My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: needle pain

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

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

 

 

Coming From a Place of Yes

Since I had left all of my job interviews and worries behind when I went to visit my grandma, I was able to begin some forward thinking and visualization of what I wanted my life to look like when I got home. Rather than telling the universe what I didn’t want, I chose to tell it what I did want.

 

My mom and I did some shopping while we were visiting. I bought a new messenger bag for my new job that I didn’t yet have. I also bought a few new clothes that were business dress appropriate. As one of my friends would say, “Forward thinking, young grasshopper!” So that’s exactly what I did. Just because you don’t yet have what you want or need doesn’t mean that you can’t guide yourself into achieving it. Just like I don’t have a cure for my hyperhidrosis, I can think toward the future and do the best I can with what I’ve been given.

 

The next day, my lovely aunt contributed to my unemployment fund by donating her services to cut and highlight my hair. She owns her own salon and is ridiculously talented at what she does. I went into the salon wanting a change. My thinking was New Year, New Job, New ‘Do. What a difference a good haircut makes! My confidence improved so much from an hour at the salon. Of note, I usually sweat when I go and get my hair cut, especially when the blow drying begins and I’m trapped underneath the cape. That’s always fun. If I’m getting my hair done in the summer, I can never wear sandals or flip flops because all the hair that’s trimmed off will stick to my feet when it falls. Not a fan of hairy feet!

 

The next day, I got a phone call. The company I had submitted the marketing plan to offered me the job! I accepted immediately, as I didn’t really need to think about it. I didn’t think I’d be offered any other jobs, so why wouldn’t I accept their offer? I had thought about the position and felt it was a good fit. If you know me personally, I feel things very deeply and also wear my heart on my sleeve. This can be good and bad. So, what does touchy, feely me do after hanging up the phone? Cry. It was such a relief to know I no longer had to worry about or fight for a job. So, combine my tears with the fact that I just got off a rather important phone call, and I was sweating. I went downstairs and told my family the good news.

 

It was nice to receive happy news before my grandma’s next round of chemotherapy two days later. I thought I was pretty much okay emotionally regarding this, but once we got to the hospital for her infusion of poison I had a really hard time holding my sh** together. (Um, yeah. Did I mention I tend to use profanity at times? I’m kind of a language-oriented person if you didn’t already know. Sometimes you just need a cuss word to round out a sentence.) I was in the room when the nurse opened the port in my grandma’s chest. My mom left for that part, but I decided to stay. It was the least I could do considering what my grandma was going through. She squeezed my hand as the nurse inserted the needle, and I didn’t even allow myself to go through the inner monologue of Super, my hand is dripping wet and she’s holding it. It was so not about that in that moment.

 

After awhile, my uncle came to the hospital, and I met him in the lobby. That’s when I really freaked out. I was crying and pondering why were we doing this? Was it going to affect her quality of life and be worth it in the long run? My grandma is in her early 80s for crying out loud! But she has always had a choice, and she wanted to try the chemo. We’ve all told her that one round is better than none, two is better than one, etc. If at any time she wants to tell the chemo to take a hike, she can do so. My grandma is one tough lady, and I’ve never heard her complain.

 

It’s important to come from a place of yes in your life. (I’m actually reading a book right now by Bethenny Frankel called A Place of Yes. She is hysterical, by the way. I love her show Bethenny Ever After on the Bravo network.) Like attracts like, so by acting like I had a job already it made sense that I bought a new messenger bag and clothes. It made sense that I got a new haircut. It made sense that yes, I love my grandma and was there to support her and hold her hand. It makes sense that my grandma has a choice of whether to say yes to chemo or yes she’d like to stop. How often are you saying No in your life and attracting what you don’t want? Be able to turn whatever it is that you’re facing into a Yes.

 

Yes, I have hyperhidrosis and it makes my life harder. But yes, I can work with what I’ve got and make it work for me to the best of my ability.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

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

My Botox Adventure

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The injection locations are marked on my hand.

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The completed markings on my left hand, all 86 of them.

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My right hand. The nurse used a vibrator right before the doctor injected, while at the same time using ice and pressure. The vibrator tricks the brain into sending a nerve impulse in response to the vibration, rather than the needle pain. It has to be timed perfectly to work properly.

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My right hand is done. The fingertips and the side of my hand that rests on a piece of paper when I write hurt the most. I’m so proud of myself for conquering a fear!


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

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