Tag Archives: syndrome

The Kurdish Catastrophe

daveinhospRecently I have been in the hospital after having a series of mini-strokes or T.I.A.’s. They are brought on from high blood pressure and stress and my entire right side went numb. The good news is that there is no permanent damage, but it is a long recovery because I am still very weak. I am recovering in an assisted living facility. The bad news is that it could be the sign of a regular stroke coming or an underlying disease. I am hoping it’s neither. However, while in the hospital I met a woman who worked in housekeeping and she noticed I had a Desert Storm veteran hat and she said my brother was in that war and never came home. I am constantly reminded of the fact that no matter how low my depression may get, no matter how bad my pain, no matter how bad my problems – there is always someone else who either has it worse or is no longer with us.

The world is full of pain and suffering which lives next door to beauty and passion. It’s been hard for me to see the beauty and passion in things lately with some of the things I have gone through in recent months. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and get caught up in self-pity, but I think that it’s important to try to find a way to rise above all that and do my very best to hold my head high even though it hurts, to smile in the face of adversity, and to laugh when I just feel like crying all day. I refuse to let the bastards who put me in this condition win. I will have my day in court and that day is coming in June – next month. I can hardly wait. My very first hearing with the VA in Detroit.

But getting back to the housekeeper in the hospital; her brother was in the Navy and he supposedly fell of the back of a jeep in Guam and was killed. Her family has always suspected this may have been a cover story for some foul play, but either way he is gone and it was during the war and he saw his share of the war. She gave me the following poem to publish and she said that General Colin Powell, Army (Retired), himself, read it and gave him an award for it posthumously. It is no wonder because it is truly inspiring.

The Kurdish Catastrophe
by CM2 Douglas Lanning, USN
May 1991
US Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 133
Zakho, Iraq

SADDAMI can’t explain all that I’ve seen, but I will do my best to say what I mean

The glow on their faces is almost enough, but you can still tell they’ve had it rough.

You look around, it seems so unreal, and you try to imagine how they must feel.

We came to provide comfort to the people here, they seem to trust us – it’s him they fear.

african american soldier in iraq_soldier_criesThe leader of so many – Saddam Hussein, has caused their suffering and their pain.

From the land mines that he placed all over the place, to the napalm burns and blisters on a young child’s face.

From the people living out in the street, to the ones in town without power and heat.

From the people washing clothes in the muddy waters, to the many who had to bury their own sons and daughters.

amputeeYou see a child selling whatever he can, all of this and more because of the man.

I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s all really all true, think about it a second, I’m not even through.

I’ve been to the hospital to visit a small boy, who picked up a hand grenade, thought it was a toy.

tankerYou cannot blame him, he’s just a curious kid, I can still remember vividly what his new toy did.

I really can’t believe they were able to save his hand, then I also can’t believe this was once all beautiful land.

The mountains from a distance, an eye-catching sight, they really are beautiful with their snow caps of white.

FE_DA_130319IraqIt’s just sad to think all of the people up there, a quarter million people, but he doesn’t seem to care.

When our operation is finally through, I cannot help but wonder what the people are gonna do.

Will they go on living the way they were before, or will the one man, their leader, kill even more?

I guess that is something only time will tell, from my observation, they’ve been through living hell.



McGhee Veterans Meet and Greet

The McGhee Messenger

The Student Affairs Committee invites all McGhee veterans to meet one another and discuss ways of making the most of your experiences at McGhee. We’ll discuss resources available to you, hear your suggestions, and give you an opportunity to meet other student veterans.  The meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 1st from 5:00 p.m. to 6:20pm in room 322 of 7 East 12th Street.  Light refreshments will be served.  Please RSVP by emailing lr95@nyu.edu.  We hope to see you there!

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The Telling Project

One of our “Telling: Austin” cast members, Steve Metze, is a very talented filmmaker. In 2007, Steve filmed a documentary of his experience in Iraq when he was deployed with Operation Iraqi Freedom. The independent film was an Official Selection of the 2007 Austin Film Festival and the 2008 GI Film Festival. It also won the Grand Jury Award at the 2008 DeadCENTER Film Festival.

Steve is ready to release this amazing documentary to the public, but unfortunately does not have the funds to cover the music rights for public distribution. Please help bring Year at Danger to the masses. Click here to learn more about donating to Year at Danger‘s Kickstarter page. You can also check out the official webpage for Year at Dangerhere.

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Welcome to Gulf Illness Veterans (G.I.V.)


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.
new1I 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.
gw16It 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.
gw28My 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.
gw23I 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!