Thursday, October 14, 2010

I have Essential Tremor

Sipping Skipper

Skipper having some yum on my Crassula -erusula "campfire".

First of all I want to apologize to everybody for being absent for so long. I have been having some pretty scary health problems. Essential Tremor is not scary but I will explain. For quite a while I have been having trouble with orthostatic hypotension. It is a condition where when you rise from a sitting or laying position your blood pressure drops. I've had this condition for a while but for some reason it started getting really bad to where I was almost fainting all the time and they were worried my organs could shut down from lack of blood. So I went to a heart Dr. who determined that a medication I was taking for my essential tremor called Inderal (a beta blocker) could be a main culprit. So he slowly took me off this medication and put me on another med to raise my blood pressure. The trade off is that my essential tremor is back almost full force. The medication's I was on was really working well to almost have no tremor at all!

Essential Tremor is a benign action tremor. Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder. It is a syndrome characterized by a slowly progressive postural and/or kinetic tremor, usually affecting both upper extremities. Action tremor means that the tremor only happens when you are in motion or trying to use your muscles in any way. So balance is effected. Whereas Parkinson's disease is a resting tremor. It occurs all the time even at rest. Some people just have it in there hands and arms (the majority). Some have just head movement and or voice (like Katherine Hepburn). Individuals usually present at age 65 and most of the time at age 70. So when you see older individuals with tremor it is usually essential tremor. Sometimes it starts at age 45 or earlier and sometimes in children. For some reason it runs in families. It runs in every generation of my family. My Grandfather had it and my Mother.

They don't really know the cause as of yet. But there is ongoing research. That are pretty sure that the problem comes from the brain stem and cerebellum. When mine was first diagnosed they had no treatment. But now mysoline and inderal are the best treatments available.
I always knew that my Mom had a tremor but never really thought much about it. So when I was about 25 years old something weird started happening. When I would go to drink something out of a cup or glass my right hand would shake really bad going up to my mouth. Pretty freaky and scared me. So I made an appointment with my Dr. and he examined me and ran some tests. I told him that my Mom had a tremor and her Dr. called it Parkinsons palsy. He asked if she would come in so he could examine her. She came in and went through the same tests as I did. He then told her what she actually had was Essential Tremor and that I had early onset Essential Tremor.

As the years have gone by my tremor increased and moved to include other parts of my body. Arms, legs, head and mostly hands shake. It can be quite embarrassing. People sometimes stare at you or ask if you are nervous. I just try to explain about the tremor. When my nieces and nephews were little they would ask, "Aunt Candy, why do you shake?" I would tell them that something in my brain is telling my muscles to move in the wrong way. That would be ok and they would go on their way.

Lots of things that you do everyday become difficult. Buttoning shirts, putting on jewelry, makeup and even writing can be extremely difficult. Eating can even be tuff. Sometimes when I am shaking really bad I have to eat with a spoon. When my shaking is like it is now I have to have others fill out forms for me. Kind of embarrassing to ask if you don't have a family member nearby. I used to make jewelry when the medicine was working but I think that is now over. I should still be able to do other crafting and work with my plants as long as it is nothing too intricate. When I am nervous or fatigued it makes it much worse. So I try not to do little things when I am in those situations.

So that is what has been going on with me. It is going to be a lot harder to take my photos than when I was on the inderal medication. I still take mysoline so my tremor is slightly under control. I went to the High Hand Nursery the other day and it looks like I am going to have to rely on using a tripod a lot more. It's been many, many years since I have shook this bad so I have a learning curve to go through again.

I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me because of this. I am doing this post partly to explain why I have been absent but mostly to educate more people about Essential Tremor. I belong to the International Essential Tremor Foundation. You can find more information about them if you click the name.

So it's good to be back and I will be visiting your blogs and catching up really soon!


Cindy said...

Candy, I'm sorry you are having these struggles. In this day and age where I figured I'd seen just about every disorder known to science featured on TV or something, I'd actually never heard of either the ET or the orthostatic hypotension.

I hope there is a drug out there that can help the one condition without aggravating the other. I do have a feeling that you will find a way to still enjoy your favorite things, maybe find some new things, too.

I'll keep positive thoughts for you ♥

Evelyn said...

Hi Candy
Sorry to hear about the tremor - I just thought of something in addition to the tripod. A shutter release will enable you to snap pics via a cable...

ps. Thanks for visiting my blog. I used a software called Adobe Illustrator for the circles. it can also be achieved using photoshop. (I am not familiar with picnik...).

Great that you are back. All the best, Evelyn

Diana said...

Candy, I'm sorry to hear about the struggles you are going through. I will keep you in my prayers.
It sounds like you are upbeat and positive in the face of this trial.
That in itself is a wonderful inspiration to other people going through hard times. I hope there is a drug that can help the tremors without aggravating the fainting problem.
Hang in there.
Your friends in bloglandia do care.

Julie said...

Hi Candy! I nearly missed your post here due to being too darn busy around here. I have surely missed you, girl! I am so glad you have educated anyone who finds your information here. It is wonderful to learn more about a condition such as what you are struggling with here. I am so sorry the Inderal had to be stopped. I sure hope those researchers can come up with something new real soon. I know it has to be maddening at times to deal with. It was interesting you mentioned K. Hepburn, as I thought she was very awesome in her later years after she had developed her tremor. She was absolutely charming and I loved her. I was happy to see that Evelyn had a different idea for you to try with the photography. BTW, your header photo looks so neat...I love how those pads in the front look so huge and you can really see the details around the spines!!! Your fence area there is awesomely awesome! Glad you are back and hope to see you again soon!

Woman with a Hatchet said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your tremor! I hope medical science can help you out. Also, I was going to suggest what Evelyn mentioned: a cable release. Your photographs are wonderful!

Hang in there!

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