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 was ordered to Fort McClellan, Alabama by the Marine Corps in December of 1979 for Corrections Specialist (MP) training.
My sinuses began a constant drip while I was there. There were enough Marines there to form an entire platoon and our drill sergeant was a Marine.
None of us had no clue we were exposed to dioxin and PCB contamination coming from Monsanto.
I am now 57 years old and have the following symptoms: osteoarthritis, gastrointestinal problems, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic diarrhea, hypothyroid, cellulitis and lymph edema, TIA’s, sinusitis, weight gain, and short term memory loss.
I have been an athlete for most of my adult life and until recently enjoyed having an active lifestyle.
I was involved in bicycle racing from the late 1980’s to late 1990’s (mid 20’s to late 30’s). I weighed between 175-185 pounds during this time. In the late 1990’s (1998) I began to gain weight. I went from 185 pounds to over 200 pounds. From 2002 to 2016 I went from 200 pounds to 260 pounds.
Starting in 2007, I had recurring cellulitis in my left leg on a two year cycle. In October/November 2011, I had the worst case of cellulitis the doctors in Fort Dodge, Iowa had ever seen. They were baffled by its cause. I had swelling, redness, and blisters from just below my knee to the top of my foot. I was taken to emergency surgery as I had kidney and liver failure.
The surgeon performed a biopsy from tissue parallel to my shin bone on the interior side and made an incision on the exterior side to determine whether or not the infection was in the bone. It wasn’t in the bone. She then performed a debridement of all blisters, applied a silver oxide based cream to my leg, filled the incisions with gauze, and wrapped my leg with gauze bandages and stretch bandages.
Since October of 2017, I have gained almost 40 pounds. I went from 265 pounds to 290 pounds. I am maintaining a minimal diet but am not losing weight. I am preparing to go on a liquid diet in order to regain control of my weight.
Prior to gaining the weight, I was actively riding my Catrike 700 recumbent tricycle. I want to lose at least 50-60 pounds in order to help my weight control. My recent diagnosis of osteoarthritis in my lower back may prevent that.
I am determined to live the life that God has given me!
I am currently living in Louisiana by myself. I been divorced since September 2016. I rely on God to be my strength and for my sustenance.
I am hopeful that someone will read this and that it be beneficial to them.
Editor’s Response: Your story is heartbreaking to hear. I’ve heard from others at McClellan with similar issues and will share your story with them on our site soon. I hope that maybe they might gain knowledge or useful info that could be helpful in their fight also. Thank you again for sharing and your support of our efforts. We’ll keep digging and sharing as much as we can find. – GS
Note: The author currently resides in Louisiana. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.