When I decided to go back to school for Special Education, I chose a
focus area of visual impairment. I didn’t have much experience with
people with visual impairments prior to choosing this specialization,
but knew they live an adapted way of life. They use Braille instead of
print, canes and guide dogs to get around, and digital audio output to
do work on their computers.
As someone living with HH, I can say that I also live an adapted life.
I wear certain clothes that won’t soak through, I use a towel under my
hand to write with pen and paper, and I keep a fan going wherever
possible to help dry my hands.
Although we share a need for adaptation, we can both live satisfying
and happy lives. This is what inspired me to want to learn more.
I am specifically learning how to be a teacher of students with visual
impairments (TVI). So far, I’ve learned a lot about different
techniques to use. Since students with visual impairments cannot
observe what people are doing around them, a TVI can model various
actions by using a technique called “hand-over-hand” or
“hand-under-hand”. This involves the teacher to put his or her hand on
top or underneath the student’s hand while demonstrating a movement
like cutting food or spreading peanut butter on bread. This technique
is proven to be very effective.
Again and again, I learned how the TVI interacts with their students
using their hands.
Now, do you see an issue with this? I have palmar HH. What would a
student think if my wet hands?
Although not ideal, this fact does not deter me from this field. I
still want to continue learning and help people.
Also, my hands have been relatively dry lately. I’ve been having
success with Iontophoresis and hope it continues. I feel like I can
also wear gloves in the classroom if I start having an issue.
From one adaptation to another, we can all help each other. I’m looking
forward to learning even more!
My boyfriend had been talking about writing a guest blog post for Just A Little Sweat for a while, and on Christmas day, he surprised me with his beautiful and inspiring take on his experience dating someone with Hyperhidrosis. His words mean a lot to me and show me how supportive he is of me and my blog. He also shows support for you, my readers, and that is just as important to me.
It’s probably not Hyperhidrosis. Caryn says it might be food induced HH but I’m not entirely convinced. Sweat pours down my forehead when I eat spicy food. I don’t eat it very often but when I do, I constantly have to wipe my face from becoming such a mess. It’s not really a hindrance though. I can easily stop eating spicy food (not that easy to give up chicken wings). I could just eat it in the privacy of my own home so people don’t see the sweat on my head. If only it was that easy for Caryn.
I don’t claim to understand Hyperhidrosis. But as silly as it sounds, it’s my small attempt in putting myself inside her shoes. (Which is a lot to ask for since she has a lot of shoes.)
I never heard of Hyperhidrosis until I started dating Caryn. And as hard as it must have been for her to tell me, I feel awful that I don’t remember the first time she told me about her condition. I probably didn’t even ‘get’ how big of a deal it was when she told me. But what know now is how much it affects her in everyday life and how she’s managed to overcome those struggles. Yes, there are some days that are easier than others. Her hands get more wet when she’s anxious and since she’s even more anxious when her hands are wet, the situation practically snowballs from there. But despite all of those things, she reels in those feelings, adapts and keeps moving forward.
It wasn’t always easy for her though. Well, I can’t say it was ever easy for her at all. There were times where I simply didn’t “get it” to completely help her in some situations. But what really helps her is having solace to all those who read this blog. Sharing her experiences with all of you has such a positive impact in her life and outlook on HH. Before this blog, she was afraid of letting anybody know about her condition. But after writing a couple of entries, she became braver and more inspired. While she didn’t tell every stranger out in the street (it doesn’t stop her from talking about it out in the subway though), she managed to muster up the courage to tell her closest friends. They’ve all been supportive and I feel like it gave Caryn the relief she always wanted.
Coming from someone who doesn’t have it, I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be to tell someone about HH. Caryn once gave me hand lotion that stayed wet for about 5 minutes. It was definitely uncomfortable and it’s probably the closest experience I could equate it to. But what I can say if you’re someone who hasn’t told your closest friends and family, mustering up the courage to tell them offers more support than what you thought you had. In Caryn’s case, she was so worried telling some of her friends that when she finally told them recently, she forgot that some of them already knew. She didn’t realize she had the support all along and she just needed to open up to people.
My friend once told me one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard: “People aren’t judging you as much as you think they are.” It’s slightly different than ‘stop worrying about what others think’ because this outlook shows that people aren’t as negative as you think. If shaking someone’s hand makes you embarrassed with what they think, chances are they probably didn’t think much of it. If you think people can tell your hand is getting sweaty, chances are most people aren’t even paying attention to it.
If HH is preventing you from getting close with anyone, remember that HH doesn’t define you. Just like how I said people aren’t judging you as much as you think they are, that special someone will get past it, accept it and love you for who you are.
In the beginning of our relationship, Caryn kept asking me if her hands grossed me out. All I would have to do is hold her hand tighter to show that spending time with her was more important than her hands. Besides, who else could laugh with me when I sweat profusely while eating chicken wings?
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! 🙂
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!
Today I was featured in an article in the International Hyperhidrosis Society eNewsletter! Sharing my HH story with others has been a really rewarding experience and I thank the International Hyperhidrosis Society for giving me the opportunity to share with so many of you!
The International Hyperhidrosis Society is a fantastic support site for people with Hyperhidrosis. They share a wealth of information including HH education, tips for coping, stories from others with HH, deals and discounts on sweat-helping products, research studies, treatment information, a comprehensive search for doctors, ways to get involved and more! I have had a really positive experience communicating with them in preparation for this article and always find their website helpful. Please check it out!