Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fall Out and Get Back Into It

"It hurts sometimes when you’re healing. It’s the sensation of your heart growing bigger. It’s the feel of your old scar tissue breaking up and stretching. It’s the tight and fearful knots of emotion opening up and learning to relax. Those old hurts were actually shrinking your heart with tension, the way tightness in the back can curve and distort the spine. I know it hurts, but you can learn to experience these feelings as intense sensation and simply surrender yourself; trusting that a new and better you will soon emerge. Fear and resistance will increase the pain. Love and acceptance will ease it. Let your Heart open wide. You’ll be opening up more room in your life for love."
— Dorothy Mendoza Row

The above passage was read in my yoga class this evening. Wow. I urge you to reread it. Let that sink in.

It hurts to heal. 

The scar tissue I have built up around my heart. Hacking through it. 

That is a powerful visual that I completely embrace and am so thankful for. 

I've begun trying to shed the fears I've developed from hyperhidrosis, but I had a bit of a set back recently. My friends and I had a fabulous evening drinking and watching the TLC instant classic made for TV movie "Liz & Dick." We were having a merry ol' time laughing and throwing out pithy one liners. I decided to take my comments to Twitter. My friend tweeting next to me leaned over to see my account. I hesitated. I froze a bit. 

Don't panic.

Him, "Hey what's your twitter handle?" I gave him my personal account. An account I wasn't tweeting from. He leaned in again to see the name on my screen. Clearly I was not tweeting from my personal account. Me, "Oh yea... I have another Twitter account. It's mostly teen followers. They might find this stuff funny." I straight up panicked. I began to get warm. I did not want to tell him.

What happened to the new confident me that was ready to be completely honest about hyperhidrosis?! I felt like I was failing our community of sweaters. 

In yoga during standing bow, my favorite pose, the instructor tells you to kick your leg into your hand as hard as you can, so hard you feel like you might fall over. They then follow it up with if you fall out of the pose get right back into it.

So, in that moment I fell out. I went back to the scar tissue. Thinking of all the times I've been embarrassed by my sweating. It hurts sometimes to move forward when you remember the past that gave you that scar tissue. I will sweat through it and get back into it.

If you have a story like this please share in the comments. How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Anxious for the holidays? Drop me a line.

Also, there have been some great questions posted on Tumblr. Check out what others have to say

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Brazilian Waxes: Less Painful Than You'd Think

Shortly after my last breakup I decided I wanted to treat myself to a Brazilian wax. How that makes sense I'm not sure. I guess I wanted to feel more glamorous down there giving me the confidence I needed to be a sassy single lady again.

Brazilian Wax:
Brazilian waxes differ from regular bikini waxes because hair is removed in the front, back and everything in between. A "landing strip" is typically left in the front, but some clients opt for everything removed.

Can I get an OUCH?!

Waxing isn't for everyone and if you're not into it I respect that. It's your pubic region do what you want. If you are curious and you want to know as a sweater how to go about it please read on. Oh and a note for the fellas, there are even services available for men at some salons.

Lucky for me I work (soon to be worked) down the street from a waxing salon that specializes in Brazilians. Queen Bee Salon in Culver City and Brentwood has received rave reviews from Angelenos. A friend of a friend told me to see Anna. More or less her words, "She doesn't hurt at all. She will get right up in there getting all the hair you want GONE in 15 minutes."

So I just have to endure 15 minutes of torture? Alright I can do this, but as a sweater I am terrified. It's a whole other ball game when you sweat down there. Will Anna find it disgusting? Will she make a comment like, "Just relax. You're sweating so much," like I've experienced before for other beauty treatments. Will the wax not stick properly because my skin is too slippery?

I am here to tell you none of that came to reality. I've been back seven times. Each time I go I still sweat quite a bit. The tissue paper that lines the bed like at a doctors office does stick to me. But I soldier on! Because each time I leave with satisfied results.

Anna is a complete professional. When I walk in her waxing room I immediately drop trou, remove underwear and hop on the table like it ain't no thing. It still cracks me up thinking about it. My vagina is completely exposed and she's not my OBGYN. We're taught to cover that part of our body at all costs. It's a bit invigorating.

The first time I went I apologized for sweating so much to which she responded, "Oh don't worry about it. The waxing makes a lot of people sweat. You're not the only one." She keeps me talking asking questions about the latest in my life. She's good at the small talk to keep your mind off the fact she is ripping hair off you.

Then fifteen minutes later you're done. Wham. Bam. Thank you ma'am.

If you've wanted to get a Brazilian wax and have been timid to try I hope my experience empowers you. Sweating be damned.

Like I've mentioned with doctors it's important to do your research. I've been told there is no standard certification that is recognized for Brazilian waxologists. You want to make sure you go to someone who is experienced and won't cause any damage to your skin. Yelp is always a great resource. And speak up to what you're looking for. Not sure what you're looking for? Ask what they recommend. Also, if they don't have instructions for after wax care be sure to ask for suggestions on keeping your pubic region free of ingrown hairs and irritation.

Would love to hear from others about your experiences waxing any part of your body. Please share in the comments.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Let's Catch Up

I started this blog with an energy that inspired me to blog consistently for a month and a half. What a glorious energy it was. It came to a halt though. So I thought I’d take a moment to update you all on what's going on in my world.

Recently I put in my resignation notice at work. This was a terrifying moment that gave me nightmares. To heighten my fears, in the weeks leading up to my resignation one woman was fired after only a week and another woman who was hired into the department quit after a week. That means I've been a department of one... which can you call it a department with just one person? Anyhow, I'd been working solo for some time so it was hard to tell my boss I too was jumping ship. I thought for sure he'd throw a man-child fit.

Since ETS surgery I get very cold whenever I'm nervous. My body literally freezes. Ever the planner, on the day I broke the news to my boss I made sure to wear shoes that covered my whole foot and would not show sweat. I also wore a thick pair of jeans since he has a leather couch in his office that I’d need to sit on. I was prepared but my body still quivered from the cold and there was a quiver to my voice to match.

To my surprise my boss took the news quite well and actually congratulated me on my next move. My coworkers all said "Don't expect them to fight for you." It was disappointing that he didn't counter but I've learned this rarely happens. In today's job market you are replaceable. That was proven to me when I met my potential replacement. I was so thrilled when I shook her hand and it was really damp. My boss can be intimidating so I'm sure her nerves were shaken. I doubt she has HH but feeling the sweat on her hands I immediately felt a connection with her.

So what’s the new job you wonder? I will be starting a three month position with a very prominent nonprofit organization.  It's a short term job with a pay cut and no health benefits. My mind is a million places wondering what is going to happen next. Losing health insurance is the biggest blow since I finally found a doctor I liked and he has prescribed me a medication to help with my sweating (more on that soon, I haven't started taking it). How will I afford the prescription without insurance? Capitol Hill, you will see me marching. My ballot this election is heavily influenced by our candidates’ dedication to reforming the healthcare sector.

GLORIOUS snow weather.
Another perk of the new job is that I will be taking a two week trip to the snow. I could not be happier to know that I will be living in frigid temps. Living in LA, heading to wintery weather and living in the snow for two weeks is a big deal. Actually, it’s GLORIOUS. I know I will truly be at my most confident. And as soon as I'm sick of schlepping in wet terrain it will be time to come home. I pray that I don't get stuck in some ridiculous heater situation.

My most pressing worry now is picking out a bar for my farewell drinks. Must make sure there is solid AC so I don't feel nervous hugging people goodbye. Can never be too prepared.

Another update I have in the works is my dating life. Although it may be lacking it's never boring.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Pledge To Treat My Shoes With Better Care

 It's a magical moment when I come across a pair of shoes I can wear without socks. Don't you dare ask me to take my shoes off though. A sense of panic comes over me if someone has a no-shoes-in-the-house rule and I'm caught without socks (visual here).

The shoes that can handle it are usually made from cotton. My go to sock free shoes are TOMS.

By not wearing some sort of sock I am inevitably RUINING these shoes. Do you experience this?

Notice the white marks on the shoe?
Do you enjoy how I staged the shoes on my dresser?
The sweat changes the color of the shoes as pictured above. The salty residue makes for some nasty looking marks. Quite embarrassing. These are now dubbed my "bang around" shoes. Ya know when I'm painting, gardening, wood working... so I never wear them I guess. If you're considering buying a pair of Keds without laces, like these, I don't recommend it. They fly off my feet.

What I love about my TOMS are I can throw them in the washing machine. They come out a little wrinkly but they smell not nasty and no longer have the weird salty residue.

But I think it's time to take a little more care. No more reckless sockless shoe wearing. 

Whenever I wear dressy shoes I wear peds/shoe liners/mini socks/whatever you want to call them to help the sweat. Dressy shoes are so uncomfortable when your foot is sloshing about. These mini socks are a lifesaver. I've invested in a few more pairs recently to help protect all my shoes.

Found these at Target for $3 a pair.
I've also purchased similar socks at Nordstrom Rack and Macy's

When I was in high school they had mini socks like this available but they weren't as discreet. The mini socks would always show. In high school, when everything is a big fucking deal, those socks showing were mortifying! I remember dressing up for an event, had some cute pink heels but had the wear the socks. I can still hear Brendan saying, "Hey Sara, your socks are showing." END.OF.THE.WORLD.MOMENT. Kids of today you're lucky they make these super discreet "hidden shoe liners."

On the back of the mini sock is a little rubber like grip thing that helps keep it on your foot.
Look for this feature before buying. It's super helpful.

Mini socks in action!
Above I'm wearing a pair of shoes that hardly cover the top of the foot. Not a shoe I wear in foreign territory because the tops of my feet sweat. But you can see the socks are for the most part hidden. With a shoe that covers a tad more of the foot they are most definitely hidden from view.

With some basic web based research you can find some other products out there. Has anyone tried these liners?  Silver Linings: Odor & Moisture Absorbing Shoe Liners

Do guys encounter this problem? Obviously sandals are an issue for everyone with sweaty feet (Unisex sandals I recommend). I always see guys wearing socks or rolling socks down to hide under the shoe. What are your tricks?

Also, just ordered some foot detox patches at the recommendation of Jessie (awesome Twitter follower!). She's seen good results thus far. Her feet surprisingly don't sweat after using them. Fingers crossed I have the same results. Separate post on that later.

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Experience With ETS Surgery

ETS Surgery (Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy) has changed my life in a lot of different ways. I hope to explore as much as I can in this post. Whatever I miss in this post it is bound to come out in a later entry.

Before I begin, I will consistently remind readers/sweaty friends that ETS surgery should be the absolute LAST option. Consult with your own doctors to decide what is best for you.

This is a hefty post and I hope you can stick with it. Ok let's get started.

Bagel Shop Crisis
The summer after I graduated high school I took a job at my local bagel shop. After two days I had to quit. Part of the problem was the owner didn't train me well, but the other reason was my sweaty hands. Putting gloves on and off was a maddening struggle. The sweat either trapped them on or created a jam when I put them on. My hands have a tremble/shake and when I'm under pressure it's exasperated. Cutting bagels with shaky hands is recipe for disaster.

I couldn't handle the morning rush. Bagels straight out of the toaster are fucking hot! I was fumbling around like a fool. The owner pulled me aside asking what the problem was. I simply said, "This isn't going to work out." And I left.

It was still early in the morning when I came home. My dad was just leaving for work. "What happened?" Well Dad, I quit. We didn't have time to talk about it. He rolled his eyes and went on with his commute.

My mom was home and I knew this would be my opportunity to really explain how hyperhidrosis was "ruining my life." I don't remember the words I used but I finally explained that my sweaty hands prevented me from schmearing cream cheese on bagels. I do remember midway through our convo running to my room. I dug up an old article from a teen magazine I had saved in a shoe box full of pictures and notes from my BFFs. The article was about a girl who had hyperhidrosis. When that article came out there was no Google for me to search 'hands that won't stop sweating.' This was the first time I heard of someone having the same symptoms as me. It was an OMG moment for sure. I cherished that article and it turned out to be a great way to explain something that my parents didn't quite understand.

I handed the article to my mom, "This is what I have." That was in 2004, so Google was around when I finally showed my parents the article. I had brought up my sweatyness to my parents previously but they dismissed it. For a long time I resented them for it, but as an adult I realize they had no idea what to do about it. It was easier to say, "You'll grow out of it," then figuring out how to treat it. So after our conversation and my dramatic end to a career in bagels I went on the internet and showed them, "Look there is a surgery for this."

Meeting Dr. Fischel
If you Google the name Dr. Fischel you will see a series of red flags from people attempting to sue him. That wasn't the case in 2004. He had a website that praised the results of ETS surgery and I was enamored. This was the answer to my prayers. Happy day!

He was also located in Orange County near the college I was going to attend, Chapman University. It seemed the stars had aligned.

My mom took me to my consultation with Dr. Fischel. He asked me to show him my hands. I raised them up so he could see the sweat dripping down. I began to cry immediately. Sob really, I could hardly speak.  I was talking about a problem I had suffered with in silence for the first time openly. I was overwhelmed with emotion.

He described the surgery and what was involved. That he had 100% success rate in stopping sweating in the hands. He could not stop the sweating in my arm pits and feet but they may be reduced. He briefly mentioned the possibility of compensation sweating. That some of his patients experience this.

Before I could proceed to schedule the surgery he said I would need to try a prescription strength antiperspirant. I remember he laughed it off knowing it wouldn't help in the least. My mom and I laughed too knowing it would be pointless. Regardless, we filled the prescription so we could move the ball forward on scheduling the surgery.

That was it. Surgery or antiperspirant, those were the two options he gave me. He also didn't ask if I had seen any other physicians or dermatologists regarding my HH.

My mom and I left that appointment knowing I wanted the surgery ASAP.

Dealing With Insurance
ETS Surgery is not cheap. Any operation where you're put under is going to cost you. I don't remember the total but my parents spent a solid year petitioning insurance to pay for it. As I mentioned in a post here, you have to be your own advocate to get insurance to cover treatment. And remember, if you are insured you have every right to fight for treatment. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Tips with dealing with insurance are available at

Luckily Dr. Fischel was in the area I was living for college, as mentioned earlier, so this helped. I visited a primary physician to sign off on the surgery. I showed him my hands telling him this surgery was going to help me. "Of course! Let's get those sweaty hands taken care of." The doctor didn't think twice when writing a referral to Dr. Fischel. I had already researched my options, why would the doctor need to?

Now I know why people seek out more than one opinion. I did not and I regret that.

The Surgery
The summer of 2005 I had the surgery. There was an unprofessional hiccup from Dr. Fischel's team as they tried to reschedule the week before my surgery as they double booked the operating room. My mom being the awesome woman she is fought to keep the original date.

The surgery went off without a hitch. I was a little loopy after saying silly things but it was no different than kids after dental work. Drugs are the best!

If you want details on what the surgery entails you can see what Wikipedia has to say. It's not something I can describe too well and I don't want to say something inaccurate.

I'm Cured... Juuuust Kidding

After the surgery my hands to this day do not sweat. It still blows my mind. About a year or so later the compensation sweating became very noticeable. I have stopped the sweating in one area but I have not stopped the sweating completely. The sweat moves to other parts of the body and that is considered compensation sweating.

I knew I had a serious problem the summer I went to Washington DC. I just turned 21 and was so excited to attend Alpha Kappa Psi's bi-annual convention. This is a co-ed business fraternity I am in. I was able to confidently join the fraternity because of the surgery. Lots of hand shaking is involved with the pledging process. Yet, I noticed sweating in new areas and at extreme levels. I came to the DC convention prepared with lots of tank tops to layer. I've always worn layers to help cover pit stains, but this was different.

Some serious bonding went on during the convention. You meet so many great people and I had a fucking blast. One night a group of us decided to go to a club. I was DRENCHED in sweat. My face, arms and hands were the only parts of me that were dry. I was so embarrassed when the guy I fancied tried to dance with me. Here he was showing interest like I had hoped, but I didn't want him to touch me in any way. We danced and eventually got close. We attempted to kiss but I was so uncomfortable it went horribly. He also seemed surprised to feel how damp my body was. I remember I left a wet mark on his shirt. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I wanted to crawl into a hole and never be seen again.

When it was time to leave I made a deliberate move to go in a separate cab than him. When we all got back to our hotel I ran to my hotel room looking to change my clothes. My friend and bunk-mate called me out on the odd behavior. The fella I liked took my running away as a sign as I wasn't interested... or so I remember, I could be making that up. Regardless he shied away. I was self conscience in a whole new way. Before I was merely afraid of a guy touching my hand. Now I didn't want to come in contact at all. Luckily I can say for certain this fella wasn't the love of my life but it still sucked.

I thought maybe this was just due to DC weather. It was August after all. Maybe this was just something I would endure in humid weather? Nope. As I type this the backs of my legs are sweating profusely. I do not go a day that I don't wear a tank top under my clothes.

I've gone from fearing hand shakes to fearing hugs. Will they feel the sweat on my back?

I kid you not, the other night I was out with friends and I was tapping myself on my upper back to see if I could feel the sweat through my jacket. I wanted to make sure when I hugged people goodbye they wouldn't feel something damp.  I do the weak half assed hug now. You know the one where you're hips are a good three to four feet apart and you merely lean the chest forward and tap the shoulders. I cringe waiting for someone to call me out on it. Or if they bring me in for a legit hug to comment on how damp I am. Neither has happened.

I've also come to embrace the Irish Exit.
Urban Dictionary Definition: More specifically, the Irish exit refers to the departure from any event without telling any friends, associates or acquaintances that one is leaving. You leave without saying goodbye.  It is almost always the result of being very inebriated/intoxicated.

Rundown of Side Effects I've Experienced
  • Eating: The back of my neck and chest sweats when I eat fast or eat warm foods or drink warm drinks.
  • Spicy Food: My face sweats when I eat anything spicy. I have to ask for salsa on the side and I love Mexican food. This is embarrassing but I ham it up with the taco truck vendors, "Sorry! I'm a gringa"  Smile and nod as adorably as possible. If I'm at home I'll eat spicy stuff. Sometimes it feels nice to clear out the pores. 
  • Boob Sweat: My boobs sweat a lot more. I've had more than one experience of a girlfriend of mine grabbing a necklace I'm wearing and getting a bit of sweat on their hands. Weird that that's happened twice, I know.
  • DRIPPING Body Sweat: I can't walk down the street without coming close to sweating through my clothes. LAYERS all the time. It's not cool when a guy wants to disrobe you before sex and you have to fling all your clothes off immediately because you don't want him to touch your sweaty clothes. Also when I lay out at the pool I am constantly jumping in the water. Sweat? No, no that's pool water. Oh, you're not convinced? Time to jump in again.
I cannot emphasize this enough. DRIPPING sweat. Large beads of sweat. My body would sweat before but now instead of my hands dripping my body is. Mostly my back, chest and legs. 
  • Sweaty Knees: When I go for a run or hike I have really weird lines of sweat running down. No one else has legs that look like this. I'll need to take a picture for you. If I'm in a setting that's 65+ degrees just sitting my legs are much sweatier than before the surgery. 
  • Upper Back Sweat: Racerback tank tops are my best friend. I also have a good collection of cotton dresses that I can wear under my dresses. 
  • Slower Heart Rate: My heart rate is slower. Can't really say that this is a negative but worth mentioning.
I can also go without sweating at all. You can read about my wonderful experience in Mammoth. But on that same trip I did experience extreme sweating. The extreme sweating is not constant but occurs daily at some point and is very inconvenient. 

Side effects are not limited to those mentioned above. Other serious complications can arise. 

You can read more about the pros and cons of ETS surgery here.

I am very sad to know that there were other options I could have explored first before surgery. I took what was a localized problem in my hands and spread it all over my body. I also deal with sweaty arm pits and feet but those too can be treated without surgery. I am hoping that treatment with Glycopyrrolate I will be able to control the compensation sweating. Before I would avoid certain social situations because of my sweaty hands. I still avoid social situations but in totally new ways.

It's a trade off not a cure. Professionally I am much more confident, but I can't say that I am further along in my career because of this surgery.

I am still dealing with hyperhidrosis.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tumblin Tumblr

This blog doesn't get updated daily but my Tumblr does. It's for my thoughts on the fly and all things amusing.

Some solid meme-ing going on there as well.
So please, creep on by.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sandals For Sweaty Feet

I don't always wear sandals,
but when I do, I wear these:

Rainbows are ubiquitous in many parts of Southern California, particularly in Orange County and San Diego.  They are traditionally available in leather. Leather being a material that makes me sweat just thinking about. I don't remember where I stumbled upon Rainbows made from hemp material, but it was a revelation.  Grabbing the cloth like sandals, holding them close, smelling their natural odor, dropping to my knees in pure joy, shedding a tear to the beautiful craftsmanship.... OK OK that didn't happen. In my imagination it did though.

The hemp material soaks up the sweat and feel very comfortable for sweaty feet. The thick straps also cover some of the sweat on top of the foot. There is no sloshing. There is no slipping out. No drops of sweat glistening on the actual sandal.

These are my abused sandals. I've owned these for years. I blame their disgusting look on a recent camping trip. The sweat abuse does make them change a bit in color but it doesn't really bother me. It's clear the darker brown is a better choice if you have the option (I did not).

Sometimes you just can't wear shoes and socks. When I can't these are my go to.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mammoth Trip: Climbing and Sweaty Encounters

Last weekend some buds from college and I went to Mammoth Lakes, CA. A Living Social deal for a rock climbing excursion prompted the weekend getaway. We could not have picked a better weekend. While it was 95 hot as hell degrees in LA it was a 70 wonderful cool degrees in Mammoth.

Sorry Natalie, don't mind my hair in your face.

Derek was my first friend in college.
He was also the first, of very few, that I told I had hyperhidrosis.
A lovely break from the city life.

"Shut up. You sweat?"
My friend Natalie and I weren't lucky enough to have vacation time from work so we headed up around 7:30pm on Friday for our six hour drive. Hours on hours on hours to talk.

As of late, relationships have dominated our conversations. Natalie and I are fairly inquisitive so given a long stretch of time we can get in to some really juicy topics. We were only about an hour in when hyperhidrosis made it's debut into the conversation. Natalie asked frankly, "So what are your insecurities when it comes to guys?"

There it was. My window of opportunity. Here it is Sara, run with it. I made some noises and a few words that didn't make a complete sentence. I had about 5 more seconds before Natalie was going to ask if I had a stroke and could no longer speak properly.

"Funny you should ask. I don't know if you've ever heard me complain about being sweaty. Well it's an actual condition called hyperhidrosis." I was clearly holding my breath too long as after wards I felt winded. I put it out there. On the table.

"Shut up. You sweat? I never noticed." She never noticed. I questioned this thinking of our friends birthday party in June where my clothes were soaked. Thinking of our trip to Palm Springs just a few weeks prior where I had to leave the bar we were at because I was so uncomfortably sweaty blaming my early departure on being tired and my phone needed to be charged (it did need to be charged.) She didn't notice? Really? Each friend I have told has said the same thing. "I've never noticed," sometimes adding, "I've known you for 5,6,7 years. How did I not know this?"

Natalie went on to divulge her own insecurities. We were both completely surprised by each others hang ups. I can say that drive was a huge eye opener. So many laughs along the way. At one moment we feared we missed a highway change because we were so engrossed in conversation. Recalling previous trips to Mammoth, "I know we're on the right highway when the road feels like 'Rollin with the homies'" It's a series of short hills. We in fact were on the right highway but I was thinking of a different one. We didn't get to roll with the homies.

Brittany Murphy you will forever be remembered for
"Rolling With the Homies" in Clueless. Rest in peace, girlfriend.

It was about 1:00 am when we arrived at our hotel. After six hours I was straight up crazy brain. GET ME OUT OF THE CAR OR I WILL EXPLODE. In addition, Mammoth is in the mountains. That means high altitude. That means the air is thinner. That means I was on a permanent high all weekend. I could not stop laughing when we finally met up with our other friends. They thought for sure I was nuts. I wish I could relive that moment right now.

The mini vacation started out perfect.

Climbing in the Shade = GLORIOUS 
As a sweater I tend to over pack especially if physical activity is on the agenda. That said, I took a bit of a risk not thinking the day through properly. We started out with a walk around one of the lakes (gorgeous), and proceeded to get some lunch. I was living on the edge because I didn't bring a jacket or change of shirt in the event that I sweat through my top and got cold. We went straight to our climbing appointment at 2pm. We wouldn't be back to our hotel until about 6:30 pm when it would be quite chilly. I thought for sure I'd be screwed.

Airing the pits out.

Helmets add legitimacy to extreme adventure.

Let me address the pink elephant in the room. You're probably wondering how someone with hyperhidrosis could ever go climbing. In some of my posts (here and here) you may have seen I had ETS surgery. My hands don't sweat. It's funny though, climbing with clammy hands is actually helpful to get a grip on the rocks. My dry hands slip just as they would if they were sweaty. Climbers with hands that get too sweaty use chalk. This isn't enough for HH dripping hands. You will want to invest in some gloves. If you have any desire to try climbing I hope you don't let sweaty hands stop you. The climbing community is generally friendly from my experience.

Back to our adventure. Our instructor, Zach, took us to Horseshoe Lake to climb. It was shady and about 60-65 degrees. SCORE! I hardly broke a sweat. I have experience climbing in a gym so my nerves were calm. YAY YAY YAY. I don't remember the last time I did any physical activity where I didn't sweat. I break a sweat walking down the block to the liquor store. Thin chilly air, marry me.

Zach was awesome with his instruction and he got along with our quirky humor. Two thumbs way up for Sierra Rock Climbing School. The experience reminded me I need to get back to a climbing gym and conquer my fears of outdoor climbing.

"Finish my beer then I'll buy you another drink."
 When it was clear we were just about done with climbing I had Mexican food and cocktails on the brain. It was 40 degrees and I got to wear my pea coat! We had a great dinner recounting the day and then proceeded to a recommended watering hole. Let's booze bitches.

Knowing I get super sweaty when I drink I started a little cautiously. It was so cool in the bar everything seemed to be going well. I was sweating in my crotch region but nothing my jeans couldn't handle. Pits were doing good with my multiple layers. I ventured out on the dance floor. My friend Derek and I proceeded to do what we always do on the dance floor... dance like we're on Dancing With the Stars. We twirled, dipped, spun and got our heart rate up. I took a moment to check how I was feeling. Dry. I was dry! So I danced harder. I was also given a shot from some new friends we made.

Things turned rather quickly. I went from dry to wet in a matter of 2 minutes. I was concerned but my sweat wasn't noticeable yet through my clothes. I chugged some water and was still sociable. That was until dudes started gettin handsy.

It's common practice for fellas to put their arm around you or on the small of your back. It's not creepy. It's a small gesture to let you know they're interested. If even for the moment. At this point I don't want anyone to fucking touch me. Of our three new friends one started in a drunken stooper to make a move on me. Keep your paws off you normal seeming friendly nerd guy who I know has no ill intention. UGH.

I still laugh though thinking about his luring line. "Here. Take this. Here. Finish. Finish my beer. And then... I'll buy you another drink." Giving me this wink and nod type look. Oh woe is me! Steal my heart, sir. As soon as he went to the bar I made a MAD DASH to the bathroom. Toweled off in a moderatley drunken state in the stall. I exited and grabbed my friends, "We need to go immediately." Sorry dude I'm sweaty and cannot be seen. "Wait. You're leaving?" Yup! Hive five man, I'm out.

So I made up for my lack of sweating earlier that day. If I had to choose between sweating during the day and the night. In this instance, I would've kept everything the same.

Climb on!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Visiting the Doctor: Part ONE

It’s been seven years since I’ve seen a doctor about my hyperhidrosis. Think back to the early 2000s and the state of the internet. It was booming but not where it is today. There information available on hyperhidrosis was hard to come by. It was a full on battle to even locate a professional knowledgeable about my condition. But once I did, my life was changed through a quick surgery called ETS (Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy). At a later time I fully intend on sharing this entire process in full in a future post.

Following the surgery, I kind of took what I could from this experience and moved on. I thought I depleted what collective medical knowledge was out there about my battle with the damp. It had always been so hard to find someone who even knew what hyperhidrosis was. So I assumed there was nothing more I could do. But recently, my perspective has changed. Creating this blog and engaging with the many others suffering with my same issues inspired me to return to the doctor’s office and continue my hunt for answers. So, thank you readers and followers!

DISCLAIMER: The following post serves as a sort of best practices guide for finding a doctor that can help you with hyperhidrosis. It is a review of my personal experience and is in no way medical advice for everyone. Please see your own doctor to make your own informed decisions.

Finding a Doctor
My first action was visiting and researched doctors in my area. I made sure to avoid plastic surgeons and thorasic surgeons. I avoided them because I wasn't confident they would be knowledgeable in other remedies aside from surgery or Botox. I was afraid they would immediately try to push one solution. Instead, I opted for a dermatologist. From there I checked to make sure they were covered under my insurance. I also searched their name to see if there were any positive or negative reviews. One did come back with terrible reviews on Yelp for customer service. You also have the right to call and inquire with the doctor if they're the right option for you. Save your time and money by doing your research.

Prepping for the Appointment
I took a bit of time to think about what I wanted to say and accomplish. I refreshed myself on my medical history. There is no such thing as Too Much Information. I recommend writing down what you want to ask and bring it in with you so you feel confident when you leave.

It's common to get nervous in front of a doctor. My mom, a nurse, refers to this as "White Coat Syndrome." She always encourages me to talk things through with her first before seeing a doctor. Thanks, Mom!

The Appointment
The doctor was very professional and I felt comfortable discussing hyperhidrosis. It's funny how hard it is for me to say the "H" word out loud. I could feel my emotions trying to take over. I'm shocked I didn't break down and cry like I've done before with doctors. When you go to extreme efforts to hide something it's painstaking to talk about it. I was able to pull it together knowing I was in a safe space.

The doctor was concerned to hear I had ETS surgery (again, I will post about this) as treating compensation sweating is a little harder. The options he presented were oral medication and Botox. That said, he had never prescribed a patient oral medication before. So he referred me to an internist to explore oral medication further. Although disappointed he wasn't more knowledgeable about medication like Robinal /Glycopyrrolate, I was very relieved he offered to seek a second opinion. Looking back on my decision to have ETS surgery I feel it was a decision made hastily. The surgeon who performed the ETS surgery did not help me weigh all my options nor did he encourage me to. I don't want to get caught making another swift decision I will regret later. That’s why it’s so important that you do research so you can be your own advocate.

Cost of Feeling Normal
Thrilled that I had options I was quickly deflated when I was told the cost of treatment. This dermatologist is charging $150 to deal with the paperwork associated with Botox treatment for hyperhidrosis—just the paperwork! It takes hours of paperwork to petition on behalf of a patient to have Botox covered by insurance. I value his time and understand the fee, but I ask the insurance companies, "Why must I fight to be treated?!" Have we not come a long way with treatment for hyperhidrosis? It seems rather archaic. A sad reflection on the state of healthcare and my finances in my opinion.

When I found out I have to pay my doctor $150
to fill out paperwork.

Living in Los Angeles I live a fun lifestyle but not an extravagant one. Cost of living and general upkeep to feel normal is horrendous. At the age of 26 I have a pitiful savings living pay check to pay check. I just don't know if I can afford Botox treatments. I make a decent salary and I'm insured. I don't understand why what seems like basic care feels so out of reach. I'll refrain from going on a tirade. This is where adulthood can suck it.

Next Steps
I am very excited to the see the internist. Per Wikipedia, "Internal medicine is the medical specialty dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of adult diseases." This doctor will hopefully give a global view to my health. I will be ready to spill my guts on my medical history. I'm particularly interested to hear how my endocrine system (think hormones) has been affected by hyperhidrosis. Are they linked? I don't know but I'll find out.

I'll continue to keep you updated on this journey. Journey? Mountain climb? Crawl through mud? I think I've found a new calling as hyperhidrosis healthcare activist. Here me roar more on this later.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

YouTube Find!

I did a basic search tonight on YouTube for HH. Through the power of the interweb gods I stumbled upon MelMel21's videos. A 20-something, like me, putting her voice out there.

I'm working through a post describing my experience seeing a doctor today for the first time in seven years regarding HH. SEVEN YEARS. I will be posting in the next day or two. Until then, I give you Melissa:

How awesome is that? I continue to be amazed by the strength and courage of those speaking out about HH. I also have a sense of GIRL POWER. Don't mind me I'll now be listening to Spice Girls on repeat.

Beautiful Soup

This illustration is from 105 PARIIS.
It caught my eye this morning on Tumblr.

The color combination is beautiful. The design is striking. It also looks exactly how I feel sometimes-- a soupy mess. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Smelly Green Bucket

Please meet my smelly green bucket.

In college I had to find a way to deal with my sweaty workout clothes. At home growing up I would always throw them in an empty sink and at the end of the week would throw it all in the wash.  When I went to college though dorm living didn't allow for that. Living with roommates is hard enough, you add stinky sweaty clothes strewn about to the mix and you're asking for a bitch fight.

I went to Target and found a bucket to help keep my things contained. You can generally find them in the organizing section with all the plastic bins or during the summer in the outdoor/party planning section. This bucket is actually meant for you to put ice and drinks in. Dual purpose! Please choose one purpose. It's either the ice or your sweat. You can't have both.

It's also very convenient to just pick up and head straight to the laundry room. Who has quarters?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Taking Notes in Class With Tissues

It's 2:30 p.m., you just had PE class and now you're in Chemistry sweaty and exhausted. The last thing you want to do is be writing notes on molecular reactions. I distinctly remember one day in class not taking any notes because I knew my page would be drenched. I sat there stewing knowing I would have to borrow the notes from someone else and my homework for the night would be near impossible to do as I wouldn't be able to remember anything that was lectured on in class. Ugh. Writing is right up there with shaking hands. I didn't want to do it!

It wasn't until my senior year of high school I found my miracle. Tissues.

Place the tissue inside and under your hand.
You'll be able to glide along the page. Yes, glide!
This three pack cost me a buck and some change. 

You'll go through a couple tissues depending on how much you're writing. In the cooler months I would also use the sleeve of my sweatshirt or jacket.

Oh and to those who are starting college soon: the freedom to bring a laptop to most classes is exhilarating.

If you have other tricks for writing please share them in the comments section!

Hollywood Bowl Dance Fest

This summer has been amazing in regards to new music. Since high school live music is an atmosphere I absolutely lose myself in. Tonight on a whim I went to the legendary Hollywood Bowl with some friends to see Hot Chip and Passion Pit. I started to smile bright when I heard one of Hot Chip's songs "Day and Night." The lyrics include the repeated verse, "Let's sweat." I got sweaty openly and freely.

Walking A Mile... Again
Just like FYF Fest (post here) I had to endure a bit of a trek to the venue. The walk to the Hollywood Bowl from my apartment is about a mile and a half. Before I made the journey I decided to think about the route and how I could best combat the most noticeable sweat.
  • Hydration: I knew there was a Starbucks along my seemingly daunting trek. Having a severe hangover this morning and lack of sleep I knew I would need some caffeine. So I ordered a venti green ice tea. Helped keep me cool and give me the fuel I needed for the night. It also provided an air conditioned relief to collect myself for the remainder of the walk.
  •  Bathroom Break: Once I got to the Bowl I bee lined it to the bathroom. I took off my two tank tops and wiped myself down with toilet seat covers. I find the toilet seat covers are much more resilient than toilet paper. Avoid using toilet paper unless you want to be picking pieces off of you for a while. 
  • Keep Calm: I immediately wanted to go into panic mode as I walked into the Bowl. The place was filled with people and all eyes felt like they were on me. Then I mentally slapped myself realizing that people are in their own worlds, especially in LA. In yoga we learn uijayi breathing.  When I start to feel over heated I go to that breathing to help calm my body. I'll write more about that another time.
If you're ever in Los Angeles during the summer seeing any type of performance at the Bowl is a truly magical experience. It's worth the nerve wracking walk.

Nose bleed seats are the best.

Passion Pit! Hot Chip!
Once the music begins all bets are off for me staying cool and dry. I have to fucking dance. Although I'm usually the most sweaty my friends are sweating too. It's easy to forget that other people sweat. Hugging my friends goodbye in a euphoric state I felt the dampness of their shirts and was comforted to know I wasn't alone.

If you're not familiar with Passion Pit I highly recommend giving a listen. I recently read this article on Pitchfork, "Passion Pit: Inside the brilliant and troubled mind of Passion Pit leader Michael Angelakos." Having suffered from bouts of depression and anxiety from HH and other life situations this was a fascinating read. Their music is so catchy and melodic but if you take a moment to really listen to the lyrics there are some serious lines to ponder. Reminds me we need to look out for one another. We're worth it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ehhh, Yea But...



I had a rousing Friday night staying in doing laundry, catching up on Daily Show, and a wee bit of terrible white wine. I also dived into my new dating "handbook." Oh boy, who have I become? I don't do self help books. I know what works for me and surely no one can give someone with HH advice. Unless you have HH I don't want to hear it. As I grow older I realize this is fatally flawed thinking.

This passage really struck me:

I want to live with integrity and truth. I'm not going to hide the jewel of who I am, nor will I mask my imperfections. No bargains, no avoiding reality, no conning myself, no lies. The more we commit to knowing and accepting ourselves, the more we are able to surrender to loving another person because we have nothing to hide and nothing to feel ashamed of... This is immensely important in the dating process because new love can resurrect our most primitive feelings of fear, hope, dependency, and emptiness. If we know how to soothe our pain and relax into our emptiness, we won't be afraid to be open and honest, regardless of the outcome.
-Charlotte Kasl, Ph.D., If the Buddha Dated

The jewel of who I am?! It's cheesy but try to look beyond that. I always use sweating as a cop out. No one knows what it's like, it's disgusting and surely no one will ever accept me for it. Or I at least need time to introduce it to someone as we build our relationship. But how much time?

Starting this blog is a huge step for me in being open about HH. Reading that passage further confirmed I need to continue this journey. It will be a process becoming completely comfortable talking about it.  I have more stories to share about hiding... many more. Stay tuned and tell me about your process.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Sweat Is Welcome Here: Hot Yoga

Hot yoga is by far one of the best forms of exercise and therapy I have been introduced to. You sweat. You sweat a lot. Everyone is sweating. The room is heated between 90-110 degrees and often humidity is added.

Imagine that. A room full of sweaty people. I'm starting to sweat more just thinking about it. A place where you are encouraged to sweat. A place where people find it weird if you're not soaking in sweat. I hope you are scouring Yelp for the closest hot yoga studio right now.

Walking LA cliche. 

Foreign Territory
Trying anything new as a sweater is hard. You don't know how to prepare often. How should I accommodate for my sweating? I avoided trying many things out of fear. If you're fearful like me I encourage you, beg you, to muster up a little will power to check it out. I have not met a single yoga studio that was not thrilled to see a new face. Knowing yoga especially hot yoga is new to many instructors try to create a welcoming atmosphere.

Three studios I love in Southern California: Hot 8 Yoga, Ra Yoga, and Core Power. Core Power is a chain with locations across the US. 

Beads of sweat are missing from this photo. 

As mentioned previously, I had surgery to stop palmar sweating. My body now sweats much much more. I find most workout clothes can cover this up. Dry fit is my new best friend. When I come out of class I can literally ring sweat out of my clothes. If you've had the surgery I recommend capris that come past the knee as this will keep that annoying knee sweat in check. Yes, the knees sweat like crazy after you've had the surgery. For men who have had this surgery this may be one set back but I've done it in shorts and survived.

Hot yoga is an invigorating workout but it's also a place where I find calm. I don't have to think twice about my sweating. Instructors will sometimes incorporate mantras or inspiration.  In class instructors will often repeat "Go to your edge" or "Let your ego go." We're reminded that this our yoga practice, not our neighbors and we should treat it as such. Who cares if you're sweating more than your neighbor respect and honor your body. At the end of each class we end with our hands to our hearts and we say "Namaste." We are thanking the instructor and everyone in the room for taking the journey together.

I've truly learned more about myself and it has helped promote a healthier lifestyle.

How to Prepare
Most hot yoga studios will post on their website what to expect.
  • Don't eat two hours prior (I've done it and it ain't cute). Please be sure to eat sensibly prior throughout the day though. You need fuel to burn!
  • Bring a yoga mat if you have one, if you don't you can often rent one.
  • Bring a large towel to cover your mat. I usually bring a beach towel. Some studios will provide you with a towel (if they look small don't hesitate to ask for two!) This goes for EVERYONE not just us sweaters. 
  • Bring a small towel to wipe your face and sometimes to use for certain poses. 
  • Bring a very cold bottle of water.
  • Arrive 15 minutes early to give yourself time to sign up and get acquainted. 
  • Bring an open attitude. No one is judging you here.

Yoga Practice Not Yoga Perfect
If you're new to yoga pick out a spot in the back row. Everyone starts out here. You learn the language of yoga over time. You never perfect poses either. In yoga we practice to explore new places in a posture. It's awesome because you never feel like a failure. Each class feels different from the next. One day I may be kicking ass at my standing bow and the next I'm falling over every two seconds.

One day in class I was so emotionally drained. I mostly sat through the entire class. The instructor checked in with me very kindly to see how I was doing. "Are you OK? I love that you're here doing what you can." I look at her, nodded yes and immediately started to cry. She smiled and let me be. It was an incredible emotional release and I hardly did anything in class. My point is don't fret if you don't know what you're doing or just can't keep up with everyone else.

Side Bar Note
One style of yoga I have not quite been able to get on board with is Bikram. Bikram is a series of 26 postures that feels wonderful. I do enjoy the series of postures but have found the instructors to be less than friendly and the studios quite stinky. Bikram studios often have carpet flooring which doesn't fair well with constant sweat abuse. This may not be for every Bikram studio. Yelp is your friend.

Can't Find Hot Yoga?
If you can't find hot yoga but are interested in trying yoga there are ways to beat the sweaty hands and feet. Yogi toes (they're towel for the yoga mat) and Yogi Socks (they are glorified toe socks for yoga). I've used both and love them.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Riding on the Metro

Never really having access to public transportation I've often romanticized about trips on a subway. Much like the sexy music video from Berlin. We all know it's not sexy. It's aesthetically unpleasing, generally noisy and for Angelenos a foreign concept. I live about a mile from a Metro station. It's close but not that close. Taking the Metro in Los Angeles is more of a novelty to people with cars which is a solid majority of people. This past weekend in LA was FYF Fest and hoards of 20-somethings ventured out to ride the Metro. Myself included.

Watching Father John Misty under a tree. Beating the heat.

Getting Dressed

Before we get into my journey to FYF Fest, let's talk about the agonizing task of deciding of what to wear. I hadn't done laundry in about three weeks which means my favorite cotton breezy sweat wicking clothes were dirty. And my go to tank that doesn't show sweat I had been photographed in many times. Didn't want that tank showing up on Facebook again (really stupid reason in hindsight). Fuck. This music festival is outdoors, I have no idea what the grounds look like, and the sun is beaming bright. I'm going to be DRIPPING. What do I finally decide to wear? A dress with an under dress. The double dress. I debated if I should throw on some bike shorts to avoid chaffing. "Nah, I feel fine. This should be OK." I grabbed a thin jacket for in the evening. When you sweat through your clothes you will be cold after the sun sets.

The Journey

After walking a mile in mostly shade I thought I had done a good job at keeping the sweat minimal. I go to buy my Metro ticket. I'm sanding idle waiting for the person in front of me. I can feel it. Beads of sweat marching like an army on a mission on their way from my butt, down my crotch and inevitability parachuting down to the ground for combat. I can imagine the pool below me forming and growing. It's of course not. My inner dialogue is that someone will say, "Ma'am I think your water broke." I start moving my legs and awkwardly adjusting so my underwear can soak up the sweat. The sweat dance. I should've worn the god damn bike shorts. What am I twelve though?

I am finally seated in the nice air conditioned train/subway (?). I'm pleased that I have some time to relax and get the sweating in check. Two stops later a middle aged guy asks if he can sit next to me. I gladly move over one seat offering him mine. He turns to me and says, "Were you sweating?"


Me: Uhhh I don't know
Stranger: Oh it's just that it's damp. Do you feel that?

I feel the seat and honestly I don't feel any sweat

M: I don't know
S: Are you sweating?
M: I walked a few miles to the Metro [that's a lie]. I was hustling.

The man starts to lean forward and adjust on the chair. Trying not let his back touch the seat.

S: Yea, sorry it's just I don't want my clothes to get damp.

My sweat army is marching in full force. Panic mode has begun and I'm sweating even more.

S: Are you having a good weekend?
M: [WTF] Yea I am. How about you?
S: Yea, but it could be better.
M: Oh, sorry to hear that.
S: Oh it's a good weekend. I mean just being unemployed and all.

I'm nodding along and thinking how the fuck did I get stuck talking to this guy?!

S: So where are you going?
M: A music festival Downtown.
S: Oh yea? What kind of music?
M: uhhh yea know rock... and... roll... all kinds of stuff
S: Oh cool. How old are you?

Do I lie? Do I say I'm younger? older? Is he going to kill me?

M: 26
S: Oh. Are you from another state?
M: Nope. From California.
S: Sorry you're probably wondering why I'm asking all these questions. It's good to be social.

Dude I wrote the book on being social. I just don't want to fucking talk to you. I feel awkward as hell and why do I owe you the time of day?

S: Did you see where Santa Monica was blocked off for [don't remember what he said]
M: No I didn't
S: Oh. You didn't?

I cross my leg the other way and their is a little bit of sweat from where my leg was.

He reaches over and touches my thigh and says, "OMG you're sweating."

As if we hadn't ALREADY established that. I firmly say, "DON'T touch me." He then proceeded to apologize and claims he really hopes he accepts my apology. LEAVE ME ALONE.

He leaves a few stops before mine and I was fuming. I wrap my jacket around my waist fearing I might have a sweat stain on my butt. Oh and he told me doing that would make me sweat more. Thanks for the advice Stranger.

My Happy Place

I finally get to the festival. Damp. I had some time to hang out under a tree to watch Father John Misty's set. I cooled down and was able to regroup alone. There is something kind of peaceful of watching a band by yourself. I later met up with some friends and we were able to relive our youth a bit to sets from Cursive and the Faint. I danced and bopped around not caring about any sweat. Good music and friends I felt OK to be my sweaty self.

I leave you with this awesome music video from Father John Misty. If you can see them live I recommend it. The frontman is a hippie character who moves like water on stage and provides the crowd with some great zingers.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hello, Nice to Meet You

I'm a little sweaty right now. If you're reading this, chances are you are too. I'm a 26 year old young professional living in Los Angeles and I have hyperhidrosis.

As I was drifting off to sleep last night I thought, "I should start a blog about me being a sweaty girl living in LA." Konk out. Wake up. It was the first thing I thought of when I woke up. Let's do this.

I haven't met a single soul who has this condition. Sure I've met people who sweat a lot but I've seen them all wear sandals. That's my true test for hyperhidrosis-- you are terrified to wear sandals. I want to meet people who have to alter almost every part of their lifestyle to accommodate for the fact that they sweat. I have to rely on reading what others with hyperhidrosis have to say on the internet. I want to connect with this world, add my two cents and hopefully contribute a few laughs.

My ideal setting is 65 degrees with a cool breeze. I don't care if I'm freezing. I'm just fucking ecstatic that I'm not sweating. My go to outfit is a pair of TOMS that can soak the sweat from my feet, jeans that never show a crotch stain, a tank top under my tshirt to wick away sweat and a cardigan to cover my pit stains. I NEVER wear grey. At the age of 19 I had endoscopic surgery to stop my hands from sweating. I now have the joy of horrendous compensation sweating. It's a trade off.

I'll share my embarrassing stories, tips for covering the sweat, and the inner dialogue of a fellow sweater. I'll try remedies and share the results. And, the fun part, sex and dating as a sweaty girl. My kind of a guy runs the air conditioner year-round. A fan in the bedroom is a must.

Above all else though, I want to talk to you. We each experience this shitty condition differently but it's nice to know we're not alone. Let's sweat through it.