About Me

I am a classical flutist living with Hyperhidrosis. I want to make the world a better place for people like me living with this condition. One step at a time, I want to create awareness that Hyperhidrosis is NOT Just a Little Sweat.

Here’s my story:

My parents were the first to realize something was different with me when I was only one year old. They would help me stand and they noticed me leaving sweaty footprints. In Elementary School, I didn’t understand why no one wanted to hold my hand and they called me gross. Middle school didn’t get any better as I often had armpit sweat stains reaching all the way to the bottom hem of my shirt. As I got older, I learned to adapt and purposefully avoided certain social situations. This made me angry because I felt I shouldn’t have to live less of a life because of Hyperhidrosis.

Although the odds seemed they were against me, I became a classical flutist, earning bachelor and master degrees in flute performance. Today, I perform often with a successful chamber group in NYC.

Becoming a flutist with hyperhidrosis was very difficult. Certain Dri anti-perspirant cured my underarm sweating, but my palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis are still very prevalent. As a flutist, I still struggle with sweating and swelling and fear I will never be able to reach my full potential. My hands have swelled to the point where I couldn’t feel my flute anymore. Instead, it felt like I was wearing thick rubber gloves and I could barely move my fingers.

Many times that I play on stage, the audience will be able to see the sweat on my fingers, running down my wrists and dripping to the floor. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also one of the worst feelings to be standing center stage with red blotches all over my neck and chest caused by Hyperhidrosis’ blushing symptom.

Until recently, I have been hiding my condition. Today, I am an advocate for spreading Hyperhidrosis awareness and acceptance. I write this blog about my experiences with the condition and hope to reach out to others to let them know they are not alone. I feel like I tell someone new about my condition every day. It’s scary, but I have courage knowing that I’m helping people just like me.

12 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Glad that I found your blog and read your story. I am surprised that you did not seek help for this condition, but in a way, I am happy for you because no doubt you would have been offered sympathectomy… as a …cure. There are many seductive websites that offer the ‘minimally invasive’ ‘gold standard’ treatment. Yet, the surgery can and does have severe side-effects. Many of those are not openly disclosed to patients and one has to spend a lot of time to realize that the surgery will affect the whole nervous system, the whole body and not just sweating. But this kind of ‘research’ usually occurs after the fact.

    I suspect, that you as a musician will be particularly interested knowing that sympathectomy will and does affect emotions are experienced and can lead to emotional blunting.

    “‘Sweet has reported the case of a very intelligent patient, the dean of a graduate school, who after a unilateral sympathectomy to treat his upper limb hyperhydrosis, found that his previous and customary sensation of shivering while listening to a stirring passage of music
    occurred in only one side and he could not be thrilled in the sympathectomized half of his body. These cases were interesting because emotions are usually experienced in a rather diffuse and bilateral fashion unless innervation has been specifically interrupted.”

    Physical Control of the Mind: Toward a Psychocivilized Society
    By José Manuel Rodríguez Delgado Published by Harper & Row, 1969 p. 133-134

    It can be particularly disturbing for someone when they realize that the emotional inner ‘landscape’ is not there any more and do not have strong emotions (on both ends of the scale). For a musician this would not doubt be devastating, as it would affect how you experience musing and how you are able to convey it to others. With the inability of feeling the intensity of emotions, your music would become dull and robotic.

    There are several surgeons and anesthetists (for chemical blocks) who now openly advertise sympathectomy as a cure for anxiety disorders, phobias, general fears (of flying, heights, dark), addictions, PTSD, even depression and Parkinsons (to reduce the shaking). It is a well known (much less publicised) fact that the procedure will CALM the nervous system (as it claims to reduce the excessive sympathetic drive that should be the culprit for the excessive sweating). Research shows that the reason for HH is much more complex than SNS overactivity, but this fact does not bother the surgeons.
    Unfortunately, not many people have a say in weather they want their nervous system tweaked, they generally do not want tot have sweaty hands.

    I am quite certain that in few years time the procedure will not be offered because of this reason, and I have found several neurosurgeons who dropped it from their surgical repertoire (and indemnity insurance companies seem less and less willing to insure the surgeons for it!) Unfortunately, there will always be quite a number of enterprising surgeons whos confidence in their ability to ….cure any condition will not be hindered by the complaints of their patients. And the willful ignorance they displayed when it came to lobotomy remains the same to this day.
    In the meantime, I would like anyone who even for a second contemplates this surgical ….cure, to consider how they would feel, if they had part of their emotions, the ability to really feel and engage with something deleted.

    If anyone is bothered by this condition, please seek out a number of opinions, and mostly, do not go to a surgeon to ask what treatment is best for your palmar HH. The answer always will be the same: of course the surgical procedure!
    Iontohoporesis and Botox can be both effective. Unfortunately I never tried it, because I thought, why bother with something that is just a band-aid when there is a safe, minimally invasive and permanent solution. Now, all I can say is this: Never mind that one of them can get expensive and the other time-consuming! That is nothing compared to being stripped of your emotions, personality, drive…and your creative future. Life.
    Mia
    http://sympathectomy.blogspot.com
    On this blog you will find the scientific literature on the effects of sympathectomy. This is not disclosed to the patients before they sign the ‘informed consent’ document for this procedure.

    • Hi Mia,

      Thank you for your comment about the ETS surgery. I agree that it has such mixed results and what you describe is what frightened me enough to cancel my ETS surgery. Thank you for this info and I hope it reaches others who are considering the surgery.

      Best,
      Caryn

  2. I’m an attorney with hyperhidrosis, and I absolutely relate to your stories. I decided a long time ago that I was going to be me and not let my palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis dictate what I could do in life. However, it remains a source of anxiety to this day. Shaking hands with other attorneys is often awkward. My clients often wonder why I’m so “nervous” that I’m sweating bullets. But the overwhelming winner of the “sucks to have hyperhidrosis” award is my anxiety related to physical intimacy and romantic relationships. Glad to hear you have found a guy who understands your situation and doesn’t care. I’m still looking for my own version of that guy. Nevertheless, I refuse to let this disorder make me give up on love. If its a love match, that stuff won’t matter. Best of luck to you and yours!

    • Hi Jessica,

      I’m sorry to hear about your anxiety from HH. Try and breathe through it and remind yourself that you are confident. HH likes to try to say you’re nervous, but don’t listen to it! You know it’s not the truth.
      As for romantic relationships, I think a guy will understand if HH is explained. I notice that people may say negative things about sweating, but that’s just because they don’t know the extent of the condition.
      I’m happy that you decided a while back that you weren’t going to let HH dictate your life! Continue living your life the way you want to 🙂

      Best,
      Caryn

    • Jessica, there are treatments available out there. If your HH is really affecting you, please give all non-surgical treatments a go. However if anyone offers to cure your condition by disrupting, burning, cutting, clamping your sympathetic nervous system, run as fast as you can.
      Ionthoporesis and Botox is very effective, please seek help from a trained dermatologist (not a surgeon), who understands the condition.

  3. Im so glad i found this blog.
    Im a high school student 16 years and HH has affected me so negatively. Having this condition for my whole life has taught me to live with it. However there are so many nights when i just break down and cry because i just want normal palms and feet. This has caused me to be so socially awkward and I have never spoken about my problem with anyone before, even my closest friends. Im sure that they have noticed something but they never actually say anything and pretend its nothing. Knowing that other people have this disease and found a way to live with it makes me so happy. I dont want to stop doing what i love just because of this problem and again thank you for this blog.

    • Hi Hayley! I hope you’re doing well!

      Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear about your struggles, but I sure can relate. First, I would try to think about some positives that HH has given you. I know it’s a really unfortunate condition in many ways and it can be hard to think about it any differently, but I’ve gained a lot from HH and I’m sure you have too! I’m way more patient with myself and others, I feel stronger emotionally after learning to cope, and I feel pride when I succeed with something that HH has made difficult. You have learned to live with it, like you said, and you haven’t let HH rule your life. For this, you should feel really proud 🙂

      Second, it seems like you have really good friends! They haven’t said anything about your HH and pretend it’s nothing. If you feel comfortable, it might be good to tell one of your closest friends. From my experience, my friends never thought it was a big deal. After I told them about my HH, they said they noticed but didn’t think it was anything like a condition. When I explained it, they listened and we talked, but it never really came up after that. It’s just more of an understanding kind of thing. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to be able to be so open with my quintet after telling them about my HH. I don’t have to hide wiping or fanning my hands. I just do it, and they don’t even look twice. Hiding HH can take so much effort and it’s exhausting. I still hide sometimes and I definitely still have those socially awkward moments. I think it does get better though. Especially knowing that you’re not alone 🙂

  4. Hi Caryn,
    I am so glad I found your blog. I am thinking of starting my own blog and talking about my condition, how it has affected me and how I live with it. My professor gave me a nudge to do it without him knowing my condition but I am now seriously considering it.
    I noticed you mentioned some anti antiperspirant that helped with your under arm sweating. Could you please tell me what it is and where I can get it? I recently started sweating severely from my under arms and it is very embarrassing to say the least. I even sweat when I am cold! Not that that shocks me since I suffer from severe sweating of the hands and feet since I was born.
    It is so nice to read your blog, thank you!
    And kudos to your boyfriend 🙂

    • Hi KayCee,

      Sorry if this is a duplicate. I tried to send a response a few minutes ago, but I’m not sure if it worked.

      I’m glad you found my blog and I’m happy that you are thinking of starting your own! Let me know- I would love to follow you!

      The antiperspirant that helped my underarm HH is called CertainDri. You can find it at most major pharmacies like CVS and Walgreen’s. You can also find it at Target and Walmart. Stick with it and you will hopefully see results! I used the roll-on and had success, although it was kind of painful. However, I’m glad I used it because I do not worry about my underarm sweating anymore and I can use regular deodorant now.

      Thanks again for reading my blog and for your comment!
      Best,
      Caryn

  5. Hi there Caryn, this is a fantastic blog with perfectly written and interesting information. I’m a Palmer Hyperhidrosis sufferer myself and fully understand what you’ve been through. I have meetings with company directors regularly and I find myself struggling to shake anyone’s hand, and on top of that I get anxious sweats when it comes around to the particular hand shake time! I found the answer (eventually) in the form of Iontophoresis. I didn’t believe that it would work as it’s aimed at mild cases and I considered mine to be a fair amount worse than ‘mild’. I couldn’t believe the results from such an odd looking machine either, but hey it worked so who cares? I even bought it myself in the end so that I could ‘top-up’ the treatment from home.

    Caryn I’m going to follow your fantastic blog but I do ask a little favour that perhaps you could cast your eye over my website blog I started 3 weeks ago. My terminology may not be up to date! Of course it’s still building content and isn’t looking as clean and crisp as this but I’d really love your opinion and comments if you have the time.
    My site is http://sweatysolutions.com
    Of course you are more than welcome to email me directly if you have any helpful advice or wish to get involved.

    • Hi Lee,

      Thank you for your comment and I’m glad you found my blog! Iontophoresis is also my miracle. I consider myself to have severe palmer and plantar Hyperhidrosis, and Iontophoresis works for me! Although it is more effective on my hands than feet, it is truly amazing and I hope it continues to be successful. Actually, I’m about to hook myself up for a treatment in a little bit.

      I checked out your blog and am very impressed! You have done so much work since starting it only a few weeks ago! It looks great and I see that you have a lot of comments already. Great job and thank you for creating it! You are helping out the HH community 🙂

      Best,
      Caryn

  6. I am so happy to have found this blog and a name for my condition. I am 20 years old and have always delt with excessively sweaty hands and feet, but unfortunately I have never met anyone else with my problem and I guess I just never looked into it as a medical condition until today that I decided to search a little. I have just been so used to just dealing with it. Now that I know I am not the only one I am excited to start looking into treatment options.

    It has caused an endless list of discomfort for me. At church, when its time to say the Lords prayer and hold hands, I always had to shove myself between my mom and sister in fear of holding a stranger’s hand and literally drip my sweat on them. Shaking hands at my job gives me such anxiety I cannot even focus on who I am meeting. I have so my beautiful sandals and flats that fit like a glove but I have never worn for more than an hour because the sweating in my feet is so bad I only feel comfortable wearing something with socks. I live in New Mexico and dresses with tennis shoes are not exactly “in”, Even at work it is unbearable to go through 8 hours sloshing around in my heels. My phones and keyboards get soaked, I slip off the mat in yoga class, and I can’t go anywhere without a handkerchief or wearing jeans/cotton to wipe my hands. My boyfriend doesn’t mind but he’s one of the few and I don’t blame them.

    As someone who does not take medications or goes to the doctor often, I want to start with the simplest treatment and work my way up from there. The lotion you mentioned sounds like a good start, I will see what results I get and let you know!

    Thank You!
    Susana

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