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Special Assignment: No Sweat, aired Monday, June 30 at 11 p.m.
Shaking hands is as much a part of American culture as apple pie. We all do it thousands of times in our lives, no big deal right?
"I dread it. It's just a horrible thing," Becky King told CBS 2 News.
It's not that Becky doesn't like people, or the "act" of shakings hands
"I would try to stay far enough away so that shaking hands was not convenient but that it was still polite to just make eye contact and say hello" said Becky.
It's just that Becky has a medical problem known as hyperhidrosis. Simply put - extremely sweaty palms.
There is no medical explanation for the problem.
From the time she was five years old, Becky has lived with dripping wet hands. It affected her while in school and it has affected her in her professional life. Her sweaty palms even dictate what she wears; jeans are her clothes of choice.
"I could stick my hand on my leg and I'd make a hand print.You could see the shape of my hand on my jeans," said Becky.
"You can go back through my papers when I'm growing up and all of them are crinkled and curled up at the edges from the moisture," she said.
"There were enough people who would stop me and say, 'Oh, your hands are sweaty,' as though I didn't know that and it was rude," Becky told CBS 2 News.
Becky says she tried everything to stop the sweat. A process to ionize the skin and dry up the moisture didn't work, and various medications didn't either.
Becky, tired of hands more like faucets of running water, found Dr. Rafael Reisfeld in Beverly Hills.
"They suffer tremendously because those patients don't shake any hands. They're embarrassed," Reisfeld told CBS 2 News. "I have a patient who is getting a divorce because her husband says her palms are too sweaty."
Dr. Reisfeld specializes in a procedure that clamps a part of the sympathetic nerve which runs behind your lungs and through your chest.
"The only solution for this is to cut the sympathetic nerve within the chest cavitiy and this stops the sweating immediately," said Reisfeld.
It used to be a major operation but doctors now perform this within half an hour on an outpatient basis.
Becky told CBS 2 News the idea of surgery was a little scary, but felt she had no other choice and doctors explained to her how safe the procedure is.
Side effects or not Becky said the procedure was a last ditch effort but one that was well worth the effort.
"I was amazed at how warm my hands were. They used to be so cold, there were warm and dry and that never happened before," Becky told CBS 2 News. "I keep expecting them to break out in a sweat, and they don't. That's amazing, it's cured, it's gone."
Hand Sweating | Foot Sweating | Armpit Sweating | Hyperhidrosis Symptoms
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