My Tremors

I thought this would be helpful to write up, since we've moved to a different part of the country around people who aren't necessarily used to the tremors yet. In Idaho, our church family saw them from the beginning -- even ministering to us strongly in the events leading up to their manifestation -- and were instructed a bit by our pastor how to help and how not to "help." Some of our church family, being doctors, even guided us in ruling out more serious causes. Being back east, however, our friends and family have kind of gone from seeing me as a normal healthy woman to suddenly having an (at times) very visible condition that's sort of shrouded in mystery.  So I thought it would be helpful to explain a bit about my tremors:

1. They are set off by stress. Any kind of stress. Low blood sugar. Standing in the cold. Dehydration. Lack of sleep. Loud sudden noises. Flashing lights. Going over speed bumps. Being asked personal questions. Several people talking at once. Standing up for a long time. It's not that I'm an especially stressed person -- before I had tremors, I wasn't aware of most of these things really causing me any stress. But since having them, my body makes me (and those around me) keenly aware of it. 
1. 1. Stronger tremors = more stress. For me, mild stress results in slow speech or mild nodding that people often mistake for agreement or impatience. More severe stress can result in stronger nodding, eyes wandering upward, stuttering or dumbness, lip trembling, and my right arm and hand shaking or jerking. 
2. They are physically tiring. The first full month with my tremors - which at the beginning were much more severe - I was so exhausted I wasn't doing much housecleaning and almost no cooking. We ate fast food or frozen meals just about every night. I sat on the couch a lot and took a couple naps a day. Despite all of that, I still lost weight. Just because the tremors are involuntary doesn't mean my body isn't exerting serious energy to keep them going.

3. They affect my memory. I've never had a great memory -- would usually forget the main character of a book as soon as I put it down. But my memory is especially lacking now. So I will probably tell you the same story many times, might struggle to remember your spouse's name even if I've known you a long time, and I might even tell you "Sorry, my memory is really bad..." forgetting that I tell you that every time I see you.

4. I won't want to go out as often as you might. I don't do playdates, don't do field trips --- really anything that Peter can't come along to. If the kids begin arguing in the back of the car while I'm driving, my tremors will make it difficult to drive safely. Even if there are no arguments in the car, a half hour of being surrounded by kids chasing each other around loudly, or one of my own simply wandering away from me at the park will often set them off. This usually means a very long mandatory nap when I get home, which will also mean little or no homeschooling or housework getting done, and calling Peter to ask him to bring home dinner. It's too disruptive.

5. My family and I know how to properly care for my health. Every once in a while someone gets really shaken up (no pun intended) by my tremors, and they immediately insists we do something about it. "Have you looked into this? Have you talked to a specialist? HAVE YOU GOTTEN AN MRI?!" Their intentions are good, but it can just comes across as a bit belittling -- as though they are more affected by the tremors than I am, or as if I would perish if they hadn't come along to prod us. The fact is we've gone down just about every avenue, and the tremors aren't hurting me. They are tiring and annoying and sometimes I need massages. Since everything serious has been ruled out, continuing to pursue the cause would just mean more stress -- which would mean more tremors. It's not worth it just to be able to give people a diagnosis -- especially since knowing what's causing the tremors isn't going to make them go away.

6. In spite of all I've written above, my goal isn't to never have tremors, and my goal in writing this isn't to make people think "Aw, Naomi really has it bad," because I don't. There are things I feel are worth tremoring for, and I just want people to understand my frame so they don't get offended if I can't be the kind of friend, family member, church mate they are used to. I enjoy spending time with the people I love, but I want them to understand I'm not bored or sulking if I excuse myself to sit in a nearby room by myself for ten minutes. I want people to feel free to talk to me -- even about personal things -- but I'm not always good at maintaining overly long conversations. I want people to invite me over, but I'm gonna need my husband's help, and for the sake of our household I have to limit how often I break from our routine.

Hope that's a little helpful.

4 comments:

  1. Well said. This letter is a kindness. Love from Idaho.

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  2. Even though you've explained this to me before, it's nice to have a more detailed reminder.

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  3. Thank you for posting/writing this. It enlighten me. I publicly apologize for any of my behaviors That may have been offensive to you....it certainly was not my intent. I care about you and your health and was not sure how to convey that to you.....maybe just simply saying it is the best route. ❤️

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    1. I appreciate it, Mrs. Eddy -- though I wouldn't say you've offended me, and believe me, you are by no means the first person to want to "fix" things ;)

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