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 at Camp Lejeune in 1976-77 for about 6 months in headquarters company at Hadnot Point. After leaving the base, within a few years, things started going downhill with my health. In 1987, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called dermatomycosis, a muscle and skin disease. I was also diagnosed with interstitial lung disease, including blood clots and avasular necrosis. I then had two hip replacements followed by two revisions, plus two knee replacements, and two shoulder replacements.
I received a letter in Nov. 2008 saying that I was exposed to toxic water. I applied for for VA disability benefits in Jan. 2010. I had been receiving Social Security since 1988 .I was denied twice and then got a VA lawyer for my appeal. My doctor, who has known me and taken care of me since 1991, wrote 3 different nexus letters. The last one for appeal was thorough and backed by reference & documentation. Regardless, the appeal board remanded my claim in July of 2018. It’s not a denial, but I’m not approved yet either.
I can’t get my life back, but this money will help put some salve on this physically and emotionally painful journey that is Camp Lejeune. I want it mostly for my wife of 38 years and my 2 daughters who had to endure this with me. Believe me, it was not pretty at times, but my long suffering wife took her marriage vows to heart. I thank God for her daily.
I hope our country’s leaders will put this tragedy at the top of their agenda and find a way to take care of those who have suffered for too long.
Note from the Editor: The author currently resides in Warren, Michigan. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.