I’ve set up a Facebook Fan page for Beth, and I’ve uploaded some photographs, mostly from her time in Iraq. For those of you who don’t know, Beth was in the military from 2002-2005 (Army Reserve), and she served in Iraq from April-October, 2003. She had been in the military before we met, from 1980-1985.
When the terrorists struck on September 11, 2001, we had five children. Beth had spent most of the intervening years as a housewife and mom, but she had been considering ways to start working part-time and help with the family income. But on the morning of 9/11, CNN was running a news crawler, with one of the items noting that the military was asking for veterans to consider re-enlisting in the Reserve. Almost immediately, that became a focus of her attention. We talked about it, and I was certainly hesitant about her plans, but she wanted to do it, and so I helped her to prepare to re-enlist in the Reserve. She was able to re-enlist in March 2002.
From August to November 2002, she was in San Antonio, TX, at Fort Sam Houston, where she trained to become a medic. By December, she was helping her Reserve unit here in Pittsburgh to process Reservists for call-up to active duty, and in January 2003, she was “involuntarily transferred” to the 203d Military Intelligence battalion, scheduled for an active duty deployment to a potential conflict in Iraq.
Without going into too much detail at this point, we believe there is a very good possibility that Beth received some sort of exposure that has led to her developing MDS this year. There are news stories about Iraq war veterans coming down with leukemia. The government is studying the effects of trash burn pits. Beth was involved in that activity, and it is also possible she received some exposure to radiation as well.
I hope to go into this more in the future, and really to publicize these kinds of issues more broadly. But for now, I wanted to put this site up and let you know about it.