I started seeing signs of essential tremor at the age of 44. It started in my hands. I would have a day with shaky hands and then the next it was gone. I could go a month easily without shaky hands before it happened again. I didn’t think too much about it, though I was curious. I figured if it got worse I would make an appointment with my primary care physician (PCP). By the time my 45th birthday rolled around I was noticing this was happening a couple times a week now. I was in the process of changing my PCP and was awaiting my new patient appointment in February of 2019. After several tests and appointments, my PCP referred me to a neurologist. I was diagnosed with essential tremor in June of 2019. By the time of my diagnosis the tremors were almost a daily occurrence, and I was also noticing things triggering internal tremors as well. My tremors have since progressed. Besides internal tremors and tremors in my hands, I also have them in my legs and my jaw.
Since nobody in my family has essential tremor, I was at a loss as to what I was dealing with. I started Googling and came across this organization (the International Essential Tremor Foundation) as well as the online support group they have. Both have been such a life saver. I’ve learned a lot and being able to discuss my encounters and problems with people that have had the same or similar experiences has been priceless. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is a sense of humor.
I have definitely caused myself some interesting situations because of my tremors. I’m on medication to keep my tremors bearable, but they still rear their ugly heads. I’ve cleaned up coffee grounds from the countertop more times than I can count. I’ve popped caps off of containers and managed to ricochet them off the wall causing myself to have to duck if I didn’t want smacked in the face. Toothpaste moustaches are always one of my favorites. I’m still trying to make up my mind which feels funnier up my nose; ice cream or deviled egg filling. This is just a sprinkling of some of the crazy things that have happened and if it wasn’t for developing a sense of humor about them, I would be crying…a lot.
I definitely have experiences others without tremors do not. Having a sense of humor makes them more bearable. Don’t get me wrong, not every day is all laughs. There are some days I have a hard time accepting my tremors, especially in my legs, but they aren’t nearly as often as they could be if it wasn’t for having a sense of humor.