We were in Hawaii on the trip of a lifetime, catching the sunrise from the top of Maui’s Mt. Haleakalā. Watching the twilight fade away as dawn came upon us and brilliant hues of golden fire lit the skies around us, my husband and in-laws were in awe as they soaked in all the glory of this daily yet seemingly miraculous occurrence. The look of joy and amazement on their faces and everyone’s around us was almost contagious. But not for me.
A wicked brisk wind snapped around us making it almost impossible to stand without holding on to something or someone. I was a southern California girl transplanted from Colorado and Nebraska, so I figured I was more prepared than most to dress warm enough for a morning on the mountain. I was wrong. I tucked down with my head to my knees and squeezed my bare hands inside my shirt, under my armpits – as the gloves I was wearing were worthless against the cold and my source of body heat was the only thing to keep the pain in my fingers bearable. I felt completely selfish and ungrateful, knowing how much this moment meant to my in-laws who surprised us with this amazing vacation. Yet here I was, clearly miserable with tears flowing down my cheeks, unable to even take a moment to look up and appreciate all that was around us.
After we hiked back down to the car, I was able to look at my hands. My palms were pinkish red all the way up to the middle knuckles of my fingers. Everything above that was completely white and numb. We took several pictures as it looked unreal. Later I would discover that there is a name for this syndrome, and like hundreds of thousands of others, it would haunt me for the rest of my life.
Raynaud's (ray-NOHZ) disease, also known as Raynaud's phenomenon or Raynaud’s syndrome, causes some areas of your body, such as your fingers and toes, to feel painfully numb in response to cold temperatures. In Raynaud's disease, smaller arteries that supply blood to your skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas (vasospasm). Layers of warmth and traditional gloves are not enough to prevent this pain from setting in. So, we decided it was time to innovate.
In 2014, my husband (a product developer by trade) took action into his own hands. He designed heated gloves that come with rechargeable batteries which last up to 5.5 consecutive hours on a single charge, touch screen friendly finger tips for taking pictures with your iPhone and using your car navigation system, and a 5-level adjuster to control the amount of heat. Because women are more likely than men to have Raynaud's disease, we have added two additional smaller sizes to our gloves this year - ensuring that even the daintiest hands will have the ideal fit for optimal warmth. We formed a company, FNDN (short for Foundation) which now offers many heated products for those wanting to enjoy winter.
These gloves have enabled me to be present again as a mom. I can volunteer to help at recess, I can take my kids trick or treating, stand in-line outside of their favorite store on Black Friday, and take them Christmas caroling with friends. I can tailgate with my husband (while he rocks the FLSK gloves), wait in line for something amazing from Zingermann’s and even help hang up Christmas decorations! This year we have launched an all-new heated glove for snow sports and amazing heated vests as well, but when it comes to daily wear during the season months for those with Raynaud’s - I highly recommend the FNDN Heated Gloves. Each purchase comes from Michigan in high quality gift-ready packaging.
For more information on how to diagnose and manage Raynaud’s, please talk to your doctor and visit www.mayoclinic.org.