Personal Stories – Sheila, age 70

We are starting a new series of personal stories of people’s experiences with Essential Tremor, generally including age of onset, symptoms, neurologist’s diagnosis, medicine prescribed, alternative therapies tried, how people respond to their ET, how ET affects them mentally and emotionally, coping, and family history of ET.   The individuals interviewed below are from ET support groups.

Sheila, age 70
Sheila’s tremor started with a couple of episodes while living in Korea around 2006. She went to the emergency room – they did an EEG but symptoms had gone away by the time the doctor saw her.  She remembers trying to sleep and feeling the tremor start, without knowing why.  Seems when she gets urinary tract infections, it triggers the tremor. If she gets busy in the morning and can’t find time to eat, the tremor gets better. She saw a neurologist for the first time in 2010, and Propranolol was prescribed. Besides Propranolol she has had other prescriptions but has taken nothing that she’s been comfortable with.  She gets angry about the tremors sometimes wondering, “why is this happening to me” and feels sorry for herself. Her hands started trembling first then her lip started trembling … emotions  such as those caused by relationship conflict are a trigger for a tremor episode. She takes Clonazapam, prescribed for depression she attributes to the tremor.

Less than a year ago she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and started taking medicine for that. She also takes Zanax which was prescribed for anxiety related to the tremor, and it is the only medicine that really has helped her tremor. She feels she’s been around the mulberry bush several times with doctors trying to see if something will work.

None of her friends or family has acted adversely to her tremor.

Next week’s story – Charley

Interviewed by Lisa Gannon
Silver Spring, MD Support Group Member

Other personal stories: