Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On Shaky Ground.... about tremors

I nice fellow name Hal recently posted a request for me to describe my tremors in more detail, and it got me thinking about the subject of tremors in general. I used to think (as I imagine most people do) that Parkinson's was all about tremors. Not so. Some Parkinson's patients don't have any tremors at all, and some (like me) have minimal tremors. Furthermore, a lot of books and medical web sites describe the "typical" Parkinson's tremor in great detail; it's a "resting tremor" and doesn't happen when you go to do something with the shaky hand, it's a "pill-rolling" tremor, the frequency of the tremor is such-and-such, it always starts on one side, etc, etc. WRONG!

Yes, these are typical profiles of Parkinson's tremor, but as with everything associated with this crazy disease, every patient has a unique experience. In fact, for some time I was convinced that I didn't have Parkinson's because my tremor wasn't a "pill-rolling" tremor, and it didn't happen just at rest. My neurologist gently pointed out that I had a lot of other symptoms that pointed to PD, and he'd seen many Parkinson's patients with a tremor very much like mine. Here's another little tidbit that one doesn't always glean from the books and web sites (well, I didn't, anyway): the tremor can change quite a bit over time, the same way other symptoms do. For me, it started out as a pretty fast tremor that happened when I was trying to type or do other fiddly little tasks, then it "evolved" into a classic "pill-rolling" tremor, but that was way after I was diagnosed. Now, I hardly ever have tremors at all; I have more problems with stiffness and slowness.

If I had a nickel for every person who has said to me "How can you have Parkinson's? You don't look shaky", I'd be rich. Well... actually I'd probably have about a dollar, but you get my point.

I think I'll go make some Shake 'n' Bake for dinner...

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About Me

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I'm a lucky lady. I have a wonderful husband of 27 years, a fantastic 25 year old son (I'm so proud of him!) a loving and supportive family, the best friends in the world, a job that I love, and... Parkinson's Disease. I was diagnosed in September 2006. That was a jolt, but I'm learning to deal with it.