Friday, April 16, 2010

"God Bless the VETS" by Julian Lewis

In 1966 being a boy of 17 I joined the army with my father co-signing for me. I took my physical and quite naturally the army said I was healthy to serve, Fort Bragg here I come. As every one else I went through the basic training "Shot Drill" routine and every one I saw was bleeding from their arm. We were told not to move or the gun could cause serious damage, so being nervous I kept looking ahead of me and saw guys arms bleeding, I never saw any cleaning of any gun while I waited my turn. During my basic training I was forced to dry shave in formation with someone’s razor, now 17 years old I hadn't and didn't shave, but I guess my drill Sergeants seen some peach fuzz.
After I finished my basic I was sent Fort Leonard Wood Missouri to do my advance training. I was training to be a water purification specialist. Once again we were doing our low crawl under barb wire fence which caused quite a few cuts with blood coming out.

After I finished my "AIT" I was sent back to Fort Bragg helicopter unit. They got orders to go to Vietnam and I was too young so they shipped me to another company at Fort Bragg. A while after I had orders to go to "Vietnam" but first I had to take more shots, Republic of Vietnam Training, and other combat readiness training.

I arrive in Vietnam and got processed in. I was assigned to the 520Th engineering Fire Department, did I mention I had no training in putting out fires. Being young with little sexual experience I went to our village in Tuy Hoa where I was stationed and seeing the girls there. Well I had no girlfriend or wife at home so I went to the village around 3 times a week. I was diagnosed and treated several times for "Gonorrhea" which is documented in my military records. I can tell you for a fact our hospitals were not all that clean or sanitary, but hey they did their job and kept soldiers alive.

The next 6 months I was sent to a place called "Moc Hoa" still in the fire department. There we lived in tents and so was our sick bay, not at all clean or sanitary but they did their job. Quite naturally I had to check out the village and your are right, caught "gonorrhea" a couple of more times. Don’t know if that ever got documented.

So now I am back in the USA at Yuma Proving grounds as a firefighter. I flew in a helicopter as a crash & rescue for a helicopter Lockeed testing for the army. Little did I know it was the Apache helicopter we were chasing to rescue any one if they crashed. So now my service obligation is coming up. I had to do what they call a "processing out”. All I got were papers to sign but the hospital was supposed to give me a physical. They claimed they did and I was in great health and released me in 1970 with an "Honorable Discharge". I had gone to the hospital several times complaining of severe abdominal pain, tiredness, itching all the time, sleepiness. But nothing ever happened.
I am now a civilian and move back to North Carolina. In 1970 I did what they call an "Agent Orange Physical" at the local VA hospital. Once again I complained of abdominal pain, tiredness serve itching and sleepiness and once again got a clean bill of heath except for a spot on my lung, but nothing never happened.

I now move to New Jersey (long story) and there I met my wife. We got married in November of 1980 and I was married to her for 10 years (another long story). The whole 10 years I was faithful to her but we got a divorce and I met my now wife in 1980 and we have been together all this time. During my first wife I went to doctors several times for being tired all the time, said I had too much "Hemoglobin”, he gave me some medicine and problem went away.

In 1983 move back to North Carolina to set up home for girlfriend in New Jersey and me. In 1985 I had severe abdominal pain and went to the emergency room. They discovered I had gall stones so the gall bladder had to be removed.

In December 2005 I was getting dizzy getting up and down. Went to my family doctor and he sent me for blood work and x-ray for he felt something in my belly he didn't like. He suspected "lymphoma cancer" so he sent me to an oncologist. In February of 2006 my oncologist sent me to a gastro doctor, their we found I have Hepatitis C and positive for Hepatitis B antigen. I applied to see a VA doctor and was sent there in about 2 to 3 months. Then I saw my VA doctor which is an Infectious disease specialist. He is great. After seeing my oncologist for over a year and seeing my VA doctor I decided to file a claim with the VA in 2006 based on air injection shots. While gathering my documentation and medical records I discovered that more cases were approved by the VA for "High risk sexual activities" with sexual disease transmitted so I went that route instead. It only took them a few months to deny me,” December of 2006".In January of 2007 I filed a "Notice of Disagreement" and requested a DRO hearing at my local VA.In January of 2009 I was approved for 20% for Hepatitis C&B with liver cirrhosis based on "High risk sexual activities”. Around March of 2009 I was informed by my VA doctor my last MRI showed I now have "Liver Cancer”. I filed for; "Hepatocellur Carcinoma" and August of 2009 was approved 100% for live cancer as secondary from Hepatitis C. In May of 2009 I had what they call an ablation done on my liver. I was then being evaluated for a liver transplant.

Here it is 2010 and I am doing blood work, MRI, heart stress test, physiologic test to see if I am fit to have a liver transplant. On April 6th 2010, I get a letter from the VA stating they are reviewing my claim and I should send them any evidence I may have to support my claim. Today 4/16/2010 I get a letter from the VA stating I have a C&P examine 4/20/2010 at my VA hospital. What do they expect to find, cirrhosis does not go away, liver cancer does not go away and without a transplant I am still in the same shape only worse then when they approved me 100% in the first place. Go figure.

Now I do not know what will happen 4/20/2010 but why put someone through all of that again. They are bringing back stuff I want to forget. The VA legal system is really messed up, but I can assure you the doctors I am seeing really care and in my book they are great.

Thanks for reading my story. I am not 100% sure if all the dates are correct and sorry for my misspelling. I hope you can get someone to listen for some of the VETS gave their life for what they call "America”. I was one of the fortunate ones to come back all in one piece. I used to say "God Bless America" now it has changed to "God Bless the VETS".

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