Sweating disease runined my life

By admin
28 May 2010

Ilze Jansen van Rensburg has a problem that’s been with her all her life like a shadow. It makes the most ordinary moments – and the most special – something to be deeply anxious about.

It’s a problem that on her wedding day had her praying as she stood at the altar in a haze of self-conscious tension. It drove her out of a career as a teacher. It contributed to both her marriages falling apart.

The 51-year-old woman’s eyes fill with tears as she opens up about the disorder that has tortured her since childhood. “They call it hyperhidrosis. It just means I sweat excessively.”

Pills, psychologists, even an operation, haven’t helped.

“Over the years I’ve learnt to handle it better but it’s changed my personality,” Ilze confesses when we chat at her Vanderbijlpark home. “It might not sound so bad but do you know how it feels to be afraid someone might touch you and shudder?”

Years ago she resigned from her teaching job to work in an air-conditioned office at Emerald Resort & Casino in Vanderbijlpark.

“Writing on a blackboard was impossible. I simply sweated too much. It feels a bit like I’m hiding away,” the slim redhead says.

She’s spent decades keeping this secret from everyone except her nearest and dearest. After watching the TV programme The Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses she realised she wasn’t alone and decided it was time to speak out. “There was a girl who had the same problem. She started a support group for people like me and that’s what I want to do. I’ve decided it’s time to come out of my shell.”

Ilze went to a doctor about the condition for the first time almost 15 years ago when her eldest daughter, Elana Louw, began to complain her hair would be sopping wet when all she’d done was jog around the athletics field.

She and Elana had operations to remove the sweat glands under their arms. Although this was relatively successful for Elana, Ilze’s problem got worse. “Even though my hands are dry and I don’t sweat under my arms it’s moved to my back and legs. It’s actually much worse now.”

Then she smiles again. “I believe God has a purpose on Earth for everyone. I must accept what is. Maybe my story means something to someone.

Read the full article in the YOU of 3 June 2010

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