Mary Ramsay

August 2011

My name is Mary Ramsay, I am 54 years old. I am married with 3 children and seven grandchildren.

My story starts in 1956 when I was born. I had a difficult time in school not that I remember much about it apart from the bulling, name calling and sometimes getting beaten up. My mother thought it was something she had done during her pregnancy. I have seen so many doctors but none of them could tell me what was wrong, they just gave me tablets and more tablets. When I was 9 I was taken to this doctor who said I was psychology disturbed because I sucked my thumb. The tremor gets worse in my voice and legs when I get tired. When my voice goes it goes like Donald duck losing his voice that is one of the reasons I don't like my voice being taped.

It was and still is hard to live with knowing that is what doctors think of me, but It did not get any better as the years went on. I did not want to go out with people who I did not know as eating, drinking writing and depression were a big problem for me.

Then in 1974 I decided to go to the pub with my best friend and it was there I meet the man I was to spend the rest of my life with.

We have been married for 33 years we have had ups and downs but we are still together have 2 sons, 1 daughter, 4 granddaughters and 3 Grandsons.

People did not understand and it caused me a lot of problems and for my children too. It resulted in me getting beaten up by adults who should have known better. It was difficult going out when you would hear someone shout shaky Mary at you; It hurts like hell then and now.

Then in 2004 I decided to fight the hospital, doctors and N H S, I asked to be referred to a centre of excellence I was referred to Ninewells and to see a Professor Eljamel then things started to get better for me.

I told the professor how E T had made my life hell, how I felt like killing myself and how my husband had come home and found me with a knife going to cut my hands off That was June 2004 and by the September of the same year I underwent the surgery.

I went to Dundee where I had the first of 4 operations. They had a cancellation and did the second operation along with the first. When I was taken back to the ward I did not remember being awake for the second operation. Two days later  I was allowed home, and had to visit my G P to get the staples out of my head 7 days later, Then I went back for the other two operations. Then I went back to my G P to get the last lot of staples removed.  I felt no pain as my threshold quite high and I managed to laugh my way through the surgery.

A few months later I went back to get shown how to use the controller as I don't need the box on at night. The controller alone cost 20 thousand pound. I am not allowed to go through airport security as the scanner might wipe the data from the controller and box. September that year I had to go back for a check-up, my husband came with me.

I have not been so embarrassed by what he said to professor eljamel ever, he said that he had every man’s fantasy, a remote control for the wife but the mute button does not work. Professor eljamel's shoulders were going up and down the other doctor was straight faced.

I have yearly check-ups.  The pack changed three times since 2004 as I keep forgetting to switch it off at night. One of the side effects of deep brain stimulation is memory loss, but I need to have a memory to lose.

The surgery seems to have helped because I have taken on another voluntary job; I work for the riding for the disabled and the National Tremor Foundation. I find that working and riding horses is very therapeutic. Horses don't see the disability they see a human who is going to love and look after them, and I also compete in dressage competitions. In have applied for 5000 jobs in a ten year period and most of the did not reply but for one, who told me I did not present the right image for the company.


The main reason for me writing this to publicise the Foundation and the good work it does and if I can prevent one person going through what I went through, then my life has been worthwhile.

I can't change things to make my life any better but I may be able to help someone else. I now help publicise the national Tremor Foundation as I feel that if I can prevent just one person from having the kind of life I had then I am not useless as people that do not know me make me feel.

I am now heading up the Scottish branch of the National Tremor Foundation support group and I feel that I am doing something useful with my life at last.

I have done my first T V interview to raise awareness and to let people know about the Foundation and the  work it does, and now have done a second one and been in touch with Baroness Hooper and Baroness Cumberledge with most encouraging hope and a greater want to get the information out to the public and health care professionals, as there needs to be more support from the medical profession. Not for a doctor to tell someone they have essential tremor get on with it and this includes G PS.

My next aim is to get soap like Emmerdale or EastEnders to feature someone with essential tremor, or a TV company to do a programme on E T. I also aim to get a database of E T suffers in the whole of the U K.

Mary Ramsay