Hello!

Happy belated New Year! I apologize for the large gap in my entries. Life is as hectic as always and I’m here now to catch you up on my most recent adventures.

In December and January, I traveled to China with an orchestra to tour! It was an amazing, once-in-a-life-time experience filled with culture, excitement, and good music.

In preparation for the trip, I think everyone was stressed out. There was a lot to do in a short period of time. We needed to fill out a lot of paperwork, go to the Chinese consulate to get a Chinese Visa, and do extensive preparation of music – not to mention pack for a 3 week tour for several different climates.

I had additional stress because I felt like I needed to also prepare my body. I needed to start my iontophoresis treatments again so that my hands wouldn’t bother me playing 15 concerts in 3 weeks over in China.

I finished my initial 10 treatments just in time, right before we left. I’m happy that I did this because I barely had an issue with my hands while I was over there. I think a big reason for this though was the climate. Many cities we were in were very cold and several of the halls we played in didn’t have proper heat. Cold weather is always good for people with HH, so I wasn’t complaining.

A month after returning to the states, I performed with this same group at Carnegie Hall. I hadn’t kept up the treatments, but my hands weren’t bothering me because of the winter weather. However, Carnegie was really tough for me. I’m lucky that I remembered to bring my wash cloth on stage. I thought I’d only need it intermittently, but the stage was hot and I was holding onto it for dear life in between the notes.

Playing the flute with HH is really tough. Over this past weekend, I played a concert with my quintet and during rehearsal, my hands were so bad. I had to constantly use my towel and even had to ask if we could open a window to get some colder air circulating. It’s really frustrating when I need to concentrate on playing the right notes and all I can do is make sure I don’t drop my instrument. I feel like I’m not playing to my potential because a lot of my energy is going to just making sure my hands don’t break my instrument.

I need to start treatments again really soon. Not only for musical reasons, but because my wedding is now next month! Time flies!

HH strikes again in the most unexpected places. 2 weeks ago, I had my first dress fitting. I was having my dress pinned so it could be hemmed and the tailor asked if I could hold out the front of the dress. I did until my hands got to be too much. I actually told the tailor that I have hyperhidrosis and asked my mom to take over holding the dress. I was so scared that the sweat on my hands were going to discolor my dress! I don’t know why I bluntly told the tailor about my HH. I think it is because I figured she wouldn’t know what I was talking about, but I also got the sense that she wouldn’t care.

Also two weekends ago, I got a new phone. I upgraded from an iPhone 4s to the 6s. On this new phone, it takes your thumb print as a security code. In the store, the sales rep was asking me to type info and put my thumb print on the sensor. The whole time my hands were dripping and I was petrified that it wasn’t going to work. Thumb print scanning has failed in the past for me because of HH several times. I was also worried the sales rep would notice and I’d get embarrassed.

So, there’s always something with HH. I’m on  the subway right now typing this up on my new iPhone and I have to keep stopping to dry my hands. Scared I’ll break it or electrocute myself.

I’m going to start treatments tonight.  In the winter months, I need it less, but in general, I find continuous treatment challenging. Maybe I’m too busy, or maybe I’m just lazy. Does anyone else have trouble keeping up?

Until next time: Stay cool and dry!

Thanks for reading,

Caryn

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Concerts in the Summer

The summer is getting hot here in NYC! Sometimes it feels like my Iontophoresis treatments are not working as well, but I am going to attribute that to the heat. My hands have been sweating a lot and I’ve pretty much given up on my feet. My feet sweat terribly but it doesn’t bother me as much because I stopped wearing open toed shoes a couple of years ago, and wear socks or peds with all my shoes. I’ve been able to cut my Iontophoresis treatment time in half! When my fiance is with me, he helps work and monitor the device so I can treat both hands at the same time. 20 minutes of treatment is a lot better than 40 minutes!

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to play with an orchestra at Merkin Hall. During our rehearsal a few hours before the concert, the stage was impossibly hot and humid. The heat made my hands constantly sweat. I had my yellow towel with me, but it wasn’t helping! Every note I played on my flute made my hands feel mushy and like I was breaking my instrument. I knew at that moment that I would not be able to make it through the concert without a towel, but I couldn’t bring my yellow towel on stage. Orchestra members wear all black during performances, so I needed a black towel so it wouldn’t stand out. I actually went to a store between the rehearsal and concert to find a black washcloth. After searching the entire store, the best I could find was a dark blue. I bought it and brought it on stage with me that night. It was helpful, but by that point, the AC was working a lot better and I didn’t need it as much. At least I now own something that I can bring on stage with me in the future. The concert was a huge success and I can’t wait to play with them again!

Caryn

Iontophoresis Devices and Insurance Reimbursement

Hi all,

I hope you are enjoying the warmer weather now that winter is officially over! It was a very long and tough winter here in NY. Now that we are experiencing higher temperatures, our sweatiness is really being put to the test. I’m continuing with my Iontophoresis treatments once per week using the R.A. Fischer device. My hands are slightly clammy at times, but overall they are doing well.

I was recently introduced to another Iontophoresis device that is worth a look. Find info about it here: Hidrex TWI 

This company also offers Insurance Reimbursement Assistance that can be found HERE.

All best,

Caryn

Iontophoresis Trials

Hello all,

I’m back! After my 100th blog entry at the end of last year, I needed a little break. It’s time to start writing again!

I hope your new year is off to a great start. So far this year, I’ve been busy with new projects in music, Just a Little Sweat, my career, and wedding planning! I imagine this will be a very exciting year for me and I’m looking forward to sharing with you along the way.

In the meantime, I’ve been wanting to talk with you about my Iontophoresis treatments, but I have held off for a few reasons:

1. I never told you that my hands started sweating again back in October although I continued with regular treatments until December with no results
2. I wasn’t sure if I had become immune to the Iontophoresis treatments or if my machine had stopped working
3. I wanted to see if I could do anything about it

I’m sorry that I never told you about this, but I have good news to report now.

When my hands started sweating again, I emailed Bill Schuler from R.A. Fischer (the company my Iontophoresis device is from). He told me that he had heard of this same occurrence from other customers in the past and suggested that I take 1 to 2 weeks off from treatment and start again. I took the time off, and then started up with the initial treatments in January (every other day for 10 treatments). I am happy and relieved to report that it was successful! I am now seeing positive results from the Iontophoresis treatments and use it once a week.

I wanted you all to know about this in case this ever happens to you with your Iontophoresis treatments. Try taking some time off and start from the beginning again!

When my hands started sweating again, it was really discouraging, especially because it was immediately after I got engaged and people were taking my hands to look at my ring. I was really upset about it and scared. Iontophoresis had been so successful with my palmar HH and I was worried that I had lost the one treatment that had actually helped.

I’m happy I can report good news!

Have a great day and thanks for reading,

Caryn

How to Buy a Ring for a Girl with HH

It’s hard to believe that two years ago, I wrote a blog post about HH and Engagement Rings and now, I have my own engagement ring! I had some fears about it before, but between successful Iontophoresis treatments and my excitement about the engagement, my anxieties have gone away.

My fiance, Francis, put so much thought and effort into the proposal and I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out! He has always been incredibly supportive and understanding of my HH. For the proposal, he took my HH into consideration and came up with ways to make sure everything would be perfect, including the ring. I am so lucky to have him in my life and I hope you enjoy this beautiful guest post he has written.
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Hyperhidrosis was never an issue in the first place. In fact, I was supposed to be all set. I apologize that the title might be a little misleading since this is really a story about how I made this more complicated than it needed to be.

A year or so before I asked her parents’ blessings, Caryn had actually e-mailed them information on all the rings she liked. So when I worked up the courage to ask for her parents’ blessings earlier this May, I was given everything I could’ve ever needed for the ring, ranging from the styles and cuts to the actual ring size. I had some vague ideas on how I would propose which included taking her to a daffodil garden in Atlanta (she’s in love with daffodils) or proposing to her on an ice rink during winter (which is how I asked her to be my girlfriend). My ideas were decent, but not only would she have seen those proposals coming, the ideas depended entirely on seasons, which would’ve made me wait for this winter or next spring.

It was only until I was about to leave her parents’ house that  I came up with the idea of proposing at the finish line of a half marathon. It was brilliant! We’ve run one half marathon every year for the last three years and all the dedication and hard work has meant a lot to both of us. She would never see this coming.

“I thought you gave up on half marathons last year?” she asked.

Okay, I did tell her that half marathons were too long and painful, but I could look past it just this once. I am proposing after all.

“Yeaaaah, I changed my mind, I like half marathons!”

A couple of days later, we officially signed up for the Grete’s Great Gallop Half Marathon in Central Park at October 5th! While she was busy creating a training guide, I was busy figuring out all the logistics behind the proposal.

“Are you going to run with the ring?” one friend asked.

“Don’t you think you’re going to be out of breath?” another friend inquired.

These were important details that I knew I would have to figure out, but when I told her mom about the idea, she revealed the biggest curveball of them all:

“What about her hyperhidrosis?”

As much as I initially wanted to deny that this would be an issue, this really doesn’t bode well for the ring. Her mom provided me with her ring size 9. This is what Caryn uses to give herself enough room when her hand swells up. I would be forcing her to sweat and swell up her hands if we run this race. This wouldn’t be an issue in a normal situation, but would she have issues putting the ring on after running 13.1 miles?

Could I propose to her before the race? I thought about it briefly, but found it to be awfully anticlimactic, so I knew it wouldn’t be a real option. I was so excited about the idea initially but the more I thought about it, the riskier it became. Her mom assured me that Caryn would like the proposal no matter what but I certainly didn’t want to disappoint her. I wanted to make sure I did things right.

Amidst of all of this, my friends kept bugging me that the ring size seemed off, which made me doubt it was correct. This was frustrating because I didn’t know how Caryn would feel if I told them about her HH and I just didn’t know if they’d understand. I knew nothing about ring sizes to begin with, but once I got clarification about the size, I assured them that the size was correct and it’s because Caryn’s hands have a tendency to swell up.

I realized that there were other options outside proposing at the beginning or the end of the race. I could propose to her in the middle of the race instead. This way, her hand would be less sweaty. The risk involved with the ring fitting on her hand was still there, but I felt better about her hands in the middle of the race.

I also played around the idea of proposing at the hot air balloon festival near her parents house. This would be an alternative plan and even though it sounds romantic, I felt that hot air balloons are nowhere near as significant to us compared to the half marathon. Luckily, I didn’t have to propose that way…

We were riding the subway one day when Caryn started getting anxious about the upcoming gig we were traveling to. Although she’s been doing the Iontophoresis treatment, her hands started sweating more as we got closer to the venue. She started complaining that her hands were getting sweaty because she was nervous and all of a sudden, I found myself just blatantly asking her point blank.

“When your hands start sweating, does your ring ever feel tight on you?”

“Well, size 9 is big enough for my finger so it’s okay. I don’t really have issues putting the ring on but it’s a little tight when I remove it.”

The ring would actually fit! Finally, a wave of anxiety lifted off my head and all I had to do was just bluntly ask her! I didn’t want to raise suspicions, but in my head, I thought I was so cool and smooth by sneaking it into the conversation. She saw right through it though, but fortunately, she didn’t really let my question get into her head.

It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing afterwards. The week before the race, my entire plan almost crashed and burned in front of me when Caryn accidentally tripped on a staircase and fell on her ankle. Thankfully she was okay and my mini heart attack subsided, but it really put things into perspective. This was my plan from the start and this is how I planned to propose to her. Proposing alone is frightening enough as it is, but running a half marathon on top of that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically and mentally. And all of it could fail at a drop of a hat. It wasn’t just the Hyperhidrosis. One of us could get injured, the race could get washed out or she could plainly just have said no.

But despite all those risks came the big payoff. The weather was beautiful and we had an amazing group of friends who were waiting for us in the 5 mile mark with their hand-written signs that said “Caryn, Francis Has A Question For You.” Caryn complained that my pace was too fast from the start of the race, but my nerves and adrenaline were pushing me to get to that proposal spot. A few streets before we got to our friends, Caryn commented that we were almost half way through the race and I smiled knowing that I was about to change her life forever in the next couple of feet.

The next three minutes were such a blur. The important things are that she said yes and the ring fit her finger. As much as I tried to envision how the proposal would go, there were details I could’ve never prepared for including the empty cups littered all over the ground from the water station. But the little things like that are what made it memorable.

Could I have gotten away with doing something safer and avoided all this trouble? Maybe propose to her at an ice rink akin to how I asked her out? Her hands wouldn’t have been an issue and Caryn would’ve loved it all the same. But when you’re after someone who means the world to you, that risk is worth it. You just need to have the courage to take that leap of faith in the first place.

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Iontophoresis with Baking Soda

I’ve been using my Iontophoresis machine once a week for many months now with great success! However, in early October, I noticed my hands were starting to sweat a little more than usual. I was really concerned about this and felt like I might have formed an immunity to the machine.

To help, I started doing treatments more than once per week. At one point, I was using it three or four times in one week. Still nothing was working.

I remembered one of my readers from NYC had said that the water here is pretty soft and sometimes doesn’t work well with Iontophoresis. Until October, I hadn’t had an issue with the water or effectiveness of the machine. I was told that adding baking soda to the water can help by adding minerals and electrolytes.

After adding baking soda to my treatments, I noticed a significant difference. My palm sweating is now more under control. Adding baking soda does make the treatments a little more uncomfortable. It irritates my skin a little more, but it’s worth it!

Sweathelp.org has an article dedicated to Iontophoresis. In addition to baking soda, it says you can even try crushing Robinol tablets in the water.

I’ll let you know if the baking soda continues to work!

 

 

 

 

Entire Medical Journal dedicated to HH

Last week, I received an email from the International Hyperhidrosis Society stating that an entire issue of the Dermatologic Clinics medical journal was dedicated completely to Hyperhidrosis! This is ground-breaking news and I wanted to learn more. The issue is found in October 2014, Volume 32, Number 4. It covers topics such as:

  • Prevalence of HH
  • Impact of HH on Quality of Life
  • Special Considerations for Children with HH
  • Topical Therapies
  • Iontophoresis
  • Botox treatments
  • Oral medications
  • ETS surgery
  • Emerging therapies
  • Resources for patients and sufferers
  • Incorporating diagnosis and treatment into Clinical Practice

You can purchase the entire issue or individual articles. This is a really exciting breakthrough for people with HH. The issue will be available to medical specialists and provide education on our condition and the latest treatments available! Just another big step in the right direction for universal awareness and understanding.