Lessons for my high school self

I’ve had HH for almost 28 years now and I think I’ve learned a thing
or two. If I were to travel to the past and meet up with my high
school self, I would share what I have learned.

I approach my high school self. I am in the band room, my second home.
I know that at this point in my life I was slowly starting to tell my
closest friends and teachers about HH. I had a love for playing the
flute, but struggled with my hot, sweaty hands. I also had
difficulties in school, taking tests and writing essays with paper and
pen.

“You inspire me because you are brave. You have talked about HH openly
with your closest friends. You give me hope that people are accepting
and understanding. I hope that you continue to share your stories
about HH with those closest to you.”

I know that once I hit college, I started hiding my HH again. I barely
told anyone about it until my junior or senior year. I can only
think of 5 people I told in college- none were teachers. I think
telling people about it and talking openly, even with a few people, is
so helpful and a real coping mechanism.

“People aren’t paying attention to you and your HH as much as you
think. You may feel that your sweat is obvious and feel anxious about
it, but chances are other people really have no idea and can’t tell.”

People with HH are amazing at hiding it even though it might not feel
like it. I went through college and grad school without any teachers
knowing I had it. I just took a deep breath and did what needed to be done.
Easier said than done, but I’ve learned to at least try to stop worrying about
what people think.

“Don’t give up and follow your passions.”

I didn’t let HH hold me back. I found ways to modify the activities I
loved or talked to someone about it for advice. I have played the flute
for 19 years. All I needed was a fan, a hugely absorbent towel, great
musician friends, and sometimes a tub of cold water to stand in.
I’ve learned to make do with what I have.

“Although it might sound cliche, I promise that it does get better.”

Since graduating high school, I’ve had 10 more years of experience with
HH. I’ve learned different coping techniques, tried new treatments, and
helped the HH community grow. I know there is help and support out there
and have seen it first hand.

I am proud of my journey with HH and am happy that I have learned with it
and from it. I know that I can’t really share what I have learned with my high
school self, but I can share it with you.

How would life be different without HH?

Sometimes I wonder how my life would be different without Hyperhidrosis.

I wouldn’t have to worry about the little things like greeting someone new with a handshake or writing with a pen on paper. I wouldn’t have to worry about holding a newspaper, either deteriorating the paper with sweat or coming away with print on my hands. I wouldn’t have to worry about holding onto a subway rail, taking change back from a cashier, accidentally touching someone’s arm with a cold and wet hand, or leaving an embarrassing hand print behind. I wouldn’t have grown up with other kids not wanting to hold my hand during square dancing in gym class or as their line partner to go to the lunch room. I wouldn’t have had to avoid certain things growing up like playing clapping games with my friends or braiding each others’ hair.

Sometimes I think about life without HH and how normal it would have been. I wouldn’t have had to be anxious about my underarm sweat stains reaching the hem of my shirt, or going to the nurse’s office several times a week just to avoid my embarrassment. Maybe I would have continued taking gymnastics lessons. Maybe I would have joined clogging dance with my sister where there is a lot of hand holding.

Life without HH seems so normal and it’s something I’ve envied for a long time. But thinking of life without HH sure has a lot of maybe’s and  what if’s.

What I do know is that I really can’t imagine my life without HH. It is a part of me and it is a part of who I have become. Without HH, I would have taken all of the above for granted. I feel fortunate that I don’t.

HH has made me a stronger person. It has given me pride in accomplishing even the smallest of tasks. HH has also made me an observer and someone who cares a lot. It has given me an understanding and appreciation for all people.

So how would life be different without HH? I’m not quite sure.
But I think life with HH has made it better.

 

Will my kids have HH?

I’m often asked if I’m worried about passing Hyperhidrosis on to my kids. HH runs in my family, so I know that there is a pretty good chance of passing it on.

I’ve given this a lot of thought for many years. In the past, I was concerned about passing it on because I know the difficulties of HH first hand and I don’t want my children to suffer through it. Children especially have trouble with HH in school and social activities. Years ago, a part of me thought my future children would be angry with me for passing it on.

However, after more thought and discussion with family members, I can say that although there is a high chance of passing HH on to my kids, it doesn’t deter me from wanting to have my own children. I have always wanted to be a mom.

In fact, if my children are born with HH, I will be incredibly well-equipped and be their biggest support. I will be able to share coping techniques and be knowledgeable about treatments. I will be a huge resource and am confident I will be able to help them.

 

Dry Grip No Sweat Lotion Interview

A couple of months ago, I suggested some over the counter treatment options for my younger cousin who also has HH. He is in middle school now and has had HH for his whole life. Out of the options I suggested, he chose to start with a lotion called Dry Grip No Sweat.

He is having great success with the product so I thought it would be a fun idea to interview him about it and his experiences with HH. A big thank you goes out to him for helping me with this post!

Here’s what he had to say:

Caryn: What do you think the hardest part of having HH is?
Cousin:
I think the hardest part of HH is having to deal with it all the time. I mean, unless it was the winter, usually my hands were sweaty. I personally had a really tough time getting used to it, and even now. I just want it to be done with.

Caryn: What difficulties do/did you find in school with HH?
Cousin: It is quite hard to cope with it at school, like when you accidentally touch someone, or when you have to pass something around and you get it really sweaty, or trying to hold a pencil but your hand keeps slipping off, it becomes annoying, and sometimes embarrassing.

Caryn: Do/did you have any difficulties with HH outside of school?
Cousin: I absolutely had troubles with it outside of school. Trying to do sporting activities was a bust, I couldn’t really touch anyone, and eventually I started to get stressed. Stressed that it wouldn’t go a way, no matter what I tried to do about it.

Caryn: How often do you apply the lotion and how does it make your hands feel?
Cousin: I apply the lotion every morning on weekdays, and at first it feels like glue because it’s sticky, but that only last for about 5 seconds. Other than that, I don’t feel it whatsoever, and often forget I put it on that morning.

Caryn: How successful do you think it has been?
Cousin: I believe it has worked quite well, but I like to think of it as brushing your teeth. It’ll only work if you consistently do it, as for most things. Now even though I’m not applying it on weekends, I just do that so my hands don’t get used to it, so I can use the same lotion for longer.

Caryn: How has your day to day life changed since using the lotion?
Cousin: My day to day life has changed for the better, no doubt about it. I hardly notice my hands sweating, and usually that’s after gym in school. I no longer have the problems I used to have in school, and I much enjoy it. It really stinks to have HH, but if you don’t do anything about it, it won’t go away.

Thanks for reading,

Caryn

 

 

Entire Medical Journal dedicated to HH

Last week, I received an email from the International Hyperhidrosis Society stating that an entire issue of the Dermatologic Clinics medical journal was dedicated completely to Hyperhidrosis! This is ground-breaking news and I wanted to learn more. The issue is found in October 2014, Volume 32, Number 4. It covers topics such as:

  • Prevalence of HH
  • Impact of HH on Quality of Life
  • Special Considerations for Children with HH
  • Topical Therapies
  • Iontophoresis
  • Botox treatments
  • Oral medications
  • ETS surgery
  • Emerging therapies
  • Resources for patients and sufferers
  • Incorporating diagnosis and treatment into Clinical Practice

You can purchase the entire issue or individual articles. This is a really exciting breakthrough for people with HH. The issue will be available to medical specialists and provide education on our condition and the latest treatments available! Just another big step in the right direction for universal awareness and understanding.

Hyperhidrosis Genetics Study

This past year, I participated in a study conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine on the genetics of Hyperhidrosis.

In today’s e-newsletter from the International Hyperhidrosis Society, I learned of some findings from the study. You can read the article HERE.

If you are living with HH, I encourage you to contact the College of Medicine and participate.

My experience with them was very positive. I was mailed a free kit that included a HH questionnaire and supplies for DNA samples (mouthwash samples).

After the questionnaire was complete and mouthwash samples were collected, I mailed the kit back to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, free of charge.

It is important for your family members to also participate in the study whether they have HH or not because genetics and heredity are being tested.

Thanks for reading,

Caryn

 

What do you say?

Hey All!

I’ve had a great time responding to all your comments from the article, and it’s time to get back to posting! Thanks for your patience!

For some time now, I’ve wanted to write about my palmar HH and what I say or think  about my hands when they are extra sweaty.

Palmar HH is really difficult.
If my hands are extra sweaty and I’m in a meeting, I literally can’t take notes. I can’t even move.

The other day I was in an awfully stressful meeting. I literally sweated through half a notebook- just by holding it.

If the sweat wasn’t enough, I was also super self conscious about my neck and chest blotching and was trying so hard to cover it up.

Other examples of Palmar HH struggles:
If I’m on a hot platform waiting for the subway, I can’t read a paperback book or a newspaper- I can’t even hold it! (Recently switched to Kindle and loving it)
Also, just last night, I was trying to answer emails on my Mac and my sweat was interfering with the trackpad! Can’t catch a break.

Palmar HH is so annoying!

Here are a few things I say about my hands:

My hands are…

1. melting
2. not working right now
3. broken
4. bad
5. a mess
6. not behaving

I’m sure I missed a few.
What do you say about your palmar HH?
Please leave me comments!

Thanks for reading,
Caryn