Read this story about our patient Kylie Ranck as told by Rachel Cosma.
Kylie Ranck took a deep breath. The first day of school was enough to make any kid nervous. But for the five-year-old Galloway, New Jersey, kindergartener, it was terrifying.
She mumbled a quiet “hello,” then shoved her hands into her pockets to try to dry the sweat dripping from them.
Kylie made a wish she could go the entire day without having to touch anyone. But when the teacher announced a game and said, “Take your friend’s hand!” Kylie panicked. Reluctantly, Kylie slipper her little hands from her pockets. But when her new classmate reach for her…
“Ewww! Why are your hands so wet?” she shrieked-and all Katie could think of was how she wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear.
From the time Kylie was just a toddler, her mom, Lori, noticed that her tiny hands and feet perspired excessively.
“Palmar and Plantar hyperhidrosis,” doctors determined, explaining Kylie’s sweat was triggered by an overactive nervous system. There was nothing really they could do. Lori put Kylie in super absorbent clothes, socks and sneakers. But her hands sweated to intensely tat as Kylie grew, it began to make even simple tasks embarrassing. At school, pencils sometimes slipped from Kylie’s hand, leaving her papers soggy and torn.
Over the years, she became an expert at stashing thick paper towels in her pockets so she could discreetly dry her hands. But oftentimes, she’d have to replace the paper towels in minutes.
As a preteen, instead of picking out cute shorts and skirts like her friends, Kylie’s wardrobe usually revolved around hiding her hands. Deep pockets helped disguise wads of paper towels. And as often as she could, shed wear long pants so she could sit on her hands and not have to feel them drip.
In high school science class, she’d slip on a pair of gloves to perform an experiment. Only to have them fill with puddles of sweat just minutes later.
“Oh, it must be the condensation from my water bottle,” she explained when others noticed at lunch. But Kylie felt humiliated.
“Isn’t there anything that can help?” Lori asked the doctors.
One prescribed a medicated cream, but it didn’t work. Neither did homeopathic remedies like drinking green tea or dabbing her hands with witch hazel. Kylie even tried acupuncture-but nothing made a difference.
Kylie had heard about using Botox to treat excessive sweating, and she and Lori were willing to try. But there were not qualified doctors nearby, and it wasn’t a permanent fix: Kylie would require costly repeat injections.
Instead, Kylie continued trying to cope, hiding her hands at her part-time restaurant hostess job by keeping a towel beside her and running her hands along it before handing out menus to customers.
Even texting was a challenge! If her hands were soaked, her smart phone wouldn’t register what she was typing. And though Kylie dated, she refused to hold hands with a boy.
“What if they think I’m gross?” she signed, ashamed.
Then on day while in college studying to become a physician’s assistant, Kylie was taking notes on her laptop when the girl next to her glanced over and gasped, “Did you spill something on your keyboard?” Tired of inventing excuses, Kylie felt defeated. “It’s my hands. They sweat,” she admitted.
Not long after that, she received a text from her mom.
“Hi, honey. I found something new that’s supposed to help. But it’s surgery…”
“I’m in!” Kylie replied, willing to try anything.
Kylie tried not to get her hopes up- after all, everything else had failed. Yet she couldn’t help but feel a twinge of excitement when she headed home to meet with surgeon Robert Caccavale, M.D., who explained who he’s make small incisions beneath Kylie’s armpit, then cut her sympathetic nerve in three places to reduce the overstimulation causing her excessive sweat.
Soon after, Lori squeezed Kylie’s hand before she was taken in for the half-hour long procedure performed under general anesthesia. And as soon as Kylie woke up…
My hands are dry! she thought.
After the first few achy days of recovery, Kylie felt like herself again. Still, she was almost afraid to believe it had worked, wondering if the excessive sweating would return. Yet it never did!
“So this is what it feels like to be normal!” Kylie marvels, hugging Lori. And today, 20-year-old Kylie’s hands remain dry.
“Everything had changed!” she says. “I can wear whatever I want. I can use my phone and laptop without leaving puddles behind. And I work out without becoming a pool of sweat!”
Kylie can even relax now and enjoy a simple manicure, no longer worried about hiding her hands or what other people will think.
“For the first time in my life, I have this brand new sense of confidence,” she beams. It’s like a whole new world has opened up for me, and I couldn’t be happier!”
Source: Woman’s World