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Vietnam Vets

mrsbotch
Posts: 377
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi to all of you. As I watch this board I am saddened by some of the new posts but also sometimes uplifted with some of the good news.

I reached out to you awhile back asking any of you if you knew of anyone who was in Vietnam and exposed to agent orange and has EC. I am asking once again . I have been made aware that there are a couple of cases that have been won by EC widows relating their husbands deaths to EC even tho it is not on the presumed list of cancers caused by agent orange on the VA's list.

Thank you so much . If anyone would like to e-mail me personally please do so at mrsbotch@hotmail.com.

Good luck in your fight. My husband lost his in Feb of this year after 2 years but thaere is hope. Just make sure you go to a major cancer center that deals alot with the MIE and EC. Do not fool around with this dreaded cancer as it is brutal as many of you know.

Much love

Barbara

wilsontrees's picture
wilsontrees
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2009

Barbara, I am not on this board very often, so I just noticed your post on Vietnam Vets. My husband served in the Marines in 'Nam in the 60s. Five years ago, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and was able to get full disability for about a year. (Due to assumed Agent Orange exposure )He is now on partial for that cancer. He is also two years out from his surgery for EC. He was lucky-- his cancer was discovered at Stage 1.

There has been a bill regarding 'Nam vets and digestive cancers including esophageal cancer languishing in Congress. The bill calls for the VA to recognize these cancers as caused by Agent Orange. So far, no progress has been made out of committee.

I don't have the link, but it seems to me there is a group of vets and/or their families regarding this issue.

I hope this info helps a little!

Jennifer W.

ECPatient
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2004

I hope that the gastric cancer legislation goes through. This whole cancer/Agent Orange thing is big and could involve thousands of veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and then were wrongfully denied disability benefits, medicine, and treatment.

In my particular case, I have survived EC for over 8 years and secondary liver cancer for over 5 years. Not sure how much longer I can hang on.

Until recently, I was not aware that while I was in-country Viet Nam that all of our drinking water was laced with Agent Orange. So I didn't just breath in Agent Orange, I drank it.

I was in the "brown water" Navy, and for anyone on our ship who has MS, diabetes, and certain cancers, the ilness is presumed to have been caused by Agent Orange. Probably half ot the people on our ship have received diability pensions or have died from one of these illnesses.

In general, the work on the connection between Agent Orange and EC was done with too few patients to be conclusive. The FDA would have been much more rigorous in their approach and required several thousand patients in their studies, because the results from studying hundreds of patients are often wrong. We can only pray that someday EC will be added to the list of presumptive cancers.

I am working closely with my Congressman and oncologists in filing a claim for a disability pension.

Unfortunately, many EC patients die much too soon, and I hope the VA isn't trying to play out the game clock.

God bless all VietVets with EC who were exposed to Agent Orange.

Don

leoplato10
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2013

Hi

 

 

Katiekatie
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2017

After six years, I just had a V a hearing in Chicago for a claim regarding my husbands esophageal cancer. He passed away in December 2014 but I am continuing the claim. I need more information regarding the connection between esophageal cancer and exposure to agent orange. Would appreciate being advised of any information you might have. Thank you very much for your help and assistance!

Denise54's picture
Denise54
Posts: 20
Joined: Jul 2011

Hello. My dad, Jerry, who was diagnosed with Stage III esophageal adenocarcinoma with no mets this past May 2011 is a Vietnam Vet who was exposed to agent orange while there. He said that U.S. soldiers were patrolling in the jungle, that's when the military planes overhead sprayed agent orange while they were in there KNOWING that American soldiers were down there. My dad stated that although a good amount landed on their squad, many others got it worse.
Dad is continuing his chemo, will do so until the tumor shrinks more. Dr. Nguyen from UCIrvine will then do the MIE surgery when he sees fit.
It is an awful disease that we're determined to beat. We're taking things day by day, I'm grateful my dad has been feeling well enough to eat regular food, even with his latest chemo.

Denise

ritawaite13's picture
ritawaite13
Posts: 249
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Barbara,
My husband was in Vietnam in 1968/69 and exposed to Agent Orange. He has just been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He had no risk factors typical to EC patients. He quit smoking in 1978, he was not a drinker, nor did he have any reflux symptoms. We really can't figure out why he got this awful disease but are submitting paperwork through the VA to substantiate the fact that he has EC and was exposed to Agent Orange. I know that EC is not currently on "the list" of cancers caused by AO but that could change and it should. If all other respiratory cancers are included, why not EC??
You can email me at ritawaite13@gmail.com

triktecate
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2011

My dad also had EC and was exposed to Agent orange. He passed away in May and was diagnosed in Oct. I've been helping my mom file her claim. The VA has been great, just extremely slow. Any updates would be great concerning the addition to "the list".
Thanks!

AngieD's picture
AngieD
Posts: 504
Joined: Sep 2011

Barbara,
My husband, Larry, is a Vietnam vet and was diagnosed with Stage IV EC in June of this year. He was an AF pilot and was there from June '64-June '65. He flew the small L-19 Bird Dog planes and was all over the country. He says he has no knowledge of if he was exposed or not. This was in the early days before Agent Orange had had any publicity and may have been being secretly used. Any information you could send us on how to proceed or help would be greatly appreciated. ladav@sbcglobal.net
I'm new here and am so sorry to hear about your husband and will remember you in my prayers.
Thanks!
Angie

Karrie42
Posts: 25
Joined: Feb 2012

Hi Barbara,

My Dad was just diagnosed last week. The VA doctor took us (and dad) completely by surprise when he told Dad is unit had been exposed to agent orange! We had no idea. He said that given dad didn't have any other risk factors for EC, its the only cause he could think of. (Dad also had prostate cancer about 15 years ago.)

I'm thoroughly pissed off that there is no "official" connection between agent orange and EC. Our doc seemed pretty sure that this was the culprit! Dad went and looked closer and found that there was even "extra heavy" contamination where his unit was stationed.

- Karrie

princess58
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2012

Barbara,
My boyfriend was diagnosed with EC in July 2010. He too was in Vietnam. If you go to the VA website there is information regarding Agent Orange and a Registry for Agent Orange. Perhaps this will help you. Good Luck!

Mcarsonames
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2012

Hi Barbra and everyone else who has posted here.
My name is Michele and I am only 21 years old. My dad was a paratrooper in the Vietnam war. He died when I was only 8 years old. When I was in high school my mom and grandma died within 3 months and my grandpa( a WW2 vet) died a year later. For the longest time I worried about getting cancer because my grandma gramps and mom all had it. Although I am young I am not very healthy. I've had depression for the loss of my family and stress makes me sick with colds all winter. I've had an infection that hasn't gone away and I've taken antibiotics for multiple times. I worry that in the future I will have cancer too.
I didn't know too much about my dad but my older sisters tell me he had extreme PTSD and many other psychological problems. The scariest was when he had flashbacks of Vietnam. I don't remember my dad like this but I do remember how kind and loving he was with me and my little brother. He moved to MO after my brother was born because he was verbally abusive to my mom. I never got to know him or his family out in the mid west.
Because he was in the war I go to college paid by the VA. I am double majoring in Art Education and Fine Arts, one day I will be a teacher! :D
I just recently discovered a large hard lump on the right side of my neck. I made an appointment to see my doctor but in the mean time I was googling to find some answers. I came across articles about the effects of Agent Orange. No one ever told me about this, I had heard of it but I never thought my dad would be connected to it. Upon reading these endless stories of others who's fathers went to Vietnam I realized that my dad, running through the jungles of Vietnam must have been exposed.
Now I feel as though my world has been turned upside-down. I feel I have been lied to or something. I am young and healthy at 21 years old but I greatly fear for my future health. I hope this lump on my neck isn't connected to agent orange or cancer. I worry that as I get older I may develope or show signs of illness as a result of my dads service. I also worry about having kids of my own in the future. If it is true that my dad was exposed while fighting than how would it be ethical for me to have my own kids if I know I have bad genetics. Ive always dreamed of having kids but will their lives be burdened by illness and disease. I worry for my little brother because we have the same mom and dad and I have not told him about what I have just discovered. My goal for life was to finish school and become a teacher and better the lives of children. But now I see my future filled with health problems. I only have health insurance until I finish college and then I'm on my own. I worry that I won't show any signs of illness until I am older and I have lost my health insurance.
I never knew what agent orange was until now. I am very afraid for my future. I am angry, we had some sort of Hitler in our Government that developed agent orange. Not only does this effect my life and my future children's lives. But an entire country of innocent people! And what happens to the generations after in Vietnam and America alike. I feel so sick knowing what I know now. I may be healthy now ( besides the lump in my neck) but what happens when I'm older? What will happen to my brother who already has more health problems than I do. I wish there was a cure or a way to reverse time. I don't think my life will ever be the same.

chopper382
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2016

I was diagnosed and treated for esophageal cancer 3 years ago. I served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot from April of '70 thru April of'71. My surgeon informed me when I had surgery nearly 3 years ago that the occurence of esophogeal cancer had increased 700% in the last 20 years, mainly in men over 50 and they don't know why. He could not furnish me a letter that I could submit to VA because there was no direct evidence that agent orange might be a factor. Sure seems like the age of men with this large increase of cancer in the last 20 years would be a reason to find out how many of us served in Vietnam. I receive a disability from VA for aschemic heart disease that VA attributes to exposure to agent orange and they do offer disability for other types of cancer because of exposure to agent orange. Sure seems like esophogeal cancer could also be included. My cousin, who is my same age and also served in Vietnam a year before me, was just diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer this month. Sure seems like there could a reason for further research about cause and effect for esophageal cancer and Vietnam veterans.

Mike47
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2017

Vietnam veteran; in-county, 'boots on the ground', Navy river boat base, 1971-72. Diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus in 2009. Monitored annually with endoscopy and esophageal cancer discovered in December 2011. I had surgery January 2012, esophagoscopy flexible to remove adenocarcinoma and my esophagus. I have never smoked, have always worked out and jogged or cycled and maintain weight proportional to height. Gastroenrologist said GERDs caused cancer in esophagus. Have made claim to Veterans Administration and am waiting for next step but have been told not to expect anything favorable since esophageal cancer is not presumed to be result of Agent Orange exposure even though other organs in throat have been included but not esophagus. I just discovered this site so I'm very late getting in but if anyone with similar circumstances wants to discuss further I'm willing to join in. For those of you with cancer, hang in there. It is a tough fight but you can get through it. I just made my 5 year anniversary since my surgery and plan to make many more. Good luck to all of you and if you are a Vietnam vet - welcome home, brothers.

LorettaMarshall's picture
LorettaMarshall
Posts: 400
Joined: Sep 2012

Good morning Mike:

 Although we haven’t met, let me say, “Welcome Home”.  My husband, William, and I were not part of the “hippie movement” who disdained the military and preferred to “make love not war!” that is still alive today in m y opinion.   We thought it abhorrent that our military would be called “baby killers and were spat upon.”  You have our utmost respect and we honor you and your fellow patriots.  Knowing the horrendous suffering that Esophageal Cancer patients endure, having Agent Orange listed as a contributing factor should be a “no brainer.” 

 And let me say, I am very pleased to know that you are celebrating the 5-year mark for survival.  That is a “landmark” indeed.  You’ll be happy to know that my husband is into his 14th year of survival from Stage III (T3N1M0).  So both of you are blessed.

 Please read the letter that I sent via e-mail this morning to a Ms. Patricia Kime, after I read an article that she wrote back last April 2016.  Perhaps she can shed some light on the progress of additional diseases that are currently under consideration for approval so that our veterans who served in Vietnam and exposed to Agent Orange received their just consideration.  Obviously, we laymen, think it was and is a factor in this gastric related cancer.

 No doubt, your efforts to obtain help include a letter to your Senator in your state.  And we are encouraged by President Trump’s endeavors to address the concerns of veterans, things that should have been taken care of years ago.  After all, 45 years ago, you risked your life for us and it’s past time for your needs to be met. 

 Once more, congratulations on surviving the Vietnam War, and Esophageal Cancer.  That’s TWO major wars for you Mike.  You have nothing but our deepest respect for your service to our country, and being able to “make it home”. 

 Most respectfully,

 Loretta and William

 (William had pre-op chemo/radiation and subsequent Ivor Lewis Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy (MIE) on May 17, 2003, performed by MIE pioneer, Dr. James D. Luketich @ the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.)

 _______________________________________________________

  1.  http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/us-government-has-spent-682570-study-shrimp-treadmill

  Mike, you’re “no shrimp” and if we have$682,570 to      waste studying “shrimp on a treadmill”, we have money to spend on our vets.  You have already passed the “treadmill test”, but have yet to be rewarded! 

  U.S. Government Has Spent $682,570 to Study 'Shrimp On A Treadmill'

2.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkiM1S_dMm4

 Video of this “shrimp test!”

 ____________________________________________________________

 3.  http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/benefits/veterans/2016/04/08/list-agent-orange-related-diseases-may-expand/82793396/ 

 Here is a copy of an e-mail I sent to Ms. Kime this morning.  If I hear anything, I’ll get back to you on this site and post her reply. 

   “Dear Ms. Kime:

  Having read your article of April 8, 2016 relative to the expansion of diseases that have been related to “Agent Orange”, can you tell me if Esophageal Cancer is still “only under consideration?”  If so, what is the current status of that study? 

   My husband served in the military, but not in the Vietnam War, and is an Esophageal Cancer survivor of 14 years now.  And as such we have endeavored to help as many patients as possible when they write to this forum on the American Cancer Society.  One such veteran has written this morning.  In an effort to help Mike, can you tell me if this Esophageal cancer is being “considered for approval” or has already been approved?”  This has been a problem that many have written about in the last 14 years that we have been participating in discussions on this ACS site.   We certainly hope that it is on the list of cancers for which VETS can get help. 

  Being in my late 70s myself now, the Vietnam War is seared into my memory.  We remember the disdain and disrespect which our returning military personnel received upon their return home, especially by a “bunch of hippies who preferred to “make love not war!”  Our “fellas” were spat on and called “baby killers” by a pacifist crowd too cowardly to fight themselves but who relished in the “freedoms of expression” that were secured by our military.  It is a
wound that has yet to be fully addressed by our country, I do believe.  They risked their lives “over there”.  They should not have to “come home” and fight another battle for benefits over here! 

  Lest I get too political, fighting this war from the Whitehouse was a BIG mistake.  Our “boys”, as we called them back then, were not honored for their sacrifice as they should have been.  Perhaps it doesn’t matter to the “throw-away mentality crowd” we seem to have today who are only interested in “me, myself and I”, but older people have a healthy respect for our veterans. 

    I thought that this dreadful cancer was long ago approved for benefits and was already in the list of cancers attributable to AGENT ORANGE.  Knowing that you are keenly aware of things that are vital to the welfare of veterans, perhaps you have information that would be of help to Mike.  Thank you in advance for your input.  Both Mike and I, would welcome your reply.

   Sincerely, 

Loretta Marshall (Wife of a 14-yr. survivor of Esophageal Cancer- Stage III (T3N1M0))

 Ms. Kime -- Here is the letter “Mike47” posted on the American Cancer Society (Esophageal Cancer forum) this morning, January 26, 2017.  http://csn.cancer.org/node/224046

 “Agent Orange and esophageal cancer

New 

Vietnam veteran; in-county, 'boots on the ground', Navy river boat base, 1971-72. Diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus in 2009. Monitored annually with endoscopy and esophageal cancer discovered in December 2011. I had surgery January 2012, esophagostomy flexible to remove adenocarcinoma and my esophagus. I have never smoked, have always worked out and jogged or cycled and maintain weight proportional to height. Gastroenterologist said GERDs caused cancer in esophagus.

Have made claim to Veterans Administration and am waiting for next step but have been told not to expect anything favorable since esophageal cancer is not presumed to be result of Agent Orange exposure even though other organs in throat have been included but not esophagus. I just discovered this site so I'm very late getting in but if anyone with similar circumstances wants to discuss further I'm willing to join in. For those of you with cancer, hang in there. It is a tough fight but you can get through it. I just made my 5 year anniversary since my surgery and plan to make many more. Good luck to all of you and if you are a Vietnam vet - welcome home, brothers.”

 

LorettaMarshall's picture
LorettaMarshall
Posts: 400
Joined: Sep 2012

 Hello Mike:

 Remember that I wrote Patricia Kime a letter at the “Military Times” asking her for info on the status of Vietnam vets & Agent Orange exposure—specifically in your case for Esophageal Cancer.  She has kindly answered me, and here is her reply I received today via Gmail.

______________________________________________

 “Hi, Ms. Marshall - thanks for writing. The VA panel looking at Agent Orange is only looking at three additional diseases as being connected: bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinson’s-like symptoms. Esophageal cancer is not on the list.

  That said, this veteran can hope that his claim gets accepted even though it's not an automatic qualifier. He could also reach out to Vietnam Veterans of America, which has people on staff to help him file his claim or an appeal.

 Glad your husband beat his cancer and thanks for all you do to help people with the disease,

 Patricia”

 _____________________________________________________________________

That said, if enough people w/EC insist on inclusion of Esophageal Cancer in the list of diseases that vets get while being exposed to Agent Orange, I believe that it will be recognized for what it really is.  Thanks again for your service, and so as for an “automatic qualifier”, EC, is NOT on the list.  I’m sorry about that.  As for the three diseases she named, although I’ve not examined them thoroughly, I should think if I had a choice, I would probably choose one of them, instead of the Esophageal Cancer .

 Thank you for protecting our country.  Sorry the news was not positive.

 Loretta

 

Mike47
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2017

To Loretta Marshall,

Thank you very much for taking the time trying to help me and other Vietnam vets with esophageal cancer and trying to get it qualified as a presumptive result of Agent Orange exposure. I sincerely appreciate your concerns and efforts. 

Mike

g041579's picture
g041579
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2010

I too had esophageal cancer in 2010, and served in Nam between 1971 to 1972. I want to thank everyone for this

post and it's information. I wish everyone good luck in their battle with this disease and never give up the fight.

Phil

Rita Hayes
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2017

Hello Everyone

 

My name is Rita Hayes. My husband too was a Vietnam veteran that served 20 years to protect our country. He was not afforded the opportunity to climb the ladder from Stage 1 to Stage 4, his first diagnosis was esophageal cancer Stage 4, yet the VA was treating him non-stop for GERD. I cannot understand why this disease is not on their Agent Orange list. I am sure all our loved ones breathed the CHEMICAL into their bodies. They call this cancer the primary source, sure it is because when you take a deep breath, and the first thing it hits is the mouth and the nose, it would definitely become the primary source. I have gotten so many denial ratings over these past fifteen years, however, I will not give up! I would be honored to join a class action along with everyone. We will win.

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