Nancer the Dancer: Myositis and Me


Judith Gwinn Adrian

The inspired 1960’s phantasmagoria called Nancy’s name. She smiled and joined. Why not? She was part of the summers of love, and the winters; dancing the light fantastic.

Unique to Nancy’s story, however, is that she took this youthful swashbuckler chutzpah and used it to confront her dermatomyositis, the rare crippling autoimmune disease that attacked her skeletal muscles, her being AND her physical beauty. Evil trio.

Nancy believed that there are many ways to be crippled and some of them are physical. She focused her energy on “attitude.”

It took her twenty years to squelch Reuben (the name she gave the disease to separate it from who she was). In final measure the only way to slay Reuben was for Nancy to die. By dying, she beat him – turned him to ash.

Toward the end, she wrote: “Let’s get one thing straight – if I never go anywhere or do anything else again in my life, I suspect I’ve had one of the best times of anyone I know.  It’s been mostly fun and I’ve had entertaining company. I got to cherish the fat arms of the babies, the silly laughter between friends, spontaneity, respect, comfy laps and the touch of his hand.”

Read interviews and press about Judy. Visit to find out more about the author.


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