Have I avoided this enough yet?…Part 1

ETS stands for: Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy.

For the most vague and quick definition, WIKI says it pretty well- “Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is a controversial surgical procedure where certain portions of the sympathetic nerve trunk are destroyed.”

This surgery is most commonly used to cure palmar hyperhidrosis. Some doctors will guarantee that 100% of palmar sweating will be cured following this procedure.

This is how and why I found about the surgery:

Last summer was probably the worst summer of my life. It was my first summer living in NYC full time. And it was HOT!

As you know from my previous entries, you know that I struggled a lot. But what you don’t know is that I told my parents last summer that my HH was so unbearable at times that I wanted to throw myself in front of an oncoming subway train.

There, I’ve said it. Please don’t worry about me. I’m fine and mentally healthy now. I didn’t want to end my life for any other reason than feeling disgusting in my own skin due to HH. But, I’m sure you can imagine, this is a pretty big deal. In the heat, I literally can’t move. I need to stand, frozen and still. I need to bury myself so deep inside and try my best to meditate out of the distress I’m in.

Here comes another summer…pretty nervous about it, as it’s already really hot- and it’s just May!

Anyway, my parents were pretty worried about me. My mom had researched about the surgery for a while and gathered all these materials, yet she didn’t tell me until the end of July.

My family and I were going to Arizona for vacation. We were in line for security. I’m wearing sandals.

Why did I wear sandals? How did I forget that you need to remove your shoes before going through the metal detectors? And what’s that up ahead? No rug! Black linoleum.

So there I was, freaking out in line that I was going to 1.) leave embarrassing sweaty foot prints on the linoleum and 2.) cause myself danger by slipping and sliding on it 3.) cause attention to myself in a place where I really shouldn’t be.

My heart is pounding, I’m sweating profusely, and all of a sudden my mom goes:

“You’re getting surgery.”


My mom tells me about her research and that there’s a surgeon in NYC who does the procedure. She seems very enthusiastic, yet, there’s something she’s not telling me.

“I’ll tell you later,” she says.

No, tell me now.

“They need to deflate your lungs.”

No way.


I don’t think I’m alone in the fear of doctors and hospitals and needles and anything invasive. So, my first reaction to learning about the surgery was me freaking out about the prospect of my lungs being deflated.

My mom brought all of her research with her, and I read through it on the plane to Arizona.

I literally started crying on the plane reading the material.

It was just so emotional to know there was a “cure” out there that would help people like me. I just thought about all the pain (emotional) I’ve been through and other people have been through and how much HH sucks.


If you have HH, I suggest you do a TON of research about ETS surgery. As WIKI says- it’s a “controversial surgery.”

Please don’t take this post to mean that I support ETS.

Stay tuned for Part 2 to learn what I have decided to do.


Thanks for reading, and feel free to ask questions.

Caryn Joan


One thought on “Have I avoided this enough yet?…Part 1

  1. Pingback: 100th Blog Post – Three Years of Just a Little Sweat | Just a Little Sweat

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