HELLO AND WELCOME!
This is HandTremor.com–a blog that helps people with hand tremors find information and ways to manage daily Life.
My name is Greg and I am the author and owner of HandTremor.com. I have been successfully living with hand tremors specifically Essential or Familial tremors for the last 40 years!
How I got here today—
My hand tremors began on a bicycle in 1979, at least that's where I think it started. No one, from family doctors to neurologists or anyone else has been able to tell me for sure, but I’m pretty sure it started with this event…I realize scientific evidence does not agree with my assumption here, but the scientists can’t really give us a better explanation now can they;)— I have always been an avid cyclist and when I was 13 years old in the age before Bicycle helmets were in vogue, I had installed a speedometer on my bicycle.
I sometimes wonder why a Bicycle manufacturing company would make a speedometer that actually goes up to 80 miles per hour. As a 13-year-old I thought this was a challenge! As the story goes I was hurrying home and tried to make a corner going 35 miles an hour... at that point time slowed down as I realized my brakes didn't work and I was speeding toward a large stone pillar mailbox. I crashed into the mailbox head-on and just as a matter of pride I can claim that I did break the mailbox pillar in half!
It was shortly after this accident that I first started noticing tremors in my hands. Tremors were most notable when I was trying to eat sandwiches and my hands would shake so that I had to put my food down in between bites in hope that no one would notice them shaking.
By the time I was 16 it became enough of a concern for my parents to send me to a neurologist. The doctor did a thorough exam of me. And told me I had an Essential or Familial Tremor… and that there was nothing I could do except and I quote… “try taking a shot of whiskey and see if that helps”! I thought this was the greatest advice ever!..but my parents never did buy me a bottle of whiskey.
Encouragement for others—
Since then tremors have been a constant companion. As a teenager they were aggravating, but I never thought of them as a serious problem, so I pursued my interests. One thing I loved to do was playing music. It was definitely a challenge to perform musical solos in front of an audience. I had many, many embarrassing performances, however, by focusing on breathing and by preparing a lot, I eventually became successful. I attended college on a music scholarship, taught music in public schools as a band and choir director, (yes I did manage to hold the baton and conduct bands and choirs). After teaching for a while, I decided I really wanted to perform as a musician so I auditioned for and enlisted in the US Army Band and had a successful career performing music all over the world. I have also served as a ceremonial conductor, and drum major.
Have I had lots of people (I really mean lots and lots and lots) stare at me and comment about my shaking hands? YES! I wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if I was okay, looking at me with deep concern as though they thought I would fall apart at any moment. I have had to assure many people that I was indeed okay, that tremors are normal for me, and remind them that “the leaves on an oak tree shake too!”
Since tremors have been a part of my life there is very little that I have wanted to accomplish that I have not been able to do. However, there are certain things that I ask for help with simply because it's easier. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it! The lessons in humility don’t hurt anyone, and the opportunity for others to help builds a closer bond between friends and loved ones.
Things I find difficult—
Carrying any liquid in a cup, glass, or bowl without a secure lid is something I ask for help with. Clipping fingernails, using a screwdriver, and about a thousand other things that we can talk about later. I can of course do it myself and I will show you in videos how I manage doing many of these things. Almost everything can be accomplished... sometimes it takes some extra equipment and definitely more time, but living with Tremors doesn’t have to mean you stop LIVING!
I would love to hear from you! So if you have any questions about how to do things or comments, please do leave them here!
I hope anybody that stops by this website will find help and encouragement for themselves or for someone close to you that is living with Essential Tremors, or tremors of any kind.