Third time's a charm?
I hope so.
It's barely May, and temps here in Philly have already soared into the 90's. What does that mean? Sweat... and STRESS.
Last Thursday I paid $40 just to find a parking space within two blocks of my school. In the city, heat rises off the sidewalk, reflects off the windows, radiates off the buildings.
When the sun lets loose, so does my prosthetic socket. Literally. And if I lose my leg before the workday begins -- well, the day is pretty much shot.
Sweat Test back in 2016?
She's about to save my summer.
At our last appointment, I updated her on the sweat situation. "I put on Certain Dri at night and climbing chalk every morning," I told her. "When my socket starts to slip, I use a waist harness. I only walk in the early morning, and stick to the shade wherever I can find it."
It sounds like some crazy recipe for hiking across Death Valley. But really, that's what I do to walk a few measly city blocks!
My eyes tear up from the futility of it all. It's only spring! Things are going to get WORSE. It's unbelievable -- and ridiculous -- that a few drops of water could cause so much trouble.
So here I am, opening the door to the waiting room, my stomach in knots over her latest suggestion:
Not what you were expecting? This isn't Botox for muscle tone, or spasticity, or even wrinkles. My leg is not going to wear a permanent smile. (Unless it's from the joy of keeping its socket on!)
Botox is also used to treat hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. It's injected through the tiniest gauge needle, just into the surface of the skin. It temporarily blocks the secretion of the chemical that turns on the body's sweat glands. By interrupting that chemical messenger, Botox essentially "turns off" sweating in that area of the body.
My diagnosis: hyperhidrosis, secondary to wearing a prosthesis. Like many amputees, my residual limb sweats more than other parts of my body. (Try sealing your leg in silicone on a hot day!) Lots of amputees suffer from it, yet curiously, there aren't many studies involving Botox and amputees. And the few that are out there have sample sizes smaller than Rainbow's second grade class. Click here for a review of them.
I don't like the idea of using drugs or injecting needles into an already sensitive skin area. But at this point I've truly tried everything. I'm DESPERATE. I can't face another summer unprepared.
Plus, I know my friend Chris (and fellow Gimpy Chick / rock climber / robot mom) is behind me on this. She's been using Botox on her leg, and she out-walked me by miles last summer!
|Clinical trial of TWO? I'm ok with that. :)|
Finally I'm called back to the exam room. I remove my prosthesis. Climb onto the table. Dr. S. hands me a purple marker, and I use it to trace the edge of the silicone liner along my hip so she can see where the "sweat zone" begins. It reminds me of each surgery, when the doctors would ink their initials onto my residual limb. But this time is different. I'm doing the inking. And this isn't surgery. It's just a few needle pricks here and there, right?
I watch as the assistant slowly fills syringes with 100 units of Botox. When Dr. S. picks up the first needle, I look away. I stare at the sink, the wall, the box of tissues -- anything but the shots going into my leg over and over again. Some sticks are barely noticeable; others make me wince.
Dr. S. injects the Botox every two centimeters over my entire limb, except on the skin graft area. It sounds like a lot, but it's surprisingly quick -- the whole procedure takes less than 20 minutes! When she's done, she hands me two small ice packs, just the right size for Little Leg. I'm dotted with red marks but, aside from that, I'm absolutely fine.
"You should feel the effects within a week," Dr. S. tells me. "And it should last 4-6 months."
For a moment I imagine farmers' markets, and gardens, and hikes in the woods. Bike rides, and picnics, and walks on the beach. Taking Rainbow to the park. Arriving at work with my leg intact.
If this works, it could revolutionize my summer. It could revolutionize my life!
Sweat Test 3.0...
|...Bring it on!|