01 Sep Sweat Doesn’t Seem that Menacing…..Unless You have Hyperhidrosis
It’s over 100 degrees outside and though I’m feeling the heat, I slip my jacket on to hide the sweat that seems to pour from my armpits down the full length of my torso. “Why didn’t I just wear a swimsuit,” I think with exasperation. I walk slowly to the cafeteria to buy my lunch, careful not to make the spray of sweat that flings off my flip flops with every step too pronounced. I’m silently cursing myself for deciding to wear sandals instead of sneakers….”I knew this was going to happen — it feels like I’m walking on ice — this is going to be torture all day!” But, what’s a girl to do in the summer? You’re supposed to wear less clothes, not more. As I walk like a snail to my destination, my hands are glued to the sides of my shorts to absorb the sweat that is dripping off my palms. “Jean shorts were a good choice,” I think. The one good choice I made with my wardrobe today. When it comes time to pay for my food, I wipe one hand against my shorts to retrieve my wallet from my backpack, and the other hand to open my wallet and grab the cash. Noticing that the sweat is already dripping off the palm with the cash, I quickly put my wallet away, wipe the sweat off my free hand, transfer the cash to that hand and quickly thrust the cash toward the cashier………….. Quite an elaborate way to pay for a meal, but it doesn’t take long — I’ve had some practice.
The name of my condition is hyperhidrosis. And it plagued me every day until I was a junior in High School. It was especially bad in High School during an age when you so desperately want to be accepted and fit in — every day was like the scenario I describe above. And while it might help to paint a picture of what it is like to have hyperhidrosis, it is impossible to understand unless you have experienced it first hand because sweat doesn’t seem that menacing…….unless you have hyperhidrosis. I had countless doctors say something to the effect of , “It’s probably good — think of all the toxins you are releasing!” I would give them credit for attempting to present a silver lining if it didn’t stab me in the heart every time they said it.
I understand that train of thought. It was something I tried to say to myself time and time again — “It’s just sweat……it’s not that bad……it’s not cancer…….” The fact is, when it comes down to it, it’s really not about the sweat. It is about what the sweat does to you psychologically. I became insecure and painfully shy. I was trapped in my own body; terrified of saying the wrong thing; sure that everyone was judging me. The only time I felt free was when I was engrossed with my schoolwork or on the stage singing or dancing — all activities that didn’t require face to face interaction with people.
And then, there were a succession of things that saved me and made it possible to be where I am today.
My first saving grace was my grandmother. She has the condition as well and knows first hand what a tremendous impact it can have on every part of your life. She was always looking for remedies to help me. We tried countless powders that within minutes became a cakey mess. We tried strong antiperspirants that went on like superglue, but were no match for my hyperhidrosis.
One fortuitous day, my grandma called and said she found out about a corrective surgery for hyperhidrosis and she had the info for the doctor who specialized in the procedure. His name is Dr. Martin Cooper, and we set up a consultation right away. Our meeting went pretty much like this.
Dr. Cooper: Show me your hands
Me: (I extended them toward him with my palms facing up, the sweat already pooling in my palms)
Dr. Cooper: You are a perfect candidate for this procedure
So, we set the date and did the procedure and I no longer sweat (at all) from my hands or armpits — HOORAY!!
BUT, it didn’t take care of my feet…….which brings me to my next saving grace — SOCKS.
Not just any socks though…….ToeSox. I am a yoga teacher and was constantly trying to figure out ways to hide my sweaty feet while practicing or teaching. For years I used a mat towel. I would use water to wet a strip at the top of the towel so my hands wouldn’t slip and the sweat on my feet would wet the bottom of the towel in seconds flat. A solution, but not a very palatable one. I was constantly adjusting my towel while practicing (it really took away from my practice), and I found myself either glued to my mat or constantly returning to my mat while teaching to wipe the sweat off my feet.
Wearing these socks has made it possible for me to become a strong and confident teacher and to use this new strength and confidence to inspire others to step into themselves more fully. For years I dreamed about partnering with ToeSox, and I am beyond thrilled to be partnering with them as one of their influencers!!
More generally, the things that saved me and continue to save me are yoga asana and Kirtan. They make me feel powerful and empowered; they imbue me with joy. They help me to get rid of the things that are no longer me; they help me step confidently into who I am and who I want to be.
And, there is one final thing that saved me and continues to save me — my husband. But, that’s a whole other blog post………