Posted by Jennifer
on November 29, 1999 at 16:29:01:
I am a mother of a very beautiful (now 7year old) post gulf war baby girl. Actually she has been exceptionally healthy as far as normal child hood sickness go.
A little History, Her father, Johnnie was in the Army station in Germany before the War. When the conflict broke out, his company was one of the first to go. He was there through Desert shield and Desert Storm. I thanked God when he came home safe.
I became pregnant when Johnnie returned from the Gulf War (91). I didn't know about all of the problems that people were having (veterans and families) until several months later. We already had one child, Matthew age 5 at the time. He stayed with us in Maryland about a month and a half when he got back from the Persian Gulf, before he had to report to Washington State. Shortly after he left I found out I was expecting again. We were going to move out to Washington State after the first of the year, but Johnnie got sick. Little did I know then how that sickness would effect my child.
I also started to have similar symptoms, as Johnnie had, several months after I found out I was pregnant. (Aching joints & muscles, exhaustion, +++more etc..) The doctors & I just put it off to being pregnant. I already had three children. Things just didn't seem right. I don't believe in abortion so I put my trust in God. This may sound strange, but after I started feeling bad, I decided to fight for my unborn child and myself. I religiously ate healthy and I made sure I got plenty of exercise while I was pregnant. The more exercise the more the blood flows through you and the baby. Plenty of oxygen! Didn't drink, didnít smoke. These are just common sense things that you should do anyway. I even joined Jazzercise. I did this until the eighth month (cause I started feeling discomfort). I had an exceptionally easy birth.
Johnnie has all the typical symptoms of GWS. He was getting worse with each passing day, as he is now. He had many problems with joint pain and had many surgeries as a result. Eventually these joint problems resulted of him not being able to do his job properly with out extreme pain, so he ended up leaving the service in '96 with a medical discharge, 20% disability. At the time he left the service the Government was still in denial that such a problem even existed. He is now at 50% disability, but still no help for Jessica.
Johnnie and I are convinced that this sickness is not only hereditary, but also contagious. I am also along with the rest of my family suffering with these conditions although it does seem predominant in Jessica. What I have also noticed is that when Johnnie comes to visit or after a visit, the symptoms seem to worsen.
Since the first of this year, I've noticed a severe decline in Jessica's health. All of the symptoms that she has always had have been getting drasticly worse. She is having problems with inattention in school. So I had her tested for learning disabilities. Her IQ is 130, but she does have a learning disability in Reading. They can't really put their finger on the exact disability, although they are not disregarding the fact that she is having considerable trouble learning to read.
It is very difficult for the doctors in this area to treat for Gulf War Syndrome because of lack of education in this illness. Since Johnnie is no longer in the service, I feel that I am unable to get the proper help for Jessica. The pediatrician is believes now that Jessica has GWS, but he admits he does not know what to do for her. I believe this is an important step for us.
On a good note, I wouldn't trade Jessica for the world. Jessica just got the chicken pox a few months ago. I honestly can say that this is the first time that she has really been sick (with a normal child hood sickness). She usually gets sick with weird stuff like: She often gets a strange high fever (103-104F) for no apparent reason and she COMPLAINS A LOT at night of aching bones and muscles (not Growing Pains).
When Johnnie started to get really sick,(when Jessica was a toddler) he told me to look for GWI symptoms in Jessica. She had them all. NOW WHAT? She complains a lot of tummy aches, headaches, loud noises bother her immensely, lack of appetite, problems with BM's, complains of genitals burning/tender or soreness, gums becoming red and swollen, joint pain, sinus problems etc...etc....
During the Gulf War, over 1,000,000 veterans served in the Persian Gulf. Since their return, thousands of these men and women have reported a pattern of health problems called Gulf War Syndrome:
Inattention or Memory loss
Stomach problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and pain)
Muscle pain, weakness, and spasms
Shortness of breath
Numbness (of hands, fingers, feet?)
Dental problems/bleeding gums
Sensitivity to light, smell, noise
Children born with birth defects and/or chronic illness
Partners with reproductive problems
We have experienced most if not all of these symptoms in Jessica. I have written letters many times on these issues to congressmen etc..
We still have no satisfaction. Jessicaís Pediatrician wants to send her to Johnís Hopkins and/or Childrenís Hospital for a series of tests. About a monthís worth. OH Boy!!
Has anybody had any luck with diagnosis and treatment. Or is everybody just as frustrated as I am.
I do have an article that was published in one of the more popular newsmagazines. I copied the article and gave it to my doctors. This was a very impressive article by a doctor studying this illness and treatment. When I find it again Iíll post the issue and publication date for everyone. Maybe some one with more $$$$ than I have has already tried this avenue and has had success. I just donít have a lot of $$$ to experiment with. God Bless ALL!