My Secret Isn’t So Secret Anymore

For Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month this year, I had the amazing opportunity to share my story of living with Hh on a larger scale. The International Hyperhidrosis Society approached me earlier this year to ask if I would consider being a part of their Awareness Month campaign and tell my #HhStory. Although I am usually pretty secret about my condition, I decided to take the leap and trust that a video like this could help others living with Hh and spread awareness and understanding. It’s always important to me to portray Hh as NOT just a little sweat. The video really captures the struggles I’ve faced and the obstacles I’ve had to overcome to get through each and every day. My story is just one of many from millions of other Hh sufferers all over the world. You are not alone. We are in this together.

So, without further ado, here’s my story.

So, I guess my secret isn’t so secret anymore…and that’s okay.

Thank you to the International Hyperhidrosis Society for this opportunity and to my husband and mom who joined me to share their experiences of having someone with Hh in their lives.

To all my family and friends – thank you for your never-ending love and support ❤

Caryn

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November is Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month

I live with Hyperhidrosis in a private way. It is my secret life. My palmar and plantar Hyperhidrosis can be invisible to others. I’ve also become so good at hiding it that there’s a chance that the people I interact with on a daily basis might never even know I have this condition.

I have lived with Hyperhidrosis for 31 years. I am used to this life. But sometimes it doesn’t seem to get any easier. As I sit and write this, I am fanning my hands and soaking the sweat up with paper towels. I am trying to breathe through my discomfort. I am alone in my room, not anxious or nervous about anything, and I’m still struggling just being me.

One of my most successful coping techniques for Hyperhidrosis has been writing about my experiences on this blog. It has helped tremendously getting my thoughts and frustrations out about living with this condition. Another way I cope with Hyperhidrosis, is to tell people in my life about it.

November is Hyperhidrosis Awareness month. It is our second annual month and I am so thankful that this condition has reached the point to have an official month. It is a very big accomplishment in the world of Hyperhidrosis and it’s an exciting time to be a part of it.

I encourage us all living with Hyperhidrosis to get out there and tell someone about this condition and what it means to have it. Not only will telling someone about Hyperhidrosis spread awareness and understanding, it could give you the relief and support you need. For me, telling certain people about my Hyperhidrosis has made my quality of life better.

One really impactful example I have for you happened just last week.

For some backstory, a few years ago, I decided to start mentioning my Hyperhidrosis in my job interviews. I was at the point in my life when I was starting to switch careers and go into Special Education. Hyperhidrosis was my biggest inspiration for my decision, and as scary as it was to talk about, I found it fitting to explain why my life experience has led me to this point.

So, my current boss has known about my Hyperhidrosis since the first day I met her. Since starting this job a year and a half ago, little by little, I explained what living with this condition means to me. I’m thankful I told her about my condition right away because it allowed me to be myself.

I work from home now, which has been a huge help in managing my own room temperature and always having a fan at the ready. But this fall, I have been traveling to the office more frequently. Last week while I was in the office, I was part of a group meeting. The room was very warm and I knew immediately that I was going to have an issue with my hands sweating. I had a paper towel with me, but I was worried it was not going to be enough. At any other job, I would have just dealt with it and melted away, not being able to focus on the meeting at all. I’ve had those meetings where all I could concentrate on was my sweat and how uncomfortable I was – and how nervous I was for my secret to be discovered.

My boss was part of this meeting and I asked if I could bring a fan in to help with my Hyperhidrosis. She didn’t question or give it a second thought. I brought the fan in and positioned it at my hands. I don’t think that anyone else in the meeting thought it was weird or different. It may seem small, but this fan helped my hands stop sweating and allowed me to focus on the meeting. It made me feel normal.

It’s funny how something so small like this can be so impactful to me. I think of it and smile even now. One person who knew about my Hyperhidrosis made me feel comfortable enough to bring in an accommodation for myself – something I knew would help me. Telling people about my Hyperhidrosis has made my life better.

That is just one example of how Hyperhidrosis awareness has helped me personally. I believe that Hyperhidrosis awareness and understanding will make the world a better place for us. We are all in this together. This month, I encourage you to tell someone about your Hyperhidrosis journey. Be strong and have courage. I know you can do it. I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Happy Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month,

Caryn

Don’t Let Go

This morning, as I was starting my day in New York City, an older woman desperately called for my help. She used a cane and told me she felt dizzy. She needed help calling a cab and asked me to hold her hand. Even though it is October in New York City, the weather was feeling pretty warm. My hand was already very, very sweaty. Even so, I took hold of this woman’s hand and walked her down the street to call her a cab. Throughout our time together she told me not to let go of her hand even for one second. I could feel her hand shaking in mine. I wasn’t going to let my sweat interfere with helping her to a cab safely. I held her hand and didn’t let go. The universe works in mysterious ways. Of all the people on the busy NYC street, she chose me to help. It is significant to me because my hand was able to help someone today, sweat and all.

Caryn

Wedding Shoes

My wedding day – April 16, 2016.

It was the best day of my life, but Hyperhidrosis almost made it a disaster.

Everything was in place. Our timeline was set and our vows were written. Our friends and family were gathered. We were ready to celebrate the start of our lives as husband and wife.

Our colors were yellow and gray and the decor was daffodil themed, my favorite flower. It was perfect for a spring wedding. We took a lot of inspiration from one of our favorite books/movies, Big Fish, where daffodils play a big role. Even in its rendition of a short lived musical on Broadway, the lyrics of one of the songs:

Let’s build a world of daffodils
That never fades and never dies
I see the answer in your eyes
You’ll be the bride
I’ll be the groom
A daffodil in every room

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My dress was everything I had dreamed of; long white lace with a low V back. I wore little blue earrings as my “something blue.” I even found the cutest yellow and white lace open toe shoes…

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Wait. Open toe shoes!? What was I thinking?

If you’ve read some of my previous entries, you may remember that I gave up open toe shoes awhile ago. My feet would sweat, then my shoes wouldn’t fit properly, and I would risk slipping out of them.

How did I forget all about this during my wedding planning? I thought they were the perfect shoe and my mind was set.

In preparation for our big day, I was all up to date on my iontophoresis treatments for my hands. My hands were doing great and I had the extra benefit of the colder weather to stunt my excessive palmar sweating. But I didn’t do anything for my feet. I just didn’t think through what could happen.

Thankfully, I had no issues for our outdoor ceremony. It was in the middle of chilly April in upstate NY. We made it through our emotional first look and our beautiful ceremony, tears and all.

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Afterwards, at our indoor reception, we went immediately into our first dance which we choreographed ourselves. It was flawless. My body temperature was still on the cooler side from being outdoors, so I didn’t have issues with sweat when we were dancing. But as soon as we finished, that’s when my body temperature caught up with me.

My feet started to sweat. This could be a problem. 

Francis and I sat at our sweetheart table for dinner. I called a waitress over to bring me a stack of paper towels. She asked if there was a spill and was concerned. I said, “No, I just sweat a lot.”

And so throughout dinner, I had my feet under the table resting on paper towels. Thankfully, there was a long tablecloth that hid my feet from the guests. It was pretty embarrassing though, and very upsetting for me. Would I be stuck at my table the whole night? I shouldn’t have to deal with HH on my wedding day.

Right after dinner was our father/daughter dance. I went up to my Dad right before and told him that I could barely walk in my shoes and to be very gentle when dancing and twirling. We made it through beautifully, but I was so nervous. My feet barely left the ground as I slid around the floor. I’m thankful that my Dad understood the situation and he didn’t make a big deal out of it.

I was really worried about being able to enjoy the rest of our reception. I could barely walk in my shoes, let alone dance. I could never go barefoot as that would be even more dangerous and slippery. I felt like I was going to be stuck at my table all night with my feet on paper towels.

I told my sister who was also my Maid of Honor what was going on. As the problem solver that she is, she suggested, “How about putting the paper towels in your shoes?”

What a brilliant idea! I had a long enough dress that would cover my shoes, so no one would really see a paper towel sticking out of the open toe.

I put the paper towels in my shoes and it was the best thing I did. It allowed the sweat to soak up and I wasn’t slipping out of my shoes anymore. I was able to enjoy the rest of our reception and dance the night away!

I am happy that I remember our wedding day as the perfect day. I am thankful for my sister’s help in remedying my situation and making sure I had a good time. Although I’ll never forget this sweaty memory, there are happier memories that come to mind when I think of that day – marrying my soul mate and sharing the day with everyone we love. We will always have our perfect day.

Caryn

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New Product Review: Carpe Antiperspirant Hand Lotion

Hi all,

I was recently introduced to a brand new product called Carpe. It is an antiperspirant hand lotion for sweaty hands! I received a sample of this product in the mail a few weeks ago and immediately felt results. I was recommending this product the day I tried it and I am happy to write a review for my blog!

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What’s great about this product is that it is a non-invasive solution for sweaty hands. It’s something you can take on the go and use as you need it. It can be used daily and will keep your hands sweat-free for hours (4+).

Carpe is an opaque white lotion with a pleasant scent. It smells like eucalyptus and mint. One of my first observations when opening the lotion was that it had a mild scent and didn’t smell like medicine. I feel like a lot of similar lotions don’t have as nice of smell.

Carpe should be applied to clean and dry hands.  You apply a pea-sized amount to your palms and rub together for 15 seconds. The lotion is pretty tacky when going on, but it disappears within the 15 seconds and leaves no residue. I was able to resume typing on my computer keyboard after the 15 seconds and did not need to rinse my hands. The lotion sunk in for a while and my hands were dry.

I find this product especially good for people with HH who have not yet explored other treatment options, children with HH, and people who have occasionally sweaty hands.  For people who  haven’t explored any other treatment options, a lotion is the perfect way to start. Carpe is sold over the counter and is very affordable. One tube costs $14.95 and will last for 1.5 months. For children with HH, I think a lotion is absolutely the way to go. Since HH is hereditary, I’ve given a lot of thought to how I will approach HH with my future children if they get my HH gene. I would not want to put them through Iontophoresis or give them Robinol until much later. Since the lotion is topical and can be reapplied throughout the day, it’s a great tool for kids at school and during after-school activities. Same goes for people who do not have HH, but have occasionally sweaty hands. The lotion is great for them because they won’t need the more intense treatments like Ionotphoresis or Robinol.

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with the co-creater of Carpe, David Spratte. He started working on this product when he was a senior in high school because of his frustration with sweaty hands. Now, a junior at the University of North Carolina, his product is on sale and ready to help the HH community and more! I was quite impressed to learn how much David had accomplished at such a young age and I was inspired by his story. I love that this product was created by someone who was struggling with sweaty hands himself.  He took his experiences and knowledge of sweaty hands to create a product he knew would work. David uses Carpe every day.

Something unique and special about Carpe is that long-term sweat reduction is possible if it is used regularly. David says that based on efficacy studies, 60% sweat reduction is achieved long-term if used once a day. Carpe is FDA-certified and non-irritating, so it is safe to use daily. Additionally, I was very happy to learn from David that Carpe also works on sweaty feet and foreheads. If you use the product on your feet, wait 10-15 minutes before putting on a shoe or sock to ensure the lotion sinks in.

Last, I would like to mention how much I love the name of this product. Carpe is short for Carpe Diem – Sieze the Day. David uses ‘Sieze the Moment’ on his packaging. Having this association with the lotion completely correlates to what I mention in my blog: Don’t let HH limit you and what you want to do in life. This lotion can provide  much needed relief as you face challenging and potentially embarrassing daily situations. Whether it be a handshake or highfive, playing sports or musical instruments, or simply taking a test with paper and pencil, Carpe can be a solution for you.

Please let me know if you have any questions about Carpe and please check out their website!

Thanks for reading,

Caryn

 

100th Blog Post – Three Years of Just a Little Sweat

Today is a very special day for Just a Little Sweat as I am celebrating two major milestones in the life of this blog. It has been exactly 3 years since I wrote my first post for Just a Little Sweat. Today, I share my 100th!!

3 years of Just a Little Sweat

As I sit here at my desk, writing this entry with the help of my favorite yellow towel and fan, I wanted to first say how thankful I am for all of your support in Just a Little Sweat. If you take a look back at my first post on December 5, 2011, I write about not being sure if I wanted to make this blog public. Talking about HH is really scary, even if it’s over the internet! However, you all accepted me and this blog with open arms and have provided as much support to me as this blog may have supported you. Over the course of 3 years writing for Just a Little Sweat, I have met countless people in cyber space – people from all over the globe and all walks of life. I am honored to have met you, to have learned your stories, and to have had the opportunity to respond to your all your comments and emails. Thank you for your positive feedback, your strength and optimism in the HH community, and for lending an open ear to my stories.

A lot has happened in my life in the 3 years since starting this blog. Let’s take a look back at some of my posts as I remember the highlights:

To celebrate 3 years, I looked back at my 100 posts and chose my top 5. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Caryn’s Top 5 Favorite Posts from Just a Little Sweat

5. The HH Super Villain??
I love it when HH appears in pop culture. It’s not proven that the character has HH, but I’m pretty sure he does 🙂 I’m cheating by linking this additional post, but I can’t resist. Check out another HH reference in pop culture in a Luann Comic.

4. What HH has taught me
Every now and then, I return to this post to remind myself of everything I’ve gained because of HH – patience, strength, courage, tolerance and pride in myself.

3. I posted my Blog Site on Facebook
Writing this entry and actually following through with posting it on Facebook was a huge step in my life. I’m proud of how I brave I was in this moment and still think my letter to the Facebook community provides a great introduction to awareness of HH.

2. Sweat and Chicken Wings
This post was a response to a question about my dating life with HH and how coincidentally, my fiance has secondary HH when he eats spicy food like chicken wings. I write: “HH is a big part of your life and a big part of who you are, whether you like it or not. The right person for you is going to love you for everything you are.”

1. How My Blog Got Its Title
I just posted this entry this week, but it is my favorite. I remembered my initial goals for this blog were to help connect the HH community and explain HH in a way that was relatable to people with and without HH. Advocating universal awareness of HH has always been important to me. Thank you for giving me courage to advocate for our community and for being advocates yourself!

Although the time seemed to fly by, so much has changed and I am very happy to be where I am now in life. I’m looking forward to many more years of sharing my stories with you and listening to yours! Thank you again for your support and as always, for reading!

All my best and Happy Holidays,

Caryn

How My Blog Got Its Title

I started this blog three years ago with the intention of it becoming a platform to connect the HH community and a place to explain our condition in a way that was relatable to everyone – people with and without HH. To be honest, this blog started as an outlet for my growing frustrations with HH. Three years ago, I was struggling because my Robinol tablets had stopped working and I was living in very warm conditions during the summer in NYC. I was upset that there was little to no awareness for our condition and frustrated by the fact that I felt like I couldn’t talk about it because sweat is pretty much a taboo subject in our society. I didn’t think it was fair that people living with HH couldn’t feel comfortable talking openly about their condition and I felt as if we were forced to live in silent suffering. HH is a medical condition. Whether you were born with it or developed it later on in life, HH is nothing you did wrong and it’s not something you could control.

Three years ago when I was thinking of potential names and goals for this blog, I was really hitting a road block. It was not until I heard people out there say, “It’s just a little sweat, how bad can it be?”

There it was. As someone living with HH, I never wanted to hear that.

I decided that I could start a blog to explain HH in a way that showed all aspects of the impact HH has made on my life – physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. Three years ago, there were a few medical blogs and websites about HH, but I felt the HH community (and the rest of the world!) was lacking a personal account of the everyday experiences, feelings, and encounters of someone living with this condition. I wanted to raise awareness and support for all the challenges we face and all the obstacles we overcome.

So, this is how my blog came about and it’s exactly how it got its title, Just a Little Sweat. Once you read some of the posts, dig a little deeper and spend a day in our shoes, you’ll find out that it’s anything but.