Instead of Thinking About My Tremors, I’m Focusing on the Warmth From Helping Others

By Barb Cole Smith
Support Group Leader,
Kalamazoo, MI ET Support Group

Holiday time is fast approaching. As I sit here contemplating the stress of the added responsibilities and work involved with Christmas time, and how that will increase my tremor level, I realize how much more productive I could be if I planned ahead. This leaves me more time to enjoy my family and friends, and the pleasure we could all have by being together, and less time to think about myself.

I could start by acknowledging that I brought some of this on myself and then think about how I can deal with things less stressfully. Rather than buying numerous gifts for all, buying just one gift, with a gift card attached might even be more appreciated. How much time could be saved!

Barb with her husband (far left) at her 8Oth birthday celebration. The couple is shown here with their son and daughter and their spouses; four of their grandsons; three of their great grandchildren; and a great granddaughter-in-law.

Perhaps even a theme, with a different restaurant gift card for everyone. My hubby and I could enjoy dining out at the selected restaurants, after a busy day, to avoid meal preparation that evening. Meal preparation and eating brings up so many unpleasant things. I have discovered that since I need so much help with preparation, selecting one-dish meals or things that could be heated easily have seemed to be the best answer. Using bowls with rounded edges instead of plates, and eating with heavy soup spoons help a lot. What should I do when I get an invitation to dinner at a friend’s home and worry that something might be served that I simply can’t get to my mouth? I suggest that we meet at a local restaurant where I can select my meal. Always explaining why. ET is nothing to be ashamed of but merely my way of life.

In preparing for this date, I try and make sure I am well rested and am in a good frame of mind. Using relaxation techniques could be different for all of us. Mine seem to center around music, either listening to it or playing the piano. It’s amazing what a difference this makes.

In thinking about the next few weeks, I promise to not spend my time thinking about myself but thinking about those who mean so much to me and how I can show my appreciation to them. Most importantly, I hope to seek out and help some less fortunate than myself. I truly feel that I won’t be thinking so much about my tremors but soaking in the warmth I get from helping others.

GivingTuesday Donations Support Students with ET

By Tammy Dodderidge
IETF Marketing and Communications Manager

The determination and bravery of people with essential tremor is inspirational. It’s particularly touching when it comes from young people.

It’s truly the honor of the International Essential Tremor Foundation to support students with essential tremor as they journey toward adulthood and pursue their higher education. Each semester we award four college scholarships as part of our Catherine Rice Scholarship Program (named in honor of former IETF executive director who had a particular passion for these young people). This year, 100% of GivingTuesday donations made will go to the scholarship fund. GivingTuesday is an international day of charitable giving. This year it takes place on December 3.

Here’s a little bit about some our past student scholars. . . . .

Anna
2019 scholarship recipient, Anna Grace Easley, shared with us her story of becoming more frustrated every time she visited the doctor. The realization that her essential tremor would always be a part of her was overwhelming. The “aha” moment came when her doctor asked, “If you could trade your ET for any other disorder, would you?” It gave her a different perspective. She said, “I would not trade it for blindness, deafness, paralysis, amputation or any other physical disability. It was at this moment that I realized how truly blessed I am.”

Graham
2018 scholarship recipient Graham Gaddis said having ET has not been easy, but it has made him stronger and given him compassion for others.

“In the shadows and in the quiet, I have found an identity, and much of this identity has developed from facing head-on the difficulties of living with essential tremor (ET). I realize that having ET has actually strengthened my resolve to tackle life’s challenges and achieve my personal goals,” he said.

Madison
Four-time scholarship recipient Madison Young is majoring in rehabilitation science in college with plans to become a physical therapist. Because of her ET disability, she feels she will have a better understanding of others who have physical obstacles to overcome.

“It is an empowering feeling to be able to help someone,” she said. “And when you are helping someone and they connect with you because you aren’t perfect either, it makes it all worth it.”

Deirdre
2018 scholarship recipient Deirdre Maciak is looking at a career in nursing or biology because she wants to be able to have a positive impact on others who are struggling with lifelong conditions, like ET. And she’s optimistic about the future.

“I’m not the first or last teenager out there whose plans have been derailed in some capacity due to essential tremor. But, I am part of a generation of people with the condition who have better access to experimental treatments due to research and new discoveries.”

Your Donation Provides Support
Help the IETF continue to provide support for college students with essential tremor by making a donation on GivingTuesday. It makes such a huge impact. Here’s the impact it had on Elizabeth Carroll.

“Your generosity brings me one step closer toward my dream of attending law school in order to become an advocate for students with disabilities,” she said.

Donate through the IETF website or call (toll free) 888-387-3667 to make a donation over the phone.