It has been a long time and my life has changed in so many ways as a result of it. I have gone back and forth from being skeptical to knowing without a doubt. I had occasional health problems before GW, but afterwards it just went downhill and was a frustrating, infuriating and depressing path. I went to Saudi Arabia in Dec of 90. I was Army. I am a female. I had some innoculations before going, was forced to take the PB pills under threat of article 15. (which I now wish I had chose instead of the pills) There were scuds being shot down every day more than once a day. I was on guard duty when I felt the impact of the last scud launched hitting a compound only 10-15 min away. (which no site or article ever writes or acknowledges)
When I started feeling sick I didn't even associate to the Gulf War. I was telling one of my first sergeants about my symptoms and he pointed out that I sounded like the cases of GW Illnesses occuring. I read the article and cried. I was one of the first ones on the Gulf Registry. I have gone through tests and Psych evaluations galore. I have the muscle pain & spasms, headaches, nausea, extreme fatigue, blurry vision, memory problems, muscle weakness, legs giving completely out, sleep issues and other difficulties. I have a civilian diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Depression. The VA gave me a Depression only diagnosis and undiagnosed illness. I at least have some medicine that can help me somewhat function. I have gone through many jobs and my physical strength keeps declining. I was a top tester for my PT (Physical Testing). I was one that max'd them. I use to work out and was into different physical activities/sports. I use to be able to walk for long periods of time and now I pray I can make it through my shopping trips to the grocery store. I no longer can do physical activities and my tolerance for the sun is almost nonexistent.
Because of my civilian doctor diagnosis and persistence, I finally have a 40% disability rating with the VA. That may seem small to some, but after 11 years of 10% and no more help from the VA other than Psych counseling it is a major step.
There is another development in this trip that I have not seen listed anywhere yet is that my husband gets blisters from relations with me. Not only are there men "dishing" it out with burning of partners, but women can cause pain to their partners from this nightmare.
I have ways I deal with it and thank the Lord, I don't have to support myself alone, as I would probably be dead or homeless by now.
There is more, but I think this is plenty for now. Any questions, feel free to ask. There is another issue that irks me is that us GW Vets weren't/aren't notified about "Government" meetings to discuss these issues. Only a small number is informed. If all of us sufferers had an opportunity to show up in a manner to express the magnitude of this, before we disappear, I feel it would make a major impact. Maybe not solutions, but it would validate that we do exist and aren't a few in numbers.
Thank you for this Board to be able to have a voice among the many.
***Recent updates - I am almost completely housebound at this time. I have not received any new diagnosis. I have seen a neurologist again for more tests, waiting for results on them. I have falls from balance issues, which mostly ends with me on my back hoping I can still get up. I recently twisted my left ankle because my thought process went "freaky" on me. I jumped up when flipping my hair forward. I couldn't even repeat that action if I tried! (don't really wish to either) When I landed my left ankle twisted and down I went onto my back again!! My back has taken some serious hits.
Because of a bill update classifying a rating of 40% just for undiagnosised illness related to Gulf War such as Fibromyalgia, MS, ALS and maybe a couple of others; I was able to get an increase of my disability rating. I also found out there is something called unemployability rating for disabled vets. I am now rated at a 75% unemployability rating!! Now my husband doesn't have to work basically 80 hrs a week to cover bills and have some spending funds. What a blessing that is!
There is one main thing us vets need to keep in mind, if the government can hide it or make it disappear they will so they don't have to pay. We need to consider it like a political war for our rights.
1) Use their rules to get them to pay attention and cover the cost of what we are paying with our lives now.
2) Guard your records!! Keep copies of everything relating in any way to your service and treatments (military and non-military).
3) Get statements from co-workers, friends, and family to annotate and submit to what is and has been happening to you. Write one yourself also.
4) Make sure that anything you send or receive you keep a copy of it, and all together.
5) Let a family member or good friend know where you are keeping it in case something happens to you. Your family can get assistance or benefits later that you may not have been able to finish.
6) Keep within the timelines and remember your final date for action, as long as there is no break, when you get rewarded benefits the VA backdates to the original submission for those benefits.
7) When the VA sends a decision you have the right to request a copy of the evidence they used to come to their decision. This is how you can get the VA doctors recorded input. This can be very helpful in an appeal.
8) Don't be afraid to appeal their decision. It gives you another chance to submit evidence for your position.
9) If you can go through the civilian doctors for treatment of the ailments do so. Their diagnosis and treatments carry weight in a decision for benefits.
10) Remember the VA and military doctors are somehow trained or told to make your receiving of benefits a hard task to accomplish. They want you to give up.
11) DON'T QUIT!!!
12) Senator and Representative inquiries will get action, if you are continuing to get denied, yet have a valid disabling health issue. Pursue this avenue of help.
What can I say! My heart goes out to you. Thank you for serving our Country. My son just finished a four year service in the Air Force. Now he is in the Air Guards. He was too young for the gulf war...this one we have now could be a scary mess down the road too. Who knows what goes on, and what is kept from the soldiers.
You should write it all down on here, even though you are not getting replies...Just Look at how many have stopped by and read what you wrote! That makes a difference! Writing your whole story here may help you too. Unloading so to speak. Have it be your own personal healing thread. Your story needs to be told. Diana
Keep fighting. You have made it farther than I. Only folks like yourself give encouragement to folks like myself. For those not experiencing all this, that dont feel it touches their lives, consider that we all have the fatigue and most of us drive....
keep your chin up, I have been fighting this for the past four years , I spent i year ruling out any genetic link.I also have written to many of our leaders,all I can give you is my support and prayers to us all, for those that sacrificed all I thank you, for those still serving, I pray for you,. keep your chin up and dont be afraid to ask for help.