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

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!

tube

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

 

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.

 

Adaptation

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 Experience on Dating Someone with Hyperhidrosis

Happy New Year!

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?

Life with Semi-Dry Hands

Hi All,

So the knitting project went pretty well. I wasn’t able to actually successfully knit, but the string didn’t come apart and get tangled like it normally would have if my hands were sweaty. My mom is visiting me next weekend and will hopefully help with the knitting part, but overall, I have to say that it was a success for me! I am also interested in learning how to crochet. Back in college, my best friend tried to teach me, but it was so difficult for me to hold the string in my hands. I know that my hands today will be much better for these types of hobbies.

The Iontophoresis is still holding up pretty well. Like I’ve said, the tops and sides of my hands and feet still sweat. I was doing yoga and stretching last weekend with my boyfriend in preparation for a Labor Day Half Marathon, and my boyfriend was really surprised to see the top of my feet glistening with sweat. He was concerned the Iontophoresis wasn’t working, but I told him I’ve been noticing sweating in this area. At least, it’s almost completely dry on my soles and palms. I have to say that in extreme cases of heat and stress, my palms and soles will get clammy. I noticed this while running the half marathon. It’s definitely not as bad as it was before, but it’s there.

Other successes this week: writing out a ton of envelopes- BY HAND! When’s the last time I’ve been able to do that without a towel or other piece of paper gliding under my hand as a smear guard? Also, I’ve been shaking a lot more hands lately- and I appreciate every one 🙂

Keep trying the different solutions out there- I hear that Iontophoresis may not have the same results for everyone. Good luck to everyone, and please stay positive.

All best,

Caryn