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My Essential Tremor Website
History of My Tremor and My
Medtronics Implant Operation
   Essential Tremor is a rhythmic shaking of the head, voice, arms or hands. It usually involves the hands, which are quiet at rest but shake when trying to do something. A tremor has both frequency and amplitude, which means the shaking oscillates so many times a  minute, and the amplitude is the extent to which it shakes. The frequency of a mild tremor and a wild tremor can be the same, but the amplitude is what is different. Medications can try to lessen the amplitude and make the tremor less noticeable.
It is frustrating as well as being very embarrassing. It affects your fine motor control. You can still dig, rake, sweep and mow the lawn, but hooking the clasps on jewellry becomes almost impossible.
     The tremor gets worse and there is no cure. Medicines and alcohol control the tremor but as it worsens you have to take more medicine. I tried all the medicines and had the best result with alcohol and Propranolol.  Due to pancreatitus I had to stop the alcohol, and I was soon at a maximum dose of 200mg of Inderal (propranolol). I had trouble signing my name and eating any food that I couldn't stick with a fork, or eat with a spoon. No soup without lots of crackers in it to thicken it to a thick stew.
I began to have trouble buttoning my shirts and shaving. Eating was getting harder even at home in private. My neurologist put me on (gradually) 150mg of phenobarbital in addition to the Inderal. The drugs caused  me to feel like a zombie. I was off-balance, sluggish, fatigued all the time, and clumsy.
I had lost my job in electronics and was working on call as a custodian, and the shaking continued to worsen.
Finally my neurologist referred me to Neuroscience in Sacramento who did the operations to either perform a thalamotomy or a deep-brain stimulator implant into the brain.
I was very tired of the tremor, the frustration, the embarrassment, and the difficulty in writing and  eating....and I couldn't fill out a job application. I took lots of tests and was offered the operation.  I agreed without hesitation!
The night before the operation at Kaiser-Permanente
   It took over a year to prepare for the operation. A year of psychological testing to see how my memory was, and whether I was depressed or had any other problems. Having a baseline idea of my memory would enable them to monitor whether there was memory loss due to the operation. My tremor was video-taped and measured, and I was examined and interviewed. During this time I decided to maximize my chances in the operation by taking a smoking cessation class and losing weight. Kaiser provided me with the smoking cessation and I quit August 2, 2004. I lost almost 40 pounds using the low-carb, high protein diet. I also took a recommended relaxation techniques class at Kaiser.
       Early in the morning of operation day the nurse and the neuro-surgeon (Dr. Pappas) came and got me and took me in a wheelchair to a place where Dr. Pappas gave me injections of a local anesthetic around  the top part of my head (painful) and after a short wait began to screw a framework called a 'halo' to my head which hurt quite a bit, but not for long. They then wheeled me down to have an MRI. I was now receiving a drug thru my IV which made me feel dopey and now my head was very numb. I almost felt nauseated.


      
Before the tremor got bad I was very social and travelled around the world
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