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Symptom Control Gave Barbara Her Life Back

Essential Tremor

A youthful senior with dark, quiet eyes, Barbara easily sips lemonade as she shares her
story. Diagnosed with Essential Tremor “oh, 12 to 15 years ago,” the shaking had made
her retreat from her usually active life. “Socially it was getting to be a problem,” she
said. “It’s hard to go to lunch when you can’t pick up a spoon.”

Barbara was relieved to receive a diagnosis. “At the time, I was glad to know it was
Essential Tremor,” she said. “I thought, ‘I can live with that.’”

Over time, the shaking worsened, until Barbara couldn’t write and it was difficult to use
a computer keyboard. Barbara is a member of the Crow Indian Nation and grew up on
reservation land in Eastern Montana. She was living in Sequim, just before moving to
Puyallup, when she saw an ad in the paper for South Sound Gamma Knife for help with
Essential Tremor. “By the time I had the gamma knife procedure, I couldn’t even sign in
when I went to lunch at the Puyallup tribe.”

Barbara’s gamma knife procedure was performed in October of 2009 at St. Joseph
Medical Center in Tacoma. “I was apprehensive beforehand,” she admitted. “But it really
was painless. In fact, I almost went to sleep. I dozed, but I was afraid to fall asleep – I
know I snore!”

Just five weeks later, she showed remarkable improvement. “It’s great to be able to
sign my name again!” Today, she’s enjoying maintaining her Indian heritage and social
connections. A former 20-year master gardener, Barbara is busy planning the garden for
her new home.

“Barbara was an ideal candidate for Gamma Knife radiosurgery,” said Randy Sorum,
M.D., radiation oncologist who performed Barbara’s procedure. “She had an excellent
response in a short period of time, with no side effects.”

Before and After Essential Tremor