Don’t Sweat It ?
What do you see in those pictures ?
What do those images say about a woman in them ? Can you say that a woman in them “sweats” the small stuff ?
Is this woman a nervous type or doesn’t take risks ?
Do you catch yourself saying ” Oh, I envy that gal! What a life! I want that! ” ?
Before you read the rest of this piece, I want you to answer at least one of those questions.
Right now my heart is searching through my mind for the right words… my heart already knows them. The words that need to be written and won’t sound as if I’m just looking for attention.
Those words that I’m about to write, have never been written publicly by me. And if 12.000+ souls is not public enough, then I don’t know what is. Those words were never really “heard” by my family and were dismissed as if it’s not a big deal.
They never really understood that it is a big deal to me. BIG. They say “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” .. well this thing almost did kill me. Thought I was skilled enough to fight it. I raged against it with my whole being. Raging didn’t do any good. It harmed me in more ways than one. Battling against anything works like a boomerang. It comes back to shake you to the core. Well, I’ve battled for 29 years and I lost. It’s time to find healing.
I want every single person who reads this to know, this is not a self-pity situation. I have been beyond fortunate in life and blessed with fantastic people and an incredible journey. This website’s name is Ms. Elena Levon Traveling… yes, I’m always traveling… but I’m not checking countries off of some list… this type of travel is a journey through life. And although to most, my life might seem as a dream come true… nothing is what it seems.
I was born a month early with a lot of complications. There was a chance that I might not make it… but I did.
* In school would always sit in the back and was horrified of the idea of being called out to go to the desk and take the chalk in my hand. Yes, the horror came from hating math, but not only that… Every time I wrote on a piece of paper, I needed another couple of layers of paper under my hand.
* At my ballet classes that were my passion, my hands would slip from the bar. Yes, it’s hot in a class, but not only that…
* Gymnastics was also a failure for me… my hands and feet would slip all the time. It is a very challenging sport.. but that’s not only why…
* My true love was Latin-American dance.. I watched all the championships religiously and practiced by myself in front of the tv. Really badly wanted to dance cha-cha and rumba and tango and salsa. Eventually, decided to sneak into the Latin dance class. I did a great job in my first solo classes and my teacher thought I could do great things. I found my calling! When I did eventually get a partner in a class, he refused to dance with me next time.
My hands would always slip from his. Can you imagine dancing in a championship and not dance it flawlessly, just because your hands slipped from your partners at the wrong time? Or making a mistake because your feet by accident slipped through your dance shoes with a substantial heel? yes, must admit, that boy was handsome and I was a bit nervous, like all girls would be. But not only that…
* Being an actor is not easy. Being a successful actor is really rare. Standing in the middle of audition room with Hollywood producers deciding if you worth it, is a nerve-racking situation. Meeting a casting director / producer / your future agent / manager / director / publicist etc.. for the first time ( or any other time ) and shaking hands with him/her to give the impression that you are confident and a good choice, is a must.
But when you are holding the script and you can’t even read the words because they’ve been ruined by your hands, you feel far from confident. Or try to imagine being on the set with all the lights.. it’s hot.. then throw a guy in there, with whom you must have a love scene or it says that he has to rub your feet or even as small as to hold your hand for any period of time…
Let’s say you’re a model and shooting in a studio.. the background happens to be paper.. and you must be barefoot… as you walk onto that paper, you leave marks… and yes, all those situations can be incredibly nerve-racking… but not only that.
* Now imagine every single social situation in which you have to shake hands or hold hands… I prefer to hug… yes, the hands carry germs, but that’s not it. Unfortunately you can’t hug it out with potential boss, colleague or someone you just met.. not in America. You’re either social or antisocial right?
* Imagine not being able to buy the shoes you want, because you might injure yourself or get permanent blisters. Yes, the cost of some shoes today, might really injure your wallet, but that’s not it…
* Does typing on a computer and texting on your phone come easily to you?.. not for me. And it’s not because English is my second language…
* Do you enjoy holding hands with your loved one or getting a foot massage ? 90% of the time, I don’t. And it’s not because I don’t like it…
Remember when I asked you to answer the question about the above photographs ? What kind of handshake do you think that woman has ? Do we live in a society where a “Handshake is your business card” statement means more than just words ?
If so, then according to a social norm my “business card” would say ; “I’m really REALLY nervous, self-conscious, anti-social, not confident and scared” … Did the answers you gave came close to the above quote?
What if after our meeting you walked to your car and dropped my card on the ground, dismissing me as the “not good enough” … what if the moment you tossed it to the ground, it fell on the other side… where it read …
I won’t blame you if this is the first time you have heard of such word. What pains me is that spelling correction tool in wordpress and even my own text edit on my Mac, tell me that such word does not exist! It exists! It’s pretty fucking real for me!
My Hyperhidrosis (HH) in a nutshell – Primary focal hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating that is not caused by another medical condition, nor is it a side effect of medications. The excessive sweating is the medical condition. It affects my hands and my feet.
Affected people are constantly aware of their condition and try to modify their lifestyle to accommodate this problem. This can be disabling in professional, academic and social life, causing embarrassments. Many routine tasks become impossible chores, which can psychologically drain these individuals. Some careers present challenges for hyperhidrosis sufferers. (I’ve given you a whole list of those careers…) (Wikipedia)
However, the above medical condition is not good enough reason for some of my shortcomings, my mom thinks. She actually doesn’t believe it’s a big deal at all and the reason I’m not a famous ballerina, Tango dancer or a gymnast with a gold medal around my neck, is because I’m just not good enough and don’t want to work hard. The thing she doesn’t know about me, is that if I’m passionate enough about something, there’s no turning back! I go “all in”!
The person who has inspired me to open up about this is an Incredible lady ! And a true Fighter! Maria, you rock!
Some of you might say, hey, that’s not cancer, this is not serious enough! Really? Not serious to you? When you walk a mile in my (sweaty) shoes, I’ll ask you if its serious enough or not. There are people all over the world with this condition and most of us were born with it. We are the 3% ! Yep, I’ve always been lucky.
So that dude who sings “I’m gonna make you sweat baby” is really in trouble in this case.. Darlin, I sweat just fine on my own, thanks.
There are several things one can do to try to manage this beast ~
1. Antiperspirants (didn’t work at all)
2. Medication (it’s not for HH, but their side effect is your body doesn’t sweat and other side effects that can turn deadly to your wellbeing)
3. Botox (really expensive, painful, has side effects, doesn’t always work)
4. Irreversible Surgery – destroying or removing a specific portion of the main nerve of the sympathetic nervous system, the structure known as the sympathetic chain. (might have irreversible side effects such as more sweating on other parts of the body or a total disabling of your hands, feet or other parts of your body)
5. Iontophoresis (they shock you through water)
6. Unconventional methods – Acupuncture, Herbs and Yoga.
7. MiraDry – a laser surgery that treats patients with underarm HH only (bad news for me) this procedure permanetely destroys your sweat glands. Don’t know if there are side effects, but as with all things, there’s always two sides of the card…
I’ve done a lot of the above except for Botox, Surgery, Iontopheresis and MiraDry
Is it really bad all the time? No. I have moments when it’s almost untoticible. And also HH does not happen when you sleep.. Yay for me! I also found that alcohol sometimes helps.. yes, alcohol dehydrates you, but for my HH is perfect, but for me, it’s unhealthy. I did tell you that raging against this almost turned deadly for me. Well, in 2009 I started taking one of the drugs
Those drugs are NOT for HH, they are only good for HH is because the side effect of all anticholingerics is it dries you up.
Apart from other side effects, which at the time I didn’t care about, I was incredibly happy! This was the happiest 1 something year of my life. For the first time in my life I was really who I was inside and out. I nailed auditions, got to work a lot, met tons of new people, formed new friendships and work relationships, wore any kind of shoes I wanted (hello beautiful strappy sandals!), firmly shook hands with “I dare you” in my eyes, held hands and my self-confidence soared. I finally matched who I really am. I was unstoppable!
Then I really started to notice the side effects of this medication – even when the scene in a script called for a dramatic moment (and I’m usually great at those) I found myself unable to cry – my eyes didn’t produce tears.. they were too dry. Great! So now I can shake a casting directors hand, but can’t cry when the scene calls for it?! I also found myself unable to easily remember my lines, felt dizzy a lot of times and had blurred vision. Also started noticing that my memory was really suffering. I couldn’t easily find the right words. But then came the side effect that brought me to my knees for several years… so I wasn’t as lucky as many with my health when I was born, so big deal, right? some people are forced to live a life with no limbs, but choose to inspire millions, instead of swimming in self-pity! So the problems I’m having are really nothing compared to that guy.
And yet still, that medication triggered a whole lot of other of my exiting bouquet of health problems to resurface in a “in your face blind-sided knockdown”. It was the ultimate domino effect. It made me lose more than 20 pounds, go through true agony every day and make western doctors give me the brochure to go see a “psychiatrist” because they didn’t believe anything was wrong and looked at me as I was yet another anorexic Hollywood actress. After about a year and a half of being incredibly skinny, weak and a bunch of doctors and tests later I got a ticket to Bali. I didn’t know which gods to pray to anymore, so I decided to start with Bali.
No, I didn’t go to Bali cause that “eat pray poop” chick inspired me. No, she didn’t inspire me! Nothing happened to that woman… no REAL drama. So big fucking deal she got divorced. There are millions of single mothers in this world that deserve much more praise than this dumped woman got! I find that story boring and uninspiring. Ok, back to Bali…
Went to a wonderful healer, not for “i want to know my future bullshit” , but to really heal.
When I was at the healers place, he asked me “Isn’t it hard for you?” “Yes, of course, can’t you see I’m sick” I replied, while tears ran down my cheeks. He asked again “Isn’t it hard, you carry that weight ?” Guess all our sicknesses come from ourselves… from the past. We should try to forgive and let go. I understood what he was saying. But I knew that medication also really did mess me up. And he fixed that… he healed me 80 %, the rest 20 was on me. He did suggest yoga for me.
Alcohol does help me with HH, however, me plus too much alcohol, is a bad combination. Even though it helps with HH most of the time, it has also ruined a lot in my life, so I’m really cutting back on that. In fact, right now I’m on a total body cleanse.
Other things that help are Yoga, Acupuncture, dry climates like in Colorado (love visiting, but don’t want to live.. I’m a city gal), Mediterranean climate (only where it’s really dry) and gloves… Tom Hanks said he loved my look at one of the parties. Sometimes gloves and stockings fool my body into thinking I don’t have HH (Hello NY in Autumn, Winter and early Spring!). Hey, maybe Karl Lagerfeld has HH… he’s always in gloves. I wonder if there is a such thing as a successful public figure with HH.
Here are a few quotes I saw on Internet from people who are suffering from this –
” Embrace it? It’s ruining my life! I can’t work the jobs I want to work, I just lost a good job in law enforcement because my hands sweat so bad that I can’t take the polygraph. No, I won’t embrace it, it’s a curse.”
“I’m 12 and I love cross stitching but because of my sweaty hands I have to stop every 5-10 min to wipe my hands”
“I’m 13 now and it’s so embarrassing especially on hands because you can see it feel it and If you touch the table or paper and avoiding handshakes or touching people.. I also want to start gymnastics and I’m scared my hands will be a problem, it’s so annoying”
“Today people laughed at me because of it they putted my back pack up on a shelter and wanted me to get it”
“I’ve had this condition for as long as I can remember. It’s focused on my hands and feet and only gets dripping worse if i get slightly nervouse. Nevertheless, im always sweating. Honestly, the only time i’m completely dry is either when i’m getting out of a hot shower or if I’m drunk. I don’t know the connection but its true. My hands last longer dry when I’m drunk but you can’t always be drinking. Xanax kinda helps too, just don’t mix alcohol with the pills.”
“I’ve had this forever and everywhere, but my hands and feet are the worst. Hands are the worst because there are so many things you can’t do – write across a paper, play instruments, shake hands to greet people, hold hands with your loved one, even handing money to the cashier is an embarrassing moment. Sweaty feet just means I can’t wear slippers, open shoes or heels.”
“Without a doubt, hyperhidrosis is a handicap.”
But you know, not all is bad in my sweat world. If you can’t take some of the days with humor, you’ll drive yourself and everyone else nuts. (speaking from a personal experience) So here it goes;
The other thing that makes my HH disappear is sex … yep, you read that right. That’s great news isn’t ? Can you imagine ” Baby, I have an audition on Monday, do you mind, doing a quicky right before they call me in the room. ” ? Hey, I’m the perfect girlfriend! Or a “sorry ma’am, but can I borrow your date for just a sec, so I can shake your hand?” hey, it’s for a good cause, I promise!
Or those situations when a dude tries to give you a foot massage to get in your pants and you surprise him with a “honey, let’s skip massage and fuck” of course you should request a foot massage right afterwards since HH will be gone for a while. Can you imagine the story he’ll tell his friends? They won’t believe him and probably you’ll be the only woman who has ever said that to him.
Or picture this – you’re in a meeting with a big time Hollywood producer / Director and he extends his hand… no ladies, don’t sleep with him, just come up, open your arms and say “you look like you really need a hug today” I’m telling, you, Hollywood producers need a hug more than a shag… They are in a shark eats shark business!
I hope that someday they will eventually find a permanent solution for us, the 3 % . We really do want to shake your hand!
But until then, when you and I meet, let’s do it the Russian Way and give each other a hug and 3 times kiss on a cheek. Not a bad trade-off, huh?
But you know what, I didn’t stop dancing! Maybe solo, but I dance. Even after some woman who laughed at me in Barcelona for being the only woman without a dance partner at a salsa club, I still danced…
Today, I want you to take the time and appreciate the things, which for most people, happen on an autopilot and are uneventful – take your loved one’s hand, ladies, put on your best strappy shoes, go dancing…
PS – Please feel free to re-post it to your friends here or on other social networks. You never know, maybe it will reach a person who is secretly suffering from HH.
The woman behind the sweat …