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 stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC from January, 1975 until April, 1975 as an engineer equipment mechanic for schooling. I never had any issues with my health prior to entering military service.
Four months after my discharge, I started having loss of conciousness and seizures, the first of which lasted 4.5 hours. I have been given numerous EEG tests. All have shown a right front temporal lobe disturbance. According to registry and other sources, this is the result of exposure to chemicals that were in water at Camp Lejeune.
I recently was diagnosed with a benign tumor on my right side of my thyroid gland that is causing it to malfunction (hypothyroidism). They are watching me for all of the cancers but none have shown up yet. However, I have been developing moles, skin tags, and other non-cancerous skin problems.
The seizures got so bad that I was unable to continue to be employed from 2009 onward. The VA keeps denying my claim which I filed in 2006, saying that there is no connection with military service. According to federal law, any illness, injury, or disabling condition that appears within one year of discharge must be looked at as service-connected.
The VA started treating me for the seizures in February, 1976. The VA overlooked this in my case. It has been remanded back to the BVA for further review. It has been 6 months since I got a letter telling me this and I am waiting for disposition on my case.
I hope they find in my favor, as I can no longer work. Any overexertion causes me to start having a seizure. I am on three anti-seizure medications that help, but if I do not watch myself, I will still have one.