My Life as a Puddle

Creating hyperhidrosis hope and awareness one drop at a time.

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Sweaty Job Interviews (part 2)

My next job interview was for a health education specialist writer position. Looking back at this job title, its basically what I’m doing right now with my blog. Ha! The portfolio I bring with me to interviews contains writing samples from all aspects of my life, both professional and personal. This past year has provided me the opportunity to build more of a medical, personal health condition, and web story repertoire, all of which have led me to apply for jobs I might never have otherwise considered. My life has been unfolding in exactly the way it’s supposed to, a perfect design of the universe. Yes, there have been some really crappy parts to it over the years, but other things have happened that have prepared me for this moment right now, my next sweaty job interview.

Now, you know it’s a good interview when you can quote Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey, and you bet I did! They are 2 women who have profoundly influenced my life over the years, and I’m not even that old! I was a very mature child, and I can remember watching Oprah’s 40th birthday special and getting all teary eyed over it (a unique trait of mine as a highly sensitive person). Here’s how I was able to work their words of wisdom into some of my responses to the interview questions.

Since my Botox experience and launch of my blog, I can now list my hyperhidrosis volunteer activism and freelance writing on my resume. As the interviewers were perusing my resume and asking me about my work experience, I was able to explain to them exactly what hyperhidrosis is. They had never heard of it before. Yay for enlightenment! As I was explaining how my blog originated, I said something along the lines of this Oprah quote: “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.” I started this blog because I was tired of hiding who I really am and feeling powerless over it. I am now standing in my truth, and if I make a few puddles along the way, who cares? That’s what I do.

I also explained that through my blog I am creating a sense of community for people who sweat and helping them to feel like this is a safe haven. I mentioned the wonderful feedback I’ve gotten from many of you in the form of comments on my blog and personal emails. Thank you for contacting me, too! It’s given me ammunition to use in interviews. I told the interviewers that knowledge creates power, power creates action, action creates awareness, and awareness creates community. The larger the community, the more knowledge we can share, so it becomes a cyclical, never-ending process. Through this community, people can realize what Maya Angelou says, “We are more alike than unalike.”

Now, while I would have liked to have been able to pull these witty sayings out of thin air, I did not. This was an interview for crying out loud! I was nervous. I prepared some notes ahead of time that addressed each bullet point in the job description and gave me points to speak to. The people interviewing me had notes, so why couldn’t I? They are looking for the perfect candidate just as much as I am looking for the perfect job fit for myself. Be prepared. Do your research ahead of time on the company. If you’re lucky, they may even post they types of questions they will ask you on their website under the careers tab.

After the interview was over, I had to take a writing test. Thankfully, they left me alone in the room so I didn’t have anyone watching over my shoulder as I was working on the computer. That is the absolute worst! Want a surefire way to make me sweat? Stand over my shoulder as I’m typing or using the mouse and watch as my computer skills disintegrate into sloppy puddles. Have you seen that infomercial for the EZ Eyes keyboard? I think I might need one of those. There’s a section in the commercial where they pour liquid over it and it doesn’t damage it one bit.

They also asked me what one of my goals in the next 5 years would be. Their website does not have any information available on hyperhidrosis, so I responded that I’d like to beef up their web content with this information. About a week later, they called me for a second interview. This time I met 2 more people, another was on speaker phone, and the original person who interviewed me was there, too. Talk about being in the hot seat! Oh, and I wore a turtleneck sweater to this interview. Bad idea. Bad. By the time I left I was lifting my arms up slightly when I got outside.

In the second interview, I was able to address my 5 year goal and also show them that I’m intrinsically motivated. I created my own hyperhidrosis patient guidelines sheet and matched it to the format they had on their website. They didn’t ask me to do this, but I wanted to show them that I was serious about the job and could create original content that referenced additional resources. They were pretty impressed with it, and I left that day feeling very good about both encounters.

Fast forward to several days later. They called to say that while they really enjoyed meeting me and appreciated everything I put forth to show them who I was, they selected someone else to fill the position who better matched what they needed in the future. Alrighty then. I was running errands when I got the call, so I walked out of the store where it was more quiet to hear this news. I surprised myself by holding it together during the call, and of course didn’t ask if there was something I could’ve done better. I always think of this stuff AFTER I hang up. So then I scrapped the rest of my errands, went home, and cried. And then I cried some more when some of my former coworker friends called to check on me.

However, I did get some blog material out of it. The HH guidelines I think are useful.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Sweaty Job Interviews (part 1)

53 applications. That’s how many jobs I’ve applied for in the last 3 months. You should see the spreadsheet I created to keep track of all of them in case I am audited by the Department of Labor while I collect unemployment benefits. It’s even color coded: red for stop/no, green for proceed/yes, white for haven’t heard a thing. I was able to get my foot in the door for interviews with 5 companies, a feat in and of itself considering the level of competition for jobs vs the number of openings there are.

My first interview was for a technical writer position. I started getting ready several hours in advance so that I wouldn’t feel rushed. If I feel rushed, my sweating becomes much worse, and it’s automatically much worse anyway if I’m getting ready for an interview. It was the middle of November when I had this interview, yet I still used a fan on the floor of the bathroom as I was getting ready. Between my blow dryer and flat iron, it gets a bit warm in there. My hands were sweating as I applied my makeup, too, so I had a hand towel on the sink to wipe my fingers off in between dabs of my foundation. After the beauty routine was over (I swear, life would be so much easier if I were a dude), next came the dreaded business attire. Bleck. It makes me sweat just thinking about it. I hate dress clothes, but they are a necessary evil when it comes to job interviews.

So, I get dressed in my pants suit and go to put on my dress socks and shoes. It’s a struggle to get my socks on, as my feet are already dripping. Somehow I manage and then put my shoes on. It’s probably only 40-something degrees outside as I drive to the interview, but I’ve taken off my suit jacket and am driving with just my short sleeve shirt on and the cool air blasting from the AC vents, which are strategically angled directly on my hands as they grip the steering wheel (which has an absorbent cover on it) and on my feet. I arrive about 20 minutes early, again because of the whole rushing scenario and because you should be a few minutes early to an interview.

I sit in my car for a few minutes and review the copy of the job description, my resume, and my portfolio containing samples of my work. Since this is my first interview in 4 years, I’m pretty nervous and trying not to focus on the fact that I’m pretty annoyed I’ve been placed in this situation to begin with. I’ve been taken out of my comfort zone, laid off, and now I’m supposed to go inside and act like life’s great and put on a happy face? Yes, I’m totally playing the victim scenario in my head for the few minutes I’m sitting in the car, and that’s okay. I’m pretty sure that’s normal.

When I had the phone interview for this position, the woman told me that it wouldn’t be a typical job interview, that the owner of the company basically liked to talk about himself and what he’s created with his company and not ask too many questions of the interviewee. So, I was prepared to listen, which was good. And listen, I did. Your life speaks to you in whispers. Pay attention to those whispers so they don’t have to turn into pebbles, or bricks, or brick walls before you finally get it. When the VP of the company said to me, “So and so will bite your head off if she doesn’t like what you’ve done, and if you’re working on something with her you won’t leave until it’s done. But she’s a really great resource if you have any questions…”, I took that as a sign of what it would be like to work there. There is certainly no perfect work environment, but I don’t thrive when I’m told things like that, or am warned that most of their employees are Type A and will bite your head off in company-wide meetings if they don’t like what you’re presenting. It was a very linear-thinking environment, which makes sense considering what they do there. Lesson learned. They offered me the job, but I turned it down. I didn’t want to accept a job out of fear that it was the only offer I’d get. I didn’t want to settle just to get a paycheck.

Stay tuned. Next I’ll be discussing the awesome set of interviews I had with the next company. I got to educate them about hyperhidrosis!


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Getting the Job I Wanted

When I got back home from visiting my grandma, I met with my friend who had created the vision statement for me. She helped me create a quadrant of pros and cons for the two jobs that were now potentially on my plate. The four sections were Big Yes, Big No, Little Yes, and Little No. She asked me several questions about both jobs that helped me to fill in each section. Once we were done, she said I had my answer to which job I really wanted, which isn’t to say that the first job I had already accepted wasn’t what I wanted. They were both good positions that were a good fit for me.

 

Then my friend said something really profound. “Why don’t you just call the second employer, Maria?” Wait, WHAT? Me? Call THEM? It never even occurred to me that I could take charge with an employer and actually fight for what I wanted as their job candidate. By calling them, I could take my worrying out of the equation. I could do everything in my power to create the result I wanted. So, we walked through what I should say when I called, and I went straight home to get the phone call out of the way. So, with sweaty hands and a wobbly voice, I left a voice mail saying I certainly didn’t want to be presumptuous, but that I was wondering if an offer was forthcoming as I had been offered another position.

 

This pro-activeness on my part got the ball rolling a bit faster on their end. It also allowed me to relax and feel like I had done all I could. Oh! I forgot to mention the part that happened before this. The day after I got home, I was sitting in church and noticed a woman a few rows in front of me who looked very familiar. I basically stalked her for the rest of the service, and when she left a few minutes early I hightailed it out of the sanctuary to follow her. She had disappeared! I decided to walk to the front entrance of the church and wait for a few minutes. Next thing I know, she’s right next to me with her son. So I stopped her and said hello. I then told her that she had interviewed me several days ago and that they were doing a reference check on me for the position. She replied that they all really liked me and that she especially enjoyed the writing samples I had provided as part of the application process. Isn’t it crazy how God works?! I don’t usually talk to “strangers”, but I couldn’t stop thinking about making contact with her once I saw her in church that day. It was a good reminder for her to see my face again.

 

So, after seeing one of the people who interviewed me at church and then making the phone call asking for what I wanted, the next day my phone rang. On the other end was the woman who would be my supervisor. She said that when she was speaking with my references, her heart was breaking when they told her about my layoff. My former boss told her that I was on the verge of a promotion and that laying me off was one of the hardest things she’s ever had to do. Well, it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through as well. Another of my references spoke to how I deal with failure and adversity. She used the specific example of when I was lucky number 13 on the list of only 12 who would be accepted into the Aspen Summer Words Memoir Writing Program. (I still need to blog about that, by the way.)

 

After we got all that out of the way, she offered me the job! Hallelujah and hot damn! Shockingly, I held my sh** together during this phone call. I kind of felt like crying, but I was outside facing the mountains and it was like the sky just opened up and the sunlight poured over me. The outcome I wanted was unfolding right before my eyes. I really took charge of my life over the past few weeks and felt comfortable with how I had performed in my interviews. The amped up level of my hyperhidrosis in all of those interviews was something I dealt with in the moment, but on this awesome job offer day, I was outside in the cool breeze looking west and NOT sweating.

 

I hung up the phone with a huge grin on my face, and if I didn’t care what other people thought of me half as much as I usually do, I totally would have gone to my car while sporting a John Travolta Saturday Night Fever walk. Because that is seriously the song that popped into my head when I hung up.

 

I’d like to thank every one of you for being so supportive and encouraging, and for reminding me of what I have to offer the world when there were days when I truly thought I had nothing left. A special thanks to my parents and siblings, my Young Marrieds and tea committee peeps at church for praying for me, my closest friends (you all know who you are), and to my awesome husband. He has been amazing through these last few months, picking up the additional financial responsibilities with grace and love, and telling me numerous times not to freak out (because I NEVER do that).

 

If you’re facing adversity in your life, keep fighting the good fight. Nothing lasts forever. Well, except maybe hyperhidrosis, but even that shouldn’t stop you from creating the life you want. Never stop believing in yourself. I still struggle with this, but every day I make an effort to remind myself that I am enough. So are you.

 

Here’s to stayin’ alive!


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Second-Round Interviews: Where the Sweating Really Begins

So if interviewing the first time with a company isn’t sweat inducing enough, a lot of places may ask you to come back in for another round of interviews. This is a good thing, as it shows they really do have an interest in you. I was called back by two organizations for second-round interviews. I was getting ready to go out of town for a week when they called, so I ended up having to schedule both interviews on the same day, with only 30 minutes in between them! Oh, and did I mention the interviews were on the opposite sides of town? Eek!

I went through my typical pre-interview routine and arrived to interview again for the medical writing web specialist position. I was there for 2 hours since I had to meet with 4 people. Each one of these mini sessions I felt went very well. In one of them, a person and I chatted about the proper use of grammar and how it can so often be used incorrectly in movies on the big screen. I also was able to share my Botox story and explain more about the writing I’ve done for the International Hyperhidrosis Society.

In another mini session, I felt I was able to convey my desire to be part of a team and my willingness to do whatever was necessary to get the job done. I think they really liked the part when I said “Since when is a job description ever only what it says it is? My last job title was Medical Editor, but I did program management stuff.” They also seemed to appreciate the fact that I said I’d never tell them No. I may ask a ton of questions, clarify expectations, etc., but I will never refuse to do my best to help when and where I can. All of this was coming from my heart and wasn’t simply an attempt to sell myself to them. I told this company in my cover letter that people would describe me as caring, loyal, hardworking, and authentic. When you know who you are, it’s easier to identify the traits and abilities with which you have been blessed.

This is important: be yourself in interviews. Yes, you may have to fake a certain level of confidence sometimes, but underneath all the mumbo jumbo try to remain true to who you are. People can tell when you are being real with them, and also when you’re not. As an example, one of the other people who interviewed me asked me if there was anything else I wanted her to know about me. My response: “Even at the risk of sounding cliché or cheesy, it’s important that you know how much I love working with the written word. Confucius once said, ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ I am a total word nerd, so this job would be a really good fit for me.”

After meeting with all 4 people, I actually had to cut the interview short since my other one for the marketing and communications manager was beginning in 20 minutes across town. This was kind of awkward, but I had to do what I had to do. I speed walked from the elevator to the parking garage and hightailed it out of there to hopefully get there on time. Remember the I hate to be rushed discussion? Well, the rushing was in full force at this point, and I was going 80 mph down the interstate to get there on time. 80 mph with the windows cracked so I could get some air flow going. I made a wrong turn at one point and ended up blowing through a stop sign while I was at it, but thankfully only one other car was there that honked at me.

By the time I pulled into the parking lot, I was right on time with zero time to spare. I had maybe 30 seconds in the lobby before I was whisked back to meet with the CEO. It was a fairly short interview, and we hardly talked at all about the job itself. We talked more about the revamping of the organization and how only a few of the original employees stayed on with him during the restructuring process. He mentioned what courage and stamina it took those people to decide to stay, and I was able to use this as a segue into talking about my blog and how I understood the importance of courage and standing in the truth of who you are. All in all, it was a very good conversation. Since I only met with the CEO, I wasn’t there for very long the second time around. I was given a mini marketing project to complete, as the candidates they were interviewing didn’t have the marketing experience they were looking for. This project was to gauge where I was creatively. I took the project home and was given the weekend to complete it.

Needless to say, I was exhausted after a day’s worth of second-round interviews, so I peeled off my dress clothes and relaxed in some sweats. I got a good start on the marketing project before I jumped on a plane the next day to surprise my grandma who currently is undergoing chemotherapy. There were many blessings in disguise that resulted from my being laid off, this being one of them. My generous uncle contributed to my unemployment fund by flying me out as a surprise so my grandma could see her first-born grandchild. I’ll be blogging about this next. I am so grateful I was able to board a plane on short notice to see my family!


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

A Week Straight of Sweaty Interviews

Looking for a job is hard work. When I was able to schedule a week’s worth of interviews (to get companies to actually call you is a feat in and of itself ), I was excited yet also totally freaked out. That’s a lot of dress clothes and company research and advanced worrying about the anticipation of my sweating I had to endure. At least I could get them all out of the way in one shot, though.

The first Interview was for a marketing and communications manager position. After I interviewed with this organization, I had mixed feelings when I left the interview. Mixed in the sense that I didn’t know how well it went. I liked the organization and felt like it was a good fit for me, and I for them. I met with four different people and answered many different questions. Overall, I thought it went okay, except for one of the interviews in which I basically had to go bullet point by bullet point down the job description to convince one person I was qualified for the job. That portion of the interview was absolutely nerve wracking and was the part where I was sweating the most. I almost felt like my face turned red at one point, which can happen as part of my hyperhidrosis.

That part of the interview was the last one I had before leaving the office. On the way home, I felt like such a failure. I had prepared for the interview as best I could, did my standard pre-interview routine to pump myself up (I’ll be talking about this in another blog post), and came in with my portfolio ready to display. By the time I got home, though, I didn’t know what to think. I was just numb from the process and thought for sure I had failed the interview. I still had an editing test to complete, though, which thankfully they allowed me to take home. I emailed the test back and started the waiting process again.

The next day I interviewed for a training editor position. My best friend had called me early that morning to alert me of some developing marketing announcements about the company that she had heard on the morning news. I’m so glad she called, as I was able to talk about this information in the interview. They were very surprised I knew of these latest announcements, so it helped me stand out and showed I was doing my research on their company. However, this interview went so smoothly and I was so calm that I think I may have come across as arrogant and overqualified. I am not arrogant. Confident in certain situations, yes, but arrogant, no. So when I left this interview, I again didn’t know what to think. I felt good about it, but at the same time I thought maybe I seemed overbearing.

So now it’s midweek, and the combination of a crummy interview and a good interview put me in a healthy place for an interview for a medical writing web specialist. Upon entering this interview, I was acutely aware of my surroundings and the way they made me feel. I had to park my car in a parking garage that is monitored by security, and then I entered a building with controlled access (I couldn’t even go to the restroom beforehand to rinse my hands under cold water to help reduce the sweating!). It was a short walk from the garage to the elevators, and I made sure to slow down my normally fast walking pace so that I wouldn’t generate additional sweat and become out of breath. I notice that my breathing changes during interviews, too. I tend to analyze everything that happens to me.

I arrived at the proper floor and had to be buzzed into the office. I was extra early for this interview since it was snowing that day, so I sat in the waiting area and thumbed through a magazine about the organization. I should say slopped through, as my fingertips were nearly making squeaking noises on the glossy paper as I turned the pages. I had on a long sleeved cardigan, so I used it to wipe off the drip marks as I turned each page. Don’t ask me what the magazine was about. I have no idea. I was too nervous trying to hide my droplets and adapt to the room temperature while I waited. And I swear there was a vent above me blowing hot air. Evil, I tell you.

Long story short, I interviewed with 3 managers. Since this position focused heavily on writing, I was able to showcase the freelance writing I’ve done for the International Hyperhidrosis Society (see those articles here and here) and talk about my blog. I explained what hyperhidrosis was, the Botox experience I had, and how my blog has brought so many great things my way and to my readers based on the feedback I’ve received. They asked for writing samples, too, so I sent them links to my blog, specifically to the To My Readers entry. So, if you’re reading this now and have contacted me personally via the Contact Us form on my blog, have left a comment on my blog, or have posted on my Facebook page, I thank you so very much. Your blog comments were part of what many of the companies I’ve applied to have asked to see specifically. The time you took to post your thoughts is helping me in my job search process.

At the conclusion of this interview, I was given a mini tour of the office, shown where my office would be, and told that they’d like to have me back to meet with a few other members of the team. I took that as a good sign. The next day, Thursday, I went to the last interview I had scheduled for the week. This wasn’t an interview, though. It was another editing test, and those who passed the test would be invited for an interview.

This 4th company told me the pay was significantly less, but I opted to go and take the test anyway to get more experience in the job search process. I felt like an excited fan when I arrived. I was in a publishing house that produced many of the books I’ve read, stuff by authors like Martha Beck, Pema Chodron, Michael Bernard Beckwith, Eckhart Tolle, and Andrew Weil. You can even bring your dog to work at this place! So cool. I would have loved to work here, but I knew going in that it probably wouldn’t work out. I was contacted to return for an interview, but by this point the position had changed to temporary contract work, which really didn’t align with my career goals. I am so grateful for the experience, though. I met some great people, a few furry friends, and got to physically touch layout work that I’ll probably read in book form when it’s published. Love that! I truly respect and admire the work this publishing house does.

Stay tuned to learn whether I was invited for a second interview with any of these organizations.

job-interview-cartoonImage credit Bio Job Blog


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Sweaty? Check out these treatment options for hyperhidrosis.

While there isn’t a cure yet for hyperhidrosis, there are many treatment options for excessive sweating that are available over the counter, via prescription, or in a health care provider’s office.

Hyperhidrosis Defined

If you’re new to my blog, let’s start at square one.

Perhaps you’ve never heard the term hyperhidrosis before. If you have excessive, uncontrollable sweating (four to five times more perspiration than the average person who sweats), you might have hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis is a recognized medical condition that can cause a crapload of problems for those who have to live with it, including skin infections, social anxiety, and depression. It’s more than just a physical problem on your skin.

Now that we’ve got the definition out of the way, let’s chat about how we get this horrible problem to stop, even if only temporarily.

Treatments for Hyperhidrosis

Picture the following list of treatments like a pyramid, with the most common, least invasive or least complicated at the bottom, and the more involved procedures at the top.

Antiperspirants

What’s the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant?

Antiperspirants do just what they sound like – they are anti-sweat and work by creating plugs in the pores of the skin to block the sweat from escaping. Apply these at night to clean skin for maximum effectiveness. Since your body temperature cools overnight, it allows your pores to better absorb the ingredients to form those plugs.

Deodorant simply blocks odor. 

Over-the-Counter Antiperspirants

Look for the words clinical strength on products for the highest percentage of active antiperspirant ingredients. Or, look on the packaging under ingredients to manually determine the percentage of active ingredient.

There are many OTC products for hyperhidrosis, including creams, lotions, powders and wipes.

I’ve had good results with Carpe products for excessive sweating.

Note: I am a brand partner for Carpe, and this is an affiliate link. Your purchase earns me credit for any sales made through this link, which helps me pay for the costs associated with running my website. Thank you for your support!

Carpe Lotion and My Life as a Puddle

Carpe lotion is available over the counter to treat hyperhidrosis.

Read my posts about Carpe.

OTC antiperspirants aren’t just for your underarms. If you have groin sweating, for example, you can try sensitive skin and unscented varieties for that sensitive area. I don’t recommend applying it directly onto your private parts, but around the general area instead.

Prescription Antiperspirants

The most common active ingredient is aluminum chloride hexahydrate; many brand names are available. Follow the directions from your health care provider, pharmacist, or the package insert as these medications can be more harsh on the skin.

Natural Remedies

These might include sage tablets, St. John’s Wort, valerian root, chamomile and others. While there aren’t many studies on these herbs, we shouldn’t discount their potential effectiveness. Each person’s body is different, so some of these might work to help you find relief from hyperhidrosis.

Oral Medications for Excessive Sweating

Anticholinergics

Prescribed as an off-label use for hyperhidrosis, this class of medications hasn’t been studied in clinical trials for hyperhidrosis. However, these medications have been to shown to be effective in decreasing sweating.  Anticholinergics work by blocking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the little jerk that precipitates the nerve impulse that creates sweating. Generic names include glycopyrrolate, oxybutynin, benztropine, propantheline, etc.

Beta Blockers 

Beta blockers like propranolol or metoprolol work in the central nervous system by blocking the body’s physical reaction to anxiety. Many people will take a beta blocker before public speaking engagements to help them calm down. These medications are typically for short-term, episodic instances of hyperhidrosis, like sweaty job interviews. Many cannot tolerate their long-term side effects.

Benzodiazepines

These are controlled substances prescribed for those with anxiety. Use with caution; this class of medication can have an addictive effect. Not everyone with hyperhidrosis has anxiety, but hyperhidrosis can cause it.

In some people, we’re not sweating because we’re nervous, we’re nervous BECAUSE we’re sweating. There is a difference.

Botox®

OnabotulinumtoxinA injections (Botox®) block the chemical that is responsible for turning on the body’s sweat glands, at least temporarily. I’ve had these injections in my hands, which you can read about here.

Iontophoresis

This is a medical device that uses an electrical current passed though shallow water, which temporarily blocks the sweating. Iontophoresis is generally used for hands and feet by placing them in shallow trays filled with water that contain metal boards to conduct the electricity. Most companies require a prescription in order to ship the machine.

Lasers

Used to treat axillary hyperhidrosis (sweaty underarms), lasers can precisely target, treat and destroy sweat glands in this area.

miraDry®

miraDry® uses microwave technology to elimate sweat and odor glands in the underarms. It’s available in over 50 countries worldwide. 

Qbrexza™ 

The newest prescription medication on the market, this cloth containing glycopyrronium is an anticholinergic. It’s applied topically to the underarms to reduce axillary hyperhidrosis.

Surgeries for Hyperhidrosis

Local Surgery for Underarms

This is called local because the surgery is performed locally on the area affected by excessive sweating, which is the underarms. Surgery is used to remove the sweat glands; they may be cut, scraped or suctioned out.

ETS Surgery

This is the most drastic and permanent procedure to treat hyperhidrosis, and many consider it a last resort.

Please make sure you do your research before committing to this procedure. Don’t simply trust the results you see on the first page of your internet search.

Many of those first page search results could be paid advertisements by those who perform this procedure.

ETS stands for endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. This is where a surgeon severs individual nerves on the sympathetic nervous chain near the spinal column. ETS is a permanent procedure, and no successful reversals have been reported.

I’ve met people in person who are literally sweating through two layers of clothes due to compensatory sweating (CS) from ETS surgery. They deeply regret having the surgery, and their CS is worse than the original sweating they were trying to stop. 

Read Carrie’s ETS story and Leann’s ETS story.

For a complete explanation of ETS surgery, visit the International Hyperhidrosis Society.

Mental Health and Hyperhidrosis

While these may not treat your hyperhidrosis, they can help improve your mental health and well-being and/or produce a feeling of relaxation. I’ve done or continue to do all of these myself.

Therapy

I love therapy! Find a good psychologist or licensed family therapist to help you dig deep into your hyperhidrosis feelings if you need to. Sometimes a therapist can help you discover underlying causes or thought patterns that are responsible for how you might feel.

Consult a psychiatrist or your primary care physician if you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety. In some cases, medications like antidepressants may help you. Be aware, though, that some antidepressants can actually increase sweating as a side effect.

Massage 

But I can’t let anyone touch me! I’ve heard that BS excuse before, because it’s one I used myself. Here’s how I got over it to accept the gift of touch.

Pedicures

My feet sweat wayyyy too much to go through with this. Also a BS excuse I used to use. Here’s how I let my sweaty feet be exposed.

Acupuncture

While acupuncture to treat hyperhidrosis didn’t work for me, the overall body benefits and relaxation did help me feel better as a person. Read my sweaty acupuncture stories.

Final Thoughts on Hyperhidrosis Treatments

I hope you find this information useful. While there currently isn’t a cure for hyperhidrosis, this is a pretty comprehensive list of options to try. Remember, each person’s body is different. What works for one may not work for another.

I am thankful we have a variety of treatment options from which to choose, and I will never give up hope that one day hyperhidrosis can be cured. Because without hope, we have nothing.

Sources:

  • International Hyperhidrosis Society. Hyperhidrosis Treatment Overview. Retrieved from https://sweathelp.org/hyperhidrosis-treatments/treatment-overview.html on Nov. 15, 2019
  • Mayo Clinic. Hyperhidrosis Diagnosis & Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperhidrosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20367173 on Nov. 15, 2019
  • Miradry. How it works. Retrieved from https://www.miradry.com/how-it-works/ on Nov. 15, 2019

Guest Post: Hyperhidrosis in Massachusetts

Meet Anonymous, 33, from Massachusetts. She is a brave soul with hyperhidrosis who has chosen to share her sweaty story on mylifeasapuddle.com. I want my blog to be a safe space for those who find me, which is why her guest post is anonymous. Going public about our sweaty secret can be scary, but using our sweaty voices is the bravest thing we will ever do.

On what areas of your body do you experience hyperhidrosis?

Hands (palmar hyperhidrosis), feet (plantar hyperhidrosis), armpits (axillary hyperhidrosis), groin, face (craniofacial hyperhidrosis)

How did you discover that your excessive sweating is a recognized medical condition?

At some point in high school, I remember seeing a news special about hyperhidrosis and was floored that there were others like me. Until then, none of my pediatricians had ever said anything about it. When I brought it up to my pediatrician at the time, he was pretty dismissive about it.

How does your hyperhidrosis impair your daily life?

It affects pretty much everything, from:

I chose to go to college in Maine in part because cold weather is easier than hot weather.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis and Job Interviews

Do you avoid certain things because of your sweating?

All the time! Most recently, I avoided playing pool at a work outing.

RELATED: Hyperhidrosis and Avoidance

Do you find that hyperhidrosis affects your mental health? If so, in what ways and how do you cope?

No

What treatments for hyperhidrosis – if any – have you tried?

  • Certain Dri antiperspirant
  • Glycopyrrolate
  • Botox injections in my hands
  • Other topical antiperspirant creams for feet and hands
  • Iontophoresis, and
  • Being presented as a case study at Dermatology Grand Rounds at Massachusetts General Hospital

RELATED: Read my product review of Carpe and how it finally gave me some relief!

Is anything working for you to help you cope with your hyperhidrosis?

Yes. I cope as best I can through outlets like running, biking, being outside and also talk therapy, recharging with alone time, reading. I think I loved running and sports in general because I considered cross country and track the great equalizer for me…if you’re running your heart out in a 5k race, you’re supposed to be sweating.

What’s the worst thing about your hyperhidrosis?

The negative reactions I get from some people when shaking hands, etc.

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What do you think is the biggest misconception when it comes to hyperhidrosis?

That we sweat because we’re nervous and that somehow we can make it stop on demand.

What would you like to see in the future when it comes to treatments for hyperhidrosis?

Something that works and doesn’t have severe side effects or causes compensatory sweating. Also, more research into the genetics behind hyperhidrosis.

RELATED: The time I stood on stage and spoke to members of the FDA and pharma about hyperhidrosis

If you could tell the world only one thing about hyperhidrosis, what would it be?

Like any other medical condition, it’s not something we can help or control all the time.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about your sweaty story?

A few things come to mind when I think of how hyperhidrosis has impacted my life in recent years.

Getting Fingerprinted With Hyperhidrosis

The first is when I was repeating the MCAT while applying to medical school for the second time and I needed to provide an electronic fingerprint before testing for ID purposes. I was nervous because of the exam and so of course my hands were sweating profusely and my fingerprint wouldn’t register.

I tried explaining about hyperhidrosis and that at this point, wiping my hands on my jeans wasn’t going to do much. The exam proctors looked at me like I was crazy, didn’t have an inkpad to do a regular fingerprint, and suggested that they might not let me test.

Needless to say, I was in full panic by then and I don’t remember exactly how they decided to let me start the test, but I do remember sobbing quietly in front of my computer for several minutes before trying to pull myself together to begin the physics section.

Reader, I did not do well on the exam. My dermatologist gave me a letter explaining my hyperhidrosis to use another time, but in the end, I decided medical school was no longer for me because of this incident and many other incidents while working in a hospital and research labs.

Wearing a Cast With Hyperhidrosis

Last summer, I broke my wrist and pelvis in a bike crash. My wrist fracture was so severe that I required surgery to set the fracture and a metal plate along the bone. When the surgeon explained that the metal plate serves as an internal cast and I would be wearing a removable splint instead of a plaster cast, I was so thankful.

I had been dreading wearing a cast on my wrist for 6 weeks with hyperhidrosis and thinking my hand would basically just rot in the cast or they would have to make me a new cast every week.

sweaty hand after wearing a splint after surgery

Wearing a cast or splint on any limb is a concern if you have hyperhidrosis due to excessive sweat pooling in and around the covered area.

Luckily, too, I had occupational therapists who were not put off by my sweaty hands while they had to treat my wrist. Hyperhidrosis definitely still complicated things like keeping my stitches dry. I had to meticulously clean my splint and change the sleeve I wore underneath it frequently, but at least I didn’t have to suffer through an itchy, sweaty cast for most of the summer.

Do you have a sweaty story?

I’ve opened my blog to the larger hyperhidrosis community. If you’d like to be featured, please fill out the form on my Contact Me page. In the subject line, enter Guest Post. Not a writer? No worries! I can edit your story, send you questions to answer to create one, or you can record a video.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents for the blog My Life as a Puddle

For ease of reading and to find my blog posts on specific topics, I’ve created this table of contents for you. Don’t see what you’re looking for, or have an idea for a blog post? Contact me, and I’ll see what I can do. (Note: Hyperhidrosis is referred to as HH on this page.)

Check out the article below that I wrote for SELF Magazine!

Hyperhidrosis: Ten Things People With the Condition Wish You Knew

Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month

Since 2017, hyperhidrosis officially has its own month dedicated to growing awareness for uncontrollable excessive sweating.

2019 – That’s a Wrap! 2019 – Meet My Friend Jess – She might be the youngest hyperhidrosis advocate in the world!
2019 – Stand Together for Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month

Hyperhidrosis Guest Posts

I’ve opened my blog for others to share their sweaty stories! Want to share yours? Contact me using the subject line Guest Post to get started.

Hyperhidrosis Meetup – Boston Hyperhidrosis in California
Hyperhidrosis in South Carolina Hyperhidrosis in France
Hyperhidrosis in the South Hyperhidrosis in South Central Massachusetts
Hyperhidrosis in New Jersey Hyperhidrosis in Massachusetts
Hyperhidrosis in Colorado Hyperhidrosis in Ohio
Hyperhidrosis in the Philippines Hyperhidrosis in Ontario
Hyperhidrosis in the Military Hyperhidrosis in Kenya
My Friend Has Hyperhidrosis,
and I Never Knew
Hyperhidrosis in the United Kingdom

Let’s Talk Sweat, Baby

Listen to me on the following podcasts and interviews talking about hyperhidrosis (and maybe a few other things).

Women For One Courageous Truthtelling Retreat
Pharmacy Times Continuing Education™ Launches Hyperhidrosis Patient Perspective Video Patients Have Power with Clara Health
Just Talking with Christopher Snider Run This World with Nicole DeBoom
Crazy Talk with Lee Thomas The Slippery Yogi podcast

How My Hyperhidrosis Blog All Started

About Discovering I Had HH (Part 2)
Welcome To My Blog Becoming Comfortable Enough to Talk About My HH
Discovering I Had
HH (Part 1)
Why I Write About HH

Life With Hyperhidrosis

Got hyperhidrosis? How’s your self-talk? Hyperhidrosis Life Hacks for the Doctor’s Office
Hyperhidrosis and Touch Hyperhidrosis and The Kindness Rocks Project
Do You Have a Child Who Sweats Too Much? The Power of the Hyperhidrosis Patient Voice
What Happens When There’s No Air Conditioning My First Non-Sweating Massage
Outdoor Summer Sweating Adventures Wedding Day HH
HH & the ‘Fight or Flight Response’ HH & Hand Holding
A Conversation on HH HH & Skin Rashes
My First-Ever Massage My Trip to Ithaca, NY
The Day My Car Died, or, Emergency Scenarios Groin Sweating
Another Massage? No Sweat! HH & Summer
HH & Church HH & Avoidance
HH & Traveling HH & the Beach
Coming From a Place of Yes HH & Fall
HH & Standing in Lines Trip to Martha’s Vineyard, MA
An HH Thanksgiving Public Speaking and Sweat
HH & Public Speaking (Part 1) HH & Dating
HH & Public Speaking (Part 2) HH & Oprah
HH & Public Speaking (Part 3)

Treatment for Hyperhidrosis

Sweaty? Check out these treatment options for hyperhidrosis
Carpe Product Review Interview with the Founders of Carpe
My Botox Adventure Post-Botox Treatment: A Short Recap
Botox Gratitude Reflections on Botox
A Visit to the Dermatologist HH & Yoga (Round 2)
My First Acupuncture Treatment My Worst Sweating Experience. Ever.
HH Guidelines for Patients ETS Surgery for HH
HH & Yoga New HH Treatment Study Now Open
HH & Acupuncture Underarm Treatment Study: What to Know Before You Go

Tips, Tricks & Products for Hyperhidrosis

Sweaty Gift List for Hyperhidrosis
Sweat-Friendly Products & Techniques The Thompson Tee Needs Your Help
The Thompson Tee The Thompson Tee Limited Time Offer
Keep Calm & Carry a Fan Thompson Tee Special Offer
HH Top 10 Yoga Products for Sweating
Shoes for Sweaty Feet HH & Fingerprinting
Paper, Pencils & Pens for Sweaty Hands Summer Shoes for Sweaty Feet
HH & Touch-Screen Phones Best Shirt for Underarm Sweating
iKey Stylus for Touch-Screen Phones Best Yoga Products for HH
A Vacuum for Sweaty Hands Five Life Hacks for Living With Hyperhidrosis
The Thompson Tee for Women

Hyperhidrosis Hope & Awareness

How You Can Help Someone With HH HH Time Capsule
HH in the News The Sketchbook Project 2012 (Digitized)
HH in the News – Focus on Teens Quotation Inspiration
HH – Is it a Disability? If I Had a Superpower
To My Readers Finding HH in Art
Telling My HH Story (Releasing Your Secret and Shame) HH Haikus
Do Not Live in Fear (A Poem) HH Speech
International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHHS) St. Louis Seminar Dear 16-Year-Old Me
The Sketchbook Project 2012 My HH Theme Song
Health Activist Writers’ Month Challenge HH on Pinterest
Nominated! 2012 WEGO Health Activist Awards 2012 Great Nonprofits Awards
HH Feelings SKIN
Writing From Your Soul HH-Dedicated Dance
Around Here Lately  HH Fears
This Model Has Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis, Careers & Job Searching

My Layoff A Week Straight of Sweaty Interviews
Be Changed By Your Circumstances, But Not Reduced By Them My Pre-Interview Routine
How To Survive a Layoff Second-Round Interviews – Where the Sweating Really Begins
Sweaty Job Interviews (Part 1) Clearing My Vision
Sweaty Job Interviews (Part 2) Getting the Job I Wanted
HH at Work HH & Paperwork

Miscellaneous Reflections on Life

Say What You Need to Say Love Wide – The Eulogy of Sandy Bristoll
Greeting Cards – A Tutorial on Recognition I Won a Writing Contest! Alone at My Table
I’ll Love You Long After You’re Gone One Year Later
Ten Things I Learned in 2017

Coming From a Place of Yes

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

Hyperhidrosis and Traveling

I was super excited to fly in and surprise my grandma. But the one thing I never look forward to is going to the airport. I don’t mind flying, but I hate having to deal with the logistics of my sweaty hands and feet in the airport. Take the suitcase issue: I hate holding the handle as I roll it around. It gets wet and then dries with this weird coating from my sweat. I usually try to only hold it when absolutely necessary, otherwise I will maneuver it around with the inside of my wrist and lower arm. While one hand is busy with my suitcase, the other hand is holding my ID and boarding pass. These have to be placed in my hand just right so that the ink from the boarding pass doesn’t smear. I have my ID on the bottom and the boarding pass underneath just my thumb. I probably look suspicious to security since I’m so uncomfortable in my skin by that point.

Once they check my ID, next comes the mad rush to take off my shoes, remove all liquids from my bag, and get everything on the conveyor belt. I can never wear sandals or flip flops to the airport. One, I’m not a fan of placing my bare feet on a germ-infested floor where everyone else’s feet have been. Two, who am I to put my bare, dripping feet all over the tile floor so I can leave footprints behind for all to see? Sick. So, I always wear tennis shoes with socks, or some kind of slip-on shoes with socks. I still leave footprints through my socks, but at least it’s a lesser evil. Once I make it through security, it’s on to the tram to get to the gates. I don’t like sitting down on the tram. I feel cooler if I’m able to stand, but at the same time, I have to hold on somehow since the tram moves pretty fast. I try to position myself around a pole so that I can lean into it rather than hold on to it. Also, I always wear jeans to the airport, never shorts. I need the fabric to cover the backs of my legs, especially if the seats on the plane are leather. Plus, jeans have more fabric than shorts, the better to wipe my hands on. I’d like to try and wear one of the longer skirts I’ve talked about before, but that would look dumb with a pair of tennis shoes and socks, so I’ll have to work on the shoes for that outfit first.

So, after dealing with the airport sweatiness and grabbing my bag from the carousel at baggage claim, I was off to find my Uncle Jimmy. He was the brains behind this idea in the first place, and was so generous with his frequent flier miles to get me out there. I was already sweating again after having to wait for my suitcase, but it was magnified in anticipation of the surprise we were about to pull off. I love surprises. I wish more people would surprise me as much as I like to try and surprise them. Combined with my Highly Sensitive Person trait, I could feel the excitement of the environment being pumped up the closer we got to my grandma’s house.

As we pulled into the driveway, the headlights could be seen from the living room and my grandma and mom were looking out the window. I stayed in the car and acted like I was my uncle’s girlfriend who was finishing up a phone call. My uncle went inside and said, “Okay, mom. The rest of your Christmas present finally arrived. UPS finally figured out what happened to it.” He opened the door with a big fanfare, and in I walked. It was my grandma, my aunt, and my mom (who had already been there for 3 weeks) in the living room, and it took my grandma a second to realize that it was me standing in the middle of the room. Once I said hello, her face just lit up. It was a bittersweet moment for me. I was so happy to be there, yet so scared of what she would look like after already having a couple rounds of chemo. She looked better than I thought, so that was good. I shockingly managed to keep my tears from spilling over, and then I looked over at my mom to say hello. She was pretty much dumbfounded, too, and my aunt hadn’t even looked up yet, since I was standing sort of behind the chair she was sitting in.

My Aunt Nancy said she thought Uncle Jimmy had been up to something, since the last time he was over he was walking around with a twinkle in his eye. Yep. That’s my uncle. He has such a big heart, especially for his family, and he spoils us any chance he gets. Now more than ever, I am so grateful to him for helping me to create these memories with my grandma, and with him. It was definitely a positive aspect of my layoff that I can now appreciate. If it weren’t for losing my job, I would not have been able to drop everything and fly out. It got me away from the doldrums of my job search and not having anywhere to really go during the day since most everything costs money. It was at my grandma’s house that I could simply be. Be there for a week of quality family time, forget about the job applications, and just reconnect with people whom I hadn’t seen in awhile. It allowed me to quiet the constant hum in my brain and slow down.

In the slowness of this week, I was able to do some forward thinking. All of the job interviews I had completed were now out of my hands, so there was no use worrying about the outcome. It was much easier to stop ruminating about everything since I wasn’t at home and had people to focus on. Coming up, I’ll be talking about some specific actions I took (and that were gifted to me by others) while visiting my grandma to help create the outcome I wanted upon my return.

Here are a few snapshots from my trip.

Maria and her grandma

My grandma won the Duncan Hines Baking with American Dash contest in 1985 for a recipe she made up. She’s awesome like that.

Maria and her mom

This is my wonderful mother. She and I got some quality time together during my trip.

Maria and her family

This is my maternal grandma’s side of the family, minus my other uncle.


Copyright © 2012 My Life as a Puddle

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