Please vote no

This is an open letter to Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman:

On July 4, I turned 49 years old.

It wasn't supposed to happen — many times over.

The day after I turned 15 years old in 1983, doctors discovered that I had two brain tumors. They operated for 10 hours and what were thought to be two tumors turned out to be six tumors. I was the first known documented teenaged patient to have suffered from intracranial histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis had previously been diagnosed in middle-aged men, in their lungs.

I spent nine months on a drug called Amphoteracin — common name Amphoterrible.

When I was 34 years old in 2003, I suffered three heart attacks and had a triple cardiac bypass surgery. One graft failed and it was stented. Later that year, I had to have a right femoral artery bypass surgery because five inches of my femoral artery was closed. When this started, I worked out three times a day for a total of about four hours a day minimum. I was having blood tests and thorough checkups monthly because my husband and I were trying to have a baby. I have no family history of heart disease.

During the first heart attack, I was racing on my bike. I didn't know it was a heart attack. During the second heart attack, I had just finished running eight miles. It was part of my training for a triathlon. A few months later, one of my grafts shut down and it was stented.

Two years later, a second graft shut down and I had my fourth heart attack. That graft was stented.

In 2009, I learned that I was in stage III renal failure. I'm now in stage IV renal failure and am starting the process of a kidney transplant at the urging of the doctors of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. They say that I require a live donor. What that also means is that I'm not just liable for my bills, but that of my donor's.

I was forced to leave my job because I developed chronic angina and small vessel disease, causing me to have chest pain at my desk nearly every day, and not knowing which chest pain would lead to its final blow to my life. I suffer from depression and anxiety disorders because of my various illnesses.

In January, doctors at CHI St. Vincent Infirmary did a heart catheterization on me because of ongoing chest pain and other heart symptoms. They have found that both stents are now closed.

I stay in a state of flux because my kidney disease is wreaking havoc with my body and I've developed an autoimmune disease in my eyes because of my chronic state of dehydration.

Please vote against the health care bill under consideration in the Senate. Please do not allow pre-existing conditions to be reinstated as a block to coverage. It's discriminatory by nature. Please do not reinstate lifetime maximums. If that's done, I'm done.

We have insurance through my husband's employer. His employer, who self-insures, did not have to raise deductibles from $400 to $5,000 for each person on the policy, but did. If my husband loses his job, I'm done.

The policy will not pay for any medication until the deductible has been met. What this means is that I don't take critical medication for my heart or kidneys because I simply cannot afford drugs that cost $600 to $1,400. What happens is my kidneys tank and my angina become more aggressive.

Sens. Cotton and Boozman, please vote no. I never thought that I would look forward to turning 50. But I hope to see that next year.

Lisa McDermott

1517 Linden Ave., Texarkana, AR 71854


I LOVE the Arkansas Times. When my brother was going through chemo he would bring issues home to Southeast Arkansas. I delighted in their arrival. I am grateful for the role of good journalism in bringing to the public an awareness of poor political policies, abuse of government and putting human faces to needed social reform.

I write this respectfully with the intention of giving you insight into how one of your readers felt as they flipped through your [July 6] magazine. I had a gut reaction to the portion of your magazine enclosed in my letter [The Inconsequential News Quiz]. I felt a repugnancy so deep on so many levels. Was this portion of the quiz aligned with the mission of the Arkansas Times? Regardless of the spectrum of your religious beliefs or lack of, does alluding to any religious icon or symbol of any religion [when writing of] the joys of double-finger penetration inspire any of your readers to any form of greatness? Where does one cross the line on issues of morality?

I do wish there was a mysterious monolith that would promote higher-level thought not only in the members of the Legislature, but with respect to the members of the editorial staff.

Judy (name withheld)

Southeast Arkansas

From the web

In response to The Observer column in the July 13 issue, "-30-," about the death of the Atkins Chronicle and newspaper struggles in general:

The Observer never spoke more truth than today. It makes me so sad to see newspapers go under, and as The Observer noted, people will be sad some day that they did not support them when they had a chance.


In response to the Arkansas Blog's post on a refugee family from the Congo now living in Fayetteville, and their expressed hope to find work in poultry, construction or service industries:

Sounds like the Northwest Arkansas Christian corporati have found that refugees are the ideal disenfranchised blue-collar complement to their endless supply chain of yes-men white-collar corporate drones, the human capital coming out of the University of Arkansas and John Brown University. Wake up, Max.

Mat Ram


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