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.
Four months after arriving on Schofield Barracks, my right wrist started hurting. I thought I hurt it when I fell during a morning run. But the doctors said there was nothing wrong with it. All the test came back negative. I was put on profile (no PT) off and on for 2 years. I was sent to the same clinic and the same doctors over and over again. They did the same tests over and over again. None of the medicines they gave me helped. They decided that there was nothing wrong with me. And I was treated like I was lying.
One day, I met a man at a computer store. He asked me what was wrong with me. When I told him that the Army didn’t know, he asked me where I worked. I told him the Headquarters building. He asked if I drank the water. I said yes.
Then he preceded to tell me every single one of my symptoms. I didn’t say a word. He told me that he was a retired Command Sergeant Major and was in charge of burying Nuclear Chemical Waste. He said that the state of Hawaii had found out about the chemicals and forced the Army to dig up 2 sites. But there were more. He said that the barrels were buried above the water table. But they had rusted and were leaking into the water when if rained. He said the chemicals attacked the male and female reproductive system and the central nervous system.
I must have went into shock. I do not remember the end of the conversation, leaving the store, or driving back to Schofield. I vaguely remember the gate guard. I don’t remember parking or walking to my barracks. I do remember feeling numb all over. Like I was walking without feeling anything.
I went into my room and went to sleep. I woke up 18 hours later and decided that it wasn’t real. That I had NOT been poisoned with Nuclear Chemical Waste. About a month later, I was finally sent to the Pain Clinic. A Lieutenant Colonel told me that I had every symptom of Nerve Damage. But within days of an injection, it had spread to the rest of my body. Three weeks later, I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer.
I tried to tell the doctors and the Army about the poisoning. They wouldn’t listen to me. I was medically discharged and tried to tell the VA doctors and administration. They wouldn’t listen to me. I have made phone calls, sent emails, and left messages with newspapers, Congressmen, even the President of the United States.
No one answers.
I have all kinds of strange medical problems that I have had to learn how to deal with ON MY OWN because the VA refuses to help me. I had strange headaches that led to hallucinations. But because a mental health nurse wrote in my medical records that she thought I was faking it to get disability, the doctors will not listen to me.
I’ve even been told this –
“You’ve got your money, we’re not going to waste any more resources on you.”
Note from the Editor: The author currently resides in Texas. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.
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