Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance
Agent Orange Dioxin Survivors Uniting Internationally
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Agent Orange

GRANDCHILDREN OF VIETNAM VETERANS, THIRD GENERATION, AGENT ORANGE DIOXIN BIRTH DEFECTS & HEALTH ISSUES
Agent Orange In Grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans www.covvha.net

We have compiled a list of 162 reported illnesses that the biological Grand-Children of Vietnam Veterans are suffering from to try and find common threads. There have been no official claims that anything on this list has been proven to be caused by Agent Orange/Dioxin unless otherwise noted in the information below. If your child is suffering from any illness not listed, please email us at COVVHA@GMAIL.COM This list has been updated as of October 1, 2013.

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1. 16p deletion in DNA:
2. Abdominal Migraines
3. Abdominal Scar Tissue Growth
4. Alopecia Universalis
5. Allergies- Food, Milk, Meds, Gluten, Seasonal, Severe, ETC
6. Allergic Rhinitis AKA Hay Fever
7. Amblyopia AKA Lazy Eye
8. Anal Fistula
9. Anemia
10. Anencephaly
11. Anger Problems
12. Anxiety
13. Apraxia of Limb
14. Apraxia of Speech
15. Arthritis
16. Asperger’s Syndrome
17. Asthma
18. Attention Deficit Disorder
19. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
20. Atypical Tuberculosis (Not Regular Tuberculosis)
21. Auditory Processing Disorder
22. Autism Spectrum Disorder
23. Autoimmune Problems
24. Beckwith–Weidemann Syndrome
25. Bedwetting
26. Bicuspid Aortic Stenosis
27. Bilateral Retinoblastoma
28. Bipolar Disorder AKA Bipolar Affective Disorder, Manic-Depressive Disorder, or Manic Depression
29. Blood Clotting Issues
30. Borderline Personality Disorder
31. Born with One Kidney
32. Bowel Obstruction
33. Celiac Disease
34. Cellulitis
35. Chest Pain: Undefined
36. (Chronic) Bronchitis
37. Chronic Ear Infections
38. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
39. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease AKA Emphysema
40. Cleft Palate
41. Clubbed Thumb
42. Congenital Talipes Equinovarus (CTEV) AKA Club Foot
43. Congenital Hypothyroidism
44. Constipation AKA Costiveness AKA Dyschezia AKA Trouble moving Bowels
45. Crohn’s Disease AKA Crohn’s Syndrome AKA Regional Enteritis
46. Cystic Hygroma
47. Cysts
48. Deafness
49. Deformed Baby Teeth
50. Depression
51. Developmental Delay
52. Dual AV Node In Heart
53. Dyslexia
54. Eczema
55. Edwards Syndrome
56. Ehler’s- Danlos Syndrome AKA Cutis Hyperelastica
57. Emotional Problems
58. Endometriosis
59. Enlarged Adenoids
60. Enlarged Tonsils
61. Failure to Thrive (Difficulty Gaining Weight)
62. Fibromyalgia
63. Fine Motor Aphasia
64. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
65. Gross Motor Aphasia
66. Headaches
67. Hearing Aids (Both Ears)
68. Hearing Loss
69. Heart Murmur
70. High Blood Pressure AKA Hypertension
71. High Cholesterol AKA Hypercholesterolemia
72. Hip Dysplasia
73. Hirsutism AKA Frasonism (Female facial hair)
74. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
75. Hole in Heart
76. Holoprosencephaly (Lobar)
77. Hydrocephalus
78. Hydronephrosis AKA Enlarged Kidney
79. Hyperflexability in the Joints AKA Hypermobility in the Joints
80. Hypospadias
81. Hypovitaminosis D AKA Vitamin D Deficiency
82. Idiopathic Thrombocytic Purpura (ITP)
83. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
84. Insomnia AKA Trouble Sleeping AKA Sleeplessness
85. Idiopathic Thrombocytic Purpura (ITP)
86. Keratosis Pilaris (KP) AKA Chicken Skin
87. Kidney Problems
88. Kyphosis
89. Learning Disability, Non Specific
90. Leg and Hip Problems at Birth
91. Low Birth Weight
92. Lupus AKA Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
93. Metabolic Syndrome
94. Migraines
95. Minimal Separation of Left Renal Collecting System
96. Missing Teeth
97. Moody
98. Neural Tube Defects
99. Night Terrors
100. Nosebleeds AKA Epistaxis
101. Obesity
102. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
103. One Testicle That is Smaller Than the Other One
104. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
105. Osteoporosis
106. Overall Weak Immune System
107. Past Urinary Problems
108. Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) (Form of Autism)
109. Peeling Finger/ Toe Nails
110. Pericardial Cyst On Heart
111. Photosensitivity
112. Pica
113. Plagiocephaly
114. Poland Syndrome, Undiagnosed
115. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
116. Poor Hand/Eye Coordination
117. Potty Training Problems
118. Premature Birth
119. Primary Teeth Retention- Causes Crooked and Crowded Teeth
120. Prone to Vericocele/ Hydracele
121. Prune Belly Syndrome
122. Psoriasis
123. Pulmonary Stenosis
124. Pyloric Stenosis
125. Radial Dysphasia of the Wrist
126. Reflex Neurovascular Dystrophy
127. Retinoblastoma AKA Cancer of the Retina
128. Ruptured Ear Drums
129. Scoliosis
130. Seizures
131. Sensitive Skin
132. Sensory Processing Disorder/ Dysfunction of Sensory Integration
133. Severe Colic
134. Sickle Cell Anemia
135. Sinusitis
136. Skin Problems
137. Sleep Apnea
138. Snoring
139. Social Anxiety Disorder
140. Speech Disorder, Articulation
141. Spinal Muscular Atrophy
142. Spine is Blunt at the Bottom
143. Stickler Syndrome
144. Stomach Pain: Undefined
145. Teeth Growing in Crooked
146. Thoracic Kyphosis
147. Tibial Torsion
148. Ticks
149. Torticollis AKA Wry Neck
150. Tourette’s Syndrome
151. Two Uteruses
152. Type One Diabetes
153. Umbilical Hernia (At Birth)
154. Urinary Tract Infection AKA Bladder Infections
155. Vacterl Syndrome (Born without an Anus)
156. Ventricular Septial Defect
157. Viral Meningitis
158. Von Willebrand Disease
159. Warts
160. Weak Baby Teeth
161. Weak Enamel In/On Teeth
162. Weird Skin Rashes

 © (COVVHA) Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance INC

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Agent Orange & Sarin Gas: Chemical Hypocrisy Of The United States

Agent Orange Hands

Heather Bowser (at age 38) and orphaned resident of Peace Village at Tu Du Hospital (at age 12) HCMC, Vietnam compare their similarities. Even though they are generations and continents apart  both are missing the same limb and digits from the misguided use of herbicides in Vietnam. (2010)

I am writing in response to Mr. John Meinhold’s and Mr. Robert Wickham’s opinions which appeared in letters to the editor in The Boston Herald last week. These letters were  regarding the situation in Syria.  The letters discussed the similarities and differences of the chemical herbicide called Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War and the Sarin nerve agent used in Syria. My father is dead because of Agent Orange. I was born premature with multiple birth defects because of his exposure.

Mr. Meinhold stated, Agent Orange use amounted to “despicable, heinous crimes against humanity that the Pentagon carried out,” as Mr. Wickham argued, the illnesses and birth defects were “unintended consequences” of exposure to Agent Orange and certainly not the result of some deliberate attempt to injure or kill humans. Mr. Wickham is suggesting because Agent Orange did not kill everyone it touched instantly and because they did not initially deploy it to kill humans, but vegetation, it should have no bearing on the current debate in Syria.

I beg to differ, and so would thousands of children of Vietnam Veterans, who are sick and dying of cancers, auto immune disorders, and birth defects. The Pentagon may have not set out to slowly kill anyone who was exposed to the dioxin laden herbicide, but they knew around 1968 from chemical company’s reports Agent Orange was toxic (see the first class action lawsuit documents). It was further broadened in 1969, when the Congressional Record reflects the United States tabled the use of Chemical and Biological weapons. This in an effort to stop back door financing of the Chemical and Biological Weapons program. The Pentagon still did not stop its use in Vietnam until 1971. When the war ended in 1975, and veterans in droves were complaining about serious illnesses, their wives having multiple miscarriages (like my Mom), and their children were being born deformed, they were ignored.

Our Veterans became ill. They were called liars. It wasn’t until 1991 they began to compensate some Vietnam Veterans for their illnesses. A total of sixteen years after the War! My Father had five bypasses on his heart at age 38, at 40 he developed diabetes, at 48 he had a stroke and at age 50 he died of a massive heart attack. My father filed for ischemic heart disease in 1986. They added Ischemic Heart Disease to the presumptive list in 2010. Twelve years after his death and twenty four years after he filed his claim. The very claim he filed in 1986 for Ischemic heart disease is still in appeal. My mother still waits for the closure she deserves.

Unlike what Mr. Wickman suggests, this is not about comparing intentions of herbicide to nerve agent, this is about comparing hypocrisy and morality. We sprayed roughly 18 million gallons of dioxin laden chemicals on our allies land in Vietnam, not a drop of Agent Orange was sprayed on our enemy’s soil in North Vietnam. Today, Vietnam still has twenty seven hot spots for dioxin. One (the 28th spot) in Da Nang is in the middle of remediation (52 years after the beginning of spraying). The villages around these hot spot areas are full of sick and dying people, and newly born deformed children. This after at least 40 years of the United States knowing the dioxin they sprayed was hurting people and still did very little to rectify it with our veterans, and nothing to help Vietnam or Australians who were also exposed. The use of Agent Orange beginning in 1961 tipped the first domino that is continuing to fall piece by piece 52 years later.

Life after life continues to be destroyed in the biggest slow burn genocide known to the human race. It crosses continents and generations with no signs of stopping until everyone directly exposed is dead and every genetic mutation passed on, twisting and distorting innocent being’s genetics who had no say in the political climate of the 1960′s. All the while, those responsible look away. The responsible party instead looks away to a foreign land where they believe they can swoop in and be the hero. They point their finger and say Syria has crossed a red line. What happened in Syria is wrong. The deaths from chemical warfare need to continue to be investigated. The responsible party should be punished by actions agreed to by the International community.

The United States also killed children in their Agent Orange massacre, like the Sarin gas killed innocents, but not just the innocent children in Vietnam. They destroyed their own patriot’s children. They killed and maimed their own.  Those that did not die at birth have lead a long lonely road where they have been forgotten. There were 2.8 million U.S. men who served in the Vietnam War and only 8 thousand women. Currently, the government only recognizes 18+ birth defects in the children of female VN Veterans and one birth defect in the children of male Vietnam Veterans, Spina Bifida (not Occulta). These measures do not go far enough.

Our organization, Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance, receives letters daily from kids of Vietnam Veterans who have the same birth defects on the women’s list. There have been recommendations from the Institute of Medicine for years recommending the government study the children of Male Vietnam Veterans, but year after year, after year it is ignored. Even in 1979, when the first Agent Orange Class action lawsuit was filed it initially included thousands of children of male Vietnam Vets. I believe it is simply too expensive to attempt to right the wrong of so many victims so they don’t. Kids of Vietnam Veterans were born with and have to live our lives with devastating birth defects, rare cancers, auto immune disorders, fertility issues, and many more debilitating disorders. So far we have been ignored.  If things continue as they have for so many decades we will die young just like our fathers, never seeing justice.

The money for a limited military action in Syria could just as easily be used to cover the same 18+ birth defects and illnesses in the children of Male Vietnam Veterans they already cover in the children of female Vietnam Veterans. The money used for war could fund research for my peers who are sick and dying of rare illnesses, as the IOM suggests. It could help the grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans who are also being born in alarming numbers, with birth defects and rare illnesses,  like their parents before them. There would probably be money left over to end the environmental disaster in Vietnam. Please stop our own homegrown chemical genocide before involving ourselves in another nation at war. Mr. Wickman, we may not agree on this issue, but at Children of Vietnam Veterans we  respect our veterans. Welcome Home and thank you for your service.

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
― William Wilberforce
Thank you,
(C) Heather A. Bowser, LPCC

The Boston Herald
Boston, MA
September 7, 2013

U.S. hands dirty, too

Secretary of State John Kerry recently gave an impassioned speech stating why our country must attack Syria because of alleged chemical weapons use by the Assad regime that killed some 1,400 people — many of them children (“Obama, Kerry say Syria atrocity can’t go unpunished,” Aug. 31). Kerry has called this chemical attack a “crime against humanity” and a “moral obscenity.”

Has Vietnam War veteran Kerry forgotten about the heinous crimes against humanity that the Pentagon carried out by using Agent Orange during the Vietnam War? The Vietnamese government says thousands died from Agent Orange, which was used on both jungle foliage and food crops. According to the Vietnam Red Cross, use of the herbicide resulted in at least 150,000 children born with severe birth defects since the war ended in 1975. Agent Orange contained dioxin, which causes birth defects, cancer and other illnesses that are still killing and maiming Vietnamese today. With this history, how can our leaders be now wagging a morality finger at another nation over chemical warfare use?

— John Meinhold, 
Portsmouth, N.H.

Portsmouth
Reader Response –
September 07, 2013 2:00 AM

Sept. 3 — To the Editor:
I’m writing in reference to John Meinhold’s letter that appeared in the Sept. 3 edition of the Exeter News-Letter. I have to take issue with Meinhold’s equation of the U.S. military’s use of Agent Orange in Vietnam to the use (by one side or the other) of sarin nerve agent in Syria. The difference between the two is striking.
Agent Orange was employed in Vietnam as a chemical defoliant, the sole purpose of which was to destroy foliage that provided cover and concealment to enemy forces in predominantly jungle or heavily wooded areas. Unfortunately, Agent Orange has been found to cause adverse health effects to some who were exposed to the agent — American and Vietnamese alike. Most reasonable people would call these adverse health effects “unintended consequences” of exposure to Agent Orange and certainly not the result of some deliberate attempt to injure or kill humans.

Sarin nerve agent, on the other hand, has no useful purpose other than mass killing.

I’m a Vietnam-era U.S. Army veteran and I’m not particularly happy about the way some things were done during that war, including (by hindsight, like everyone else) the use of Agent Orange. However, I’m a long way from accepting Meinhold’s description of the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam as “despicable, heinous crimes against humanity that the Pentagon carried out.”
Robert T. Wickham
Stratham

Here are the links to the original letter to the editor by Mr. John Meinhold at Seacoastonline http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20130903-OPINION-309030360#.UiYJJ1MpX5E.wordpress and Mr. Robert Wickman’s rebuttal http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20130907-OPINION-309070312

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Agent Orange & Infertility – Issues all too common for children of Vietnam Veterans
AGENT ORANGE INFERTILITY CHILDREN OF VIETNAM VETERANS COVVHA.NET

Today my words are meant to help uplift, empower and heal you. I know the feelings written here personally and it has hurt me in the past. I would like to give you some helpful ideas on how you can help children. How you can have them be a part of your life. How you can help them to fulfill their dreams, goals and lives even if you cannot have your own.

Recently I lost another child and finally put into motion a means that I would not concieve again to avoid the pain. I wanted to have my husbands child so badly that I could almost see him already. I felt that he was almost here and I could reach out and touch him and change my life. It was a boy I know that and it tore me open. I cried for weeks about this and I just want you to know that I truly understand how hard it is. This was not my first loss of a child but this one hurt the most.

I have had my share of trouble conceiving a child and then when I could was not able to carry to term. I made some changes in my lifestyle without the intention of having a baby at that time. I got rid of all the chemicals and animal products and voila ..side effect I was pregnant. I was so excited and happy. Then I found out the truth about what was happening and in the end I kissed my child goodbye and told him through tears that I was so sorry that I couldn’t be the mother that he had chosen.

I dealt with that pain and came out the other end knowing that I am here for another reason. That as much as my whole life i heard things like *Oh my god you will make such a good mom* to *You are so maternal* Why can’t I help children or adopt them and give them a better life? Why can’t I be their teacher and inspiration? Why can’t I help other people who feel like i do? I thought about it for months and came to the conclusion that I could do all and any of these things that I wanted to. The only limitation in place is what you believe there is. You can accomplish so much more than you may even realize.

I think that it is very important to remember that you may not be able to have your own child. But there are millions upon millions that could benefit from the love you hold in your heart for the ones you cannot have. They are just there waiting for you to find them, to lift them up and out of their desperate circumstances. To show them a better world and a kinder heart than they may have seen. So long as your choice is kindness and love towards a lonely or hurt child it is a good one.

These links will be a road that you may choose to go down. Remember while you do that just as you may feel alone and without joy and love, there are many children that feel the same exact way that you do. You hold this amazing gift in your hands and it is called free will. You can choose to gift and uplift and show these young people that they may suffer and that life is difficult but it is also filled with surprising kindnesses and gentle loving people.

http://kids-alliance.org/

http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301295/k.BE9A/Home.htm

http://www.shiningstarsfoundation.org/how-to-help-1/volunteer/

http://www.ymca.net/volunteer

I try to think what the reasons could be as to why people cannot have children. There are so many it would take a very long time to cover even half of the reasons. But I think that while it is a heartbreaking thing to have to realize there is a reason I believe. We are here to help others. We are here to look at and find children that need us and just help them in any way we can. Mourn your losses and move on it is the best thing you can do for yourself. It may sound harsh but that is the truth. You are here for another potential purpose. Perhaps you are meant to be Father or Mother to the children of the world. Perhaps you were given a gift instead. One that could make a huge difference in the world. Have you considered that? :)

We are all here just floating around and sometimes we see something. We stop and look at it and examine it closely because it speaks to us. Loving other human being that may not be your blood is one of those things that passes by us. We should stop and examine it and see what we can do to help others and in doing so heal ourselves.

http://www.freearts.org/volunteers

http://www.pageahead.org/volunteer.php

I have been amazed at how many things we can do to help children. We could just type in volunteer to help children and find out for yourselves what is out there. What we can do to make a difference in the lives of so many children that lack hope. Because they have been hurt so badly that they find trusting someone difficult. But if this is what you want to do then there is nothing stopping you from helping someone else. Imagine the power that you possess! You could change the life of another human being for the better!

http://www.freethechildren.com/get-involved/

You could volunteer at your local school. See if they need any help and do what you can. If you have medical problems and I know that many of you do then tell them your limitations. Many would be happy to have the help from anyone.  If they cannot work with you then keep trying and see what you might be able to start in your community. There is always some way to help others.

http://www.americaspromise.org/Act/Volunteer.aspx

http://www.abetterchance.org/abetterchance.aspx?pgID=963

http://www.mentoring.org/get_involved/become_a_mentor/volunteer_referral_service

http://www.bbbs.org/site/c.9iILI3NGKhK6F/b.5962345/k.E123/Volunteer_to_start_something.htm

I am including as many things that I can find that you could go out and do for yourself. Helping others can help to heal your own suffering. That is a proven fact in this world. If you reach out and help another human being you heal a hurt inside of you. These children that you help will not forget you or the things that you do to try and help them. I know you are hurting inside and I understand and this is a way to heal what is ailing you and your heart.  Couples can benefit from this as well. Reach out and take a chance!

 Quiescent Aureate Serpent
© 2013 (COVVHA) Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance INC.  All rights reserved.

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Agent Orange www.covvha.net James Lange

James Lange

Please remember if you are a Vietnam Veteran, a wife of a Vietnam Veteran, or the child of a Vietnam Veteran, you are not alone. There are thousands of us who have struggled for decades with illness, loss, and diminished quality of life due to the chemical defoliant Agent Orange. Agent Orange was sprayed repeatedly over Southeast Asia, exposing our veterans to the 20 million gallons of dioxin laced herbicide throughout their time in Vietnam. They were told it was nothing to worry about, that it was safe, and when they began falling ill, they were called crazy.

Today I will share one story of a local woman’s battle as a result of her husband’s time in Vietnam. I met Joye, who is from Mineral Ridge, Ohio, through social media. I knew her husband was a Vietnam Veteran and that her son was ill, however it wasn’t until last month when I saw her Facebook wall full of people sharing their sympathy to her and her family that I knew something had gone terribly wrong. Joye and I live close to one another, and I reached out, asking if we could meet. Agreeing, she invited me to her home, and as we sat in her warm kitchen on a cold March morning with her sister Rosie, Joye began to share.

It was after his time in Vietnam that Joye met her husband George at a dance. George had served in the Marine Corps from 1967 to 1970, including two tours in Vietnam, in Da Nang, Quang Tri, and other areas in a motor transport division. He experienced the Tet Offensive and in the process of his service, he was exposed to Agent Orange. George was actually a Canadian citizen at the time of his service, but the Marine Corps turned a blind eye and allowed him to serve.

Joye reminisced about the early times in their relationship, and with a smile she remembered the early days. She spoke of the nervousness she felt after the dance where they met. “I noticed at the dance, he started to sweat porously. I asked him if he was ok. He said yes,” said Joye,” adding that after the dance, he had to go back to Camp Pendleton, and she didn’t hear from him for three weeks. She had almost given up hope on a second date, when he called to apologize, sharing that he had come down with Malaria and had almost died. Eventually, George and Joye were married.

In 1973, their first son James was born. Joye had labored for 47 hours. James was a large baby; more than nine pounds. As their son grew, they noticed some developmental issues. The fingers on one of his hands seemed stunted; Joye described them as being “stubby.” His fine motor skills were delayed, and he had a speech impediment. By age five, he had his enlarged tonsils removed. Problems continued to develop; as James suffered hearing loss and anxiety, causing him to literally shake when he was excited.

A large boy, James endured being bullied and teased as a child and became an introvert. It wasn’t until he was in his thirties that James would finally be diagnosed with an adrenal problem which explained his size. Unfortunately, it was before that, that James had begun coping with his anxiety with an eating disorder. He whittled his six foot frame down to 135 pounds.

James had his first mental break down, which included a full-blown episode of mania, at 23 years of age. It couldn’t have come at a worse time, as the day James slipped into psychosis, his father George was scheduled to have angioplasty on his heart. Tearfully explaining how difficult the day was, “I felt so torn, I wanted to be with my son, but I also needed to be there for my husband,” said Joye. Becoming tearful as well, Rosie reassured her, saying, “We took care of him Joye, you needed to be with George.”

Joye’s husband George has seen his struggles as well. Sharing that she feels her husband should have been diagnosed with PTSD, “He suffered from a lot of anxiety,” she said of her husband. George has ischemic heart disease, diabetes and peripheral neuropathy all of which are recognized by the VA as illnesses brought on by Agent Orange exposure. He also lost his hand in an industrial accident in 2002. Currently, George is rated at 60% by the Veterans Administration.

Although George was at home when I visited, he did not come out to introduce himself to me. Asked if she and her husband ever talk about the war and the effect it has had on their family, Joye looked down and said, “No, he really never talks about it.”

Tragedy struck Joye and George, when Joye suffered a miscarriage while pregnant with their second child in 1977. Joye recalled having three vivid dreams about having a miscarriage prior to it happening. “I was told the baby was deformed,” she said.” Her eyes filling with tears again, her sister moved close to her. I asked her if it was a hard time in her life, to which she tearfully replied, “Yes, very traumatic.”

Finding happiness again in 1978, Joye gave birth to their second son, Jason. “He has always been thin but has issues with his GI tract. He has terrible social anxiety. Now, he has no health insurance, so he doesn’t take care of his medical problems. He does what he can to see a therapist on a regular basis for his social anxiety,” said Joye.

As her sons grew into adulthood, James, her oldest, continued to add illnesses to what he was already dealing with, and over the course of his lifetime, suffered with asthma, heart disease, congestive heart failure, schizoaffective disorder, salivary cyst, blood infections, pulmonary embolism, anorexia /obesity, and diabetes. Through it all, when he was healthy enough, he worked as a medical technician.

“Throughout his life he was very brave. He always told jokes, which made everyone laugh. I don’t think many people knew how James struggled, but as his mother I knew. At times, he felt like there was no way he would every find someone to love and spend his life with,” said Joye. Fate had a way of intervening.

Crossing one more hurdle, James became engaged to lovely women named Dawna. They planned to be married on October 26, 2013, having known one another for 13 years. Having paid for everything for the wedding and honeymoon, everything was set; however, two months into their engagement, James’s health suddenly took a turn for the worse.

Lying on the couch complaining he just wasn’t feeling well, both his mother and fiancé’ became extremely concerned. Taking him to the hospital, it was discovered that James had gone into septic shock, and while there, his organs shut down and he suffered a heart attack. Two months after his engagement, at the age of 39, James slipped away. He died on February, 12, 2013.

“Knowing how much James suffered during his life makes it so hard to deal with his death,” Joye stated. As I sat with her and Rosie, the grief was thick.

As I listened to Joye’s story, I could not help but be reminded of my own family struggle. My dad, a Vietnam Veteran, was also exposed to Agent Orange. My Mother suffered two miscarriages; I was born in 1972 with multiple birth defects. My Mom went on to have another miscarriage between my brother and me. My brother was born in 1978, without birth defects but currently struggles with mysterious body aches.

Instead of losing an adult sibling, it was my father who passed away at a young age. At 38, he had five bypasses on his heart. At 40, he developed diabetes, at 48 he had a stroke, and at 50, he died of a massive heart attack. All the while, the VA denied my father’s service connected disability. My birth defects are not recognized by the Veterans Administration.

The sad fact is, we may never have a clear number of just how many children of Vietnam Veterans have been negatively impacted by Agent Orange. We have already lost so many to miscarriage, devastating birth defects and a life time of perpetual illnesses, like James. How do you compensate a parent’s loss like that? Joye made a point saying, “I always believe the damage was done on the cellular level.” She may just be right, current epigenetic research is finding trans-generational instances of birth defects happening in the offspring of female mice exposed to dioxin (Skinner, 2012).

Currently, the United States government denies there are any illnesses caused by Agent Orange in the children of Vietnam Veterans. It recognizes one birth defect in the offspring of male Vietnam Vets, Spina Bifida, but only the two rarest forms. This is covered because when the children of Ranch Hand veterans (those who actually did the spraying) were studied there was a higher instance of neural tube defects. There are currently eighteen plus birth defects acknowledged and compensated for in the children of female Vietnam Veterans. The government denies these birth defects were caused by herbicide on the VA website. They claim the birth defects are related to the woman’s time in Vietnam, not herbicide.

This is clearly a money game pure and simple. There were only 8,000 women who served in Vietnam compared to 2.8 million men. If they open that can of worms, they will have to pay a lot of people. They are using the same tactic they have used on our dying Vietnam Veteran fathers. Deny until they die. We have always been in the same boat as the veterans. It’s just becoming more evident as we age. As more of us begin to die from our unexplained illnesses like James Lange, the less number of us the government ever has to acknowledge, ultimately saving money.

(COVVHA) Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance, INC. has discovered many common illnesses in their membership; several types of Cancer, Autoimmune Diseases, Diabetes, Ischemic Heart Disease, and many more. There is no collective research going on to address these issues in our ailing generation. Asking Joye what she would like to see done, “I want to see compensation for all of the people who have had to live this. It’s been too long. It shouldn’t be done after all of us (Vietnam Veterans and their wives) have died. We will end up leaving our children and grandchildren sick and dying without help,” she said.

Another question to ask is why is there such a high instance of mental illness, learning disabilities, and developmental delays in the children of Vietnam Veterans? Is it the whole time honored debate of nature versus nurture? Do the kids of Vietnam Veterans seem to have a higher instance of mental illness because they were raised in a home dealing with the aftermath of war? Or do the kids of Vietnam Veterans have a higher instance of mental illness or learning disabilities, because they were changed epigenetically due to their father’s exposure to Agent Orange?

(COVVHA) Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance, INC. encourages its members to self-report any illnesses they suffer from. Out of 500 members in January 2013, there were over 700 reports of types and instances of mental illness in its membership. Not every child of a Vietnam Veteran struggles with mental illness, but it is a constant hurdle in many of our lives. Not enough is being done to make sure the children of Vietnam Veterans are getting the health care they need to properly manage their mental health issues.

In Australia, the government offers free counseling to Veterans and veteran’s families through the VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counseling Service. It is specialized, free, confidential counseling for Australian veterans, peacekeepers and their families. They provide treatment for war related mental health issues. Our children of veterans in the United States have no extra support in dealing with the aftermath of war. We have endured difficulties such as; growing up with a Vietnam Vet trying to readjust to civilian life, being born with disabilities due to our father’s dioxin exposure, watching our veteran fathers die prematurely of service connected deaths from Agent Orange, and dealing with chronic debilitating illnesses. When we seek help we mostly find practitioners who have no idea the toll war can take on a family. We become discouraged and think we are alone.

The children of Vietnam vets need an intervention. We need the United States government to make policy changes to ensure that those of us who have disabilities from our father’s exposure are compensated, eligible for health care, mental health care, and vocational training as needed. It’s time to take responsibility for what has been done to us and our families.

Vietnam Vets are now watching their grandchildren being born with multiple birth defects, developmental problems, Spina Bifida, rare illnesses, and the like. This is the third and newest generation to have to play out this horrible science experiment. Our Vietnam Veteran’s lives have been a cruel game of Russian roulette, they have watched as Agent Orange has not only destroyed their own health, but is now moving through the genes of the their children and grand children. Ultimately many do not dodge the Agent Orange bullet.

Rest in Peace James Lange, a beloved 39 year-old child of a Vietnam Veteran. He did not fight in the jungle, but fought his whole life despite.

COVVHA continues to provide support for the children of Vietnam Veterans who believe their life has been negatively affected by Agent Orange. If you would like more information please visit us at www.covvha.net.

By: Heather A. Bowser, LPCC
© 2013 (COVVHA) Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance INC.
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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© 2014 ‎(COVVHA) Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance INC