The following is a personal story submitted to Civilian Exposure and published as part of our new series: “Contamination Chronicles: Personal Stories of Exposure”. If you would like to submit your story, you may fill out our form here or send directly via email to share-@-civilianexposure.org.
I joined the Marines in April 1978 at 17 years old. Spent three months at Camp Pendleton for Infantry Training School, then deployed to Okinawa, Japan. At age 18, I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC.
I spent a total of twenty-two months in the infantry training every day and drinking massive amounts of the toxic tea. While running PT and 20 mile humps, if your canteens were found empty you were punished. Now all my claims have been denied.
I have had colon cancer, skin cancer, stage 3 kidney failure, heart failure, adrenal gland tumors, neurological disorders, PTSD, tremors, and scleroderma. I’m 58 years old now and haven’t worked in over eight years. I have faced homelessness and financial hardship as no one will hire me. Maybe I could hold a sign and shake so people can laugh at me.
I don’t feel good. Nausea constantly. The VA could care less. We suffer as they live richly while we’re denied. If I could just be able to live financially able to participate in my children’s and grandchildren’s lives, that would be enough. I’m tired with not much time left. I’m giving up.
It’s making me worse just dealing with the VA! Had an abscess developed in my throat while at Lejeune. They cut my 9th and 10 cranial nerve. Even with all the evidence, the VA denied an obvious claim. Poisoned while so young. I never could put 2 and 2 together until recently.
Good Luck to the rest of you. I tried for many years, but couldn’t get anywhere. Denied.
- Author resides in Florida