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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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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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.

 

Facial and Truncal Hyperhidrosis?

After successfully treating my Axillary (underarm) Hyperhidrosis in middle school, I have only categorized my Hyperhidrosis as palmar (hands) and plantar (feet). On any average day, I don’t have trouble with facial or truncal sweating. However, when I’m exercising, I am a complete, full-body waterworks!

At my Irish step dance classes, I have been noticing that I sweat all over my body- at least 3 times more than the other students! I can only wear sweat wicking workout clothes now and I use my towel almost constantly during the class to “mop” up. My ponytail is soaked so much with sweat that it drips and it feels like there’s a quarter-inch of sweat caked on my legs and arms.

My classmates notice and always suggest I stand closer to the fan or air-conditioning unit. I don’t think they think much of it, but it’s embarrassing sometimes. It’s also uncomfortable!

Although I don’t consider myself having truncal or facial Hyperhidrosis, I think that my palmar and plantar Hyperhidrosis genes definitely play a role in how I sweat more on my body when working out. Has anyone else noticed this happens to them?

Irish Dancing Update

Hi All,

Sorry I’ve been quiet lately! I was on a family vacation on a cruise to the Western Caribbean! It was a fantastic trip and I was sad that it had to end.

Now that I’m back, I’ve been catching up with emails and work. Slowly but surely, I’ll get back in the swing of things.

I wanted to write a quick update about the team Irish step dancing class I took.

It was really fun, but I won’t be continuing. I was so anxious during class because my fingers were sweating like crazy and I had to hold hands with the other girls. We were all sweating a ton, (and it didn’t help that we were in a classroom with no air conditioning or windows!!) but I was still too self-conscious about my hands. I couldn’t relax and have fun. I was checking the clock every 5 minutes to see when class would end. It’s unfortunate because the dance part is actually pretty cool, and apparently I am needed for a competing team.

No one said anything about my hands or gave me funny looks, but I still couldn’t get past it. I’m sure you all know how I feel!

Anyway, I’m still taking 2 hours of Irish dance a week (soft and hard shoe) and love it. I’m lucky I found a dance where I can keep my hands to myself, down at my sides.

I wish HH didn’t have to be my deciding factor with something I love, but I guess I’d prefer to not be anxious and self-conscious so that’s how this one has to go.

My next goal with my partially dry hands- learn knitting! 🙂

Thanks for reading and enjoy the end of summer!

Caryn

More Irish Dancing!

Hi All,

I’ve been taking Irish step dance classes every week now since February and I continue to love it more and more. I even added on a hard shoe class, so now I’m taking 2 hours of Irish step a week!

Recently, my teacher invited me to a free introductory class for team Irish Dancing called Ceili. This looks really fun, but it features hand-holding with your team while you dance.

Tomorrow is the class and what a great time it is to test out my “new hands”!

I never would have considered this type of dancing if my hands were still sweating profusely- although I have to say I’m still pretty nervous! I just hope my sometimes clammy fingers don’t get in the way!

I have finished the initial treatments with the Iontophoresis device, but Bill Schuler from the R.A. Fischer company suggests I still treat my hands and feet once a week. After a while, I can gradually increase the time between treatments. So, maybe I will do a treatment tonight if I have time, just to be safe for tomorrow!

Check out the type of dance I’m going to be doing! Looks fun, right? Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading,
Caryn

Luann Comic- Hyperhidrosis

Hi All,

This weekend, the popular Luann comic strip mentioned Hyperhidrosis! Thank you to my Aunt (who also has HH) for bringing this comic strip to my attention!

I am so happy and surprised that HH is mentioned, and by name too! I feel like this comic strip just made HH history. So many people read the Luann comic. It was my favorite comic strip growing up!

Greg Evans (Luann creator) was just able to reach thousands about HH. I am so curious what the response is! Thank you!

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All best,

Caryn