Patient Spotlight: Jim Hardy

Although essential tremor is the most common movement tremor, not many people are aware it exists—or may even get it confused with Parkinson’s. For Jim Hardy, he was unaware that he was even shaking. It was many years later before he learned about essential tremor treatments. Today, the Essential Tremor Education Center would like to share the story of how his debilitating tremor improved with treatment.

A steady hand is important for Jim Hardy—he is the author of four books and is ranked Top 10 of America’s 50 Best Golf Instructors, as well as in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Originally, he was entirely unaware he had a tremor. He first learned about his tremor as a freshman in college when a friend asked him why he was shaking during a golf game. Jim insisted he wasn’t shaking. His friend insisted that he was. While his shaking didn’t stop him from playing for seven years on the PGA tour, he found his tremor to be debilitating in another way. He says, “The shame of shaking, as an athlete, is amazing.”

When researching essential tremor, Jim first started speaking to Joseph Jankovic, of the International Essential Tremor Foundation. While speaking with him didn’t take care of his tremor, it did help him get rid of his shame—and start seeking out treatment. He started with drugs but found them to be ineffective. He spoke with a friend who had undergone Deep Brain Stimulation, a treatment that implants electrodes in the brain to control the tremor, but decided he didn’t want surgery

After discussing options with doctors and doing his own research, he discovered the clinical trials for MR-guided focused ultrasound treatment in Europe. This treatment used focused ultrasound to treat the brain, without using surgery or radiation. Jim decided that he would take part in the trials once they started in the US. He was unable to participate as a trial patient, but after following the treatment throughout it’s stages, he was able to seek treatment after Neuravive was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

At the point of treatment, he couldn’t use his right hand to do anything. During his appearance on Tremor Chats with Doug Couch, he showed a clip of himself, pre-treatment, attempting to hold his hands in line with each other. They shook severely. Now, he can hold his hands in line and keep them steady.

Jim believes that anyone who is affected enough by their tremor that they can no longer live their life to the fullest is a candidate for essential tremor treatment. If you want to learn more about treatment options, you can call one of our educators today at 844-NO-TREMOR. Also, if you want to hear more about Jim’s experiences with essential tremor, you can watch his appearance on Tremor Chats here.