My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time

Tag: writing (page 1 of 4)

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

 

 

Writing From Your Soul to Speaking From Your Soul

I hate public speaking. It makes me sweat. So what did I decide to do? Stand up in front of, oh, 500 people  and share a poem I had just written 20 minutes before.

 

It’s hard to explain how this happened. It was rather surreal, but I’ll do my best. Toward the end of day 2 of the Writing From Your Soul workshop (you can read about Day 1 of the workshop), Nancy Levin, brilliant poet and event director of Hay House Publishing, led a series of writing exercises. The first was called I Remember. That was the starting point for each line of whatever it was that we were each writing. This was followed by Most Memorable Kiss, Fire or Water, and What I Absolutely Can’t Write About. Besides the second exercise, all of these I ended up relating back to my hyperhidrosis. I was astounded that all of these exercises were coming full circle to exactly what it is that I have been writing about publicly for nearly 2 years on this blog. This is not coincidence. This is synchronicity. Synchronicity is alignment with Source.

 

So there I am, fleshing out these writing exercises and pulling my shirt sleeve down over the side of my palm to keep my notebook dry. The words are flowing, and each time Nancy says the 5 minutes are up, it seems like I’ve just started to write things down. We complete the exercises and then there is time for 3 people to share what they’ve written. The first 3 to make it to the microphone are the ones who get to be heard. I feel myself jump out of my seat and make a mad dash for the mike stand. Alas, I am not fast enough amidst the skinny aisle, ballroom chairs, and bodies crammed into the small space. I walk back to my seat, dejected and wondering what in the heck I was thinking anyway.

 

But then, they decide they have time for more people to get up and share. I get right back up and literally run toward the microphone. This time, there are about 8 people in front of me. I am the last one standing in line. I decide to stay there and see what happens. So I assume my “absorbing sweat” pose: arms crossed over my notebook, palms grasping my sleeves. Then begins the uncomfortable inner monologue: Oh, sweet Lord. I am standing up in front of all these people. Like, 500 of them plus 3 big video cameras and God knows how many people who are streaming this webcast and watching me in their pajamas. What am I doing?! 

 

I can feel my heart thumping out of my chest. I wonder how high my blood pressure is because I can feel my pulse in every ounce of my being. I am fully in fight or flight mode. Slowly, slowly, the line gets smaller. There is a brief set of words spoken followed by applause, and I hear everyone share his or her piece willingly. Thump, thump, drip, drip. It’s a good thing I covered my notebook in clear Contact paper a few weeks ago, otherwise the front and back cover would be shredded by now. My hands are sopping wet, and so are my feet. Breathe in, breathe out. You are well, I tell myself. You are okay in this moment.

 

Suddenly, I am front and center at the microphone. A lovely gentleman on staff at Hay House comes and adjusts the height of the microphone for me. I look on stage and up into the warm and pretty face of Nancy Levin. She is wearing a sleeveless black dress and some killer black heels that she totally rocks. I take a deep breath and say my name. I can hear my voice reverberating back at me in the microphone. I’m really doing it. I am speaking what needs to be spoken. I am standing on the shoulders of the writers whom have come before me from all centuries of this life, whose work I look up to and from which I gain strength. I take another deep breath and read my poem loud and clear. I speak with truth, with light, without apologies.

 

Here is the poem I shared with the world only 20 short minutes after I wrote it, having no idea I’d be doing so.

 

I Remember

I remember once having dry hands
I remember them getting wet
I remember my condition used to not have a name
I remember when I found its name
Excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis.
I remember being seen
I remember being validated
I remember being loosed from my shame
I remember being touched for the first time with understanding
I remember reaching out to others so they are not alone
I remember saying I AM.
I remember launching my blog, My Life as a Puddle
I remember creating hope and awareness one drop at a time
I remember being changed by my circumstances,
but certainly not reduced my them*
I remember that water is the Source of all life
I remember that I am enough exactly as I AM
I remember to love myself through it.

 

 

I remember hearing the audience chuckle when I got to the line where I said my blog name. After all, it is kind of catchy, isn’t it? After I read the last line, I looked up at Nancy, and she had her hands over her heart when she thanked me for reading. I walked back to my seat amidst the applause of 500 people. I felt like I was on top of the world. I was also shaking like a leaf. A LEAF, people. As I sat down, the woman sitting next to me reached into her bag and pulled something out and handed it to me. It was a piece of matted artwork. She said she felt led to gift this to me after hearing my poem. I took it from her in awe, my hands now dry as a bone as I held it up to look at it. That’s when I almost lost it. My eyes teared up and almost spilled over in gratitude. Gratitude for her artwork and what it said, gratitude for this once-in-a-lifetime event, gratitude for having the courage to get up and speak my truth.

 

Here is my new piece of art by MaryLou Falstreau. I also met her husband Alan Falstreau, who co-creates with her. Thank you MaryLou. I will forever treasure your work and the memory now associated with it.

MaryLou Falstreau Artwork

Sorry the photo’s a bit blurry. I was still shaking when I took the picture.

 

 

Since I’m feeling especially daring today, I stopped to visit one of my tree pals on the way home from the workshop to record my very first blog video. So, here’s a spoken version of my I Remember poem. You can’t see my eyes in this one; my future’s so bright, I need shades!

 

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

*This line is adapted from a quote by my favorite poet, Dr. Maya Angelou.

Writing From Your Soul: A Workshop for Writers

Today was day 1 of 2 of the Writing From Your Soul workshop I’m attending. Dr. Wayne Dyer is the keynote speaker, accompanied by Reid Tracy, CEO  and Nancy Levin, Event Director, of Hay House Publishing. A few nuggets of wisdom I picked up today:

 

If you change your thoughts, you can heal your life.

What are the words you are speaking over yourself and embedding in your subconscious mind? Are you telling yourself negative or positive thoughts? The words “I Am” are powerful, and so is what follows them. Are you speaking “I am unworthy because I have hyperhidrosis”? or maybe you’re saying “There’s something wrong with me. I’m suffering and my life sucks.” But what if the very thing that’s “wrong” with you is exactly what’s right with you?

 

I’m not saying that we should always be happy about our excessive sweating. Let’s be realistic. But you can choose how you react to your condition. I no longer say, Hi, I’m Maria. I suffer from hyperhidrosis. I can now say Hi, I’m Maria. I have hyperhidrosis, and I’m creating hope and awareness one drop at a time. I believe that God gave me hyperhidrosis for a reason. I want to make my sweaty mess my message.

 

Everything in life is here to teach you a lesson. It’s up to you whether you get the lesson. Awaken to your life and live consciously so that nothing in your life is a mistake.

 

Always be a seeker.

Declare yourself an expert on your hyperhidrosis. You are your own best health advocate. Always seek treatment options and therapies that can improve your quality of life. Never give up hope that one day there will be a cure for hyperhidrosis (note: I do not believe ETS surgery is a cure) and that we can enter a dry world like everyone else.

 

If you’ve tried nearly every type of treatment to stop your excessive sweating like I have with no success, perhaps the best treatment is the extreme self care you give your mind and your heart. Re-frame your hyperhidrosis in a different light. If you’re still in the darkness, tell your story and open wide those curtains you’ve been hiding behind so the spotlight can highlight your extra shimmer. Leonard Cohen said, “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

 

Detach yourself from outcomes.

Life is cracked. Life is crooked. So is hyperhidrosis. It makes us vulnerable. It makes us scared to talk about our condition. But you can choose to come out into the world and show everyone exactly who you are. And who you are is enough. Plain and simple. You are perfectly and wonderfully made. We are all unique expressions of the source that created us. Let your true self shine. Literally. It is our superpower!

 

Detach yourself from the expectations that a treatment might work. If something does work for you, that’s fabulous. But if it doesn’t, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and further feelings that you are inferior and your body is against you. By releasing expectations of a certain outcome, you can be pleasantly surprised if a treatment works. But either way, you can rest in the knowledge that you are pursuing everything you can to live a better life. It’s all in how you see yourself and your hyperhidrosis.

 

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

 

 Puddle and Dr. Wayne Dyer

I told myself I’d get a picture with Dr. Dyer. Lo and behold, I did!

Eight Girls Taking Pictures

I can’t sleep. I’m too worked up and am still trying to get my hyperhidrosis under control. In fact, hold on, please. I need to get up and grab a dish towel to dry off my keyboard. There we go.

 

Why am I worked up? Do you have certain things in life that really make you come alive? Things that make your heart beat faster, things that make you think, This is what I am alive for? Well, I do. Besides being in nature hugging trees and hand writing letters,  I feel closest to God when I attend author signings. If you don’t know what an author signing is, let me enlighten you.

 

When an author publishes a book, he or she may go on a speaking tour to promote the book, thereby generating word of mouth to get people excited and aware of the beautiful gift that’s wrapped up inside. A book is a present you can open again and again. If you’re really lucky, sometimes an author will put on paper exactly what it is that you’ve been ruminating about. In those instances, the soul can bloom over such a connection.

 

Timing in life is everything. I received a galley of Eight Girls Taking Pictures by Whitney Otto about a month ago. A galley is a paperback version of a book that is soon-to-be-published. It is nearly the final version, but may contain typographical and grammatical errors. The idea is to bind the book quickly and get it out to booksellers, book buyers, and book reviewers so they can read it and move forward with purchasing it and generating word of mouth.

 

I wrote a book review of Eight Girls Taking Pictures and discovered the author and her editor, Whitney Frick, would be at my local independent bookstore to discuss the publication process and to read from the book. I attended the author signing tonight, and that’s why I’m so worked up and sweaty. My hands always sweat more when I’m excited. Put me in my favorite bookstore, especially when an author is there whose work I’ve read, and it’s twice as bad. So, I sat down and pulled out my galley copy and notebook to take notes. You never know when someone will make an utterance that simply must be written down. I am a copious note taker for this very reason.

 

I am a voracious reader. As Gustave Flaubert said, “Read in order to live.” I take that advice seriously. I would die without books. As I gingerly placed my Post-It flagged galley on my lap, it attracted some attention. Whitney the editor came over and said hello and asked where I got the galley. I explained I wrote book reviews and am a total book nerd. I even patted my book. Yep, book nerd.

 

I’m an introvert by nature, but when I am aligned with my passion all that shyness crap goes out the window. I totally used this as a networking opportunity and even gave her my freelance and blog business cards. She asked me what I like to read and I gave her several examples, including my purchase from this evening called The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. It’s highly recommended by Oprah, and I love me some Oprah.

 

The evening progressed into the author discussion and reading, and then a panel discussion followed about the publication of the book. Whitney the editor proceeded to tell the audience a little bit more about her job as an editor, and said so many things that rang true to me I had a hard time not gaping at her in astonishment.

 

I even spoke up when it was time for the Q & A session and mentioned the importance of enabling public comments on the author’s Facebook page. Once the Q & A was over, we all got in line to have our books signed. I scored a used copy of How to Make an American Quilt for 3 bucks that night, too, so I got both of them signed by Whitney Otto.

 

We all know how annoying it is to stand in line when you have hyperhidrosis. I had to wait about 5 minutes or so, and my hands would not stop sweating! I did my strategic arm fold and let my sweat soak into my long sleeves. I had already removed my scarf and shoved it in my purse so my neck could breathe. I was also holding a book bag with my new books in it. It was made of paper and had wooden handles which I turned a lovely shade of dark brown as I gripped them in anticipation of being up close and personal with an author.

 

It’s times like these where I will sweat and not care. I refuse to avoid encounters like this just because I have hyperhidrosis. I, too, deserve to live my life surrounded by the written word. To Whitney Otto and Whitney Frick, please ignore the part where I shook your hands and mine was wet. Totally can’t help it!

 

Long live REAL books. I adore hard copies.

 

Eight Girls Taking Pictures

My galley of the book

 

author Whitney Otto

Me with author Whitney Otto!

 


Copyright 2012 My Life as a Puddle
 

2012 Great Nonprofits Top Rated Awards

Have you worked with the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHHS) in any way, shape, or form? Have you received treatment, gotten additional patient training as a physician, or had your life personally changed by them like I have? The organization Great Nonprofits is a review site similar to Yelp or TripAdvisor. They are honoring the top nonprofits with their Top Rated Awards. If you have been impacted by the International Hyperhidrosis Society, please let Great Nonprofits know by writing a review. It’s a simple process and takes only a few minutes of your time. Visit the IHHS page on Great Nonprofits to get started, and thank you in advance for helping. Together we can find a cure for hyperhidrosis!

 

Read my IHHS review

Read more about my personal experience with the IHHS and how it helped me launch my blog.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

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

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

 

 

 

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