by Beth Reinhardt
later and 2,500 miles away from home, Martha Gibson found
the relief she had been seeking from her facial burning
and excessive sweating. On her sixty-sixth birthday, Martha
began to enjoy life again.
At the age of 30,
Martha noticed that her scalp and face would sweat uncontrollably
for no apparent reason. Her face would burn, turn bright
red, and sweat would drip down her face from her scalp.
Her hair would become saturated with sweat. An avid swimmer
and ballroom dancer, Martha began to give up the things
she loved to do as the sweating intensified throughout
the years. Her social life came to a halt and her husband,
Robert, of 44 years could do nothing but watch his once
vivacious wife slip away into a reclusive state.
“This was very
crippling to me,” Martha said. “Many people
do not understand.”
The Canadian couple’s
search for a diagnosis and treatment began as Martha began
to retreat from society. Embarrassed by her constant sweating,
she and her husband, Robert tried to find a name for her
problem. Throughout the years, Martha visited numerous
doctors. Each gave a range of diagnoses but never the right
one. Doctors said she had illnesses such as high blood
pressure, an over-active gland, a case of nerves but the
most common diagnosis was anxiety. Martha was placed on
a variety of anti-anxiety drugs and tranquilizers.
“We tried acupuncture,
hypnosis and biofeedback,” Robert said. But nothing
was working and Martha was becoming more and more reclusive.
Her only outings
were with her family and she carried a face towel with
her at all times.
sweat would be so bad,” she said. “It would
pool up on my neck. It would run into my eyes and ears.
I would not buy expensive clothes because of fear of
the sweat stains.”
Robert would convince his wife to go out to dinner or
dancing with him. As they were getting dressed for the
evening, Martha would begin to sweat and her makeup would
run down her face. She would become angry and not leave
would be absolutely no reason for her face to turn red,” Robert
said. “But it would.”
years ago, Martha read in an English magazine a story
about a girl with similar problems. Martha became very
excited. For the first time she had a name for her problem;
hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating of the hands, feet,
face and scalp. Martha had renewed hope that she would
find a solution.
She and Robert
went to visit a thoracic surgeon at Vancouver General
Hospital with the article in hand and a hope for successful
treatment. However, the surgeon told them there was nothing
he could do for her. Her renewed hope was gone.
had not given up hope. Martha’s son-in-law began
searching on the Internet for more information. The search
led them to two places: The Cedar Sinai Center in Los
Angeles and to a Dr. David Nielson of San Antonio, TX.
Since they lived in Canada, Martha tried to call Cedar
Sinai. She left several messages and tried to get through
to anyone who could help her. No one ever called her
back. Her determination was driving her and despite Dr.
Nielson was in San Antonio, she called late on a Friday
afternoon in October.
Jane from his office called me back, I was floored,” Martha
her husband Robert were ecstatic about finding Dr. Nielson.
The more they talked with the staff in his office, Martha
became more assured that this was her answer. “It’s
been over 30 years that I have been looking for someone
to help me,” she said. “I never had a doubt.”
Dr. David Nielson
Nielson is a cardio-thoracic surgeon who specializes
in micro-endoscopic chest surgery on adults and children.
But what Dr. Nielson is fast becoming known for is his
innovative, least invasive treatment for patients with
hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the hands and face),
Raynaud’s Syndrome, facial blushing and RSD. These
syndromes are all connected to a hyperactive sympathetic
nerve dysfunction. Micro-endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy,
created by Nielson, is the least invasive surgery for
people suffering from any of these ailments. This procedure
has the quickest recovery time and has a high
success rate for those suffering from hyperhidrosis of
procedure, Dr. Nielson makes a single incision, one-twelfth
of an inch per side , under each arm and inserts a 2mm
scope. Nielson compares the size of his instruments to
angel hair pasta. Once Dr. Nielson identifies the sympathetic
nerve, he precisely divides it to instantly lessen hyperhidrosis
symptoms and bring warmth to cold hands. The procedure
takes 30 minutes. The patient is able to leave two to
four hours after the procedure.
the surgery on Martha might have incurred serious implications.
While her age was not a factor, her physical and medical
problems almost derailed the process. Martha has a partial
blockage in her heart. She also has gained an unhealthy
amount of weight from years of inactivity due to her
excessive sweating. The office made her aware of the
problems she could have during the procedure but with
Dr. Nielson’s specialized micro ETS technique and
his highly advanced monitors made the surgery a reality
“I told Jane, this is my first chance of getting it fixed,” she said. “I’m
not turning it down.”
San Antonio was made easy by Dr. Nielson’s staff.
The staff works with all patients on patient education,
insurance, and emotional support. Patients have traveled
from as far away as Australia, Italy, Africa, South America,
Japan, Singapore, Croatia, England and Korea to have
the procedure done by Dr. Nielson.
For Martha and Robert, the trip from Canada was easy. Martha just needed
her passport and she was ready to come.
set it (the surgery) up like I lived around the corner,” Martha
The day after
the procedure, Martha had her towel in hand, but she
did not need it. The procedure was a success. “I
used to have a constant on edge feeling,” she said. “Like
butterflies in my stomach. But when I woke up the feeling
Robert look forward to going back to Vancouver where
they live in a home by the beach. Martha wants to swim
and dance again. Robert wants to go for a long walk on
the beach with his wife.
loved her from the first time I saw her,” Robert
said. “I want the best for her.”
you think you suffer from hyperhidrosis, call (877) VERYDRY
or check the website at www.hyperhidrosis-usa.com
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