Tuesday Tremor – My Story Begins

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

The Beginning…

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…

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