Riverdance anyone?

About 5 weeks ago, I started taking Irish Step dance lessons.
I used to dance (tap and jazz) and I have always loved “rhythmic” dance.
Anything with a tap on the shoe to make percussive noise, I’m there.
Maybe it’s the musician in me.

I’ve always been interested in Irish Step, especially hard shoe.
Right now, since I’m a very beginner, I’m starting with soft shoe.
This means, there aren’t any percussive sounds.
The shoe is a soft leather with no taps on the bottom.

Anyway, I was so excited for my first class!
I hadn’t taken dance in years, and was happy to start again.

As soon as I got there, panic hit me.
Have you ever seen Riverdance?
All of those dancers hold hands…like the whole time!
Why didn’t I think of this??

I’m ready to bolt, but wait and give it a try.

Thank goodness, this class is different!
It’s more “solo” Irish Step.
There are other people in the class, but we just keep our hands down at our sides.
Haven’t had to hold a hand yet!

This experience brings up an issue that many HH sufferers stress about.
Have you ever wanted to do something but didn’t because hand holding may be involved?

I used to be a gymnast.
Okay, I was 5.
But I could pull off a mean cart-wheel!

Recently, around the time of the last Olympics, I read the results of a HH survey asking:

“What would be the worst Olympic sport for people with HH, what would be the best?”

Overwhelmingly, the results were:
Worst: GYMNASTICS | Best: SWIMMING

Can you imagine gymnastics with HH?
The uneven bars? The balance beam?

I don’t believe I quit gymnastics because of my HH.
I think I was just being a kid and didn’t want to do it anymore.

Sometimes, I wish I would have continued.
But I cannot imagine I would have any success due to HH.

I love dancing, but I would never take ballroom or salsa.
I used to want to clog dance.
My sister took it and I really enjoyed watching her.
But I wouldn’t ever dance ballroom/salsa/clogging because there is hand holding involved with some steps.
Why would I voluntarily put myself in that position?

Happy Reading,
Caryn

Cheese and Sweat

One of my favorite foods is cheese. I have always loved all types of cheese*, even if I have never heard of it or tasted it before.

Recently, cheese has become somewhat of a hobby for me.
I enjoy going to cheese shops downtown and watch it being made (free samples!). On Saturday’s, I go to the farmer’s market in Union Square for fresh cheese. For Christmas, Francis got me a mozzarella cheese making kit! We just made a 1 pound ball of  mozzarella the other day. Long story short, I am really interested in learning all there is about cheese.

Three days ago, Francis challenged me to incorporate my love of cheese into a HH blog post.

My first response was an unconvinced, “Yeah right, maybe cheese reduces sweat.”

So, the next day, just for laughs, I googled: Cheese and sweat
The first website that came up was this:
http://www.sweatblock.com/foods-that-reduce-sweat/

What do you know! Cheese can reduce sweat!

Apparently, it’s the calcium in cheese that is a temperature regulator. Similar to drinking water, calcium will regulate your temperature and you will tend to sweat less.

Other calcium-rich foods to try are: low-fat yogurt, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, almonds, and baked beans. Check out the rest of that site for other foods that can reduce sweat including milk, fruits and veggies.

Thanks, Francis! Mission accomplished, achievement unlocked 🙂
More cheese for me!

Caryn

*The only cheese I have found I dislike is American Cheese.

Computer Keyboard with a Built in Fan?

I was very frustrated at work today. I’m not sure if it’s hotter in my office or if I’m just stressed, but my hands have been constantly sweating. The sweating was really irritating me as I typed on my computer keyboard.

I decided to do a Google search to try to find a computer keyboard with a fan positioned at the hands. I have a fan on my desk now, but it doesn’t help much because the airflow is not able to reach my hands.

What I found was a gamer keyboard. What an ingenious invention!

Gamers’ hands get sweaty, and they may not even have HH. The fan is built-in to the upper left hand side of the keyboard and keeps your hands cool as  you type.

I’m not a gamer, but I still want this keyboard! I wish that general keyboards would start offering this fan option. I don’t need all the other fancy “gamer” features.

Check the keyboard out HERE.

                                             

Sweat and Chicken Wings

Hi All,

I recently received a question from a reader about how HH impacts my dating life.

Well, from my previous entries, you all know I’ve been in a long term relationship for a while.

My boyfriend’s name is Francis and we have been together for 4 years. We were long distance for a while, but now we are happily in the same city- New York City!

Although my boyfriend and I are now very comfortable with each other, my HH still plays a big part in our relationship. Just the other night, I asked him again (for the umpteenth time): “Are you sure my hands don’t bother you?  “It’s not gross when I touch you?”

Thankfully, Francis has always been fine with my HH. I am lucky to have found him!

Other than the physical aspect of HH, he understands when I get very frustrated and emotional due to HH limitations. I try to be calm, but sometimes I can’t help it. He talks me through it or gives me a hug.

Francis is also very supportive about my goal to help others like me with HH. He encourages me to blog and to talk to people. It feels really good to trust that Francis isn’t grossed out by my HH and he is someone I confide in all the time.

We don’t let HH limit our relationship. We go out, stay in, watch movies, go to dinner…we are a pretty normal couple. If we’re talking about HH, it’s usually about ideas for my blog or ideas for future non-profit organizations for people with HH. We don’t like to let HH bring us down, although it’s okay to feel sad sometimes.

My advice to you is: Don’t settle. There is a guy or girl out there who will be accepting of your HH and you deserve to have that person.

And you never know- that person may just have HH themselves. Or a version of it.

I will go out on a limb and say that Francis has secondary HH. Secondary Hyperhidrosis is different from mine (primary) because it is caused by something. For example: taking certain medications, being overweight and/or having other medical conditions can cause overactive sweating. Francis’ cause happens to be spicy food.

The first time I noticed the sweating was when we ate chicken wings together at a dining hall on our college campus. His forehead had broken out in a sweat and had started dripping. The back of his shirt was starting to get wet.

I felt more comfortable mentioning the sweating because of my own condition, and Francis told me that it always happened to him when he ate spicy food.

Since then, this has been a normal and frequent occurrence. We both really like Thai food, and sometimes it can get spicy. He will sweat right there in the restaurant, and sweat way more than me! His forehead will sometimes get really sweaty and he has to go through a bunch of napkins to mop it up.

I have never had a problem with spicy foods and sweating, so I don’t really understand that aspect of overactive sweating. However, I know that Francis has a much better idea of my HH through these experiences.

I recently asked him if he made social decisions based on his spicy food sweating episodes. He said that he probably wouldn’t eat anything really spicy out in public, but it doesn’t bother him too much if he sweats just a little bit since he really likes spicy food.This is similar to people who suffer from primary HH because we make social decisions based on our HH all the time.

Francis did not know what HH was before he met me. I didn’t know he had sweating tendencies when eating spicy food. Since we started dating, I have slowly taught him what it means to live with HH. I know he still learns new ways I am limited by the condition, but he has a much better sense of what my life has been like.

If it’s any reassurance for the future, I notice that my sweating has decreased when around Francis because I am now more comfortable and relaxed around him. Dating always made me nervous, and nerves will create more sweat.

Don’t hide your HH. If it comes up, talk about it. 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.

All my best,

Caryn

Crocs

Unfortunately, many of my shoes suffer a premature death. Especially my ballet flats that I sometimes wear with no socks.

This is because of my Hyperhidrosis.

HH will ruin the insoles of a shoe pretty quick. I had 2 pairs of Steve Madden flats that ruined within one summer. The metallic inside rubbed completely off.

HH will also make your shoes smell. I try odor-eater insoles but it doesn’t help much. Usually those insoles ruin even quicker than the shoes.

Having HH and wearing no socks will also probably impact your walking pattern.
I know that I walk differently when I’m slipping and sliding in my shoes. This altered step can ruin the whole make of the shoe, inside and out.

So, I’m in Disney World on vacation a few weeks ago and I saw a woman wearing some shoes that looked cute, comfortable and….plastic?

Okay, so they’re Crocs. And after researching them, I learned that their Croslite material doesn’t absorb water! Check this Youtube video below!

How perfect for me! I bought a pair of “Kadee” Crocs and I’m giving them a try. They are really comfortable and so far doing great with my HH.

If you buy online, sign up for a new account. You will receive a welcome coupon and save money on your first purchase! There’s also free shipping!

I know that the Crocs name has gotten some laughs, but I think the new styles are really nice. If you have HH especially, I think it’s worth a try.

Here are the ones that I got: Kadee Croc. 

Happy New Year!

Caryn

Have I avoided this enough yet?…Part 2

Okay…no more avoiding.

In September 2011, I went to the Columbia University Medical Center’s Center  for Hyperhidrosis in NYC for a consultation for the ETS surgery. This was the day of that crazy water main break in the subway systems…remember that? How appropriate.

I went with my mom. When we arrived, I was asked to fill out some paperwork. It started fine, but a few minutes in, my hands started sweating uncontrollably and I had to have my mom finish the paperwork for me. Glad she was there.

We sat in the waiting room, and I felt like no one around me had HH. It was the waiting room for Thoracic surgery. I quickly noticed all of the old men and woman I was waiting with. They couldn’t breathe very well.

It makes sense. ETS does have the word “Thoracic” in it, since the procedure includes going through the chest. But why do I still feel out of place? I guess I just wish the Center for HH really felt like a Center for HH.

The consultation was pretty good, but I didn’t get the best vibe from it. The surgeon assured me that deflating the lungs was the least of my worries.

Never the less, I started tying loose ends with my insurance company and penciled in the surgery for December 29, 2011.

I still have HH, so I obviously didn’t go through with the surgery.

Why you ask?

Well, I’m realizing that this entry will be a multiple post entry. There’s a lot to say, and this is why I’ve been avoiding it I think. It’s very sensitive.

Stay tuned for Part 3.

Thanks again,

Caryn Joan

I can’t pet my cat.

Ever tried petting a furry animal with sweaty hands? Not the best experience in the world.

When my hands are really bad, I won’t pet my cat because I will end up with cat fur all over me.

I feel bad, but I think she understands and still loves me 🙂

Meet Grace, 3 year old calico rescue from Upstate New York.

It’s easy to help find a cure

There seems to be little knowledge on what causes Primary Hyperhidrosis.

This is what I have. I sweat excessively not because of a medical condition or medications.

The causes for Secondary Hyperhidrosis are many: Heart Disease, Hyperthyroidism, Menopause, and many more.

 

Primary Hyperhidrosis is a little more tricky.

It involves our genes. Genes that get passed down generation to generation.

As of right now, there is no cause for Primary Hyperhidoris, just as there is no cure.

However, it seems to run in families.

 

As far as I know, the first person in my family to have HH is my mom’s sister, my Aunt.

Growing up knowing that my Aunt has what I have made it easier to deal with. I wasn’t so alone.

She had tried teaching me visualization techniques to help the sweating, but nothing really caught on with me.

But at the very least, I knew I had someone in my life who understood what I was dealing with.

 

HH is a funny thing…

My grandparents didn’t have it, my Mom and Dad don’t have it.

My Aunt’s children have it, my sister has it a little bit.

I don’t know why this gene keeps skipping around like this.

 

Interestingly enough, I recently found out that my cousin may have a little bit of HH.

I learned this when I was talking to her about starting this blog.

People are so ‘hush hush’ with HH, it was never a conversation growing up.

But I was dealing with a lot of emotional anger at the time due to HH, a large reason why this blog exists today.

I needed to talk.

 

So, I told her about it one day. Told her everything.

She was surprised that I had HH.

But what was more,

was the overwhelming realization that she shared some of these traits.

 

I recently participated in a genetics study for Hyperhidrosis.

The goal for this study is to “identify those genes that are responsible for excessive sweating and ultimately to use this knowledge to find a way to control or cure the excessive sweating in affected individuals.”

Pretty great goal, isn’t it?

So, I sent the kit to my Aunt and my sister too. The doctors involved even wanted my parent’s input, even though they weren’t directly affected.

 

It’s really easy. You just answer a bunch of questions related to your experience with HH. Then you provide buccal cells by spitting mouthwash in a cup and mailing it out.

I want and need everyone with HH to complete this study! You can find the information here: http://www.sweathelp.org/en/taking-action/participate-in-research-2/participate-in-a-trial.html

And it’s FREE!

 

The study does explain that people suffering with HH will not have immediate relief. This is a long term study. Hopefully, after some time, they will have isolated the gene(s) that cause HH.

But they need people to participate in order for the study to go anywhere.

Isn’t it worth it?

After seeing the heredity of the condition, our own kids or grandkids could be born with HH. I want to help my future children and grandchildren to have a better life.

 

Thanks for listening, as always,

 

Caryn Joan