(1 of 5) I am helping the military understand how burn scars impact a soldier’s ability to do their job.

Proud of myself that I can still handle chopsticks

As many of you know, I was burned by hot oil in 2003. I don’t know the exact number, but I believe that I have around 30% skin grafts and scarring, mostly on my arms and legs. The most consequential aspect of the scarring is that I am unable to sweat in those areas and that I sweat extra in other areas to compensate. This is more than a cosmetic impact because sweat is a the body’s main method of heat dispersion. What that means is I have a difficult time in excessive heat because my body cannot cool itself down as efficiently as most people.

For the next few days, I will be in Dallas, Texas, taking part in a study. The purpose of the study is to understand exactly the impact of burns are on the temperature regulation. I don’t know all of the details, but I will find out soon. As I understand it, I swallow a small device that will allow the monitors of the tests to track my internal temperature. They will then subject me to some form of torture (cardio exercise) and observe how my body is able regulate the internal temperature.

There is a lot that I do not know: I don’t know why I cannot sweat through the grafts (I assume it is that the sweat glands were destroyed by the hot oil). I don’t know what it is that I am swallowing (I am assured that it is not very large and mostly inert and that it will pass through my system in a few days). I don’t know how hard they will work me (I don’t like cardio so it should not take long to put me under extreme stress).

I am mostly curious; about the process and what they can tell me about my personal temperature regulation. My biggest concern is that I am told I cannot drink coffee in the morning before the testing.

Stay tuned for updates…

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