My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: Summer Soles

Hyperhidrosis & Pedicures

The Travesty of the Situation

I’m 36 years old and have never had a pedicure. Preposterous, right? Not for those who consistently worry about their sweaty feet! I’ve been afraid to let someone touch my feet because 80% of the time they are sweating. However, my best friend decided it had been long enough, so she treated me to my first-ever pedicure. So, nervous yet excited, I let her lead me into a situation that was outside of my comfort zone. I recommend doing one thing every day that scares you, so today this was it for me.

life begins at the end of your comfort zone

I had no idea, but at most spas the person giving you a pedicure wears latex gloves, so they can’t even tell that your feet are sweating. This was so reassuring for me, as I didn’t have to apologize in advance for the way my body behaves.

Adapting to the Environment

I sat down in the chair and placed my feet in the basin of water. It was lukewarm and had a spa bubble thingy in it to help generate a whirlpool of relaxation. Then I noticed the chair I was sitting in had a remote control peeking out from the back corner. I started messing with it and realized it was a massage chair. Let me tell you, these things are heavenly. I laid back and let it do its thing, all the while still worried about what would happen when it was time to take my feet out of the water.

whirlpool pedicure

My feet in a whirlpool pedicure for the first time ever.

After about 15 minutes, the lady came over and placed a towel on the ledge at the base of the chair. She gently took my feet out of the water and placed them on the towel. We all know that towels are a sweater’s best friend, especially terry cloth towels as they tend to be more absorbent. I felt comfortable with my feet on the towel, since my sweat was supported in a sense.

She gently patted my feet dry and began applying a gel that helps slough off callouses. If you’ve never had this done before, prepare to be appalled. I thought my feet were in pretty good shape, but when she took a cheese-grater-looking thing to my heels I wanted to vomit based on how much of my skin was coming off. It didn’t hurt when she did this; it was just a different type of feeling on my heels.

Getting Up Close and Personal

Once my feet were scraped clean, she trimmed my cuticles and shaped my toenails. She didn’t have much toe maintenance to perform, since I’ve always trimmed and painted them myself for fear of my stupid hyperhidrosis grossing other people out. Then she reached for the nail polish bottles I had picked out when I first walked in – a beautiful teal green like a peacock’s feather followed by a topcoat of gold glitter for extra sass.

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Adding a finishing touch of polish after she slipped my flip flops back on.

Keep in mind she still had her gloves on, so I had no fear that she would discover my wet secret. Here’s the shocker, though: MY FEET WERE DRY, PEOPLE. I know what you’re thinking, ’cause I was thinking the same thing. I’ll be damned. I can do what normal people can do. I leaned over in my seat and looked at my BFF.

“Dude. Why did you let me avoid this for so long?!” I said.

“Right? I told you!” she laughed.

That Little Limiting Voice

How many things have you avoided because of excessive sweating? How much in life are you missing out on because the voice in your head convinces you that you can’t do it?  It’s time to tell that voice to STFU. I walked out of the salon feeling so relaxed and powerful. I had conquered a fear of mine. It may seem small to some, but it was huge to me.

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A pedicure calls for new sandals, complete with Summer Soles insoles!

So here’s my challenge to you: go and get a pedicure, guys and gals alike. I haven’t quite worked up to a manicure yet, and I’m not sure I will. The polish chips too quickly on my hands, so I’m not sure it’s worth it for me. But the pedicures definitely are, especially if you get a glittery topcoat. Mine lasted almost a month, and I’ve gotten a second pedicure since. The second time the lady noticed my feet were sweating, but I just brushed it off and said, “Yeah, my feet sweat a lot.” I’m sure I’m not the first person she’s encountered whose feet were a little wet.

So, go do it and then leave a comment below letting me know how it went.

Cheers, sweaty peeps!

P.S. Use the code IHHS for buy one individually packaged pair, get one free at summersoles.com. You’re welcome, and thanks to the International Hyperhidrosis Society for partnering with them.

 

 

 

 

Hyperhidrosis and Public Speaking

Sorry to leave you hanging with my last post, Around Here Lately, where I mentioned I did some public speaking.  Remember when my dear friend Sandy passed away in April? If you missed that post, please catch up. It’s called I’ll Love You Long After You’re Gone.  My first real stint at public speaking happened as a result of her passing.  I was asked to deliver the eulogy at her celebration of life service, an honor I still to this day cannot believe was mine.

 

I was extremely nervous about giving Sandy’s eulogy.  I wanted to write something that would honor her and share with others all of the lessons she taught me.  I wanted to be able to speak well, to get through it without sounding unintelligible amidst my tears.  In addition, I wanted to deliver the eulogy from a dry place.   I am happy to report I was able to do all of these things.  How did I do it?  I started by asking for what I needed, a skill that is crucial for people with hyperhidrosis to master.

 

Ask for What You Need

Public speaking is a surefire trigger for inducing sweat.  Remember, people with hyperhidrosis have overactive sweat glands that respond to stimuli much more easily than the average person’s do.  In order to combat the sweat fest I knew would ensue once I was standing at the podium on the alter in the church, I had to make my needs known.  The pastor  called to talk to me about Sandy so he could get to know what she had been like as a person.  When we spoke, I explained that I  had hyperhidrosis and what it was.  He knew I was fully committed to delivering the eulogy and wanted to help in any way he could.  I asked if the church had a small fan that we could plug in near the podium, which they did.

 

The morning I arrived at the church, I made sure to get there early. Being rushed or running late also makes me sweat, so I was trying to control the situation as much as I could to prevent the flood gates from opening.  I wanted to look nice for Sandy’s service so I dressed up, another trigger since dress clothes aren’t always “safe clothes” like my jeans are.  I chose a blue and white dress that matched the ocean/nautical theme of her tribute. It was made from polyester, a fabric that is really good at concealing sweat. I wore silver ballet flats that have Summer Soles shoe inserts in them for an added sweat absorption factor, plus some cotton no-show socks, so it looked like I had normal feet and a shoe selection like everyone else.

 

Trust in Yourself

When I walked into the sanctuary, I surveyed the room to get an idea of where I would be in relation to all of the people who would be gathered to honor Sandy and be staring up at me.  The podium was to the right, and when I walked up the steps to stand behind it, there was the fan the pastor had promised me would be there.  The fan was on the floor directly underneath the small ledge that would hold my paper copy of Sandy’s eulogy.  I was expecting the fan to be over to the side with just a tad bit of airflow I could feel, but it was directly in front of my feet and pointed up.  I tested out the fan speeds and settled on low.  I didn’t want to look like a supermodel at a photo shoot with my hair and dress blowing out behind me!  After placing my hard copy of the eulogy on the podium, I took out a handkerchief from my purse and placed it to my right for extra protection.  I had control over my immediate area, and I trusted that I could pull this off.

 

My view from the podium.

My view from the podium.

Have a Plan B

When placing yourself in a sweat-inducing situation, always have a back-up plan.  Mine was having the pastor sitting right behind me as I gave the eulogy.  He told me if I got up there and suddenly panicked or was crying too much that he would take over for me.  I just had to point to where I was on the hard copy and he’d take it from there.  While I knew I wouldn’t allow myself to get to plan B, it was nice to know I had an option if I needed one.  Always hope for the best, but never underestimate the importance of having additional measures put in place ahead of time.

 

Take Risks

The first 20 minutes or so of the service I don’t really recall very well, since all I could think about was what I was about to do.  Approximately 100 people attended Sandy’s service, but I didn’t know that until I got up to speak.  I was sitting in the second row of pews, with everyone arriving and sitting behind me.  Delivering Sandy’s eulogy was almost an out-of-body experience for me in some ways.  I took a risk by putting myself out there and standing up in all my sweating glory.  It was worth it, though.  Take risks for the people you love.  Trust in yourself.  When the going gets tough, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve in the name of someone else.  I was able to speak slowly, clearly, and could be understood right up until the very end when I cried while saying the last line.

Public speaking is possible with hyperhidrosis.

Public speaking is possible with hyperhidrosis.

 

Don’t Let Your Circumstances Cloud Positive Memories

Giving Sandy’s eulogy was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life.  I wrote it over a span of a few days, but her service wasn’t until 6 weeks after she passed away.  Then, right before her service, my personal life took a turn I was not expecting.  So, the grief and sadness over losing Sandy, combined with the shock and intensity of other things, could have clouded my view the day of Sandy’s service.  We always have a choice in how we respond to our life circumstances.  Never let your current situation cloud good memories, especially if you have gathered to celebrate the life of someone you love.  Be present in the moment, because it’s all you really ever have.  I am humbled and honored to have given the eulogy for Sandy.  I am proud to say that I didn’t let my excessive sweating or personal circumstances get in the way of remembering her light.

 

A tribute to my friend and surrogate mother Sandy.

A tribute to my friend and surrogate mother Sandy.

Stay tuned for Sandy’s eulogy.  I’ll share it next time, otherwise this post will be too long, and I know you probably hate scrolling because your sweaty hand has to stay on the mouse longer.


 

Copyright © 2013 My Life as a Puddle

 

 

Shoes for Sweaty Feet

I am always on the lookout for shoes that are sweat friendly. The selection of shoes for those with plantar hyperhidrosis is slim at best, especially when it comes to dress shoes. Those seem to be the worst with regard to the “slip and slide” factor. I’ve talked about Summer Soles before, and they really come in handy for those occasions where one must wear dress shoes.

 

Yesterday I was in a ski and golf store browsing around when I came across these Salomon Light Amphib 3W shoes:

Salomon Mesh Shoes for sweaty feet

Salomon shoes made with mesh = sweat-friendly footwear!

 

Yes, I made an impulse purchase, but it was entirely justified! And, they were on sale for Memorial Day! It’s very rare that I can find shoes that are sweat friendly and don’t look totally dorky. These Salomons have an attractive color scheme, are very comfortable, and they keep my feet dry. I went on a hike this morning, and when I got back to my car and changed from my hiking boots and socks back into these and a fresh pair of socks, it was insane how fast my feet cooled off. I seriously thought about going back to the store and buying a second pair for when these wear out.

 

I wore these Salomons to the driving range this afternoon, too. One of the things that I worry about with regard to picking up the game of golf is how badly my feet will sweat, which will make my hands sweat, which will make me worry about losing my grip on my golf club, which will make me worry about what outfit I’m wearing, and is it okay to wipe my hands on my pants or shorts, and will it leave a mark, and how dirty are my hands from gripping the golf club extra tight? You get the point. These shoes kept my feet pretty darn dry! Of course, my feet were still a little damp inside my socks, but it was significantly less because of the mesh design of these shoes. I highly recommend them.

 

After I wore myself out attempting to hit some golf balls (I actually got a few good drives in for not having done it since last summer), I went back to the same ski and golf shop where I got these shoes. I was looking for an astro turf pad to set up in my backyard with a practice net. You know, so I can look like a complete tool as I miss the ball in the privacy of my own backyard versus at the driving range where people can see and laugh out loud at me. Some of us have a reputation to uphold, okay?

 

The Memorial Day sale was still underway, and what do I see on the shelf? These Nike Air Summer Light III golf shoes:

Nike Mesh Golf Shoes

Nike Women's Mesh Golf Shoes

 

Nike Women's Mesh Golf Shoes Product Description

Nike Women's Mesh Golf Shoes Product Description

 

Now, I am certainly not a professional golfer by any standard. I haven’t even played an actual round of golf yet! I just screw around on the putting greens and driving range. But I will get there. With the purchase of these Nike mesh golf shoes, I can walk the greens with a bit more confidence because my feet will be so much cooler.  I need to stay away from the ski and golf store. I’ve developed a pattern in the last two days of purchasing shoes. This could be dangerous. But, I figure I can get away with it this time since both pairs of mesh shoes were on sale, and, I had to throw away my favorite pair of flip flops after returning from a vacation. I love coming home with souvenirs from vacations, but this time I came home with a lovely rash on the tops of my feet. After wearing my flip flops for most of the trip, I didn’t trust that I could properly disinfect them. Into the trash they went. 🙁

 

Stay tuned for my vacation story.


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

Wedding Day Hyperhidrosis

This post was inspired by one of my readers who is getting married soon. She asked for advice and tips on how to cope with excessive sweating on such a big day. So, here you go. I did most of these myself, but also came up with a few new ones as I’ve thought about it over the years. These can apply to both females and males.

 

Point an electric fan toward the alter- who cares if people can see it? This was hands down my saving grace during photos and the ceremony. Appoint a bridesmaid (or a groomsman), ideally the one on the far end who would be closest to the fan, to make sure it’s properly angled toward you at all times.

 

Carry a handkerchief in your hand, and/or a backup one in your dress/tux if possible; if you fold it small enough, it’s hard to even see it in your hand. I had to hold one during my vows, but it was totally fine.

 

I took a Xanax about an hour before the ceremony to relax (if you’ve never taken this, experiment way beforehand so you know how your body will react); plus, you’ll need a doctor to prescribe it.

 

A shot or 2 doesn’t hurt, or maybe a small glass of wine, or a mimosa as you’re getting ready if you’re super nervous like I was. I wasn’t nervous to get married, I was nervous about being the center of attention, standing up in front of a church full of guests, and having it trigger my hyperhidrosis.  I don’t advocate being drunk on your wedding day, obviously, but a drink to help take the edge off would not be unwarranted in my opinion. But, if you don’t drink even for special occasions, then ignore this one (especially if you’re under the age of 21 on wedding day).

 

I wore white ballet-type flats with the socks that are specially cut for flats so you can’t see them.

 

If your hyperhidrosis affects your groin area, you can wear men’s boxer briefs under your dress. Not exactly sexy, but they help keep your thighs from rubbing together and the sweat from potentially dripping if it’s really bad. I also talk about how boxer briefs might work well underneath skirts, too.

 

I specifically planned my wedding date around the weather, and it was thankfully a nice day with a breeze and wasn’t overly hot.

 

Have your florist (if you have real flowers) wrap/weave/sew a washcloth or piece of fabric into the handle of your bouquet. My flowers were fake and my mother-in-law sewed a towel around the entire plastic handle for me. Funny part of the story- the surgical towels my gynecologist had in the office were the color of my wedding flowers, so he let me have one to help me cope with the sweat! Hey, whatever works, right?  If you read my post How You Can Help Someone With Hyperhidrosis, you’ll see a picture of my sweat-friendly bridesmaid bouquet from when I was in a friend’s wedding.

towel-wrapped wedding bouquet

My hyperhidrosis-friendly wedding bouquet

 

Summer Soles: I didn’t know about these when I got married 7 years ago, but I did use them in my heels for my bridesmaid dress. They have wool and suede versions. The wool is more absorbent and they stick right inside your shoes. Go to sweathelp.org to find the coupon code for the Summer Soles website- I think it’s for BOGO free. My blog post about those, and other things, is here: Sweat-Friendly Products & Techniques

 

Make sure the limo or whatever car you’ll be in is properly cooled down prior to entering it. Same goes for the church, the reception site, etc. I’ve even offered to pay my friends for the extra electricity I generate when I make them crank the air conditioning.

 

Have a bag of ice or an ice cold water bottle nearby. Place it on your wrists and neck to help cool your body temperature.

 

Certain Dri liquid:  Again, with this one I’d start practicing now. The liquid makes me itch really bad, but I forced myself to do it for about 2 weeks leading up to my wedding. Use it at night on your armpits, and then by 2 weeks’ of use you should be used to it enough and have it built up that it will help with the underarm sweating. I have since switched to Certain Dri solid at night, and I can use that without any itching whatsoever. In the morning, I use Secret Clinical Strength, which is a great product.

 

Have a mini-bag or purse that you have at the reception with baby powder, extra handkerchiefs, deodorant, and any other personal items that help keep you dry. Bring an extra pair of socks if you go the ballet flat route.

 

Utilize your bridesmaids/groomsmen! If it’s hot out, ask them to wave a fan in front of your face. So, maybe buy some paper fans in advance? Not like you’re a queen/king and high maintenance, but if you need help on the most important day of your life, do not be afraid to ask for it! If they are your friends/family, they will step up to the plate.

 

And, most importantly, trust that you can get through this day. Yes, you may sweat, but God will help you get through it. You will feel so much love and excitement around that you may not think about sweating as much as you think you are going to. Leading up to it you will, but when you are in the moment it won’t matter as much. But be best friends with your handkerchief, and rock it out.

 

You could even talk about your HH at the reception if you want! Had I been like I am now when I got married, I may have given an impromptu speech to educate my guests and take the pressure off of myself. Once I talk about it, I find I don’t have to worry about it nearly as much.

 

If you’re getting married and have hyperhidrosis, you can do it! Do not let your excessive sweating get in the way of all the happiness, excitement, and social interaction that you so deserve.

Sweat-Friendly Products & Techniques

Here are products and/or cooling techniques I use, have tried in the past, or have heard about but not yet tried (in no particular order):

Certain Dri antiperspirant: I prefer the solid over the liquid because it doesn’t make me itch upon application, although I use the liquid for about a week before a big event, like wearing a strapless bridesmaid dress.

Cool Wrapps handmade by Denise Bartell: To absorb groin sweating. They are similar to a sanitary napkin and have a clasp fastener and can be washed in the washing machine. They become softer and more pliable the more times they are washed.

– Men’s boxer briefs so women can wear skirts: I’ve heard they prevent your legs from rubbing against each other and make the groin sweating much less noticeable, allowing women to control their HH much better on their entire body when they wear these with skirts, since it helps to generate air flow around their entire body.

Cool Neck Wraps: I typically find these at local arts and crafts events, but here is a link so you know exactly what I’m talking about. They are great and stay cool for a long time once placed in water to activate. Once they start to get warm, just flip it over to apply the other side to your neck.

Dove unscented antiperspirant for groin sweating & baby powder applied over it

Sweat-friendly flip flops: While it puts one’s feet out there in the open, I am all about air flow. I’ve found a few different brands that help me to avoid the slip and slide factor. I always look for the kind with a suede bottom for the footbed.

Summer Soles  The wool ones were great for a pair of heels I had to wear in a wedding.

Natural supplements to calm down my nervous system

  • Nature’s Sunshine products: Nerve Control and Super GLA Blend
  • Taurine
  • GABA
  • NeuroScience, Inc.’s Travacor and Kavinace
  • L-theanine

– I’ve tried beta blockers like metoprolol and propranolol and they did nothing but make me tired and/or dizzy. I’ve also tried anticholinergics like Robinul Forte with no results, either.

– I did notice I was significantly dried out (to the point of cotton mouth) when I used Transderm Scop patches (scopolamine patches that are typically prescribed for motion sickness right before you’d go on a cruise) when I was having some dizziness for about a month straight. I ended up saving one of these patches to use during my friend’s wedding and noticed a significant benefit. I don’t think it’s been tested for long-term use, otherwise I’d be a loyal pharmacy customer for it.

Personal desk fans:  Who cares if people think you’re weird for using a small fan at work? I rocked one out when I worked as a Certified Pharmacy Technician and had my hands all over Rx vials and Rx labels. I’d set it up directly in front of me so that I wouldn’t sweat all over the labels and smear them. Do what you need to do in order to maintain a sense of dryness.

Ventilation systems:  Find out exactly where the best air flow can be found in whatever room you’re in. Once you know this, you can plan for strategic placement directly under the air vents, or by the window, or near a fan so that you can feel the maximum amount of air flowing around you. I’ve done this at church in both the sanctuary and in the room in which my small group meets.

– Lastly, and probably most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. As Dr. Suess said, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind.” Be your own best health advocate. No one else can do it for you. Take the first step and be courageous enough to give the disclaimer to people that you have a sweating condition that is hard to control. Most people will be understanding and may even ask you more about it. Use this opportunity to educate others and spread the word about a condition that is under-recognized and under-treated.


Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle

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