An update on Beth’s diagnosis

In some paperwork that we’ve been trying to collect from the doctor, we’ve gotten a refinement on the diagnosis.

As you are aware, recent repeat marrow testing is most suggestive of a dysplastic chronic myelomonocytic leukemia type 2 (dysplastic CMML-2).

The median age for this disease is 70, and Beth is quite sure that she’s now got this (at age 50) because of exposure to benzene that occurred while she was burning human waste and trash with diesel fuel, shortly after she arrived in Iraq, or possibly some unseen source of radiation:

One of the most amazing duties to come is the s–- burning detail. We really have to pull out the barrel under the seat and mix (stir) diesel fuel in the barrel of excrement and light it on fire. We also burn all garbage. Nothing is saved from being burned up. I think all garbage burning smells worse than the s–- burning.

In her discharge from Active Duty papers, she is recognized for having completed the “Field Sanitation Course, March 2003”. So this was standard procedure.

3 thoughts on “An update on Beth’s diagnosis

  1. Pingback: How we got here, Part 1 « John Bugay, an integrated life

  2. I have also been diagnosed with CMML. Reading the list of possible causes, I find that the only one I am certain of, is exposure to diesel fuel while an engineman in The Coast Guard. Has Beth filed for disability from the VA?

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  3. Hi Ralph, yes, we have applied. How old are you? My understanding is that a NIH study has turned in an “inconclusive” result. That is, it can’t “prove” that “burn pit” exposures are a cause for various forms of leukemia.

    Check out these two links:

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_757512.html

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_764872.html

    The bottom line is that the VA’s study on burn pits and leukemia was “inconclusive”. Meanwhile, here is what we must provide:

    “We need evidence showing” that CMML “existed from military service to the present time”.

    We’ve heard that it takes exposure, for example, to benzene caused by burning diesel fuel. It also is a disease that emerges 7-10 years after exposure. That’s what we’re going to submit to the VA.

    Please keep in touch; we would love to talk with you about your experience.

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