My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: Insurance

My First Acupuncture Treatment

I was at my doctor’s office a few weeks ago since I had to reschedule all of my medical appointments before my insurance coverage was no longer active. When I was checking in, I noticed a counter display that said October 24 was National Acupuncture Day. There was a stack of brochures with cards for a free session of acupuncture. I decided to sign up. It was free, after all, and I can use all the Qi (prounounced chee) centering I can get right now. I returned a week later for the treatment. After filling out several sheets of paperwork, which I would have preferred to receive in advance so that I could fill them out at home in a less sweaty environment, I was brought into a room with a table in it, just like the kind they have in a massage room. The acupuncturist began by getting my full medical history, and she said she’d seen 2 other patients who were trying acupuncture to treat their hyperhidrosis! I was surprised at this, but also glad that I wasn’t the first person to complain of excessive sweating.

 

By the time I got up on the table, I was fairly well acclimated to the temperature of the room. We were actually in the coolest room of the office, and I could feel the air coming out of the vent above my head. I was fully clothed with the exception of removing my socks, shoes, and the cardigan I was wearing over a tank top. She had me lay on my stomach first. My palms and feet were sweating a bit since I didn’t know what to expect. She began by sweeping my hair off of my neck and inserting several needles into the base of my skull and into my shoulders. The needles didn’t hurt. I could feel a slight pinch upon insertion, but it was so quick that I found it completely bearable. She also put some on the backs of my wrists, my lower back, and right above my heels. I really wanted to look at all of them, but because I was laying face down I didn’t want to move around too much. She left the room for a few minutes and then came back to check the placement of each needle and push them in a bit farther. She left again for about 20 minutes to allow the acupuncture to work on its own.

 

Initially, I felt the slight pinching sensation I mentioned after each needle was placed, but then it morphed into a tingling sensation which then opened up a heat source that then flowed into energy. I could actually feel the energy spreading out and moving through my body as it connected to all of the other energy points that had been tapped. It wasn’t a hot heat, if that makes sense. It was more of a warming sensation, like when the sun moves and you can feel it on one side of your body when you’re driving in a car. The astounding thing about all this was that after probably 7 or 8 minutes, I wasn’t sweating anymore! The acupuncturist actually had to place a heat lamp over my feet to keep them warm. I don’t know about you, but when my hands and feet sweat they are either wet and cold or wet and hot. There is never just a neutral wet. I think the combination of being in the coolest treatment room, being able to feel the ventilation through the vent above me, and the actual treatment itself was enough to allow my body to just be. I was shocked that I was able to voluntarily ask for the heat lamp to be used. I hate heat. But today, I was experiencing what it was like to be “normal” and basking in the glory of it all.

 

After 20 minutes of the needles on my back side, she removed them and had me flip over onto my back. She placed needles in the tops of my feet and in between my toes, halfway up the insides of my calves, on my arms and hands and in between my fingers, 2 in my right ear, and then a few in my scalp. The needles she inserted into my scalp did hurt a bit initially since the skin is much thinner, but it wasn’t anything that made me want to yell at her. Once she left the room, I did open my eyes and lift my head up to see just what kind of crazy stuff I had chosen to put myself through. It was pretty interesting to see all these floppy needles wiggling back and forth in my body. I am typically  a horrible patient when it comes to any type of medical procedure being done to my own body, but I was able to look at all the needles and not feel like passing out. Before she removed the needles, she used some kind of vibrating device on my right ear to further stimulate their effects.

 

For the rest of the day post-acupuncture, I felt pretty good. I noticed it even more so that night after it had been a few hours since the treatment. I felt kind of floaty, like you do right before you fall asleep. The acupuncturist said it would take a few treatments spaced about a week apart to determine whether it was working for me. I do want to go back. I just need to look into my new insurance coverage to see if it’s something they might cover as a referral from my primary care physician (PCP). I encourage you to try acupuncture. I can’t say it’s a definite cure for hyperhidrosis, but I do feel there was an overall benefit for me personally. Take yourself outside of your comfort zone so that you can experience things in the wellness arena that everyone else gets to do. Make your hyperhidrosis known to the practitioner and then try to stop worrying about it so that you can focus on the present moment to get the maximum benefit. Just because you sweat does not mean you are unworthy of receiving treatment or pampering. You are not disgusting or embarrassing. You are unique and can display with poise and grace your hyperhidrosis that is under-recognized and under-treated.

 

This is a good introductory article about acupuncture. Dr. Oz just featured moxibustion on his show the other week, too.

 

Acupuncture

(Thanks to Points Acupuncture for the image.)


Copyright © 2011 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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