Bill Says Goodbye to Embarrassing Tremor

Essential Tremor

essential tremor patient smiling at the dessert table

Bill, 79, lived with essential tremor for several decades, until his right hand began to shake so severely, he could barely feed himself. “I would continuously drop food off my fork into my lap and onto the floor,” he said. As Bill enjoyed lunch at the senior center several times a week, the tremors became painfully embarrassing. “With the arthritis in my back, I was making messes I couldn’t clean up!” he said. Staff kindly set a place for Bill with a tablespoon. “It was only marginally successful,” he said. “Have you ever tried to eat a salad with a tablespoon?”

Evaluations ruled out Parkinson’s disease. Bill’s neurologist diagnosed essential tremor and prescribed several medications, yet the shaking persisted. Bill was referred to a neurosurgeon and then to radiation oncologist Herbert Wang, MD, at South Sound Gamma Knife in Tacoma. His doctors determined he was an appropriate candidate for single-session Gamma Knife radiosurgery.

Six weeks post-treatment, Bill’s right-hand tremor was gone, and he was happily using a fork and knife.

“Gamma Knife is a wonder!” Bill exclaimed. “I can comfortably eat in public again.”

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