Today, Thanksgiving is a day of memories.
Every Thanksgiving I would travel home to a small green (that’s another story) concrete stucco home in Nashville, AR and visit with my grandmother, who I called Mamow, (another story). My Mamow died in 1994.
This warm and inviting home was filled with memories of a young girl growing up in a small town where all the neighbors knew your name and welcomed you into their homes.
Each Thanksgiving we would arrive and my Mamow would have that little green home flowing with delicious smells of ham, chicken & dressing (she loved to cook with a hen, not a turkey) pumpkin & pecan pies, her special Patty's cake and fresh baked cornbread.
First my Mamow and I would take a tour around the home and yard just to talk, no matter what the weather was outside. The tour included her flower and vegetable gardens and she would tell me what was new in her life. I would immediately feel like I was a young girl, safe, loved, and no worries. Those visits home were more wonderful than any expensive vacation that I could have dreamed about.
I now have even more memories to add. They are memories of my son Rick who died May 20, 2014. He loved to go to Mamow’s. When he was sixteen and broke his leg, wearing a full leg cast, he was determined we were still going to Nashville, AR. He spent time sitting on the front porch with Mamow listening to her tell her stories about her life. Her life was a simple life full of many tragedies, but also full of love. She lost her right hand in a factory accident, but that never stopped her. She cooked, learned to write with her left hand, worked a garden, made quilts, and even made my clothes.
Family, friends, and neighbors would stop by for a visit and more stories would flow. I wished I’d listened a little more carefully to those stories. You see, time moves on faster than you might think and our lives seem to swish by like watching out the window of a train that is zooming down the track.
This Thanksgiving please take time to give your family and friends the gift of listening. You never know what tomorrow will bring and memories are worth more than any gift you can buy.
I wish for everyone a safe, happy, and peaceful Thanksgiving.
I've had many people ask me questions of why I started the Diann Shaddox Foundation for Essential Tremor. I hope this answers many questions.
My passion is writing and I had put off writing my stories for years. It seemed excuses kept flowing of being busy and everyone will think that I’ve gone crazy. After many years of excuses I began my journey of writing.
However, my real journey began one night when I wrote “A Faded Cottage” a love story about an artist living with Essential Tremor.
Why I wrote 'A Faded Cottage'
It was my birthday, the night of December 18, 2010, a very calm and uneventful night. I couldn’t sleep, which isn’t unusual for me, so I made my way downstairs to my cubby office. I decided since I was wide-awake that I’d work on one of my novels.
I sat down in front of the computer and began to type, but it seemed my fingers and hands had another idea as they shook uncontrollably over the keyboard. If you’ve tried to text as you are riding in a car or train when it’s bumpy, then you might understand how difficult it is to type with tremoring fingers when you have trouble hitting the correct keys. You see, I have had Essential Tremor from my early twenties and I’d learn to deal with my tremors for many years. But this night it became overpowering.
I leaned back in my chair and stared at the computer screen. My anger grew watching my hands quiver over the keyboard, and for once in my life I felt sorry for myself. The question of why me, a question without an answer, played repeatedly in my mind.
I took in a deep breath, closed my eyes and I let my tremoring hands type and the words, “Happy birthday dumb-ass” were written across the screen. I laughed and let the words flow and Quaid Witherspoon, a famous artist, was born.
A man who had everything or so he thought, but now his hands had abandoned him and his life of painting had ceased, becoming a bitter man. I didn’t have the story of Quaid planned that night. His character emerged from my mind and as the story grew I calmed while I released the stress of the evening telling Quaid’s story, a journal of only two weeks of his life. The story of Quaid Witherspoon, the novel 'A Faded Cottage', became an incredible love story, one about strength of mind to fight fate and never accept what life throws at you.
‘A Faded Cottage’ is journal of a famous artist not of his life, but of only two weeks, a love story about aging and two people being reunited after thirty years finding love can conquer all.
I put “A Faded Cottage” aside and kept editing my other stories to send to publishers, but “A Faded Cottage” kept pulling me in. I let friends read the manuscript and they believed I should go ahead and publish the novel to let others understand what I was living through with my tremoring hands. So began my journey. I gave in and sent the manuscript to publishers. To my surprise, I had a publisher come back to me right away and A Faded Cottage became my first novel. Then, I learned no one knew what ET was, so at my book signings I started to tell my story about ET. Well, the fire of spreading the word about Essential Tremor that I’d leaped into continued and I decided to start my own foundation.
However, the first of May, my life was jerked to a stop. My healthy young son, who was backing me on my journey, went to the hospital with a headache. We learned he had an aggressive stage 4 cancerous tumor the size of a lemon in his brain. He elected to have surgery, never woke, and died on May 20, 2014.
My life now had changed or maybe seemed to have ended. In June I sat back and reflected about my journey that had all started with one little book “A Faded Cottage.” How that one night on my birthday writing that book had sent me on a wild journey and I didn’t know if I wanted to continue. I had set out just to write my stories, but my life had turned into a whirlwind and now I had to make a decision.
I decided to take some time to think and I began the edits on “Whispering Fog” a time travel romance. My editor and I finished “Whispering Fog,” and the novel was published.
I don’t give up easy and knew my son would be disappointed if I didn’t continue with the Diann Shaddox Foundation for Essential Tremor. On August 29, 2014 the IRS approved Diann Shaddox Foundation for Essential Tremor.
What will my journey be in the future? I have become adamant to make a change, bring awareness, and find a cure for ET.
My light is growing dim, and my energy has grown low, however I will see what the future holds, and whether the flame will be distinguished or grow stronger to tell the world about Essential Tremor. I'm asking for support. There are many ways to support a foundation. Donate time to help with whatever you can, write articles, start a newsletter, help with IT services, so many ways to volunteer. Yes, it does take a lot of people and funds to advertise, bring awareness, and grant medical research money to doctors, to make a difference.
I hope you will join me on my journey and if you have any questions that you’d like answered, I’d be glad to help. firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is another great recipe from Family Favorites to make for the holidays and again it is one you can make ahead of time which always helps. I'm always finding recipes to make a day or so ahead of a dinner party.
I love the tangy taste of vinegar and sweetness of the sugar in this recipe.
A great salad to get your kids to try. Maybe let them help you make it so they'll be proud to serve it on Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
Sue's Broccoli Salad
2-3 bunches of fresh broccoli chopped into flowerets
1 small purple onion chopped
½ cup raisin
½ cup toasted almond slices
1 lb. fried bacon, drained & crumbled into small bites
2 cups mayo of your choice
4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Fry bacon and drain on paper towel, let cool. Chop onion and Broccoli and add raisins, toasted almond, and crumbled bacon in a bowl with a lid. Mix mayo, apple cider vinegar and sugar in a separate bowl. Then pour the mayo mixture over the salad and toss. Let set in refrigerator overnight. Gently stir the next day and serve.
Shopping on Amazon. Don't forget to use Amazon Smile and Amazon, not you, will donate to the Diann Shaddox Foundation to help find a cause and cure for Essential Tremor. (Yes, not you, Amazon will donate to the Diann Shaddox Foundation!)
Your shopping will support Diann Shaddox Foundation. It is easy to use just go to smile.amazon.com it will automatically populate all your account info to it as well as order history when you download Amazon Smile.
Clink on the link and go to Amazon Smile and join.
Many years ago 500 feet changed my life.
November 20 began as a peaceful Sunday in the small town of Hope, Arkansas.
My father William was a crop duster and loved to fly. This cool fall day a group of men had a meeting out in a field near the Hope, AR airport. One of the men was interested in a new red biplane.
The group of men, my mother, (who was eight months pregnant with me), & my brother stood out in the field watching as my father volunteered to test the plane. All was going well until the plane rose into the sky into an inverted roll that brought the beautiful plane to the ground.
I have been told that if my father had had an extra 500 feet the maneuver would have worked, but because of the low-ceiling that day he misjudged the distance.
That November day change many lives including mine. At the age of twenty-five my father died that Sunday and I was born a month later on December 18th in the small southern town of Nashville, Arkansas. Therefore, I was never able to meet my father.
Stories told to me through the years is the only way I know about my father, a kind and generous man who died way too young.
Life has a way of interrupting our secure and safe lives, but how we adjust is what matters. My father wouldn't have wanted his family and friends to have stopped living just because he was gone. He lived his life with gusto wanting to be a pilot from an early age.
Now many years later on quiet Sunday afternoons when I hear a small plane flying over my house I remember the story my grandmother used to tell. My father would fly over her house and dip his wings to say hello and that everything was all right. I believe my father is still flying in the calm blue skies and dipping his wings to say everything is fine.
My story of why began many years ago.
You see, when I was in my early twenties life changed for me, my left hand began to shake when I would do tedious work. No one, not even doctors, could figure out what was happening and they, the doctors, believed I was nervous, and just needed to calm down and that, I have to say, made me furious.
Yes, I was a young mother and things were busy in my life, but I wasn't nervous, my left hand just shook and I couldn’t make it stop.
One day, standing at a Post Office window in Louisville, Kentucky changed my world. Up until that
point, I had handled the shakes and the stares, but... A simple form containing my name and address, that I was supposed to fill out, changed my life. I stood there, and not only my left hand was shaking but my right hand was waving in the air, with a line of people and the post office clerk staring at me in a confused and not so polite stare making my tremors go wild. Tears grew in my eyes and I tried to wipe them before they rolled down my face with my fluttering hand. I grabbed my package turned and ran out of the Post Office. I had tried to ignore my tremors and hadn't noticed or maybe just hadn't paid attention that my right hand had begun to tremor. I know it's difficult for many people to understand why it is so terrifying not to be able to write. Not only the humiliation, embarrassment, but feeling so inept, clumsy, a bumbling idiot.
I had to find answers. I worked diligently going to doctors and still had the same result, I was nervous. I knew I had to do something so I called and made an appointment with a neurologist. I told the nurse that my family doctor had sent me, which wasn't true because he didn't think anything was wrong with me.
My neurologist Dr. Holmes told me that I had Essential Tremors. This may sound weird, but I do have to say it was a huge relief just to know that I wasn't crazy and there was something wrong with me. He prescribed Inderal, a Beta blocker. I stayed on Inderal for years until my blood pressure kept dropping way too low and I had to stop the medicine. So, now, I'm off of all medicine and I just let my hands shake. In the last year, not only my hands tremor, but my head, voice, and I've noticed my legs and body will tremor when I get overly tired or stressed.
I’m lucky that my ET didn't progress as fast as so many people around the world has done. For years I thought I was all alone, the only person with ET. I hadn't heard of anyone else with my disorder, so I tried to hide my hands and not tell anyone. You see anyone with ET learns quickly to grip their hands together to keep them from tremoring. Of course, that doesn't make it easy to eat, drink, or do things out in public.
In 2010, my hands for some reason began to tremor worse and I'd had some confrontations with people about my hands shaking. If you know me, then you understand that I don’t sit back when someone says smart remarks to me; I have to say something back. Well, the kicker was, my worst confrontation was at my doctor’s office that I’d been going to for years. I assumed all the office staff understood what ET was. I was wrong. That will be another story for another time.
Months went by and for the first time in my life, the frustration grew just as my hands tremoring. I was so tired of trying to do tedious things that took twice as long. Simple things became difficult, like when I was recently at someone’s home and was offered a cappuccino, which I love, I had to decline the offer. I couldn't have held the small cup and would have splashed it everywhere. I began to pay attention to what I ordered in restaurants, since food on my fork or spoon could fly off before making it to my mouth and I never go to a buffet. Little things get to me, things we all take for granted, doing makeup, putting on jewelry, and even writing grocery notes that no one can read have become problematic. The stares make my hands tremor worse.
On December 18, 2010, which was my birthday, I went to my cubby office. I sat down at the computer to work on one of my books I was finishing, but my hands were tremoring uncontrollably. That night, I’d had enough; my frustration of my hands fluttering like bird’s wings over the keyboard was too much. I sat in my dark office and began to type. The first word appeared on the screen, Happy birthday dumb ass, and Quad Witherspoon, an artist that develops ET believing his life is over since he can’t paint his masterpieces anymore, became alive right in front of me. “A Faded Cottage”a novel I hadn't planned to write, was born that December night. “A Faded Cottage” was published in 2013 and it has become a vehicle to share to the world about living with ET.
Time moved on and I found out, by searching the internet, I wasn't alone and over 10 million Americans and millions worldwide have been diagnosed with Essential Tremor. I began to ask people; do you know what Essential Tremor is? My answer 99% of the time has been no. How can this be? I wanted more answers.
Over the last year, I've become an activist and adamant to bring awareness to the world about living with ET. I decided to show my tremoring hands and not try to hide them anymore, even though it is very difficult at times.
I had to get the word out there about ET and to make this happen I started my own foundation, the Diann Shaddox Foundation for Essential Tremor, a Non-Profit public organization 501 c(3) to bring awareness .
We have to get the word out there to make this happen. I can’t do this alone and I do have others joining DSF, but I need your help. Please give and support all you can, any size donation no matter how small whatever you can to make this happen. www.diannshaddoxfoundation.org
This is a short collection of stores from people who are living with Essential Tremor. Most people take for granted these everyday things. For me my tremoring hands make applying makeup very difficult and simple things like, when I'm baking, measuring spices in a spoon most of the time the spices will end up on the counter.
Here are a few stories from real people living with ET.
I have found that since my tremors have gotten sever, cannot open a simple pull-tab so I can get in to the object in the first place.
Using a weed wacker, a hedge trimmer or, for that matter, anything hand held with a motor that vibrates
knocks me out of commission forhours. Not only do I shake out of control but I get a "buzzing" sensation in both of my hands that can last for days.
Inserting a key in a lock.....
Oh how about going target shooting? I was invited to go to a local shooting range and that was totally out
of the question.
Men don't talk about how it affects them emotionally as much ... but there is often a fear that others will think they are weak or incapable or not good enough. That can be extremely difficult to overcome. It affects more than just the physical ... just a thought.
Hair cuts, shaking head. Dental work is difficult too.
Signing for parcels was one for me, I said I was as an alcoholic, I am,! in my 28th year of recovery. Though it`s not much help, once I found out it was ET and got some wrist bands, I could tell people why I was trembling. A woman at an AA meeting kept remarking `why was I shaking?`, I said I’d had a stroke! I`m not pleased with myself saying that, but you with ET will understand, I hope.......
It is a social stigmatism, various societies place on the role women and men should play, often ingrained from so
many social influences.Volumes have been wrote about this. Then throw in medical/mental perceptions from people who don't even know us. Personally I feel if we spent more time notworrying what others thought our stress levels would go down 100 fold.
I tell people i have ET and say it is similar to Parkinson’s. Having lived with ET as long as I can remember, it doesn't bother me what people think.
Threading a needle can be a huge problem.
I have to mail order my prescriptions. When I call in a refill, at the end, the person I'm talking to says, "Here's your
confirmation number." I then tell them to forget it because they would have to repeat it about five times before I could get all the numbers and then wouldn't be able to read them, since I have Essential Tremor that affects my
hands. They now send me an email with the number on it.
Carrying a plate of food at a buffet. Carrying a tray with an open container beverage. Going up stairs with a plate of food because you need one hand for the rail and two for the plate. Everyone assumes I'm nervous because my hands shake;
My husband sometimes complains that he's not in any family photos because I don't take pictures.
Everyone else can snap a photo with their smart phones so easily and I need to brace the camera against something stable, at least.
One hiked up a mountain and found I couldn't look through mybinoculars at anything in the distance because I couldn't hold them still enough.
Another: pouring liquid into a small opening is a challenge. That applies to adding engine fluids. I must use a funnel and even then spill sometimes.
One other thing, before I retired I would have to give a presentation occasionally. If I was in charge I would set up a podium with an attached mic. If some handed me one, I would usually have to hold it with both hands. If any of you youngsters remember Howard Cosell, he was a sportscaster on Monday
I have relatively mild ET, but some things are hard: taking a picture with a cell phone, using a screw driver when it's in an awkward position or over my head, clipping my nails.
I can't play games on the Wii any more with my kids, along with all the above
I can't look through a telescope any more :(
One thing I forgot to mention and that is when I have a Dr. appointment and it's going to require filling out
paperwork, I tell them I have ET and ask for them to mail it to me before the appointment. I've had a couple that told me they couldn't do that. I said. "OK, but you will have to have someone to help me." And they did.....
I have a hard time getting my earrings on.
Putting on a necklace.
These are just a few things people with ET have problems with. If you'd like to add your story, short or long about living with ET, Dystonia or Parkinson's please send them to email@example.com
Please donate to DSF and remember every dollar counts. DSF will use the funds to bring awareness and send grants to doctors for research to find a cause and cure.
Go to my Website Life with ET and read more.
This was me, back in 2000, when I lived in Bonita Springs, FL, a tired and happy grandmother.
As you can see I had my hands full. I was holding my first grandchildren that happened to be two months apart. My little brown hair, dark brown eyed little boy and my blonde and blue eyed little girl.
••• Keep reading click read more below
Well Halloween has flown by, like a witch on a broom, and here in South Carolina we even had our first snowfall, November 1, 2014, (the earliest on record) beating many of you up north.
Now it’s time to put away the orange lights, jack o lanterns, and
bring out the turkeys. Yes, I said turkeys. Not live turkeys, I know I'm in the south, but we have other kinds of turkeys than the ones we eat at Thanksgiving.
I have one turkey, special to me because it was made by a dear friend of mine Kathy Shirron. Kathy died many years ago of cancer. She fought hard for years, first with breast cancer then brain cancer, but she had a will to live. She didn't sit around and think about her life, and she lived life to the fullest.
She learned to play golf, and I have to say she was a better golfer than I was. She had patience, maybe because she was a retired schoolteacher.
We had so many wonderful days playing golf, and many times we just had as much fun driving the golf cart along the cart paths and gossiping about all the homes lining the golf course.
Kathy was a wonderful seamstress and one Thanksgiving she gave me my special Ted the Turkey. Ole Ted’s neck is loose from all the kids hugging him over the years, but he’s still ready each year to welcome Thanksgiving.
What is your favorite thing to bring out to make your Thanksgiving holiday special?
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Hi I'm Diann welcome and join me on my adventure. I'm the author of "A Faded Cottage" & "Whispering Fog" and Founder of Diann Shaddox Foundation. I'm a member of the Wyandotte Nation & I have Essential Tremor (ET). I love to travel, cook, which leads to eating and I love wines. Chardonnay is my favorite unless I'm eating steak then I'll take a glass of Cabernet.
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