Saturday, July 28, 2018

Hyperhidrosis: Follow up post on antihydral

When I began this blog in 2005, I mostly wrote random posts about my life and the art I was making. Now, that I'm an art teacher, the majority of my posts are focused on that, but I still receive emails with questions about a post I wrote back in 2007, so I thought I would write a follow-up.

For those of you that don't know me well, you may not know that I have hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is, basically, excessive sweating. Most of the time, it is located to specific regions of the body. I have palmar (hands), plantar (feet), and truncal. I used to have axillary (armpits), but after using Certain Dri for a year, it's gone. My sweating is generally stimulated by heat (like most people) but mostly by anxiety. Only people with hyperhidrosis have any idea how much that can affect a person's quality of life.

When it comes to my hands, I make small daily decisions as well as major life decisions based on my hyperhidrosis. Whenever I write or draw, I have a folded piece of paper under my hand so I don't get my paper soggy. When I wear material that isn't sweat absorbant, I carry a wash cloth around in my purse in case I have to shake someone's hand. As an art teacher, I carry around my own pencil when I'm giving mini demonstrations so I don't have to borrow a student's pencil and hand it back to them "wet." It is hard for me to bond with pets because as soon as I begin to pet them, my hands start sweating simply because I don't want them too- it's all a mind game.

I've made huge modifications to my life regarding my feet- I never go without socks or something on my feet. I never wear sandals. I never wear flip flops. I sleep in my socks. If I try to wear cute sandals without socks, my feet immediately start sweating because I don't want them to. Then, my hands and everything else start sweating and it lasts all day. So it's just easier to wear socks. I also wear socks and gloves when I do yoga.

I wear biker shorts or spanx underneath all my clothes. Not to suck in tummy fat... to hide sweat stains in case I get overly anxious. I don't normally need them, but wearing them takes the anxiety of worrying about it away, which is probably why I don't need them.

As far as treatments go, I have tried drysol and iontophoresis- no success with either. I have considered surgery, but am nervous about it. I have also thought about botox injections, and that still seems like a good option, especially if it can be covered by insurance.

But the most effective thing I have found is still antihydral. I can't even remember how I originally came across it, but I've been using it for 11 years, now. I still experience the sweating, and I still wear socks all of the time. But it has minimized it- enough for it to be worth using for 11 years.

When I first got it, I had to use it every night for a few weeks to notice a difference. I put it on at night and use a blow dryer to get it to dry. Then, I try to follow asleep before my hands and feet sweat too much of it off. Now, I use it about twice a week to maintain everything. There are a couple of side effects, but they are worth it to me. If my hands and feet get wet for a little while, they get SUPER wrinkly. But they go back to normal pretty quick. Also, I carry lotion around in my purse because they look dry and scaly after I wash my hands, but the lotion pretty much takes care of that.

So there's my follow-up on antihydral. If I ever find anything that works completely, I'll write another follow-up. Until then, feel free to email me or comment with questions or suggestions of your own!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Student data tracker for a Visual Arts Class

I teach Visual Arts at a high school in North Carolina. I am the only visual art teacher in my school, so I have the unique opportunity to teach many of the same students four years in a row, and some of them achieve AMAZING levels of growth. Below is an example of a watercolor piece that one of my seniors did in her Beginning Art class and then another that she made in AP studio drawing.

Beginning Art
AP Studio Drawing
This example is so important for other students to see. This student worked very hard to achieve this amount of growth; she wasn't "born with it." This year, I created a student data tracker so students can keep track of what skills they are working on, and what they have mastered. I'm sure I will make multiple adjustments to it as I continue to use it, but for now- check it out and feel free to adjust it for your own classes. On the bottom of the google sheet are tabs- Beginning, Intermediate, Proficient and Advanced- these are Visual Arts courses that we have in NC. My students keep this data tracker throughout their high school career with me. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!