you. I was called back by two organizations for second-round interviews. I was getting ready to go out of town for a week when they called, so I ended up having to schedule both interviews on the same day, with only 30 minutes in between them! Oh, and did I mention the interviews were on the opposite sides of town? Eek!

I went through my typical pre-interview routine and arrived to interview again for the medical writing web specialist position. I was there for 2 hours since I had to meet with 4 people. Each one of these mini sessions I felt went very well. In one of them, a person and I chatted about the proper use of grammar and how it can so often be used incorrectly in movies on the big screen. I also was able to share my Botox story and explain more about the writing I’ve done for the International Hyperhidrosis Society.

In another mini session, I felt I was able to convey my desire to be part of a team and my willingness to do whatever was necessary to get the job done. I think they really liked the part when I said “Since when is a job description ever only what it says it is? My last job title was Medical Editor, but I did program management stuff.” They also seemed to appreciate the fact that I said I’d never tell them No. I may ask a ton of questions, clarify expectations, etc., but I will never refuse to do my best to help when and where I can. All of this was coming from my heart and wasn’t simply an attempt to sell myself to them. I told this company in my cover letter that people would describe me as caring, loyal, hardworking, and authentic. When you know who you are, it’s easier to identify the traits and abilities with which you have been blessed.

This is important: be yourself in interviews. Yes, you may have to fake a certain level of confidence sometimes, but underneath all the mumbo jumbo try to remain true to who you are. People can tell when you are being real with them, and also when you’re not. As an example, one of the other people who interviewed me asked me if there was anything else I wanted her to know about me. My response: “Even at the risk of sounding cliché or cheesy, it’s important that you know how much I love working with the written word. Confucius once said, ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ I am a total word nerd, so this job would be a really good fit for me.”

After meeting with all 4 people, I actually had to cut the interview short since my other one for the marketing and communications manager was beginning in 20 minutes across town. This was kind of awkward, but I had to do what I had to do. I speed walked from the elevator to the parking garage and hightailed it out of there to hopefully get there on time. Remember the I hate to be rushed discussion? Well, the rushing was in full force at this point, and I was going 80 mph down the interstate to get there on time. 80 mph with the windows cracked so I could get some air flow going. I made a wrong turn at one point and ended up blowing through a stop sign while I was at it, but thankfully only one other car was there that honked at me.

By the time I pulled into the parking lot, I was right on time with zero time to spare. I had maybe 30 seconds in the lobby before I was whisked back to meet with the CEO. It was a fairly short interview, and we hardly talked at all about the job itself. We talked more about the revamping of the organization and how only a few of the original employees stayed on with him during the restructuring process. He mentioned what courage and stamina it took those people to decide to stay, and I was able to use this as a segue into talking about my blog and how I understood the importance of courage and standing in the truth of who you are. All in all, it was a very good conversation. Since I only met with the CEO, I wasn’t there for very long the second time around. I was given a mini marketing project to complete, as the candidates they were interviewing didn’t have the marketing experience they were looking for. This project was to gauge where I was creatively. I took the project home and was given the weekend to complete it.

Needless to say, I was exhausted after a day’s worth of second-round interviews, so I peeled off my dress clothes and relaxed in some sweats. I got a good start on the marketing project before I jumped on a plane the next day to surprise my grandma who currently is undergoing chemotherapy. There were many blessings in disguise that resulted from my being laid off, this being one of them. My generous uncle contributed to my unemployment fund by flying me out as a surprise so my grandma could see her first-born grandchild. I’ll be blogging about this next. I am so grateful I was able to board a plane on short notice to see my family!


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Sweaty Job Interviews (part 2)

My next job interview was for a health education specialist writer position. Looking back at this job title, its basically what I’m doing right now with my blog. Ha! The portfolio I bring with me to interviews contains writing samples from all aspects of my life, both professional and personal. This past year has provided me the opportunity to build more of a medical, personal health condition, and web story repertoire, all of which have led me to apply for jobs I might never have otherwise considered. My life has been unfolding in exactly the way it’s supposed to, a perfect design of the universe. Yes, there have been some really crappy parts to it over the years, but other things have happened that have prepared me for this moment right now, my next sweaty job interview.

Now, you know it’s a good interview when you can quote Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey, and you bet I did! They are 2 women who have profoundly influenced my life over the years, and I’m not even that old! I was a very mature child, and I can remember watching Oprah’s 40th birthday special and getting all teary eyed over it (a unique trait of mine as a highly sensitive person). Here’s how I was able to work their words of wisdom into some of my responses to the interview questions.

Since my Botox experience and launch of my blog, I can now list my hyperhidrosis volunteer activism and freelance writing on my resume. As the interviewers were perusing my resume and asking me about my work experience, I was able to explain to them exactly what hyperhidrosis is. They had never heard of it before. Yay for enlightenment! As I was explaining how my blog originated, I said something along the lines of this Oprah quote: “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.” I started this blog because I was tired of hiding who I really am and feeling powerless over it. I am now standing in my truth, and if I make a few puddles along the way, who cares? That’s what I do.

I also explained that through my blog I am creating a sense of community for people who sweat and helping them to feel like this is a safe haven. I mentioned the wonderful feedback I’ve gotten from many of you in the form of comments on my blog and personal emails. Thank you for contacting me, too! It’s given me ammunition to use in interviews. I told the interviewers that knowledge creates power, power creates action, action creates awareness, and awareness creates community. The larger the community, the more knowledge we can share, so it becomes a cyclical, never-ending process. Through this community, people can realize what Maya Angelou says, “We are more alike than unalike.”

Now, while I would have liked to have been able to pull these witty sayings out of thin air, I did not. This was an interview for crying out loud! I was nervous. I prepared some notes ahead of time that addressed each bullet point in the job description and gave me points to speak to. The people interviewing me had notes, so why couldn’t I? They are looking for the perfect candidate just as much as I am looking for the perfect job fit for myself. Be prepared. Do your research ahead of time on the company. If you’re lucky, they may even post they types of questions they will ask you on their website under the careers tab.

After the interview was over, I had to take a writing test. Thankfully, they left me alone in the room so I didn’t have anyone watching over my shoulder as I was working on the computer. That is the absolute worst! Want a surefire way to make me sweat? Stand over my shoulder as I’m typing or using the mouse and watch as my computer skills disintegrate into sloppy puddles. Have you seen that infomercial for the EZ Eyes keyboard? I think I might need one of those. There’s a section in the commercial where they pour liquid over it and it doesn’t damage it one bit.

They also asked me what one of my goals in the next 5 years would be. Their website does not have any information available on hyperhidrosis, so I responded that I’d like to beef up their web content with this information. About a week later, they called me for a second interview. This time I met 2 more people, another was on speaker phone, and the original person who interviewed me was there, too. Talk about being in the hot seat! Oh, and I wore a turtleneck sweater to this interview. Bad idea. Bad. By the time I left I was lifting my arms up slightly when I got outside.

In the second interview, I was able to address my 5 year goal and also show them that I’m intrinsically motivated. I created my own hyperhidrosis patient guidelines sheet and matched it to the format they had on their website. They didn’t ask me to do this, but I wanted to show them that I was serious about the job and could create original content that referenced additional resources. They were pretty impressed with it, and I left that day feeling very good about both encounters.

Fast forward to several days later. They called to say that while they really enjoyed meeting me and appreciated everything I put forth to show them who I was, they selected someone else to fill the position who better matched what they needed in the future. Alrighty then. I was running errands when I got the call, so I walked out of the store where it was more quiet to hear this news. I surprised myself by holding it together during the call, and of course didn’t ask if there was something I could’ve done better. I always think of this stuff AFTER I hang up. So then I scrapped the rest of my errands, went home, and cried. And then I cried some more when some of my former coworker friends called to check on me.

However, I did get some blog material out of it. The HH guidelines I think are useful.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

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