I am really glad to have a new following on twitter. Many stories have inspired me and have made me realize that no matter how bad it may get for me, there’s other that our worse. And many of the people who inspire most our women! My mother died of Ovarian Cancer when I was 17. She never once cried in front of me and always put on a strong face knowing all along she was dying. I look back and I remember the advice she gave me about treating women with respect like her and Grandma taught me and to always be a gentleman.
At the time my Dad and I didn’t see eye to eye on anything, typical of a teenage rebel. I was smoking pot and drinking beer and getting into trouble with school and he was the enemy, but my Mama told me that it had to end so we promised it would stop and it did. We both did our best and we became best friends. My sisters and I don’t get along too good, but that was not my fault. They just don’t understand me, I guess.
I’m an artist and when you try to explain to people what you do they tend to think that’s not an occupation. Well, I was determined to prove them wrong, but first I had to get a degree so I joined the Navy in 1988 when it was peadce time and then in 1990 the Gulf War broke out. I never wanted to go to war, but I was a Third Class Petty Officer by this time and it was my duty to uphold my agreement to defend all enemies so I went. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. But I did it and I survived. Many good men were not so lucky.
Some of the women I served with could work circles around most men. My ex-wife was one of them. My current wife didn’t serve, but she works just as hard and now she is sick like me. She’s disabled and she still does things and she says it’s because she’s not as bad as me, but I worry about her. Her stomach issues are so new and rare that the surgeries she needes to have to correct her problems are very life-threatening. But she’s so tough, I know she will survive. She is a fighter and so am I.
So I want to share some stories of some tough men and women I found on twitter. This first one needs your friendship on facebook and twitter so she can have a fan base to sell a book. She had a water-skiing accident that almost hung her. Thank god she survived. Help her out folks. And I also have included some links to some organizations that are doing some great work. I am amazed by these true American Heroes! Rock on you soldiers of pain and suffering who refuse to let it get you down. Nothing can keep us down! We get up every day with a determination to prove all those who said we would never be normal again wrong and if the bills are piling up – these folks may need your help in selling a book. I was thinking of doing the same. People keep saying they dig my writing so I think I might do that. If anyone wants to write a post for me – I’m game! I want all you potential authors or people who want to plug their organization or whatever – I’m all for it! You plug my gig and I plug yours!
I love all of you fighers out there! Love you with all my heart and I am your biggest fan! We are all your fans here on the GIV site and I know I speak for my readers because we are all down…BUT NEVER OUT!! We are the tough, the ones who don’t let the banker take our house, the ones who are going to beat all odds and although we are not perfect, we have bad and good days – we fall of the saddle and get back up and ride again no matter how many times it takes dammit! I salute all of you heroes!
So please enjoy these wonderful stories and do more than just read – give them all your love and support and prayers. Thanks!
This is the story of Waterski Wonder Shellie Blum – A fighter of epic proportions! She’s been all over and done it all and her next conquest is to get back on her feet – I am a fan already and I just read her amazing story with a tear in my eye. Not because I feel sorry for her, but because I know she’s going to conquer yet another hurl and it may be her greatest accomplisment yet – a bestselling book! but she can’d do it alone – help her out!:
And here’s the story of the inspiration and another hero of mine… Victoria Mavis
Victoria Mavis is a speaker and presenter, best-selling author, human resource expert, entrepreneur, and a person with a lifelong disability. Whether in a group conversation or one-to-one, she masterfully taps into intimate experiences that inspire others to uncover their inner strength leading to triumph over adversity. While speaking on stage, her light-hearted dialogue is sprinkled with her signature stories of overcoming adversity including mobility limitations and challenges, childhood bullying, social acceptance, and workforce integration.
As a collaborative author on the recent best-selling book, “Building the Ultimate Network” she contributed her business networking expertise in ‘Commanding the Room.’ Her next collaborative, upcoming creative non-fiction book, “The Couch and the Hairball: How a Disability turns Tragedy into Triumph,” includes hard hitting life tragedies caused when a near fatal accident leaves the main character, Torri, with a lifetime disability. Readers will be inspired when they find themselves in her story, as well as the lives of other characters facing different types of life’s challenges, as they face their obstacles and discover how to summon the strength to press on.
In her personal life, Victoria is known to use her ‘Coffee Conversations’ as a time when she works with others in her community and challenges them to stretch beyond their comfort zones in order to achieve a higher level of personal and professional success.
Victoria is the President/CEO of Core People Resources, LLC, which is located in Eastern PA. Her company created HRKnowledgeBaseTM, a web store featuring Human Resource (HR) experts, access to forms, documents, employer programs and other professional resources that are needed to run businesses and non-profit organizations.
Victoria is an Area Director for BNI in North Central Pennsylvania, responsible for organizing and training business owners and professionals how to leverage their business through word-of-mouth marketing.
Victoria holds a MBA, is lifetime certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Society of Human Resource Management, certified as a Behavioral Specialist and is a member of Rotary International, and other business, professional, and community organizations.
I guess I don’t have to tell you about the Gary Sinise Foundation! Here’s a great actor who could use his time to go buy a new car or house or bump elbows with hollywood greats, but not this actor, he spends his time using his character from the great move “Forrest Gump” to help veterans and that’s amazing in my book! His help of men and women combat paralyzed and wounded veterans is so commendable. He is a true American hero!
More links will be coming in the links section of the site and I salute all of you who refuse to lay down! NEVER GIVE UP FOLKS! WE ARE ALL HERE FOR YOU! Civilian or Veterans, makes no difference to me – we are all veterans of life!
ROCK ON YOU AMERICAN HEROES AND PUSH IT TO THE LIMIT! LIKE I TELL MY KIDS – THERE’S NO SUCH WORD AS “CAN’T” IN YOUR VOCABULARY!
Depleted Uranium Testing Centers
If you are working with VSO, or veteran’s service officer, and you’re happy that’s great. Most of them are great and follow the rules and guidelines the VA sets up for them. unfortunately some of them will give you bad advice or refuse to do what they get paid for. I am currently working with the Disabled American Veterans because of this and this is just my preference. I don’t want to blame my problems on every hard-working VSO because I know that you guys work hard and it is not an easy job. A lot is piled on you and it’s sometimes overwhelming, I’m sure. However, I believe that sometimes certain VSO’s do not stay up to date with the latest information regarding Gulf War Illness as mine did. So I made the switch. I was also told to not appeal my request for service-connected disability and that is wrong according to everyone I’ve talked to at the VA since.
The same VSO tried to pry into my private life for some reason as well, promised to help me go over my medical records and then would not and he also got mad at me for getting audio books from the Library of Congress which is my right as someone with carpal tunnel and arthritis in my hands. In my opinion people like this are not advocates at all, they are more like a hinderance to disabled veterans and should be avoided.
The other problem I have found out is that no matter what the VA says or does regarding the presence of Gulf War Illness as a recognizable medical treatment there are some old school-type people who no matter what they are told will still always take it upon themselves to try and prove that Gulf War Illness is not real and discourage us from filing in claims for it. This VSO was so convinced that I could not do it that he encouraged me to give up. Which to me means don’t ever give up. It backfired with me because once you tell me I can’t do something I will prove you wrong if it kills me and I hope you do the same. Just be careful, even if the VSO seems nice and helpful. They are still working for a government agency that doesn’t want to just hand over the benefits without a fight and some of these people think the money belongs to them.
Don’t forget you can also hire an attorney if you feel you need to. They will take all your back pay if you win, but some feel it is worth it to receive the benefits. Just make sure you do some research on the attorney to make sure they have experience handling veteran’s cases. Ask them what their case record is and good luck.
2009 study posted for filing
This is Dr. Robert Haley from UT Southwestern Medical Center.
DALLAS – March 20, 2009 – A new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers is the first to pinpoint damage inside the brains of veterans suffering from Gulf War syndrome – a finding that links the illness to chemical exposures and may lead to diagnostic tests and treatments.
Dr. Robert Haley, chief of epidemiology at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study, said the research uncovers and locates areas of the brain that function abnormally. Recent studies had shown evidence of chemical abnormalities and shrinkage of white matter in the brains of veterans exposed to certain toxic chemicals, such as sarin gas during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
The research, published in the March issue of the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging,enables investigators to…
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CBS CHICAGO — The story of the returning veteran never ends. A researcher in Peoria is investigating Gulf War Syndrome, more than twenty years after the end of the short-lived conflict with Iraq.
Steve Lasley, assistant head of the Department of Cancer Biology & Pharmacology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, said it took years for people to shed their skepticism of the illness, marked by a “general malaise,” depression, aches and pains, etc.
“It was difficult to see (the symptoms) as a unified and distinct syndrome … the Department of Defense didn’t recognize there was a problem there,” he said. “There was a great deal of skepticism from physicians, and from the research community, about the authenticity of these complaints. And it took seven or eight years for the scientific and clinical communities to understand that there was really something there.”
Anti-nerve gas drugs are now thought to…
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Well, I just wanted to start out with a quick and simple first post. I have Gulf War Syndrome or as the VA now calls it, Gulf War Illness. It’s hard to get used to calling it that, but I am trying to follow the rules as much as possible. (not that I’m afraid to break them) Thousands of veterans are struggling with this cluster of medical conditions each year and it has been this way since the end of the first gulf war in 1991 and is still popping up with sailors and soldiers returning from the gulf today.
I have asthma, sleep apnea, hypertension, acid reflux, ulcers, chronic diarrhea, fibromyalgia, arthritis, five damaged discs, nerve damage in legs, bilateral neuropathy, polymyalgia rheumatica, bursitis in shoulders, spondylosis, depression, anxiety, mood disorder, carpal tunnel, a sensitivity to light and household chemicals such as cleaners and aerosols, and chronic fatigue syndrome. (I am sure this list will grow in time as it has in the last few years). The causes from what the VA states on their website so far is injections for immunizations, exposure to chemicals such as depleted uranium and pesticides and oil fires. I personally think there is more to the story than this, but for the government purposes and to try and prove a claim I am going with what they give us. I suggest you do the same or you will be labelled as a “conspiracy theorist.” I once posted a link to a video about the “truth” and I had a VFW rep tell me I was one so I yanked it It’s pretty sad to know that I am being watched that closely or that she would take the time to even look at this site, but it’s associated with everything I do online so I’m not surprised. So for all of you looking in – I am doing my best to adhere to the guidelines of the VA for claims and follow all procedures, but there are many of us who do not agree with them and would like our voices to be heard as well.
I have to say that since the VA secretary Shinseki took over he has done a good job at trying to update the VA website with more information about Gulf War Illness, he has urged the claims officers to clear our cases up faster and he is trying to implement a way to get doctors more educated about our many medical conditions associated with the illness, but so far I have yet to go to a primary care doctor at the VA who will even discuss Gulf War Illness and that’s a big problem for me. I have written several of my elected officials including the president and still my doctors hand me back letters ordering them to help me and refuse to do it. I am fed up and I need your help to start the campaign to raise awareness. Fellow soldiers and sailors; I am calling on you today to take whatever strength you have and muster up the courage to contact the media, your elected officials, the VA and whoever else will listen. We need to get organized. If you are interested in helping me with this campaign please use the contact form below or search around the site – my contact is all over. There is also plenty of information about contacting your officials along with plenty of links to organizations that can help us.
It also seems to me that there is a media blackout on gulf war related subjects altogether. Lately they seem to preoccupied with whatever story the government decides to feed them or what Snooki is up to or some stupid shit. We need to wake them up to the sad truth about how men and women of the armed forces are treated when they are out of the military and sick. They love you when you are young and dumb, but when you are old and weak you get shuffled to the side and I personally, will not lie down for this. I am fighting for my life. I have not yet received a diagnosis for anything that is terminal, but I do have some serious conditions that could cause heart attack or stroke. I feel that my death is going to be a long-prolonged drawn out painful affair. As it is right now I am in the process of updating this welcome page and since it’s first publication, my pain has at least tripled. I have done everything the VA asked of me such as physical therapy and trying to walk as much as I can and the pain has increased due to the nerve damage in my legs and the arthritis and fibromyalgia throughout my body. My quality of life is terrible and I cannot stand it. The pain medication I receive does not kill the pain enough after using it for a certain amount of time. Each month it works less and less. I am trying my best to fight it, but it is not easy. I need your help because I know that if you are reading this you either have it or you have a loved one with it. I also urge anyone else dealing with any disability to feel free to comment and join in the discussion. We have a very open and relaxed format for this blog and I love to mix it up once and a while.
My main goal with this site has always been to try and help others. I have learned a lot from other veterans who have commented or e-mailed me about various subjects and I get a lot of followers on Twitter due to the blog. I benefit and feel so much love from others for my writing and I really appreciate that, but it really is my pleasure. I have laughed my ass off and cried my eyes out over your stories. My fellow veterans, those serving now, and families and friends of veterans are so kind and thoughtful. I have received letters, e-mails and tweets from mothers who lost their sons or daughters, grandfathers from World War II and Vietnam who are onboard with us and shared their experiences of trying to get service-connected from Agent Orange and much more. I thank each and every one of you and again, I encourage more and more to get involved with Gulf Illness Veterans so that we can grow into a helping organization spear-heading the fight to get vets the rights, treatment and benefits we deserve.
I look forward to comments and suggestions. If you would like me to do an article on a certain subject please feel free to contact me and let me know. I will accept anything that will benefit veterans or active duty military as long as you don’t try and spam the site. I will also consider guest writers. Just keep it fairly clean and respectful of others.
Welcome to Gulf Illness Veterans site and please make sure to check out the many links I have compiled as they are very helpful. If you have a link you would like me to post contact me any time. I am a very easy-going guy until you piss me off. but that takes a lot. God bless you and God bless America!