Grace and Joy

Knees knocking, toes curling, hands flapping, restless arms and pursing lips as if whispering a secret, all a part of taking my Essential Tremors for a walk through the neighborhood!

Most days, I feel just like this tree, leaning on something for support to keep me from tipping over.

ET takes grit and determination to manage balance, hand, and eye coordination, eating, drinking, walking, holding objects, exercise, riding a bike, and other life basics.

When I was diagnosed with ET, I began to hunger for a cure, quick fixes, misdiagnoses possibilities and a medication to settle down the big tremors so that I could manage the small ones.

I was taking Escitalopram, an anti-anxiety prescription, before my ET diagnoses. As my tremors were escalating, going from “sometimes” to “often,” I looked for something to add to the anti-anxiety medicine. My family practice Doctor prescribed Diazepam, also known as Valium, to partner with the Escitalopram. With this drug, like most, comes side- affects, such as loss of balance. I began to stumble more, had difficulty walking without the support and lost my balance in my weight training workouts.

Through research I learned these symptoms were common. At my request, my doctor weaned me from Diazepam and my balance noticeably improved.

Essential Tremors is a relative to Parkinsons Disease (PD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Many doctors are not knowledgeable in either because they require a deeper level of specialty. I visited two neurologists before I realized that a Motion Disorder Specialist, a specialist within Neurology, has the most training and experience.

My doctor asked if I had ever been formally- assessed for ET. Other than the basic test: walk a straight line, remembering numbers in a particular order, drawing, and the finger-to-nose test, I could not list a single blood test, MRI etc.

My doctor ordered a Dat Scan to determine which disease I had.

My doctor called me to say “you have ET, not Parkinsons or MS.” My blessing for the day. As relieved as I was, my heart was heavy. One of my closest friends has lived with MS for over 30 years. A friend of my sister was recently- diagnosed with Parkinsons -she sold her home and belongings and moved into a Senior Nursing Facility. Neurological disorders have radically changed their lives.

I get to stay in my home and live an ordinary life, inconvenienced, but bearable. My doctor reminded me that ET will not kill you, it just goes with you when you die!

I follow several Essential Tremor groups. A common denominator is a search for something to make life “normal.” While ET is not funny, some ET sufferers bring humor to the topic, others grasp for something someone said that can help them.

Exercise is helpful to many health-related issues, one of which is ET. Some people are afraid to try or don’t see themselves in a gym, fitness center, the YMCA, or a workout space in their home. Exercise is a foreign language. I do not speak Spanish, French, or German, but I do speak fitness because I see and feel the difference.

Doing a light yoga routine. First I'm upright, then I am not.
Doing a light yoga routine. First I’m upright, then I am not.

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