Bradley Shields

Bradley Shields, BS Center for Health Services Research Vanderbilt University Medical Center photo: Anne Rayner; VU

photo: Anne Rayner; VU

Bradley Shields – Little Rock, AR

Bradley thought his dream of becoming a hands-on physician was over when he was diagnosed with essential tremor. His doctor was quick to reassure him. He explained how many people who have ET cope with it and thrive. Deeply encouraged by his doctor’s message, Bradley attended college at Harding University where he occasionally had to explain why an outgoing person like himself had shaky hands, like someone who was nervous or shy. “I realized my tremor is just something other people noticed, not something that stopped me from doing what I wished,” Bradley said. “When my tremor would get in the way of what I was doing, I simply saw it as a challenge to find a new way to do it.”

Bradley’s ET had never been more challenging until he entered medical school at the University of Arkansas in the fall of 2013. “Medical school is filled with caffeine, limited sleep, and stress, all of which make essential tremor worse,” Bradley said. Despite both the social and physical challenges, like carefully measuring volumes as small as one microliter, Bradley realizes his most valuable contribution is thinking crucially and creatively about a complete problem. Since adopting this attitude, he worries much less.

“My advice to others with essential tremor is to reach out to others with tremor. Encouraging someone else has a counter-intuitive way of bouncing back and helping you”.