Judy M. Goodman

A woman with bangs smiling into the camera and resting her face in her hand.
A woman with bangs smiling into the camera and resting her face in her hand.

Disabilities come in different packages. Mine started in 1951 or 1952 when physicians were considered godlike. A new medical treatment based on the work of Fermi and others excited pediatricians and general practitioners: nuclear radiation which they applied to infants’ necks.

They called it “low dose” radiation — but low compared to what– atomic bombs? Over 1000 rads were pumped into our unfledged necks to kill off infected tonsils as opposed to cutting, but all it did was shrink them. When they grew back, those of us who experienced surgery with ether, no matter how young we were, still remember (after sixty years in my case) going under with images of shuffling card.
That is probably the last thing we have in common. When I reached majority, I lost my thyroid and two parathyroids. Ever tried to lose weight with no thyroid? Even when it was misfiring it was easier to lose (but harder to keep off.) Six years ago, I lost my remaining parathyroids. Keeping calcium at healthy levels in my body at this point is a miracle!
Other people had it worse. My older brother was spared problems until a few years ago, but as he approached 70, his esophagus muscles shut down and he had to eat through a tube in his stomach for a year. He also had to have [saner] radiation for tumors in his neck. I don’t know if the tumor at the very edge of his brain can also be traced back to the radiation, but the site is very near the other tumors.
Still worse, some thalamuses were affected and most of those patients died.
Back to my situation, the ensuing exhaustion and extra weight have affected many physical areas including joints, muscular-skeletal system, cardio, liver, lymph system — each in its own way adding to the difficulty holding a job. I’m one of the millions tied (at least at the moment) to Medicare and Medicaid.
History has shown that governments that support even the poorest of their population and keep ALL of their people healthy out of poverty have the strongest economies. Our economy has been strengthened in the past eight years by a president who found practical applications of that standard despite a dysfunctional congress.
Lacking empathy and true concern for any but themselves and their super-wealthy friends and supporters, republicans have spent the last half century trying to eviscerate the middle class and the poor. They make it difficult not to believe their goal is to make 98% of the population penniless and sick — worse, that they hope we’ll die and leave them more resources.
I march with you today because we all have value. We’re worth more than any self-styled demagog who belittles us. True we’re not alone in those for whom he holds up his disrespect as a standard. But we’re stronger and more intelligent than he gives us credit for. We’ve had to be.

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