Signs & Symptoms of ET
- Begin gradually, usually more prominently on one side of the body
- Worsen with movement
- Usually occur in the hands first, affecting one hand or both hands
- Can include a “yes-yes” or “no-no” motion of the head
- May be aggravated by emotional stress, fatigue, caffeine or temperature extremes
Tremors. There are tremors from earthquakes, tremors from thunderstorms, tremors from disease, and tremors from health related conditions. I prefer to refer to Essential Tremor (ET) as a condition rather than a disease; I am not going to die from it. Hopefully that will be from old age which I seem to be approaching more quickly as the years add up.
I don’t remember the year exactly when I was officially diagnosed. There were signs in late 1970’s, very subtle signs. A small shake in my arm caught my sister’s eye first. “Why is your arm shaking?” she asked. I hadn’t noticed anything different.
As the years went by, small changes in my left (predominate) hand became more evident. By mid-1980’s a consult with a neurologist was in order. A few simple tests and the diagnosis was ET, she also referred to it as familial tremor (family inheritance). Somehow I expected something different in the way of an inheritance.
One of the very first tests she gave me was to draw a spiral. She handed me a blank paper and pencil, freehand, first my predominate hand, then the other. Wish I had that drawing today, and all of the others I have done over the years; I would have quite a stack. Here’s an example of where I am today.
It is hard to know what this shows without knowing all that has happened in the last 30+ years, but it is quite a story. All of the signs and symptoms above are, or have been, mine. I have some terrific friends and a very supportive network of family and friends. I have, and have had, some amazing, compassionate doctors. But, I have also had some that I had to walk away from. If you will follow along I will try to tell my story keeping it light, informative, and interesting.
Until next week…