On my quest to discover what I want to be when I grow up, I tried many different types of work from traditional, like store clerk, Cashier, waitress, housekeeping to non-traditional, driving fork lift, cleaning tanks at a winery, and studying to be an Industrial Maintenance Mechanic.  I have been a sales services coordinator and I’ve dispatched garbage trucks.  I’ve done payroll, accounts payable, and accounts receivable.  I have also studied Business Administration, including accounting and human resources, operations management, and systems analysis.

I was a Winery Tour Guide, and an Employment Equity Facilitator.  I was a member of Toastmasters International, a volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society, and an Officer Cadet for the 2835 Royal Canadian Artillery Cadet Corps.  The past 40 years I’ve tried a lot of different things.

.I have spoken on stage to groups as large as 500 and as small as 4.  I was an instructor at a private college and I started my own business as a Law of Attraction Life Coach, Presentation Coach, and Speaker, Facilitator and Author. 

I’ve always considered myself pretty average.  Yet I have faced some challenges and overcome some obstacles.  Eleven years ago, I broke my leg and was laid up for a year and a half.  Two years after that I slid on snow at a conference and overstretched my hamstring.  I worked with my father in our own Human Resource Consulting company.   I’ve been downsized and even fired.  And, I’ve experienced a number of bouts of Clinical Depression.

Over the past 40 years I have developed what is known as Essential Tremor.  This causes me to tremble in my hands, my head, and even in my body.  It started slowly, and progressed slowly, unless I was extremely stressed. 

I didn’t even notice it about 30 years ago when my friend Melanie started calling me ‘Lucky Dog’.  What is that?  Well it seems that even back then, at times my head would bob, kind of like those bobble head dogs that people used to have on the back dash of their cars.  I guess I didn’t notice because I was used to it.  It was just me.  

I guess it was noticeable because I was teased about holding up the sparkling wines while I did wine descriptions at the end of the tours.

I started noticing it more though about fifteen to twenty years ago.  I was chairing a Toastmaster Speech contest at the district level.  I noticed my hands trembling and I thought, might as well work with it. So, I started my introduction by welcoming everyone to the contest and telling them “I am so excited to be here that I’m shaking.”  Everyone laughed and the trembling eased as I became more comfortable. Essential Tremor is hereditary.  My paternal grandmother’s hands shook so bad, I don’t know how she did anything.  As long as I can remember, her hands always shook.  It is the same thing that Katherine Hepburn had that caused her head, hands and voice shake.  Essential Tremor is not terminal.  It is very inconvenient.  Grandma lived to 92 years.

About 9 years ago, I was on an anti-depressant for clinical depression.  The  doctor  prescribed Wellbutrin  for it  and  I guess I’d been on it for about a month.  We were celebrating Thanksgiving at my daughter’s home and my granddaughter was about  6.  I poured her a glass of milk and as I took it to her my hand was shaking so bad, that I said aloud, “if this was whole milk I could make butter.”  

That was a lot more violent trembling than I remember before that.  Back home I checked the side effects of the medication and learned that Wellbutrin can cause trembling that could get worse and could become permanent.   I called my doctor after the weekend, and I went off the medicine.  That was the last anti depressant, I’ve taken.  Yet I believe that was what accelerated the progress of the tremors.

Today, 12 years later, the shaking is so violent at times that I can barely feed myself or take a drink.  And yet, if I get a chance to speak to a group, or lead a meeting, I do use that same line, “I’m so excited to be here that I am shaking.”  And then I will explain that I have Essential Tremor and my hands or head may do something unexpected.  I am still learning to live with it and I will try to find the funny side of it.

This past summer, we went to the drag races with Vic’s brother Wayne.  In the RV, I was tidying or prepping something  and  Wayne  asked  me  if  I  had  Parkinson’s.  I was able to ease his fear and I made a joke about it.  But be careful around me when I have a knife in my hand.  

When I am coaching as Law of Attraction Life Coach, it’s not so obvious.  When I am facilitating a workshop, it is difficult to write on the flip chart or a white board so I ask for volunteers.  I do very creative spelling.  And it appears that I can no longer drink a full cup of hot coffee.  It is quite funny how the coffee jumps out of the cup and into my face when I try.  It is like a reverse drip jumping at me from the centre of the mug.

There are some options for Essential Tremor.  It’s been suggested to try CBD oil.  The Neurologist prescribed me medication that has such side effects that I am afraid to even try it.  I just missed trials for a sound treatment at Sunnybrook.  I may look into that in the future.

For now, when I have a Business and Professional Women dinner meeting to share, I start with an alcoholic drink that will slow the tremor so I can eat.  I can handle that. As long as I can work with it I will attempt to have fun with it at the same time. 

And, I will continue taking my next step into possibilities on my quest to discover what I want to be when I grow up.

Find out more about Charmaine Grace by visiting her Website, Following her on Facebook or LinkedIn 

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