Essential Tremor and Deep Brain Stimulation
I grew up hearing about essential tremor (ET). An aunt (my father’s sister) had it, as well as my grandfather, and apparently I’ve had it all my life. It explained why, even though I was a good student, I could never get a good grade in handwriting.
As an adult, I had a slight tremor in my hands, but I was used to it, and didn’t think much about it, although occasionally someone would ask me if I was nervous. As time went on, however, it got worse.
I’m an Episcopal priest, and the tipping point came when I was leading a funeral. At the end of the service, a relative of the person I had just buried came up to me and said, “This is what you need.” It turned out that he was a physician and he handed me a prescription for a beta-blocker. That was when I realized two things: the kindness and forbearance of the people I served and the fact that I really needed help.
I then saw a neurologist who tried several medications. Each had side effects—the most successful one caused me to lose a dangerous amount of weight. Continue reading →