Living With The Mystical Gulf War Illness.

Hello all.

My name is John. I grew up in Austin Texas. My childhood was weird, and seems quite different in many ways to others I have talked to about their childhood. I was not abused or anything like that. I just seemed to live in some weird dimension of my own not quite fitting in with anything or anyone. I slowly grew out of that by high school I seemed to be firing on all social cylinders I suppose. I tried my hand at college for a few years but just didn't seem to really feel like I was going anywhere with any purpose. I decided to join the Marine Corp at the ripe old age of 22. I wanted to go in on the buddy system, but I had no idea that the buddy I wanted to go in with was dumb as a stump. He could not pass the written in-doc. Really? For the love of God... right? Yes I said the Marine Corp it wasn't like they were making to hard of terms for membership!

Anyway there I was "alone" 22 and 150 pounds soak and wet at the MEP station in San Antonio. (to be cont.) Ok I finally got a little sleep. Hard to come by these days.

Ok MEP station in San Antonio to boot camp in camp Pendleton California. At first that was culture shock from hell, but you know I got to really liken it! Yes it is true there are vets out there that do reflect on there time in service with admiration and pride. I loved being a Marine, I was 165 to 170 pounds soaking wet while in the marine corp and by all measure was a damn good marine, and damn proud of it.

I was very successful as a marine. I would of stayed in but my father filled me full of lies and I got out after my first 4. No I am not going to get in to my fathers crap. I really don't like to write that much.

I think the war for a lot of us was a way to validate all the training we had endured up to that point. I mean we were trained to do all these things in case a war breaks out, and a lot of it was just unbelievably difficult for us to do "myself at the top of the list". I had natural athletic ability but a lot of our training goes way past natural ability you have to develop this mental toughness that cant be bought or learned through ***-mosses you have to push yourself way past your comfort zone to really get at the core of it. 

So; am I saying we were blood thirsty looking to shoot somebody? No, not at all, just felt a sense of validation that's all. I remember seeing this gunny we had in 2/2 we were in the desert somewhere and I saw him riding in... some sort of vehicle we had at the time I can't remember all the names of all the **** going on around then, but anyway he had this smile on his face that was alarming at best. You see he was an old Vietnam Vet it was almost like he was finally at peace. I am not sure I can explain that very well.

I guess I should mention the vaccination lines we went through before we left. They put us in these lines that seemed to be 20' long with people holding those guns that shot **** into our arms and ***. I remember filling like total **** for weeks after that. There you go I mentioned it!

We stayed in Saudi through Christmas then we got the word we were going to move in. That is when we were introduced to the good ol PB pills. We began taken that **** too I unfortunately did not get the word to quit. I think I took those things a good month longer than most. I well never forget the day we moved down the the south end of Saudi and was getting ready to cross and move on down to Kuwait city and this huge black cloud of smoke started to take over the sky. It annoyed me it was like something you would see in a movie. Bet alarming as well. There were days in there where we could not see our hands right in front of our face at 3 in the afternoon. Marines were sweating out black **** it was not very cool. The few skirmishes we encountered we put down real quick. We encountered some incoming mortar attacks as well as some artillery shelling but no one got hurt thank God. As a general rule we were rather lucky the desert was well laid out with sound Russian tactics had these bottle necks had been manned it would have been a whole other story. The problem is there were still a lot of dead people lying around who just could not get out of the way in time. Most of them I saw did not look like they had a lot of hate in there glassy eyes they just looked dead. I don't care what your trained for nothing can prepare you to witness death under those circumstances. It just sucks no way around it.

I remember we stayed in the desert for what seemed another two months for some reason. We finally made are way back to Saudi I think it was called area 5. I am not sure but that place was a young mans paradise. Good food and an excellent volley ball nets. It was like a dessert oasis.

We finally made back state side. I think I had another year maybe year and half left. I didn't really start feeling the effects of GWI till toward the end of my 4th year. I just never felt quite right. Mostly my endurance was falling out. I would start to have a very fast heart rate with little to no exertion. So my dad visited me in Camp Lejeune filled me full of lies and I decided to leave the Marine Corp. (To be Cont)

I believe it was 1993 when I first went to the VA with my health concerns. They treated me like crap. They did the EKG and the halter monitor they did not really find much more than a few heart murmurs. It was not what they found or did not find it was there way they communicated with me. They were very condescending. I had one doctor come up to me in the hall way and addressed me. I had never seen this guy before. So for a few seconds I was just trying to figure out why he was approaching me in the first place he was not my PCP. He said he could treat me with **** I cant recall it... the stuff they treat people with heart problems. Anyway he said I could try that if I had a heart problem it would help if I didn't it would kill me! Then he turned and walked away! This was the measure of help I received from the VA! I remember standing there thinking the DOD already got to them this was some kind of conspiracy kind of like Agent orange. Now remember this was a few years before anything was made public this just came to me out of my own experience and suffering. So right then I had to make the only decision a stupid young man just out of the Marine Corp could make. I decided to try and out live it! Keep it to myself and try to out mental tough this thing. What an idiot I was!

My symptoms just got worse and worse over the years. By 2005 I was living in full GWI chronic fatigue, chronic pain, memory issues, breathing and sleep problems. I found the chiropractor who tried to help me a bit. He commented that the curve injuries in my back were really old. I told him about the force marches in the marine corp and that I believed that is where my back problems came from. Now, I don't know so much. Research suggest soo many things I can't really put it all into any real working knowledge and I am pretty damn smart, I cant figure it all out.

Ok lets tie that last paragraph together shall we? From 1993 to 2005 I kept it to myself and told no one. I suffered and slowly started to take things out of my life that caused more issues. Such as sports. Sports were long gone by 2005. Keeping jobs has always been a struggle. I would make excuses for missing work, or I just would not fill like I should hide how I felt about a boss. I have always had problems with what they call emotional maturity. If I thought you were a selfish self centered boss I would tell you. Yes I do realize this is not a good thing.

Fortunately around this time I found the oil field. I got a job 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off! it was perfect it allowed for recovery time. Even on my 2 weeks on we worked in teams so each team would go out and do a job and get a day or two to recover before having to go back out. Not bad for 45000 a year right? Unfortunately this is also the time I found my beloved mistress queen Alcohol what a beautiful sassy ***** she was. I absolutely loved the calm and comfort that came with a half dozen drinks. Back pain? What back Pain "turn up the Johny Cash!"... Also by 2005 I had been married for 6 years and had two beautiful little girls Reagan (2001) and Madison (2004). Queen ***** Alcohol did not start making her presence known to my family tell late 2005 The pain I lived with on a daily basis for years just gave way to the immediate relief I found with my mistress. "she was sooo good to me" not! Any way this was how I lived for the next 4 years. I did however; try to reengage the VA in 2005 they gave me a sleep study and found out I had a "mild sleep apnea" They gave me a CPAP machine it did not work worth a crap. I tried to use it. God knows how hard I tried. I just could not make it through the night with this thing Over the years I tried to re-engage this thing with an adjustment here and there nothing would help. My fatigue was just getting worse and worse. 

In 2009 I was setting in a VFW in Brighton Colorado. I had just got back off of a two week tour in the patch. I was one week from signing divorce papers and the job I had was being moved to North Dakota.. No No No there was no way in hell I was moving to North Dakota. So there I was treating my pain and feeling a lot sorry for myself. There was this sorry *** excuses for a man and a cop setting in the parking lot across from the VFW for about 2 hours. It was time for me to go. I had been drinking I should not have driven out of there but I also think I should have been afforded the opportunity to actually violate traffic code before this ******* pulled me over. The first thing he said was where are you coming from? immediately I knew I was going to Jail. What a sorry piece of ****. That is his life! setting in front of a VFW full of combat vets just waiting for them to leave to give them DUI's Really his mother should be so proud! I woke up the next day in the drunk tank with a lot of regret in my heart. I looked up and cussed God out for a little while. What a **** God can be from time to time right? 

When I got out I went home and talked to Lana my wife. I cried and told her how I felt trapped with the alcohol and my chronic pain problems. We agreed I would re-engage the VA for more permanent help with my GWI problems we decided to stay married and see what happens.

My first meeting with Dr. Gopal my PCP in Denver he said congratulations you lived long enough to have pain! I could have knocked his *** out right then and there. Fortunately I did not do anything that stupid. I did write a formal complaint to the patent advocate. Me and this Dr. Gopal have verbally spared ever sense. He has been very reluctant to give me percocet. He has had me on methadone for the last 3 years. Sometimes it works ok but I am in a lot of pain even with it but I am able to get out and do some things. I can't work 40 hours a week I am lucky if I can do 20 hours a week. I have been very frustrated with the VA but I have made a commitment to myself not to live my life like I did the last 20.

My wife and I have got that divorce we were looking at back in 2009. (January 2012) It mostly has to do with my inability to maintain a sexual relationship with her. Another great benefit of GWI. I don't blame her at all, she has put up with a lot! over the last 14 years. You know the vet is not the only one who's got the short end of the stick..( hmmm? no pun intended) over all this stuff. I did go back to school in 2009. I am 4 classes from finishing my bachelors in business from Regis University. Last summer session I decided I needed to take a break because of the divorce and get a job. I still needed to pay for the summer session so I authorized paying the summer session but not the next semester. The government site I was on seemed very pleased with how I did things and it told me complete finished done anything else? So I thought it was done fine finished complete? Well Regis did not like how I did that and refused payment. They also did not bother to tell me until it was going into collections. Of coarse by this time it was too late for me to go back into the loan site and change things. So I have been left with a $4000 wedge between me and the 4 classes I have left to graduate! I had to table all this crap for a later date. I have had my hands full with this whole VA disability thing. My God what a racket that has turned out to be. There are some really creepy scary people working for the VA in the compensation departments. I have been trying to get my disability sense 2009 it is now May of 2012 and I am still on the wheel! My attorney says we should have our hearing in June or July I don't have high hopes these people are crazy scary. I don't trust them. My GWI has gotten to the point that I really do not know what I am going to do if this does not go through. Oh ya I have recently got another sleep study done they said my sleep apnea has gotten much worse. It is both central and neurological. They are putting me on a new machine. You know its not going to help! Its not, it might help a little but sleep apnea is just a small part of the problem. The VA just does not want to address all the GWI issues I have! ( to be cont)

Well I guess that well do for a short synopsis of the last 20 years living with GWI. Hmmm? I read it and think of tons of stuff I could add just relating to the struggles of GWI, but really I am not interested in writing a book man.


persianpoison persianpoison
May 15, 2012