You may know Betty, a valued Steadiwear customer, and one of our Steadi-Two Early adopters. For over 50 years, Betty has been living with Essential tremor (ET) — a progressive neurological disorder that causes tremors to the head, neck, trunk, arms, legs, and other body parts.
Living with a progressive disorder can be incredibly challenging, and any chronic illness carries the potential to impact not only the patient but also their family and social circle. Today, we would like to introduce you to Howard, Betty’s Husband!
Howard and Betty have been married for over 47 years! While Betty has had tremors since before their marriage, her tremors have worsened over the past couple of decades. As a result, Howard has taken on more responsibility, helping Betty to carry out daily living activities, and providing both physical and emotional support.
When they received Betty’s diagnosis just over 10 years ago, they just “rolled with it,” Howard said. They were determined to gather as much information as they could in order to better understand Betty’s condition. Howard explained, “one thing I was surprised about was how little information was out there about [ET].” He also shared, “When Betty was diagnosed, I read almost as much as she did. We want to help each other, and other people too. We are a team, and we both see the world the same way.”
Like many other people with ET, Betty’s tremors worsen with stress. In order to help, Howard tries to “keep a sense of humor, and keep it light.” Howard explained how he and Betty have found the perfect balance between serious conversations and quip. He said, “We communicate very openly — when something is bothering us, we help each other out with it… But, we also joke around. We always say she is good at making a martini because it is shaken, not stirred!”
Howard often supports Betty during mealtimes. Whether they are out for dinner or enjoying a meal at home, Howard always holds Betty’s drink for her. At buffets, Howard always walks through first with Betty, before getting food for himself. Betty and Howard cruise often, so this happens frequently. Howard is constantly putting Betty before himself, and many strangers have made comments to them about how considerate he is.
While it can sometimes be difficult to support someone with a progressive disorder, Howard has identified some silver linings. He said, “I think I have become more empathic. I try to see things through her eyes, and assist wherever I can.” He also shed light on internal tremors — shaking sensations felt inside the body, but invisible on the outside. He explained how he has become more aware of his surroundings, and gained an understanding of the importance of kindness, because “you cannot always see what someone is going through.” Howard also shared that since Betty’s tremors have worsened he has taken over all of the cooking, and he quite enjoys it!
In addition, Howard provided some helpful tips for people with family members or friends living with ET:
- Try to understand it — learn everything you can and encourage open communication
- Build each other up! Be positive and look at the bright side
- Ask things like, “How can I help you?” or, “What can I do to make things easier?”
- Have a sense of humor. Keep it light, but keep it real — they are affected by their condition in ways we will never fully understand
Thankfully, Betty (and Howard!) have been able to benefit from the Steadi-Two — a novel therapeutic device designed to reduce hand tremors for people with Parkinson’s disease and Essential tremor. He explained, “The “Steadi-Two has really helped her. Anything that helps to reduce her tremor makes her feel better about herself, and that makes me feel better.” Howard has truly shared in Betty’s success with the Steadi-Two. As he mentioned, they are a team — When she succeeds, he feels as though he has, too.
Both Howard and Betty make a conscious effort to educate others about Essential tremor, and the difficulties associated with living with a progressive disorder. By sharing their story, they hope to inspire others to gain information, live life meaningfully, and appreciate their loved ones!
If you would like more information about the Steadi-Two, or would like to order yours today, click here!