Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My "Disability"

I use that term rather loosely, because I realize that those with true disabilities might be offended at me calling my "problem" by that name. Today I'm coming out of the closet. No, not like that, don't worry. My whole life I have had an embarrassing problem that only those closest to me know about. But today, I was feeling very thankful (I'll get to that later), so I thought I would share. Who knows - maybe some of you who follow my blog or stumble upon it might struggle with this too. So what is it????? It's called "Hyperhydrosis", otherwise known as "sweaty hands and feet". Now, realize that when I say that, many people respond with "No way!! Me too!" But I'm not talking about clammy hands and feet here. I'm talking about hands that DRIP enough to cause a small puddle. Does this forever change your view of me as you are secretly thinking "Ewww! Gross!" ? :) Let me divulge.

Ever since I was little I have had this problem, which has affected almost every area of my life. In junior high and high school I was petrified to have a boyfriend because he might be repulsed by me after finding out about my problem. In 6th grade I had my first boyfriend and I remember sitting in chapel (it was a Christian school), and he reached over to hold my hand. This was my FIRST time holding a boy's hand, and I was so embarrassed because he felt the wetness right when he grabbed it. I quickly let my hand go and never held his hand again (we broke up a week later anyway - oh, those junior high crushes!) :)

In junior high I couldn't go across the monkey bars for P.E. because my hands slipped right off. I still remember everyone waiting for me and then laughing when I couldn't do it. I had to re-write papers sometimes because they became so soaked that you couldn't read the writing anymore. In the summer I got heat rashes all over my feet, because I couldn't wear sandals - my feet would slip right out of them. So I had to wear socks and shoes all summer long, looking like had no sense of style, again making me feel like an outcast.

Some close friends knew about my problem in college and were very gracious about it, telling me they didn't care and they would always hold my hand if we were in church and needed to join hands. I was known for switching places with people just so I could hold the hands of those who knew me best - and still to this day avoid situations where I might have to hold hands to pray. Just this past Sunday we had to hold hands to pray at the end of church, and the man next to me proceeded to have a 5 minute conversation with me about why my hands were so sweaty. "Is that from pregnancy?" he asked, wondering if maybe it was because of hormones or something. "No", I responded politely. In fact, I thought that would make my problem go away, as it did for my mother, but for me, the problem remained. When I was a teacher and was giving a lecture a few years ago, one of my student's stopped me mid-sentence, raised her hand and said, "Mrs. B, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUR HANDS?!" Bummer - I was hoping no one would notice.

I have looked into every option available, from Botox, to "the surgery", to the prescription deodorants, to powder on the hands... you name it. Trust me, people, if it's out there, I've researched it. Right now this is something I have to live with and pray that God will heal me from this someday!

So, why am I thankful today? I am thankful because FALL is coming. What does that have to do with my problem? All summer I have dealt with being overheated because of my sweaty hands and feet (and thankfully, my particular problem does not cause body odor) :) I have thrown many pairs of shoes out because they were soaked too many times. I am tired of people seeing my red feet and asking what's wrong with them. I am tired of using up all the towels to put under my feet on the tile floor so I won't slip and fall when I'm cooking or doing the dishes. I'm tired of having my son's hand slip out of mine when we're out because my hand is too sweaty. When the weather outside is hot, my problem is exacerbated. When it's cooler outside, I deal with this less. Last night I felt the first breeze of the Fall season, and I took a deep breath of fresh air. Little do people know how much I look forward to Fall, and this is why :)


  1. Wow! That sounds tough. Brave girl for sharing. I was complaining to Glenn that I felt like I have been having hot flashes lately. But he thinks I am still just adjusting to all the hormones of two kids. Who knows!

  2. I never knew! I can understand how that would make you paranoid :) Glad things are starting to cool down for you - that makes lots of things more bearable in my opinion.

  3. I knew you had that "disability", but until reading this post, I didn't realize how much it has affected your life. I'm sorry, Jaimie...I am glad that the Fall brings you some relief. I am looking forward to the Fall, too. In fact, today, for the first time in a long time I took the girls for a walk and it was windy and cool outside. It's been so stinkin hot, I haven't been going for walks. I almost started crying...really crying. I think I'm dealing with hormonal issues, too, like Melanie mentioned.