My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: HSP

Hyperhidrosis and Traveling

I was super excited to fly in and surprise my grandma. But the one thing I never look forward to is going to the airport. I don’t mind flying, but I hate having to deal with the logistics of my sweaty hands and feet in the airport. Take the suitcase issue: I hate holding the handle as I roll it around. It gets wet and then dries with this weird coating from my sweat. I usually try to only hold it when absolutely necessary, otherwise I will maneuver it around with the inside of my wrist and lower arm. While one hand is busy with my suitcase, the other hand is holding my ID and boarding pass. These have to be placed in my hand just right so that the ink from the boarding pass doesn’t smear. I have my ID on the bottom and the boarding pass underneath just my thumb. I probably look suspicious to security since I’m so uncomfortable in my skin by that point.

Once they check my ID, next comes the mad rush to take off my shoes, remove all liquids from my bag, and get everything on the conveyor belt. I can never wear sandals or flip flops to the airport. One, I’m not a fan of placing my bare feet on a germ-infested floor where everyone else’s feet have been. Two, who am I to put my bare, dripping feet all over the tile floor so I can leave footprints behind for all to see? Sick. So, I always wear tennis shoes with socks, or some kind of slip-on shoes with socks. I still leave footprints through my socks, but at least it’s a lesser evil. Once I make it through security, it’s on to the tram to get to the gates. I don’t like sitting down on the tram. I feel cooler if I’m able to stand, but at the same time, I have to hold on somehow since the tram moves pretty fast. I try to position myself around a pole so that I can lean into it rather than hold on to it. Also, I always wear jeans to the airport, never shorts. I need the fabric to cover the backs of my legs, especially if the seats on the plane are leather. Plus, jeans have more fabric than shorts, the better to wipe my hands on. I’d like to try and wear one of the longer skirts I’ve talked about before, but that would look dumb with a pair of tennis shoes and socks, so I’ll have to work on the shoes for that outfit first.

So, after dealing with the airport sweatiness and grabbing my bag from the carousel at baggage claim, I was off to find my Uncle Jimmy. He was the brains behind this idea in the first place, and was so generous with his frequent flier miles to get me out there. I was already sweating again after having to wait for my suitcase, but it was magnified in anticipation of the surprise we were about to pull off. I love surprises. I wish more people would surprise me as much as I like to try and surprise them. Combined with my Highly Sensitive Person trait, I could feel the excitement of the environment being pumped up the closer we got to my grandma’s house.

As we pulled into the driveway, the headlights could be seen from the living room and my grandma and mom were looking out the window. I stayed in the car and acted like I was my uncle’s girlfriend who was finishing up a phone call. My uncle went inside and said, “Okay, mom. The rest of your Christmas present finally arrived. UPS finally figured out what happened to it.” He opened the door with a big fanfare, and in I walked. It was my grandma, my aunt, and my mom (who had already been there for 3 weeks) in the living room, and it took my grandma a second to realize that it was me standing in the middle of the room. Once I said hello, her face just lit up. It was a bittersweet moment for me. I was so happy to be there, yet so scared of what she would look like after already having a couple rounds of chemo. She looked better than I thought, so that was good. I shockingly managed to keep my tears from spilling over, and then I looked over at my mom to say hello. She was pretty much dumbfounded, too, and my aunt hadn’t even looked up yet, since I was standing sort of behind the chair she was sitting in.

My Aunt Nancy said she thought Uncle Jimmy had been up to something, since the last time he was over he was walking around with a twinkle in his eye. Yep. That’s my uncle. He has such a big heart, especially for his family, and he spoils us any chance he gets. Now more than ever, I am so grateful to him for helping me to create these memories with my grandma, and with him. It was definitely a positive aspect of my layoff that I can now appreciate. If it weren’t for losing my job, I would not have been able to drop everything and fly out. It got me away from the doldrums of my job search and not having anywhere to really go during the day since most everything costs money. It was at my grandma’s house that I could simply be. Be there for a week of quality family time, forget about the job applications, and just reconnect with people whom I hadn’t seen in awhile. It allowed me to quiet the constant hum in my brain and slow down.

In the slowness of this week, I was able to do some forward thinking. All of the job interviews I had completed were now out of my hands, so there was no use worrying about the outcome. It was much easier to stop ruminating about everything since I wasn’t at home and had people to focus on. Coming up, I’ll be talking about some specific actions I took (and that were gifted to me by others) while visiting my grandma to help create the outcome I wanted upon my return.

Here are a few snapshots from my trip.

Maria and her grandma

My grandma won the Duncan Hines Baking with American Dash contest in 1985 for a recipe she made up. She’s awesome like that.

Maria and her mom

This is my wonderful mother. She and I got some quality time together during my trip.

Maria and her family

This is my maternal grandma’s side of the family, minus my other uncle.


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

The Day My Car Died

The day before I left town to go on vacation, my car completely crapped out. After I pulled out of my garage, I got out of my car to take the trash can down to the curb. As I was walking back toward my car I thought the engine sounded kind of funny, but I blew it off because I’m always paranoid about my car. So I left my neighborhood, got ready to pull into the intersection, and when I pushed the gas pedal the car wouldn’t go. It. just. died. Luckily I was able to coast over to the other side of the street and pull over. As I turned on my hazard lights and fumbled for my phone in a sheer state of panic, I broke out into a full body sweat that was made worse by the humidity in the air and the  body lotion I had put on just a few minutes before. Normally I can apply body lotion and be just fine, but when my body is triggered into the fight-or-flight mode, it all sweats off and makes me hot because it’s harder for my skin to breathe. It figures, too, that my phone was about to die.

As I was on the phone with roadside assistance explaining to them that they needed to talk faster to get a tow truck dispatched, I reached into the pocket of my car door and grabbed a CD case with which to fan myself. I was sweating so badly that my hair was getting wet around the edges of my scalp like I had just run a mile. News flash: I don’t run. I hate running. Running is a good way to make one’s self feel fat since everything jiggles. Perhaps if they invented a full-body straight jacket I’d consider doing it. I rolled down the windows even though it was starting to rain so I could generate some airflow, and even thought about taking off the long-sleeved cardigan I was wearing and sitting in my tank top. So I’m panicking, the roadside assistance operator gets cut off, an unmarked state patrol car pulls up behind me, and my husband is calling on the other line. Too many things were happening and it was not cool. I happen to be a genius at multitasking, so I was able to reconnect the call with my insurance while explaining to the state trooper what I thought was wrong with my car. He ended up calling another officer to the scene whose patrol car had push bumpers on the front of it. They had me put my car in neutral, pushed me in reverse so I could turn my car, and then pushed me up a hill into the parking lot of the Rite-Aid near where I had stalled so that I wasn’t blocking traffic. I was so worried they were going to ask me if something else was wrong and if I was feeling okay, since to me I felt it looked obvious that I was melting. If they noticed, they certainly didn’t say anything.

After I was off the road, I walked into the Rite-Aid and asked to use one of their electrical outlets to charge my phone. I called my insurance agent and then my husband to sort everything out, and then stood there trying to cool off while I stared at the bars on my phone as they recharged. There was a cashier right at the front of the store, so I felt weird attempting to grab a magazine to fan myself. She never left the vicinity, so I had to just stand there and act normal. You know, like I wasn’t soaking through all of my clothes and wouldn’t rather just walk around with my arms and legs spread eagle to dry off faster, regardless of whether their security tapes might be replayed for a bit of customer humor. I did have dark jeans on that day, so if my legs were sweating it wasn’t as obvious. Nearly 2 hours later, the tow truck finally arrived to take me to my mechanic. Long story short, it ended up being the fuel pump that needed to be replaced, amongst other repairs that I had no idea I needed. I take good care of my car, so these random repairs came as a shock to me. The silver lining to this story is that I didn’t need my car for the next 10 days, so they were able to repair it in plenty of time to have it ready when I came home. A lovely friend saved the day and picked me up from the mechanic, took me to get my dog’s prescription eye drops, and then dropped me off at home.

By the time I got home, I looked terrible. I had spent all this time getting ready, blow drying my hair, straightening my hair, etc. only to have the sleek look get all wavy and frizzy again because of my stupid sweating and major trigger event with my car. I had to change clothes first thing since I felt so gross, and then I donned a ponytail to get the ringlets of curls off of my neck. Mind you, it was only about 54 degrees that morning, but I might as well have been in the desert. My hyperhidrosis, combined with my Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) trait, really does a number on me when it comes to events happening in my life. Hyperhidrosis involves an overactive sympathetic nervous system, and HSPs are described as “having a sensitive nervous system, are aware of subtleties in their surroundings, and are more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.” Needless to say, by the time I got home I was ready for a nap. It took me awhile to calm down both mentally and physically and return to  a sense of homeostasis.

This week I will be going shopping for a new car. I can’t afford all of the additional repairs, but more importantly, I no longer feel safe driving my car. So now I get to worry about what the weather will be like when I’m walking around the car dealerships, putting my sweaty hands all over the steering wheels in the cars I might test drive (I have a sueded fabric steering wheel cover in my car to account for this), shaking hands with the salespeople, and signing paperwork when I buy something. I will not be test driving any cars with leather interior. Leather is the devil. It doesn’t breathe very well, it’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter, and it actually makes me feel like I’m sweating on the backs of my legs even when I’m not. So forget that!


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

Reflections on Botox

The effects of Botox can typically last 7-9 months, but I’ve heard it takes longer to build up to that amount of relief (ie, one must have multiple treatments for it to last that long). After my first Botox treatment in April, the effects lasted a short 3 weeks. But let me tell you, it was the best 3 weeks of my life. It was like I forgot I had ever suffered from HH! My confidence was through the roof, and I felt so much less inhibited and held back because of my condition.

But then my sweating started coming back, and I also noticed that while my hands were dry, it was like my body was made to sweat, so it was just going to sweat elsewhere instead. So now my back sweats way worse than it ever did, and I am super self-conscious about my clothing and stuff when I can feel it happening. The Botox has completely worn off now and my body has basically given me the “eff you” gesture. I thought it would be the answer to my prayers, and it was, even if it was only for that short time. I can’t help thinking that maybe my Botox experience was just God’s way of giving me a glimpse of what heaven will be like for me when I get there. I imagine my heaven to be about 65 degrees all the time, with a gentle breeze always encircling me for comfort. Hopefully this doesn’t sound morbid, as I am certainly not contemplating the length of my mortal existence or anything like that. LOL.

Maybe I am supposed to be going through this here on earth so that I can start to become a voice for people who suffer from this or any other condition who feel like pariahs and like they’ll never fit in. Perhaps this is what musical artist Laura Story calls a blessing in disguise. I can’t help but think that my HH, in combination with me being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), allows me to be more compassionate and empathetic with people from all walks of life. I feel like sometimes I’m on a different wavelength and can pick up on the intricacies of people and their moods and feelings, and because I’ve felt like a freak in my own body for most of my life, I am better able to interact with the world in a more loving way. I’m kind of a contemplative person who likes to ruminate on things like this.

While I’m glad I did the Botox, I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again, not just because of the cost but because of the other areas where it caused me to sweat. I am not willing to hope I can get my insurance to cover it and then end up with a bill for more than $1000! However, I know that some insurance companies will cover it, so practice due diligence if you are considering Botox and have health insurance. For more information about insurance coverage, visit the “insurance tools” page on the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s website, www.sweathelp.org. To be a patient volunteer was a great opportunity for me to be exposed to treatment, but it was a catalyst for so many other things for which I am even more grateful! It pushed me the extra step I needed to actually start blogging about my HH, and now I’m volunteering for the IHHS in my local area area and will be contributing to one of their upcoming newsletters, too.

Once I accepted myself for who I truly am, and felt the acceptance from the IHHS and the doctors and nurses who treated me, my soul just opened up. I can share my story with the world now. While the Botox didn’t work for very long in my own body, I certainly want others to try it for themselves since everyone’s body is different and may respond differently. There is hope for treating and finding a cure for hyperhidrosis. Don’t get discouraged if a treatment doesn’t work for you.

My dermatologist called me back the other day to tell me that my biopsy was benign (read the post here if you missed my dermatologist experience) and that after doing some research on the Catapres (clonidine is the generic name) tablets, he called in a Rx for me. I still have to pick it up and try it out, but I’m glad he took the time to do the research. The Catapres is similar to the active ingredient in the Transderm Scop (scopolamine) patches I had used , so hopefully I will get some good results.

My apologies for not blogging this last week. While I would like to be blogging every other day or so, sometimes I just am not able to do so. But life is full of enough could’ve’s, should’ve’s, and would’ve’s, so I am not going to feel bad for not always blogging on a regular basis. However, if you have bookmarked my site and checked back for new posts, thank you for taking the time to do so. I value you as a reader of my blog.

 

Until next time,

Maria

 

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Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

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