Monica, I somehow missed this post:
I think that the 25/6 sounds/looks a lot harder than it really is. I think the hardest part is learning the fingerings. They seem VERY awkward at first, but after a while they seem very natural (as is often the case with inventive or counterintuitive fingerings.)
This is probably a stupid question, but the fingerings you are using - are they Chopin's? We all know how he invented some fingering techniques that we use today and so did Liszt. I don't know enough about the etudes to know if there is only one way of fingering them as per Chopin's instructions, or if like everything else it depends on the editor of the edition you are using.
In the Mikuli edition, the fingerings are almost always Chopin's - especially the tricky ones. But, there are a few places in the 25/6 where you will find different fingerings for different tricky spots, and for stuff like that, Mikuli is reputed to have invented his own in a couple of places (I'm not a scholar on it so I can't tell you which places). I've often used different fingerings just because everyone's hand is different and sometimes it just doesn't work for me the way it's written.
But most of the fingerings in the 25/6 simply cannot be done any other way. Just read through it, and try to imagine doing it a different way.
But I think that this etude is a lot easier for people with smaller hands - the less finger you have to get in the way of the other fingers in that complicated fingering, the better. It makes it difficult to reach a few things in it, but I think overall, the smaller hand is an advantage. I had a discussion with Pete about that once.