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.
My husband was stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1977 thru 1980. We lived in base housing there at Tarawa Terrace. I knew nothing about the water until just recently.
A friend of ours called out of the blue, one I had not seen in 40 years. He wanted to know if I was having any medical problems. I had just had surgery on my ankle and have to have one on the other ankle. I also have issues in my hands and have to go see another surgeon.
My husband passed away at the age of 51 from an esophagus aneurysm. Our oldest daughter has had to have many different surgeries over the years and is on disability now. She has had Crohn’s Disease. She was three when we moved there.
Our second daughter was three weeks old when we moved there. She has had all kinds of problems too. I went to the doctor after moving to Camp Lejeune for stomach problems. I had the diarrhea even if I would simply drink a glass of water. The doctors gave me medicine and told me I had an ulcer. I have been dealing with stomach issues still for all these years. I had a colonoscopy done and they say I have to have another one done due to a large polyp they had to remove.
I was 19 years old when we moved to Tarawa Terrace. After finding all this out, and knowing that we drank of the water for three years while there, I very much believe that all of these medical problems (plus the death of my husband) were due to these exposures to the contaminates in the water.
Note from the Editor: The author currently resides in Westphalia, Iowa. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.