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’m a former Marine. In 1971, I was in the Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune to repair damage to my right knee, which happened over in Vietnam. To the best of my memory it was around the month of June or July of that year. I spent around 30 days or so in the hospital along with physical therapy. Then I returned to the recon platoon at Camp Lejeune and finished out my contract.
During my seven months there, I drank the water every single day. It has been 49 years since I was there and in July of 2016 I had my first experience. It hit me like a ton of bricks pain in my face, neck, my left arm and I thought I was having a heart attack. Went to the VA Hospital and spent two days taking a bunch of tests. They treated me very well. The only test to show anything wrong was an MRI. It revealed 3 discs (4,5,6) were bulging out. Then in December, 2017, it happened again but even worse.
During all this time I’ve been living with this, some days are better than others. In January of this year it really took off. Complete numbness through out head, face, both arms, legs and feet. I thought now that this has to be stroke symptoms. Spent two days and several test and was diagnosed with a neuropathy issue. I chose to pay for a MRI and CT scan of my head and neck region to see if any nerves were being pinched causing my symptoms, but nothing was found. Also saw a cardiologist outside VA to rule out blockage. Several tests all came back normal for my age which is 68.
I live with the constant numbness daily. I have a stress test scheduled at VA. If I pass that, then it has to be a neurology issue.
- Author resides in St. Clair Shores, Michigan