My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: paper curling (page 1 of 2)

Underarm Treatment Study: What to Know Before You Go

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

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

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

1. Stop Wearing Antiperspirant Several Days Before Your First Appointment

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

2. Wear Proper Clothing

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

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

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

underarm study paper gown

My paper gown was soaked after the underarm sweat test.

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

3. Hydrate Before Visit 1

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

blood draw

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

4. Seat Yourself Strategically

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

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

sweaty exam table at doctor's office

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

 

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

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

Hyperhidrosis and Oprah

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start to walk through life palms out, hands up.

IMG_1629

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

Hyperhidrosis and the Beach

For my third trip of 2012, I went to Myrtle Beach, SC. If you’re like me, traveling, airports, and sweating are not a good combination (see my post about Hyperhidrosis and Traveling). My family and I went to the beach to celebrate my grandma. She went through chemotherapy and radiation earlier this year for cancer. She kicked cancer’s ass, so we took her to the beach for a family reunion and vacation.

 

The beach at North Myrtle Beach, SC

I feel at home near water.

We flew into Charlotte, NC and stayed overnight with my cousin Jim and his family. Jim was the man of honor in my wedding. I like to call him my personal bitch. 🙂 As soon as we got off the plane and began walking toward the rental car area of the airport, I could feel the humidity. We weren’t even near the beach yet, but I can feel extra moisture in the air way before most people can. I am not a fan of humidity, with the exception being that I can wear my hair curly and not have to deal with my hair dryer and flattening iron.

 

Since my grandma did not know my husband and I were going to be coming to the beach, I decided to make a giant sign that I could hide behind in order to surprise her. My cousin’s wife picked up a piece of poster board for me so I didn’t have to roll one up and carry it with me on the plane. Can you imagine trying to lug around a piece of poster board through the airport? I’d have it soaked and shredded before even making it to the plane, I’m sure.

 

My Life as a Puddle's sign for grandma

My second cousins helped me make my grandma’s sign.

Speaking of paper and airports, what is up with the boarding passes they give you if you opt to do self check-in at the airport? I hate printing my own boarding passes as it is, but the ones you get at the airport are even worse. They are made out of paper that’s like receipt tape. Super flimsy and not sturdy at all. I had to have my husband hold mine until we got to the security checkpoint and the TSA agent asked for my ID and boarding pass. Maybe I should carry a giant paper clip or chip clip with me and use that to grip my boarding documents. Because that would make me look super cool. Maybe next time I will go old school and request paper delivery of my tickets to my house. Those boarding passes are much thicker and hold up to my sweaty hands all over them.

 

The next morning before we left to drive to Myrtle Beach, my second cousins who are 4 and 2 helped me to decorate my grandma’s sign. We used some foam stickers that were self stick, and I had printed some text beforehand at my house and brought it with me. The foam stickers had a backing that had to be peeled off, and thankfully my hands stayed mostly dry when I was applying the stickers. I did, however, use a paper towel to help me stick the text on the poster board. I can’t just glue things down and then smooth them down with my hands. A paper towel is required for that so I don’t smear the ink.

 

My Life as a Puddle holding her grandma's sign

Shhhh. I’m about to surprise my grandma by hiding behind this sign.

We made it to the beach and had a few hours before we had to go to the airport to pick up my grandma. I put on my new flip flops I told you about in my post Hyperhidrosis and Summer, and we walked on the beach for a little while. I didn’t stay out there too long that afternoon since I had already showered and done my hair and makeup. It’s brutal enough getting ready in the summer time when you sweat excessively, so I was trying to minimize my sweating to avoid having to take another shower. The flip flops worked pretty well and were easy enough to rinse off. They also dried pretty quickly, too, but they accumulated so much more sand than everyone else’s sandals did.

Sandy Flip Flops

This is how much sand I accumulated in my flip flops after a short walk from the parking lot onto the beach.

One of my cousins brought a friend with her on vacation. Her name is Jess. She and I got to talking, and I discovered she was a cheerleader in high school. My cousin had told Jess about my blog and that she thought Jess might have hyperhidrosis. Well, turns out Jess does have hyperhidrosis! Major bonding occurred here, folks. This is only the third time in my life I’ve met someone in person who has the same condition I do.

 

On our last night there, we hired a photographer to do a professional photo shoot of our family. It was a lot of fun, but I was worried about my sweating showing up in the pictures. I don’t think it did, since my hands were posed in a way that didn’t really show my glistening. Besides, I was trying to be in the moment and enjoy the photo shoot with my grandma. I wasn’t going to allow my stupid sweating to interfere with quality family time, so I did my best to ignore it.

 

My Life as a Puddle and Her Grandma

Me and my grandma during our beach photo shoot

 

We had a really good time at the beach, and it was such a blessing to be able to get our entire family together in one place to celebrate my grandma. She is such a strong woman. Family is the most important thing in my life, and when I felt my sweating getting out of control, I tried to focus on that and just be in the moment.

"Be" written in the sand

Paper, Pencils, and Pens for Sweaty Hands

The grade school memories I have that involve writing are mostly good ones. Good in the sense that I have always loved writing, both the dreaming up of ideas and the corresponding act of writing them down. Bad in the sense that the physical act of writing was a bit more difficult for me since my hands were more often wet than dry.

 

Paper
In 3rd grade, we began to learn the fine art of cursive writing. This required the use of a Big Chief tablet that was lined with red and blue lines evenly spaced just so in order to perfect our loops, swoops, and curls. While Big Chief tablets are luxuriously soft paper-wise with a smooth texture, they are also a double-edged sword. They are NOT sweat-friendly. When I would place the side of my palm down to write, my sweat would soak through the paper before I could finish writing the next word. If the pencil were sharp enough, sometimes it would tear through the weakened sections where my palm had just been.

 

The combination of my love of hand writing things and having to work around my hyperhidrosis has made me a bit of a stationery snob. I love all things paper, and it annoys me when I have to write on cheap, low quality, scratchy paper. Here are a few of my favorite types of paper products that hold up really well to my sweating and feel very nice when you caress them with a pen (which I prefer over pencils and will be getting to in a minute).

Greenroom Spiral Notebook

Greenroom Banana Paper Spiral Notebook

Banana paper is thicker than normal paper. It’s more absorbent for both ink and sweat, and the edges don’t curl as much.

Pencils
I really dislike pencils. I prefer pens. But most of the time in school (at least until college, anyway), one is required to use a pencil for testing, homework, etc. I typically used mechanical pencils, as they afforded me the ability to avoid the use of the class pencil sharpener that was affixed to the wall. I hated standing in line (another trigger for my hyperhidrosis) and then having to worry about leaving the handle of the sharpener wet for the next person to use. I like #1 pencil lead rather than #2 pencil lead. It’s darker and writes smoother, but sometimes it’s hard to find. In the meantime, here are some of the pencils I like: Ticonderoga velvet finish pencils, Ticonderoga Sensematic Plus mechanical pencils, and

Bic-Atlantis-Mechanical-Pencils

Bic Atlantis mechanical pencils have a rubberized grip.

Pencil Grips
Pencil grips work great for making any pen or pencil more comfortable for sweaty hands. I always have my own pens in my purse or bag so I don’t have to worry about making someone else’s pen all sweaty when I give it back. My pencil grip of choice is made of foam for absorption and has ridges for extra texture and good grippage, like these Ridged Foam Pencil and Pen Grip, 5-pack. The Write Dudes also make these pencil grips, which provide some additional texture to work with:

The-Write-Dudes-Pencil-Grips

Pencil grips help sweaty fingers stay put.

Erasers
The standard pink erasers are okay, but if your hands are really sweaty, you have to be careful how you hold the eraser. Once the tip of it gets wet, it can instead smear what you are trying to erase. I like click stick erasers. They are self-contained in a plastic holder and can be advanced click by click as you go.

 

Clic-Erasers

Clic Erasers are a good option for keeping the eraser dry when correcting mistakes.

Pens
I’ve mentioned that I like to hand write cards and letters to others. Remember my post about holiday greeting cards? My husband will probably tell you I have entirely too many pens floating around the house. In my opinion, one can never have too many pens. If you ever happen to borrow one of my pens, please don’t bend the cap or chew on the lid. I even go so far as to properly align the clip of the lid with the writing on the pen when I uncap it. I’m a bit particular with my pens. I take delight in the little things, like finding my next favorite pen that writes smoothly or offers a shade of orange I can’t find in any other pen. Here are a few that are sweat-tested:

Bic-Ultra-Grip-Pens

These pens are my go-to for everything. I like the way they write, and they have a rubberized grip.

PaperMate-InkJoy-100-Pens

These InkJoy pens by PaperMate are easier to hold thanks to the triangular shaped barrel. Slip a foam pencil grip on them for added grip.

Sharpie-Pens

Sharpie pens are one of my favorites. The ink doesn’t bleed through the paper, either.


Environment Control for Writing
With as many cards as I send to people, the journaling I do, and my quote book that I am constantly updating, I have to create an environment that is conducive to writing. This typically includes being at home, alone, with minimal distractions. I can’t hand write cards in a coffee shop, for example. It’s too much of a trigger usually. I can write my rough drafts there in my notebook, but the pristine handwritten version has to be done at home. I typically sit at my kitchen table to do my cards, where I have the ceiling fan on to generate air flow. If it’s cool enough outside, I’ll also have the sliding glass door open for additional ventilation. I always have a paper towel within reach, too. If my hands get too sweaty, I will place the paper towel over the card or paper so that it rests underneath the side of my hand and absorbs the sweat. Another piece of paper or the back of a notebook (if it’s cardboard) also works well to protect the paper on which you’re writing.

 

Parents, if you can afford it, spend a little extra money on the notebooks/paper/pens/pencils/grips I’ve mentioned to help your kids feel better prepared to tackle the act of writing. If your school has one of those community school supply lists, talk with his or her teacher regarding the pencil and paper/notebook supplies and ask if your child can bring their own set of supplies for these categories. A few simple modifications can really go a long way in improving your child’s confidence despite his or her hyperhidrosis.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

 

Hyperhidrosis and Paperwork

A few weeks ago I went to a local arts festival. The weather that week had been lovely, cooler and rainy. It was pretty humid the day I went to this arts festival, but I thought it would be okay since the temperature was in the 70s. My husband and I were walking around looking at all the different artist booths. I saw a ton of beautiful things I could never afford, but it was fun to look anyway. At that point, I was keeping my cool. Then, this guy walks up to me and asks if I’d like to learn more about becoming a bone marrow donor. I said Sure, why not? Most of the time, I have a hard time saying no to people, which is something I’m continuously working on.

 

This time, though, saying yes was worth it. Remember when I wrote about coming from a place of yes? Becoming a bone marrow donor, as well as an organ and tissue donor (which I am already), is a simple process that can save someone’s life. Bone marrow donation, unlike organ and tissue donation in most cases, does not have to be done after someone has lost a life. You can’t take your organs and tissues with you, so why not give the gift of life to someone else? A piece of you can live on in them. In the case of bone marrow donation, you can actually have an opportunity to meet the person you are donating to, if the circumstances allow. How cool would that be? I would feel so honored and humbled to be able to help someone in such a dramatic way.

 

I followed the guy over to the DKMS Americas booth and spoke with another volunteer about the donor requirements and the process itself should I become selected as a match for someone. After reading over everything, I decided to do it. I went to the next table over and was given a long sheet of paper to fill out in duplicate. Now, I like to hand write things and fill out paperwork in most cases. But for people with hyperhidrosis, advance receipt of any required paperwork works better so that we can fill it out without anyone watching us and don’t feel rushed and panicky over drippage. I was okay for about the first 30 seconds, but the combination of walking around in the humidity combined with the public display of paperwork did me in. Thank God my husband was there, because he had to help me out and finish filling out the paperwork for me.

 

I don’t think anyone else noticed that I actually pawned off the pen duty to my husband, which was good. I was so embarrassed. After he completed my information, I walked to the next station. There, I rinsed out my mouth and swabbed some Q-tip-like things on the insides of both of my cheeks and placed them in an envelope. That was it. Super easy and so worth it for the change I might be able to affect upon someone else.

 

You can do this, too. Sign up to become a bone marrow donor. You could be someone else’s missing piece.

Bone Marrow Donor Registry Pin

To become a bone marrow donor, visit deletebloodcancer.org.


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

My Trip to Ithaca, NY

I went to Ithaca, New York to attend the college graduation of my dear friend and “surrogate brother” Danny. We’ve known each other for a long time. My mom was pregnant with my little sister at the same time Danny’s mom was pregnant with him. I used to babysit him and have watched him grow up to be a remarkable man. He majored in musical theatre, and if I do say so myself, he’s bloody brilliant.

A gorge in Ithaca, NY

One of the gorges in Ithaca, NY

 

Theatre students are a vibrant bunch, and my week-long trip was quite entertaining. I stayed with Danny and his roommate Bruce. At night when we were just hanging out, we watched Harry Potter and endless episodes of The Golden Girls. Those will be some of my favorite memories of hanging out with Danny, the beauty and bonding in the ordinary moments of life. He and Bruce even invented a drinking game based on The Golden Girls!

The Golden Girls drinking game

The Golden Girls drinking game invented by Danny and his roommate Bruce. Love it!

 

When we weren’t out strolling the campuses of Cornell University and Ithaca College, we were either hanging out in Ithaca Commons or visiting the gorges near the town of Ithaca. I was worried how my hyperhidrosis would be during the trip, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Strolling along the Cornell University campus

Danny and I enjoying a stroll along the campus of Cornell University

 

Danny and I climbed a six-story tree house at the Cayuga Nature Center. If you don’t already know, I am obsessed with trees. I have tree jewelry, tree stationery, tree wall hangings, tree pictures, etc. Trees are more than nature’s beauty. They can be used as a metaphor for so many things in life. When I learned about this tree house, I made it a goal that if I didn’t do anything else on this trip, I would at least visit the tree house. I could feel myself getting a little sweaty as we climbed the tree house, but it wasn’t really enough to make me terribly uncomfortable. It was honestly the last thing on my mind at that point, which was a nice relief since hyperhidrosis permeates my entire life.

Tree house at Cayuga Nature Center

The six-story tree house at Cayuga Nature Center. It's awesome!

 

I don’t think there was air conditioning at Danny’s apartment, but it wasn’t really hot enough to need it.  The evenings in Ithaca in May are blissfully cool, so the only time I really had to worry about my sweating was when I was getting ready in the morning. Thankfully, I was the only one up at that time, so I didn’t have to worry about sharing the bathroom or being rushed. Not that people rush me out of the bathroom. It’s more of an internal thing with me feeling a sense of being rushed. I tend to make myself sweat that way. There was a standing fan unit in the living room, though, so I just used that when it started to get too hot as I was blow drying my hair.

 

I already told you about graduation day and the rash I got on my feet.  That and my sweating as I was getting ready in the morning were really the only two stand-out moments on the trip with regard to navigating my hyperhidrosis. The other main sweat fest was entirely brought on by my own doing. On graduation evening, we all went to a fancy dinner to celebrate. I had written a graduation card for Danny and had it with me to give to him after we finished dinner. I was going to just hand it over, but then I thought, You know, maybe I should get up the guts to read it to him in front of everyone.

Maya Angelou Life Mosaic card

The front of the card I gave to Danny for his graduation. Maya Angelou always says it best.

 

If you know me personally, you know that writing, particularly writing cards to others, is what I know I was meant to be doing on this planet. My blog and hyperhidrosis awareness comes in a close second. After thinking about Danny’s card all through dinner, I had psyched myself up to the point that I could really feel my fight or flight response being activated. This is typical for people with hyperhidrosis, at least for me anyway. Thinking about an event can trigger my sweat, the tingly, prickly feeling on my hands and feet right before they start to gush.

 

I decided that I didn’t want to leave Ithaca with any regrets. If I didn’t read Danny’s card aloud to him, I would most certainly regret it. I patted my inner self on the back for encouragement, and plowed ahead into the moment and memory I wanted to create with and for him. I don’t usually read my cards aloud to my recipient. It’s really hard when you’re “a crier” like me. But I didn’t care if I cried. I cared about really showing Danny what he means to me. I wrote the card, and then I used my voice to convey what I had written. A special thanks to Danny’s roommate, Bruce, who recorded me reading the card. And thank you to my husband, who bought me the genius invention known as an iPhone, which  I was able to use to record this important moment in my life.

 

Here’s the video of me reading my card. I can’t believe I’m actually posting a video of myself. Here goes nothing.

(The sound on the video isn’t the greatest, as it was pretty loud in the restaurant. It might help if you listen to it through some headphones.)

This was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. The people whom I was with made it so special. And they’re not kidding when they say “Ithaca is gorges!” I bought a shirt that says so. 🙂

 

P.S. You should check out Danny’s website. He’s available for hire and comes highly recommended!


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

 

 

 

Hyperhidrosis Top 10

Here’s a list of the top 10 things I can’t live without with regard to my hyperhidrosis.

 

10.  Carpet or rugs. As much as I like a cool floor underneath my feet, if they are sweating walking can become dangerous. Slip and Slide is for outdoor summer adventures, not indoor daily movement.

 

9.  Thick, wrinkle-resistant notebooks for writing. I really like Jordi Labanda and Greenroom, both available at Target.

 

8.  Writing instruments. You will never see me write with a pencil. I hate them. I need a good pen, not only for its ability to write on damp paper, but because I LOVE hand writing letters and cards to people. I like writing things in general and even look forward to all of those forms you have to fill out at doctors’ offices and places of business (as long as I can fill them out in advance). My favorites are Sharpie pens, Bic Ultra Round Stic and Velocity 1.6mm bold, and Le Pen by Marvy Japan.

 

7.  Natural supplements. I am continuously experimenting with different combinations of things found in nature to see if they will help me cope with my sweating and calm down my central nervous system. My current regimen? Nature’s Sunshine brand sage capsules, Nerve Control, and Super GLA, as well as Hyland’s Calms Forte.

 

6.  Time. If I feel rushed or arrive late to something, it makes me sweat. I am ridiculously and overly prompt – not a bad trait to have.

 

5.  Baby wipes. I use these immediately after applying sunscreen or lotion if I am not near a sink to wash my hands right away.

 

4.  Secret Clinical Strength antiperspirant

 

3.  Summer Soles shoe inserts to place inside my shoes. Use the code IHHS to get one pair free when you buy one pair.

 

2.  Jeans! They are my go-to item for clothing because they are comfortable and absorb the sweat from my hands when I need to wipe them.

 

1.  Air conditioning or a fan for cooler air flow, and cooler weather. Summer time and the livin’ is definitely NOT easy!

 

(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.)


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

If I Had a Superpower

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.

 

I can already make my own raindrops, which is definitely NOT a superpower I’ve asked for. But if I could pick a superpower, it would have to be the healing factor. This is the ability to heal others quickly from any injury. I would use it for much more than physical healing, though. Think of the impact this could have! No more physical ailments, mental illness, emotional baggage, self loathing, low self-esteem, eating disorders, drug abuse, physical and mental pain, etc. I would heal everyone so that they could realize deeply how precious they are. If everyone were healed, we’d have a peaceful world. Sure, this is lofty and idealist, but this is a creative writing prompt, so let’s get creative.

 

Of course, I’d also use the healing factor to heal myself. Oh, what a life I could have if I were eternally dry. I could wear any type of clothing and shoes I want without regard to their absorption factor. I could have leather seats in my car and not need a steering wheel cover. I could carry things without having to position them awkwardly in my hands and arms to prevent them from slipping out of my grip. I could go to church and not absolutely dreadthe greeting part of the service. Heck, I could even be a greeter at the door and welcome every single person with a handshake. I could speak in public and not have it be a sweat fest. I could take notes at work and not sweat all over the paper which smears the ink, carry blue file folders like a normal person without having to worry about getting Smurfed, and not sweat all over my keyboard and mouse.  I could heal the racing thoughts in my mind that occur every time I am sweating.

 

I could finally, in every aspect of my life, say yes without first having to think about how I would accommodate my excessive sweating. Nothing could hold me back.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

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