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!

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.

Share your HH stories on a brand new site!

Hi all,

I’m excited to promote this amazing new website project from one of my readers, Matthew Roundell. His website is a story telling platform for the Hyperhidrosis community. The site is still in the works as Matthew is trying to compile more stories from people like you!

I submitted my story and I can’t wait to read yours!

Check it out and submit your story today at www.hyperhidrosee.com

A big thank you goes to Matthew for continuing to connect the HH community!

All the best,

Caryn

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How Do You Play Flute With HH? An inside look (with video)

Hi all! I hope you’re having a great start to August!

Next month, my quintet, Washington Square Winds, and I will be releasing our very first full length album, THEY’RE ALIVE! The official release date is September 7.

With that in mind, I have decided to share some of my music with you today. Francis gave me the idea for this post as he said he was curious what it’s really like to play a musical instrument with HH. He’s a trombonist, himself! I included a video to show you my thought process when I play and how HH affects me.

This video was taken during my graduate flute recital at NYU in 2011. I’m playing Ian Clarke’s The Great Train Race. It has a lot of cool extended techniques like playing 2 notes at the same time, singing and playing, and explosive air attacks. This was before I started Iontophoresis treatment, so I was definitely sweating a lot at this point.

  • Another thing I worry about is also related to my appearance. HH typically comes with excessive blushing (as if excessive sweating wasn’t enough). Generally when I’m performing and really nervous, my chest and neck blotch up like crazy!! Amazingly, in this video, you can’t really tell! But as I play, I’m constantly thinking about the audience’s perception of me based on what they see, versus what they hear. In the past, I’ve had people ask me if I was okay after a performance because they saw me blotch up. This bothers me a lot because I don’t want the audience to be concerned about me during my performance. I would rather them just listen and enjoy- no matter what I look like.
  • Having sweat on my hands makes it really uncomfortable to play my flute. I’ll be trying to focus on the music while I feel drips of sweat rolling down my arms or starting to feel the pads under the keys get squishy with moisture.
  • HH is also uncomfortable because it makes my fingers swell- A LOT! It can be difficult moving my swollen fingers fast when I need them to. You can tell that right around 45 seconds in this video, there’s a difficult fast passage that could have been a lot cleaner! My fingers weren’t just cooperating!
  • Sometimes the sweat on my fingers will cause me to slip off the keys too- especially if I’m going fast. At 2:17, it’s barely audible, but my finger slipped on a key and I played a wrong note. I recovered really fast though!
  • A clear picture of my mental state is apparent at 2:52. Remember I was playing this without sheet music in front of me. I forgot what came next and paused a little too long!

This was back in 2011, but I still get these same feelings. My philosophy nowadays is: “You love music, so play like you love it. The audience will see this in you and the music will flow more freely”.

I hope you enjoyed listening to some of my music! If you would like to hear more, please ask me about our upcoming CD!

In the meantime, you can check out my flute website: carynfreitag.com
and my quintet’s website: washingtonsquarewinds.org

Thank you for reading,

Caryn

 

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?

I couldn’t think of a lie, so I told the truth

Yesterday I had a late night with my quintet. We were listening to our recording takes and choosing the best ones for our upcoming CD release. I knew that no matter how late we stayed out together, my night was going to be much longer because I had to get home and use my Iontophoresis machine.

While taking the crosstown bus home through Central Park from the East to the West side, I mentioned to my quintet-mates traveling with me that I had stuff to do when I got home and that I was going to be up late. One member asked what I was up to and I immediately regretted saying anything in the first place.

I couldn’t think of a white lie quick enough- It was late, and I was tired! So…I told the truth.

Me: “Well, this is going to sound weird- really weird. But I have a medical condition that needs treatment sometimes and I have this machine that is kinda like a form of electrotherapy.”

Him: “Oh, man. What does that look like?”

So I told him about the set up, etc. I did all of this without going into what condition I actually have that requires this treatment. It was cool that he was interested and didn’t react negatively, but I know that I have to explain HH. I can’t leave that part out!

Prior to October 2013, all of my quintet-mates knew about my HH. It was such a relief to tell them and have their support. I didn’t have to hide using my towel when I played and we were all more sensitive to trying to avoid hot temperatures in our rehearsal and performance spaces. Since October though, my quintet has accepted new members. These members don’t know about my HH. I’ve been meaning to tell them soon though because it was so beneficial for me when everyone knew before. The situation that happened last night seems like a good segue into that.

I kind of regret saying anything at all, but know that this discussion will push me to open up to them. My quintet is like my family and I know they will be supportive and understanding.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

It’s hot in here!

Hi All,

My office at work is extremely hot. Something is broken with the heating and cooling system here and so now we have 3 fans on full blast in the middle of winter!!

What I find interesting is that my coworkers and employees are complaining every day about the heat, whereas, I don’t find it that bad. It almost feels normal to me. I think it’s because I’ve learned so many coping mechanisms with the heat from having HH. I breathe through it, drink a little more water, and try not to think about it. Sure, I still sweat, but I’m not letting the heat bother me.

Do you think you cope with extreme heat a little better because of HH?

Best,

Caryn

 

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