Symptoms & Reactions

Essential Tremor and Lupus

Dear Diary,

My friend reacted to my shaky hands due to the essential tremor.

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to spend time with a dear friend whom I hadn’t seen in several months. She’s one of the few friends I have here in Reno, but we rarely have a chance to get together though because she’s the busy home-schooling mother of four children, and I’m the empty-nester battling Lupus.

But on this evening, she had two tickets to a string quartet concert at the University of Nevada at Reno. Although I wasn’t having the best day, I felt okay enough to accept her last minute invitation. I just couldn’t pass on the opportunity to attend a live classical music performance—something I miss terribly from my old life in Washington, DC.

Before making it to the venue, we decided to get a bite to eat at a healthy restaurant near my home, where they receive grass-fed meat daily and use it to make the best buffalo, beef, lamb, and turkey burgers in town.

As we were catching up and eating and watching our watches to make sure we didn’t lose track of time, she noticed my hands shaking. It really alarmed her because she just wasn’t expecting to see yet another manifestation of my illness.

She yelled, “Oh my goodness, why is your hand shaking like that?”

I told her that my new neurologist suspects that it’s something called an Essential Tremor, which the Mayo Clinic defines as “a nervous system disorder (neurological disorder) that causes a rhythmic shaking.” Apparently, it can run in families and can be caused by various autoimmune diseases, like Multiple Sclerosis. They didn’t mention Lupus specifically, but other websites do.

The Mayo Clinic goes on to say that it “can affect almost any part of your body, but the trembling occurs most often in your hands—especially when you try to do simple tasks, such as drinking from a glass, tying shoelaces, writing, or shaving.”

With me, I notice it when I lift a sandwich or a fork to eat, when I lift my glass to drink, and when I write or practice with watercolors or calligraphy. It’s much worse when I’m hungry, tired, or particularly stressed.

When my friend noticed it during dinner yesterday, I wasn’t even aware that it was happening. I guess I’m used to it by now. It’s kind of embarrassing, but I have too many other health-related issues to be concerned with. A little embarrassing tremor is not my worst problem.

My neurologist is still in the process of ruling out any other conditions that may be the cause of the Essential Tremor, such as a brain tumor or other changes in the brain. She’s ordered blood work and an MRI of my brain. The blood work is done, but I’m still waiting on getting an appointment for the brain MRI.

Thankfully, after dinner, we made it to the concert venue on time. The lovely sounds of the violins, viola, and cello soothed my soul. My hands settled down, too.



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