Saturday, October 16, 2004

BBC report - Gulf War syndrome 'does exist'

Here is a copy of a BBC report October 2004 that brings hope to all of the fit young soldiers who were struck down in the prime of their lives by an illness that is very similar to mine.

This illness is bad enough for a female, but for a man to suffer the distress and tears it brings (it's not emotion - it's something to do with the illness) feels humiliating enough for me - it must be very hard for men to bear, especially if they live with a partner who can't possibly comprehend the never ending suffering and severity of symptoms.

It makes you want to crawl up the wall and scream for the world stop because you want to get off - it's that bad: but nobody, apart from other sufferers, believes you and it makes the world feel very cold and harsh. You are not lazy or crazy but everyone including doctors and other health professionals and helpers think you are.

Upon diagonsis nobody prepares you for the profoundly disabling chronic illness ahead. Nothing can be done to help alleviate your suffering - no treatment, exercises or diets to try - nothing, zilch, zip.

Medical advice is so poor it's actually hazardous to your health. You find out the hard way why you need to ask for adrenalin free injections at the dentist and avoid doctors who prescribe treatments of excercise and psychological therapies. You learn not to waste precious energy chasing rainbows of alternative medicines, painkillers and tranquillisers - as you find any kind of pills, potions, magnets and snake oils exacerbate the symptoms and make you even worse for weeks and months on end. Most people including family and friends will think you are just tired or depressed and that really it is all in your mind.

God bless all the poorly veterans suffering GWS around the world. I hope this news is the beginnin of something new - a ray of hope - and that steps will be taken in the right direction to provide the help and support they need and research into treatments.

The veterans' illnesses had until now been unexplained.

Scientists in the US say they have demonstrated the existence of the illness known as "Gulf war syndrome".

The findings can be seen in a report by the influential Research Advisory Committee on Gulf war veterans' illness, leaked to the New York Times.

Committee chief scientist Professor Beatrice Golombe said that exposure to certain substances in the Gulf may have altered some troops' body chemistry.

Thousands of veterans of the 1991 war suffer from unexplained poor health.

Servicemen and women from the US, UK, Canada and France who took part in the operation to drive Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait have reported one or more symptoms, including memory loss, chronic fatigue and dizziness.

'Really ill'

Many continue to suffer from chronic and debilitating illnesses more than a decade since the war.

However, scientists had until now been unable to establish their causes.

The report said the troops' problems were definitely caused by exposure to toxic chemicals rather than stress or psychiatric illness.

Potential sources include Iraqi nerve gas and drugs given to the troops to protect them from chemical weapons.

"Gulf war veterans really are ill at an elevated degree and several studies bring consistent findings that about 25%-30% of those who were deployed are ill," Professor Golombe told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.


Blogger Carrie said...

It's about time they admitted it.

The illness you describe sounds, again, much like mine. A friend of mine fought in vietnam. He now has mast cell leukemia. He investigated Agent Orange and thinks that's how he developed mastocytosis.

My father was in the Canadian Army for years. They used to test drugs on soldiers all the time. The soldiers never knew what the drugs were. During that time, my mother lost 3 children - one stillbirth, and two born with severe deformities. None lived past one year. There were five kids in my family. None of us have any deformities. To this day, my parents believe the mysterious drugs tested on my father caused the birth defects in my deceased siblings.

I am not a fan of armed forces because they use their enlisted people as guinea pigs and never tell them the truth. I wouldn't sign up for anything.

October 22, 2004  

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