Dale’s symptoms started around age 40 when he noticed a tremor when his hands were in motion. It was initially sporadic and he would shake more at times than at other times. By his late 40s the tremor had become worse, he noticed his fingers would tremor, and he believed anxiety and caffeine made it worse, but not always. His left hand was worse than the right. In Dale’s family his father had essential tremor and his sister has it mildly.
Dale saw a neurologist for a diagnosis at the age of 42 and was told it was benign essential familial tremor and it was nothing to worry about health-wise but it could be a nuisance. He was prescribed Primidone which did not work for him. Since then, for 8-9 years, he has been taking Propranolol. He was also prescribed medicine for anxiety which runs in his mother’s family and takes Clonoxopan as needed (hasn’t taken it for a couple of years).
He does not think his ET was a result of any trauma and does not have other movement disorders, but he did experience a softball injury and underwent surgery, had scarring, and then years later a seizure which indicated abnormal electrical activity, but he was told this was not related to his ET. He has no unexplained symptoms that could relate to ET.
Dale does get self-conscious and embarrassed when others see his tremor and while they might be understanding of the condition, they wonder if the shaking means he is nervous. He says his writing is a scribble. He’s been told exercise can help and alcohol can help but knows alcohol is not the solution. He experiences frustration but not depression, counting himself fortunate to look at the bright side of life.
He wonders why there aren’t medicines that really work .. the Propranolol he takes does not work completely.
Interviewed by Lisa Gannon
Silver Spring, MD Support Group Member