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I Suffer From Gwi


My pain is constant. My hands are swollen, aching and red. I get migratory pains in joints all over my body every moment that I am awake that feels like someone is jabbing an ice pick into the joint. I have migraine headaches that range from cluster headaches to full blown migraines that can keep me down for days at a time. My intestines are constantly cramping and the diarrhea is incessant. I have insane insomnia, I constantly feel tired and I am easily fatigued. When I do sleep, I wake up soaking wet from night sweats. My skin develops itchy and painful rashes and I often have intense itching over every inch of my body that drives me absolutely crazy for days at a time. The muscles all over my body twitch and jerk uncontrollably for no reason at all. Its not a stretch to understand why I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder secondary to PTSD and all the other punishing ailments that I experience.

For the past 20 years my symptoms have increased in intensity and frequency almost exponentially. The symptoms have gone from hardly noticeable to "will someone please give me morphine!" I've been examined by dermatologists, rheumatologists, I've had CT scans, blood tests and talked to shrinks and every one of them can't prove there is any reason I should be suffering from any of this. When I tell someone that I suffer from GWI, they cock their head and look at me funny like a puppy does when you squeeze a squeaky toy. I can tell that they think I'm full of crap by the way they roll their eyes and look away. I'm sick but I'm not stupid.

At times I feel humiliated and others I'm just plain angry. Like right now. I'm angry that this is my reward for my total dedication during my military service. I'm pissed off that its taken the VA 20 years to give GWV's a set of presumptive illnesses for which we can file for compensation. I'm tired of fighting the VARO to get my illnesses service connected under those same presumptives. I find it incorrigible that the VA is keeping badly needed money from my current rating to pay back a separation pay I was given over 20 years ago. I can't work. I'm broke. My elderly mother, my only family left, has almost exhausted her savings keeping my head above water while I'm scratching for change for bus fair to get to VA appointments. I'm one "there isn't any more money to give you" message away from being homeless. I won't see a dime from the VA for another year. Thats a long time to go without anything to look forward to but empty cupboards. Repaying separation pay? Really? I can only imagine that the politicians that wrote that law haven't missed any meals lately.

Every day is worse. Every day the medications have less effect. Every damn day the pain becomes more intense than I could imagine. I stay in my bedroom most of the time, not only to avoid bright lights and noise when I have headaches, but because I don't want people to see me this way. I don't want people to see my body jerk about for no apparent reason or to see me wincing in pain when a sudden, sharp joint pain comes along. I don't want them to see me doubling over in pain from intestinal cramps and I certainly don't want to take the chance that I may not be able to make it to a bathroom in time when the explosive diarrhea comes on, often without notice. I don't want them to see my swollen, gnarled hands or see me wince in pain when I pick up something as light as a cup of coffee.

I don't want them to see someone who was once a strong, proud and healthy soldier turned into broken and ailing bag of pain and discomfort for no apparent reason. Its just downright embarrassing.

I wish the VA had a form I could fill out simply to request my life back.

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5 answers to this question

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Have you filed for SSDI?

Have you filed for an increase in your disabilities?

Have you filed for TDIU?

Have you told all this to your mental health doctor, it can help you get an increase if you have a service connected mental disorder? If not you should file a claim for it, if you do you should file a claim for increase.

A lot of Gulf War Veterans are going through the same problems and some even worst, in a matter of fact a lot of veterans of any era are going through the same problems, what you need to do is fight back, your health may never get better but being 100% will help manage paying your bills, where you don't have to run to family members that do not fully understand or can't afford to help financially.

P. S. You might as well give up all caffeine and carbonated drinks for your joints and digestive problems.

Edited by pete992

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I have filed for SSDI and TDIU and am running the hamster wheel on both of those. I've filed for increases on all my ratings and have a C&P exam coming at some unknown date. I've filed new claims for my neurological conditions. I bug the crap out of my VSO to be sure she is doing everything she can as fast as she can. I'm pushing on every front available.

I know I don't have the worst of it and things financially will improve eventually. I'm still angry about it all. Let me put it to you this way: I knew I could be shot at when I went to war. If I was disabled from being shot I would at least know that I had accepted the risk up front. I didn't know my own government was going to supply me with the things that would screw up my life years later. That risk I didn't openly accept.

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Geez, I hate to even continue this thread but yet another issue has cropped up due to my illness.

A smidgen of background: I rent a room in a 4 bedroom house and the owner of the house is one of the occupants. I've lived there for over 3 years with little to no problems, pay my rent, clean up after myself, etc. As is the way with GWI, my health has been steadily deteriorating with it getting really bad in the last few months. Mind you, I'm still able to take care of myself, cook simple meals, wipe my butt....you know, the important stuff.

Last night, just as I was getting ready for bed, my landlord drops an email bomb on me (and yes, he is rarely man enough to bring up issues face to face). He sends me this long email about how he is worried about me and is concerned about what I am going to do in the immediate future as my health goes south. He made it sound like he expected me to be drooling and crapping on the floor and having someone to feed me in a very short time. Its a totally ridiculous conjecture.

So what is his solution? He tells me he wants me to "make arrangements" to move out before my health gets so bad that I need help to care for myself. First he writes that I should do so by the end of October then says the end of November would be okay too.

At first I was so angry I almost stormed into his room to give him hell. I managed to calm myself from that but spent the rest of the night feeling quite hopeless and alone. Its no wonder I have the crisis line phone number on speed dial.

Not only is his request illegal under the ADA (city, state and federal, no less), its downright immoral and cruelly selfish. Its also doing wonders for my major depressive disorder.

I know this board is about getting help with claims but I had to find someplace to vent that other GWV's might chime in. I've yet to see the idiot and I'm honestly afraid to as I'm certain the conversation won't go well when I tell him to (nicely) stick his vaguely disguised eviction notice up his fat, lazy ass. It might not be a wonderful living situation if I stay but if he insists, I will file complaints at every government level possible. Thats not to mention turning him in to the city for numerous (and dangerous) violations of the building codes (electrical shorts, wiring done without a permit, rotting boards on the porch stairs....the list goes on).

Sadly, I can't afford to move out (can you say "separation pay recoupment?") and I've already borrowed every cent I can from family just to stay in this shit-hole of a house. I understand now why people "just snap" and start shooting up the post office.

When does this lunacy ever end?????

Edited by sleeper692

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I'm sorry to hear that, Sleeper.

I've lived in "craigslist" houses with mixed results and I understand how emotions run high.

I left one because I was about to end up in jail if I didn't get away from some conflicts, so it was a matter of priorities.

If you feel stuck there, it might help to write down your response with rational points so emotion doesn't override reason when responding to him.

I see you mentioned not being able to move but you might see what other options may be available (VA domiciliary, public assistance, vet center assistance).

Moving has a cost but so does remaining someplace you don't feel wanted.

Good luck! :smile:

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Thanks Kelly for the good advice. I've already contacted the VA social worker, my VSO and my VARO trying to get some assistance. I also have an attorney from a renters advocate group researching the situation. There seems to be some muddling of my rights as a tenant when the landlord occupies the building which I don't quite understand.

Basically it comes down to the dude waaaaaaay overreacting and not bothering to actually talk to me face to face. Of the four of us that live in the house, he is the only non-veteran and not quite as sympathetic as the other guys.

The ironic thing is that, up until a month ago when I had to respond to yet another email about issues that he couldn't bring up in person, he didn't even realize I was all that sick. I pretty much stay in my room and he is either gone at work all day or in his own room. Now that I've said something, he thinks I'm going to suddenly be an invalid overnight. Now he says he's worried about me so I should move out. Sure is a funny way to show concern.

Thanks everyone for putting up with my rant. It really does help. Sometimes I don't know what I would do without all the great folks on this board!

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