A person named Chris Gaffford called me several years ago and wanted to talk about his ELS experiences and about iontophoresis. He was supposed to post his story on this forum, but never did so. We exchanged a few e-mails after out phone call, but then he stopped responding to my e-mails. Recently, I stumbled upon his amazing story on Markus's iontophoresis forum and am pasting it below along with the link to the story at the end:
Let me apologize in advance for such a lengthy post but I promised Markus I would make a detailed post about my Lumbar Sympathectomy surgery since so many people are interested yet so few have had the actual procedure.
Let me start at the beginning. I have had sweaty fee as long as I can remember. It started in grade school. I didn't realize it was a problem, I just knew that my feet stank all the time. My parents didn't even know that hyperhidrosis was a real thing. They just constantly told me to take a bath and change socks. Of course, I bathed daily and changed socks even more often than that. The socks would come off of my feet wet. Once they dried, they were yellow and crunchy/stiff. It was rather gross. And of course, the smell just wouldn't go away.
As I got older, around high school or so, things go worse. My feet still sweat and smell, however, now they are starting to burn some too. The sweat had literally started to rot my skin. The bottom of both of my feet were white and pitted, especially on the heel and ball of my feet.It's tough to explain but it was kind of like after you get out of a long soak in the tub. However, you could tell from the texture (severe pitting) and the smell that the skin was indeed rotting. It really sucks to have the smell of dead flesh coming from your feet 24 hours a day.
My feet smelled all the time. Even immediately out of the shower, they stank. As you all know, it was an incredibly embarassing issue. My dad had this issue when he was younger but seemed to magically grow out of it. He and my mother took me to doctors who tried different anti-persperants, sprays, lotions, etc. Nothing seemed to help. Unfortunately, this was in the time before the internet so the only treatment we knew of was what the doctor was telling us. In the mean time, I just did my best to constantly wear clean shoes and socks. I would change both at lunch ever day to make sure they didn't smell too bad. I would not take my shoes off in public for any reason and I certainly couldn't even consider wearing any sort of sandal or flip-flop.
I continued to suffer for many years. It's *** how rude people can be. I was told countless times by strangers, co-workers, family, and friends that my feet stank. It was mortifying. It's crazy how people say things like that and don't think it's rude or that it will hurt your feelings. But, I finally found a woman who loved me for me and was tollerant of my feet. We got married and went on with your lives. We had kids, bought a house, etc. I constantly felt embarassed because our room stank, the laundry room stank, the whole house stank because of my shoes and socks. I started putting my shoes outside every night. We bought a plastic tub with a lid to put socks in until they were going to the laundry. This woman was a saint....she never complained once. I finally got tired of dealing with it. The internet was up and going at this point so I started doing some more research. Like I said earlier, I had tried everything with no success.
I had read a bunch about the ETS surgery. It was mainly recommended for people with sweaty hands or armpits. Also, there seemed to be a lot of people who had problems with referred sweating after the surgery. I decided it wasn't for me. However, during my research, I found Dr. Riesfeld in Los Angeles, CA. He is the only doctor in the United States who does the Lumbar Sympathectomy surgery. This surgery is much like the ETS surgery. He goes in and places a clip on the sympathetic nerve that causes the sweating in the feet. He does it in the Lumbar section of the back instead of in the chest cavity like the ETS is done. You can see all the details on his website.
My wife and I decided that we would go ahead and invest in the surgery for me. It was a hard decision because it was still very new in the US and not enough people had been through it to have a real track record of success or side effects. The short term success rate was high but long term wasn't documented yet. I believe I was about the 60th person to get this surgery in the US.
I spoke with the doctors office over the phone and e-mail asking questions, etc. I finally set an appointment to get the surgery done on Dec. 31, 2008. I should say here that the doctor and his staff were very understanding and very helpful. They truly have a heart for helping people with hyperhidrosis. Dr. Riesfeld had dedicated his life and his practice to curing this disease that we live with and he is doing *** work. I live in West Texas so my wife and I flew out to Hollywood, CA. I met the doctor on the 30th for a consultation and went in for the surgery on the 31st. I stayed one night in the hospital after the surgery.
Here is the good part. The minute I woke up from surgery, I could already tell that my feet were dry as a bone. It was an *** feeling that I hadn't experience in many many many years (If ever)!!! I was so excited. I usually had to buy new shoes every 3 months or so because the others were ruined with smell. I had bought a brand new pair of Nike's in anticipation of the surgery. When I woke up, I couldn't help but think how awesome it was that I would get to wear my new shoes and they wouldn't stink. There was some pain associated with the surgery. The best I can equate it to is very sore stomach muscles. The incisions are made on either side of your stomach. When you wake up, the pain isn't super sharp, but when you flex your stomach, it feels very sore like you have done 1,000 sit-ups. The doctor and hospital were good at controling the pain and it wasn't bad enough that it should be a deterent for anybody considering the surgery.
My wife and I flew home to start my new life with Dry feet. I was so excited. The surgery was very expensive but worth every penny. Dr. Riesfeld had fixed a life long problem in one day. I couldn't believe it. Not only did the smell, pitting, burning, and sweating go away, but my self-esteem and every day mood improved dramatically.
Everything went great for about 2 years. I even wore those Nike's nearly daily for those 2 years. Feet were dry and comfortable. I had nearly forgotten how horrible the hyperhidrosis was. I had no side effects from the surgery that I could tell. It was just a miracle,.....for about 2 years at least.
That's when my right foot started sweating again. The left is fine and still fairly dry to this day. However, I am now 3.5 years post-surgery and I would say that my right foot is back to about 95% as bad as it was to begin with. It's very disappointing. I have spoken with Dr. Riesfeld's office. They looked at the images taken during the surgery and feel like he placed the clamp at exactly the right spot. He offered to re-do the surgery for me but I would have to pay not only for another flight. hotel, etc.....I would also have to pay for the surgery. I'm just not ready to pay that much money again, especially if I don't know how long it will last. It was the best 2 years of my life, but now things are back to the beginning.
I recently tried the home made ionotophoresis machine. It seemed to really work in slowing down the sweating. However, it was painful. I decided to order a pulsed current machine. I did that yesterday and it's on its way to me now. I will write a follow-up post about my experience with the home made machine and the pulsed current machine once I get it.
I'd be happy to answer any questions anybody may have about the Lumbar Sympathectomy surgery. You can also find Dr. Riesfeld's website on google.
If any of you have had the lumbar sympathectomy surgery, I would love to hear from you. I look forward to getting my hidrex machine and posting about it.
https://iontophoresis-device.com/hyperh ... -t924.html
For feet sweating.
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