By U.S. Air Force, Medically Retired SSgt Jeffrey Scott Flesher
This story isn’t all that different from that of other Vets I’ve met having the same symptoms, and history as myself. So I don’t intend this article to be just about me; but Vets like me — thus bringing to your attention, the struggle about Vets with Gulf War Illness (GWI); AKA Gulf War Syndrome (GWS), a disease that effects thousands of us, astoundingly still misunderstood, in spite of being openly acknowledged by the VA.
“I have been turned down for any type of Medical Assistance, Medical Treatment or Medical Devices that the VA deems Alternative”. . . let me explain. I’ve been treated for what I now call Gulf War Illness since 1991, having gotten it in November of 1990, and have not responded to any conventional medical treatment in that time period. I have tried every known mainstream Medicine, and Medical Treatment for sleeping disorders, depression, anxiety, PTSD and pain; with no help whatsoever in the long run.
Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) history: I came down with GWS in November of 1990 after getting 12 or more shots in the same day (Cocktail Inoculations), some of which were 3 part shots, again, all given in the same day. Shots like Anthrax’s, Botulism Toxin (BT), Plague, as well as experimental Vaccines and Drugs. I got sick and had no idea that what I got was GWS until after the Military Medically Retired me for having all the same symptoms as GWS.
I have been diagnosed by the Air Force and VA as having a rare sleeping disorder called Sleep State Misperception Disorder, Mild Periodic limp movement disorder (PLMD) and Abnormal EEG with fast activity during stage 2 sleep, with low REM sleep, culminating in No REM state sleep. While this is significant to me, it doesn’t even get rated by the VA — so why is this I ask you? Apparently the VA doesn’t deem it very important; but will rate you on things that may be the cause of this.
I have been Diagnosed by the Air Force and VA as having:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
- Temporomandibular Joint Disease (TMJ or TMD)
- Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)
- Advanced Deteriorating Joint Disease (ADJD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- A rare form of Lymphoma
- The bones around my 5th Lumbar have been broken
- Chronic Pain
- Major Depression
Just to name a few.
During my tour in Kuwait I was exposed to Depleted Uranium, Lead and Mercury in the water supply, Oil Fires, and many other toxic chemicals, that built up in my body, intern causing pain like Fibromyalgia, and Neuropathy. What I really need is to be detoxed with chelation therapy; but this is a Alternative Medical treatment not authorized by the VA, even though its the only medical treatment that could possibly help.
How do I feel you may ask? I don’t sleep good, I wake to feel like I didn’t sleep at all. I’m tired all the time, don’t feel like doing anything. Everything hurts: my back, my feet and my hands; to the point I can’t sleep at all. I wake up to a very load ringing sound in my head that never goes away, this alone can drive you crazy. I have very bad memory problems, so I don’t remember much of yesterday, so in the long run, all the days just run together into years and I have no sense of time what so ever. Its a vicious circle of pain and not sleeping that feeds the Anxiety and Depression and all these other symptoms that I have.
Now I ask you this:
- With little to no REM Sleep in the last 19 years, how would you feel! Do you think that you might get or have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
- Take Anti Depressants like Prozac that make you nervous and find yourself clenching you teeth; think you might get or have Temporomandibular Joint Disease?
- Get enough Depleted Uranium, Lead and Mercury in your system; think you might get or have Advanced Deteriorating Joint Disease?
- Get all these vaccines and enough Depleted Uranium, Lead and Mercury in your system; think you might get or have a rare form of Lymphoma?
- Do you think if the bones around your 5th Lumbar have been broken that your Back might hurt and that you might get or have Chronic Pain?
- Think that if you only have nightmares and no dreams, and flashbacks of a things you do not remember or do not want to remember; that you might get or have PTSD?
- Think after having all this happen to you that you might get or have Major Depression?
If you answer no to any of these questions; you must work for the VA or DoD.
It all comes down to some kind of Brain damage; to the point I do not communicate very well and can not interact with the general public all that well; in general I stay at home and never go out; a shut in; like most vets like me, I don’t want anything to do with the outside world or have anything to do with Doctors that just don’t understand this at all; they keep giving me a line about how I have to just get over this and get on with my life; they might as well have handed me a gun and just told me to get it over with; that is what they want is for all Vets like this just to check out, commit suicide; they tell us that this is acceptable behavior under these circumstances and the new Government Policy is almost demanding it.
I have to take sleeping medication every night; they don’t work most of the time; since I have built up a tolerance for all such medications; when if fact there is a device called an Alpha-Stim unit, which will help me to sleep without the consistent use of sleeping pills, which I have overdosed on many times over the years, trying to get some sleep; but then again; I still think that’s what they want, is for me to just die; since I’m nothing but a drain on their resources. I will also add that the Alpha-Stim unit will help with Anxiety and Depression as well as PTSD, and in the long run would be cheaper than all the medication and treatment I get for the same symptoms. From more information visit: Allevia Health
The bottom line is this: By denying us any Alternative Medical Treatment they are in fact denying us any Medical Treatment what so ever.
See VA findings on Gulf War Illness
PDF for VA findings on Gulf War Illness