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.
My father was stationed at Camp Lejeune – Tarawa Terrace. I was conceived and my mother carried me full term while drinking, cooking and bathing in the toxic water. I lived the first year of my life on Camp Lejeune living in Tarawa Terrace.
I was diagnosed at Camp Pendleton with multiple medical conditions – seizure disorder and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I was treated but struggled most of my life with illnesses, including severe migraines/seizures.
In 2014, my condition became so bad that I was unable to work or function. I am medically disabled but have not been approved by the VA as a family member. Even though I still have copies of all my medical records from the early 1970’s from Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital, my conditions are not exact matches to what is listed. I was one of six children – one born before me and four born after me. I am the only one suffering poor health, severe migraines, joint pain, etc.
In addition to my migraines I have suffered confusion, disorientation and in ability to function. I have seen so many doctors and have seizures that last up to 6 weeks were I am non functioning. I have recently hired someone to organize my house because of my illness I have been unable to pay bills and organize mail that my house is so full of stuff that never got put away and not a hoarder but my house was beginning to look really cluttered and full of stuff not organized or put away.
This past week I have filled 4 pick-up trucks with trash. I have a far way to go before I will feel comfortable again – all of this stuff has created severe anxiety and stress in my life. This is all a result of me being too sick to clean and organize things over a 3 year period that clutter just accumulated and I was in too much pain to cope.
I am in the process of mass elimination and hope to live a minimalist life after this.
I am frustrated and angry at the military for allowing me to suffer over 50 years of my life and, to date, they refuse me the small amount of benefits that I would be provided as a family member!
Note from the Editor: The author currently resides in North Carolina. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.