Thank You for Your Service

So, I’m watching the movie, “Thank You for Your Service”, a movie about what happens when a soldier comes home from war.  It deals with PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and the VA health care system.

I remember when I was first discharge from the Marines when I was a young woman and first went to the VA hospital closest to my home in NY.  I filled out paperwork, enrolled in the system and filed a claim.

I was treated like shit.  From the first doctor on.  I was in massive pain, I waited hours to be seen by a doctor.  I had tears streaming down my cheeks as I waited to be called in.  I couldn’t take the pain.  I was miserable.  I was hurting.  I saw the doctor, who gave me nothing; but a referral to Psych.  I went to the VA Psych hospital and was taken to a room where I was patted down by two male security guards, who only used the metal detective wand on the males and was treated to a groping.  I then saw the doctor, who made the situation worse and I left there feeling 10x’s worse and assaulted.

The movie tells the characters that it will take up to 12 weeks for the claim to go through; but realistically, it’s more like 6-9 months.  For me, it took 2 years.  I filed in October 1994 and received benefits in October 1996.

The problem is and always will be that the system is broken and now that we have even more service men and women filing everyday, it’s like putting twenty pound bag of sugar on a scale that only measure up to a pound.  It’s going to break and the sad thing is these men and women NEED the help, desperately.

I hurt so much for them.  I feel their pain.  I dream their nightmares.  I struggle, still, with a system that doesn’t give a fuck about it’s patience or those that serve this country after they leave service.

I was last seen by a doctor at the VA clinic September 2016, right after losing my best friend.  You are supposed to be seen at least once a year or you are unenrolled.  My prescriptions are renewed with just an email and when I tried, several times, to get an appointment, I’ve been given the run around.  I’d love to ask them, “Who do I have to kill in order to get an appointment?”, but I don’t want to get arrested or something.  SMH

As the movie ends, they tell you that the real men, whom the story is about, did finally get help.  It’s good to hear.  It’s nice to know that they are still out there and not part of the suicide statistic that is so high in the veteran community.

Everyone has a story to tell about their VA experience.  My father goes to the one in Miami.  He loves it.  His claim was quick and he’s treated like a king there.  Of course, it is veteran run.  People who know what the military is like and how to treat their fellow veterans.  I’m happy for him.  Wouldn’t it be great if the whole system was so much better?

I remember a few years ago hearing about how one VA facility had a makeover of it’s waiting areas and how it was so needed and they asked on veteran what he thought and they were not prepared for his answer, that’s for sure.  It would have been a better use of money had they revamped care and not where we have to wait for care.  That money would have helped more people on the medical side of things, don’t you think?  Yeah, they didn’t like it at all.  I had the same feeling they did.

Shortly after my friend died, I was having a conversation with a long time friend who had the opportunity to meet with President Trump on his campaign trail, before he was president.  Trump had asked those in attendance about VA health care and my friend told him what I had spent the last year dealing with at the local clinic and how my best friend had died because of their lax medical practices and his aid took notes on it.  I hope that it will help other veterans in the future.

 

 

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Women Veterans

I am a 100% service connected disabled veteran.  What does that mean?  It means that I received an injury while in military service to this country.  I’m also a woman veteran.  When I joined the USMC I was part of only 1% of the military that were women.  Now, almost 11% of our military force are women.  What an increase.

I bring this up on the eve of Memorial Day; because I am currently watching the 2018 National Memorial Day Concert on PBS.  They made a salute to women veterans and gave the history of women in military service since the Revolutionary war to the present.  They told of women disguising themselves as boys in order to fight in the Revolution from Britain right up to the present, where women are flying jets and are now even 4-star generals.

Back in the mid 90’s, I was discharged by the USMC due to my injury.  I went to the VA Hospital in NY and was in for the biggest culture shock of my life.  Not only was the VA ill equipped to help women; but they were hardly even helping men.  It was disgusting.  Things such as gowns for patients were nonexistent.

My experience and treatment was horrible and after telling a friend about what I had personally gone through, he introduced me to the Women Veteran’s Coordinator and I soon became a part of the solution.  We met monthly.  I spoke with women veterans who wouldn’t use the VA for health care due to their not being equipped to care for us.  With millions of baby steps, they just held a Baby Expo at the VA facility in St. Pete.  Things have changed and thankfully for the better.

Now, I’m not saying it is the best health care in the world; because it’s not.  Backlogs, no available appointments, shitty attitudes from staff members, etc. still prevail.  I mean, I’ve not seen a doctor their since Sept. 2016 and even though I’ve tried to get an appointment, I’ve been put on hold until they’ve hung up on me or told they’d get back to me and I’m just grateful I have Medicare or I’d be dead by now.

I’ve seen specialists both at the VA and the private sector; both of which have told me that with my multiple drug allergies and no cure or surgical options, I’m screwed.  It sucks; but it can’t be helped.

I remember my mother saying multiple times “Marine Wife, hardest job in the Corps.” and I got so pissed off and told her so.  “Mom, I hate to burst your bubble; but it’s not the hardest job.  Being a Woman Marine is the hardest job.  We have to work twice as hard, do twice as much, prove ourselves daily to be good enough and endure men who think the only thing a Woman Marine is good for is a turn on her back.”  She didn’t like that at all.

I was getting ready to graduate boot camp and we were at the photographers for our picture and a male platoon came into the area; because they were next.  Their drill instructor turned to his platoon and said to them, “Here they are, boys, the next platoon of Marine sluts getting ready to graduate.”  My DI never said a word.  I know my platoon was humiliated and embarrassed.  It’s something I will never forget.  It’s a shame that some men feel it is okay to speak to others that way.

I’m proud of my service and would do it again if I could.  Granted, I don’t believe that a woman should be in combat; but if a woman wants to do so, she can now.  I loved my military service.  I loved my job as an aircraft accountant.  I loved the people I worked with and the lifelong friends I’ve made and stay in touch with.

My story has been published in 3 books, shared at the Women In Military Service for America Memorial, as well as shared by myself at meetings across both NY State and Florida.

I have hope that one day the VA will provide great care to veterans.  As I reflect back on my time in service, I Thank the women who came before me that afforded me the opportunity to serve this great nation.  Without them, I could not have served this great nation of ours.  I love the USA!

School Walk Out

We do not need stronger gun control laws, what we do need is better Mental Health Care.  Laws don’t stop criminals.  Laws don’t stop gun violence.  An unarmed citizenship allows dictatorships to become a reality, just ask the Jews from WWII.

I remember while I was still in school, Bernie Goetz shot and seriously wounded four men who tried to rob him on the subway.  This was not the first time he’d faced attackers trying to rob him and when the first time ended in the attackers getting a slap on the wrist, he got angry.  This seems to me to be the start of people taking social injustices into their own hands.

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, advocating for any type of vigilante justice or justifying anyone shooting anyone.  However, I should be able to carry a gun in order to protect myself and property from anyone.  I can also do a lot of damage with a knife, a bat, a crowbar, a broken glass bottle, etc.  If I am wanting to do damage, I will find a way to do it, regardless of the weapon and will get any kind of weapon, illegally or not to do it.  That’s just the way people work.

If I want to hurt you badly enough, I will find the means with which to do it.  It is that simple.

On the other side of the coin, we have a lot more mental illness springing up all over the place.  PTSD is running rapidly through our military, domestic violence sufferers, accident victims and violence survivors.  We have bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, ADHD, depression, dementia and OCD that cause our brains to act in a non-normal way.  Sometimes they are easily identified and sometimes they are not.  Sometimes they are controlled with medication, sometimes they are not.  The stigma we have placed on mental disorders has people who suffer them hiding in shame.

I remember when I was 13 years old and suffered from chronic ear infections (and still do to this day) my pediatrician told my parents it was psychosomatic (all in my mind) and my father freaked out fearing they’d stick this in my medical records, stigmatizing me for life as someone with a mental disorder.  Crazy, right?  True!

We, as a society, need to tear off the Band-Aid that hides people in a closet of shame for being sick.  We do not choose to be this way, it just happens.  Whether it is because of trauma, chemical imbalance, birth/DNA or whatever the reason, mental illnesses are no different than having cancer, influenza, Lupus, arthritis, liver disease, etc.  It is out of the person’s hands and is no more controllable than the sun rising and setting.

I suffer PTSD.  I also take Cymbalta for it.  I will never be able to come off of this drug; because of it.  Without this drug, I can’t go out in public, I suffer in anxiety in crowds, I have uncontrollable episodes of rage and violence, incredible bouts of fear, my mind likes to cycle into madness and my fight or flight response is in overdrive.  I am not ashamed of my PTSD; because it shows the world that I survived what could have destroyed me.  I have had four traumatic instances in my life that have caused me to be at this point in my life and each one could have easily destroyed a weaker person.  I think of it as a badge of honor, not a stigma of shame.  I wish others could feel the same about themselves.

I don’t want to see another school shooting.  I don’t want to see another Oklahoma City bombing.  I don’t want to see another Washington Sniper or Las Vegas Shooter.  I want to see mental health care given a priority.  I want the stigma removed from it.  I want us to live in a better, more caring world.

Taking our guns away will not stop the violence.  Those who wish to do harm will find a way.  We need to wake up and help our fellow humans to be better humans.  Wake up, people!!!  We are turning into our own worse nightmare and if we’re not careful, we may wake up imprisoned by the very people who want to use violence against us.

Walking out for gun violence is not going to solve anything and most who walk out will only do it to get out of class.  Addressing the underlying issue will go a lot further than unarming our citizens.

Whatever you decide to do, be safe while doing it.

God Bless!

 

Warrior

I am the Warrior!

I am not just a survivor.  I THRIVE!

I am the phoenix rising out of the ashes.

You can kick me down; but I will always get up.

I WILL RISE AGAIN!

All that life has handed me has fallen by the wayside.

I have been molested.  I have been raped.  I have been beaten.  I have been hated by those who should have loved me.  I have an auto-immune disease that knocks me down; but has yet to take my life.

I have stared death in the face 7 times to date and still I live.

I am strong!  I have a monster inside of me that will not die.  She is a conqueror.

I am the hero of my own story.  It is the story that God has guided me through, encouraged me to keep going and to be the conqueror of.  It is not the story of the weak; but of the strong.

I am not a princess to be saved. I am not a damsel in distress.  I do not wait for a man to rescue me; but depend on Christ who gives me strength (Phil. 4:13); because greater  is He who is within me than he who is living in the world. (1 John 4:4).  And to Him be the glory given.

warrior

 

Suicide is not an option……

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I know I’ve mentioned it before; but in case you didn’t remember, I’ve escaped death 7 times.  Yup, that’s right.  Faced it, died, & survived.  God was not finished with me yet.  I still have work to do on this planet and despite living in immense amounts of pain, I still have a purpose.

It’s hard being me.  With a million and one reasons to die, I still live.  Take the Trigeminal Neuralgia.  It’s nickname is “The Suicide Disease” because it is listed as the most painful disease in the world.  This year marks my 25 year as a sufferer for 24/7 365 days of torment. That is more than 1/2 of my life.  It sucks.  A neurologist once commented on how surprised he was that I was still alive; because so many don’t last as long as I have with the severity that I suffer with it.

However, trying to end it all is not an option.  Even though I have been hurt by those who love me, I just can’t do the same to them.  Plus, I love my son too much to leave him with that kind of legacy.  Heck, shortly after being discharged for the TN, a friend of my sister’s killed himself.  This led to a discussion between my other sister and father about the subject.  My father said he’d never forgive the person who did it and my sister told him that the only one she would forgive is me.  She just couldn’t imagine living my life.  This knocked me for a loop.  They had no idea I had tried a year earlier and lived.  They had no idea that upon waking that I figured out that God had another purpose for me and ending my life was not one of them, this being his second time for saving me from death.

I remember when my friend tried and I called an ambulance for him.  I remember how much it hurt me that he tried to give up on his life.  He suffered terribly with PTSD and drank and overate and the list goes on.  His health deteriorated and he passed a year ago.  His attempt hit me hard.  He told me to “get over it”; because it had nothing to do with me.  I was not permitted to feel anything over this situation.  I was not permitted to do anything; but suffer silently.

That’s the thing.  When facing suicide, the person contemplating it doesn’t see anyone but themselves.   Some use it as a cry for help.  Some truly want to die.  Some want pity.  Some need attention.  Some succeed.  And some destroy those around them by leaving behind so many unanswered questions, guilt, heartbreak, nightmares, and more.

Suicide is more than taking a life.  It is destroying those who love and care for you.  There is nothing so bad in this life that dying is the only answer!!!!  You will have your heart torn out of your chest, stomped on and left in the dirt by someone you love.  Time will heal your heart and God will fill in the gaps.  You will get fired.  You will lose a loved one.  You will crash your car, be homeless, have no money, or a million other tragedies and you can survive!

Several years ago, I came across a link to an article bearing a familiar name.  It was about a young Marine who was over in the Gulf and lost both legs.  On the page was a photo of the young man as a boy with his two sisters.  I took that picture.  It was one Thanksgiving over in Japan.  The beautiful, smiling face stared back at me and the memories of my time overseas, with this family, flashed before me.  I held that boy in my arms and read to him.  I baby sat him.  I worked with his dad.

As I read the article, I found out about what his community was doing for him as a disabled veteran.  His mother recalled how this young man was such a happy go lucky person and that despite this “setback” he was still that same guy.  The once 6′ 3″ man was now closer to half that tall, uses a wheelchair most of the time, is an encouragement to those he knows and to those he doesn’t.  What to some is a horrible disability, to him is a life.  He even visits other veterans and offers encouragement to them in their own situations.  I’m so impressed with this young man and even contacted him.

Suicide was NOT an option.  His wife and child believe this as well.

You will face tragedy, that is a sure thing.  You can and will survive.  So many times, I’ve reached out to God in conversation about the life I have led and why I had to go through so much heartache.  Though He gives no answers, I am comforted by the fact that He loves me so much that he won’t even allow me to die.  I am that important.

I have been hated by my parents and sisters.  I have been molested by a sick uncle.  I was forcibly raped and brutalized.  I was beaten and abused.  I have been cheated on by a man who “vowed” to love me forever.  He nearly killed me.  I have been lied to, ignored, verbally abused, and I am still here.  I have stared evil in the face and I am still here.  I have sacrificed my needs and wants to care for others who would never do the same for me.  I have saved lives and I have held the hands of those who slipped away from this life.  I have lived in hell and yet, I am still HERE!

After my failed attempt, I accepted that God has an important job for me here.  So, I thrived and survived all this world has thrown at me.  I have risen up out of the ashes of my past in order to show the world what triumph is.  I kneel at the foot of my Father’s throne and arise, wearing the full armor of the Lord so that I may battle the forces of evil.  I am a warrior!  I am the phoenix!  I am the SURVIVOR!!!

Suicide is NOT an option!

Not My America

It’s a sad day here in the USA.  It seems that the whole country has gone mad.  It is no longer “My America” any longer.

My America is beautiful.  We’re diverse, we’re proud, we’re free and we’re grateful to those who paved the way.  My America is color blind, kind and gives a helping hand.  My America salutes the flag, kneels before God and stands proud to claim to be American.

Growing up in America, I was raised in a small town in New York with only one traffic light, best friends who were black, Puerto Rican and Jewish, went to church on Sunday at our local Catholic church and even attended more than one Saturday evening in the Synagogue, worshiping with my best friend, Heather.

In the summer, we all swam in the lake and winters skating on that same lake.  We had numerous sleep overs, hikes up the mountain and overnight camping trips to various locations with the folks.  I’ve marched in many a Veteran’s and Memorial Day parades as a girl scout and attended more than one function at the local American Legion Post and our Elks Lodge.

I respected my elders and God forbid I gave them sass, because my Mom and Dad would find out and I’d be in deep waters.    I volunteered to help others.  I made regular visits to my grandparents and celebrated holidays like Christmas and Easter in school!  It did not matter that my best friends were white, black and of Indian descent, all that mattered to us was that we liked each other and had the same interests.

We were poor and I never even knew it.  We were on the Government Cheese program where the government brought the dairy surplus from farmers and gave it to those in need.  We got it monthly and even cut the mold off it to eat it when we had it for so long that it began to go bad.  I wore hand-me-downs from my cousins and most of them were male.  LOL!

I was bullied.  I was beaten up by both girls and boys.  I worked it out.  I liked everyone; but not everyone liked me.  My parents didn’t fight my battles, they made me do it myself.  They didn’t involve themselves in kid fight; because kids make up and parents are still angry and it’s over kid stuff.

We celebrated our differences; but we also joined together in our solidarity as Americans.  It is the old school, hometown values that made this country great.

Big Jim and Tiny were the local gay couple we all knew were gay and that you could call on them for help if you needed it.  They also had a cool steam engine in their front yard, which was so cool.  A good friend of the family, a man named Niles, was Jamaican and the darkest skinned man I ever knew and we called him “Uncle” because he was like an uncle to us kids.  We knew to be home by the time the street lights came on and we were hardly ever at home; but out playing and enjoying the fresh air.

If a person wore a uniform, they were an authority figure and we had better behave or we’d be in trouble.  We knew most of the town police and firemen.  They knew who we were, too.  We could walk or ride our bikes anywhere.  We were safe.  We were home.

It’s why I, myself, put on the uniform and served this great nation.  To protect and serve.  To honor what those who came before me had already established so that my children could enjoy the same rights as I did.  And yet, here I am, raising my son in a country I don’t even recognize.  I also have to state that in Sept & Oct 2016, I received a flag for two fallen Marines, both of which served Honorably and passed.

People are killing people for being different.  People are disrespectful to each other.  People are rude and self – centered, self – obsessed, and selfish.  People move to this country and think we need to change to fit into a mold of the country they left.  If it is so important to you to have your customs, why did you leave?  Why should I have to adopt your customs and values?

When I was stationed overseas, I had to adapt to their local customs and ways.  I didn’t go their expecting them to change their laws and customs to accommodate me.  I was expected to follow their ways.  As a matter of fact, everyone who does go to a foreign country in the military, has to go through a weeks worth of orientation before going to their commands so that no one can say they were unaware of local laws, customs and traditions.  Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

With all that has changed in the last 15 years or so, I’m not sure that we’re going to be able to bring this country back to it’s former glory.  It’s a shame.  Yes,  there are problems; but violence doesn’t help.  Protesting doesn’t help.  Treating people with disrespect doesn’t help.  We have to work together in order to work it out.

What I do know is all of this discord is tearing our nation apart.  I’m saddened and wanted so much more for my son.  I’m hurting for our children.  I’m hurting for the country I so love.  I’m hurting for those who are hurting.  I just want my country back.

I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.  Today, not so much.  I was disappointed in the fact that they refrained from even entering the field for the National Anthem.  These men are paid to perform.  They are not a political organization.  They are overpriced showman.  It’s the same with actors/actresses.  They’re paid performers.  They make more than the average American does to entertain us.  Why are we giving them the power to do this?  We need to cut them off.

 

 

 

Amazing Day!!

So, my breathing machine had a message on it “Attention, motor has exceeded limit.” So, I call the VA Sleep Clinic when they open at 8 am.   They get me in TODAY and I get a new machine and a tiny mask to fit my little nose.  OMG it is the smallest one they have for a child and is perfect for me and doesn’t really bother my Trigeminal Nerve like the other ones do.  YEAH!!!  God is good!

I get up at 6:30 am and let the dogs out and wait for the clinic to open.  Well, I log onto FB to post on my church FB page the daily scripture and prayer and after 8 months of praying for my guy to get a better job or at least one where he isn’t traveling as much and LOW & BEHOLD, HE DID!  I freaked out!!

HALLELUJAH!!!!  First step in God’s master plan.  Oh how sweet it is.  I have been on cloud nine ever since.  I tell you, Our God is faithful to those who are faithful and true to him.

Each night, I include in my prayers that God put a protective hedge around my guy, keeping him safe from any harm while traveling to and from work.  I ask God to heal his body, mind, spirit, soul and heart.  I ask God to keep his family safe so that he has no worries for them while he is traveling.  I ask that he meet with Godly people who will keep his eyes focused on the Lord.  I ask God to protect his job or get him one that doesn’t require him to travel and work so many hours.  To let him get enough sleep and rest.  And lastly, I ask God to write our love story so that it is truly beautiful. 

I’m actually giddy to see what He has in store for us!!!!!  I can’t even imagine.  All I know is that God let me know that it will involve a phone call from him to me.  When?  No clue.  How?  No clue.  All I know is that I will at some time in the future.

Knowing, beyond a doubt, that he is going to be mine is a thrill in itself.  I will continue to pray for him, for us and as usual for anyone who is in need.  Pray Until Something Happens.

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Mr. Tin Man

Miranda Lambert has a song out called “Tin Man” which addresses the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, going on about how if he’d ever felt his heart break, he’d never want a heart.  It is such a beautiful song and I just love it.

And here I am, feeling at the end of my rope.  I hate how terrible I am feeling of late.  Summers in Florida are really hard for me with all the storms that plague the area, making me feel so miserable.  Lupus, TN, Fibro, etc. plays hell in these summer storms.

I’d rather die with honor and dignity than the slow and agonizing death of lupus.  The fact that my own body is what is killing me off is poetic justice.  I couldn’t die as a Marine on the battlefield or saving someone’s life; but as a result of the internal battle within my own pathetic body.

My own body can’t fight infection.  I feel so weak where I used to be so strong.  I’m a mess.  After 24 years of struggling with pain, which has always been tough, I find that I’ve reached the end of the road.

I’m so tired.  I just want to give up.  I don’t feel that I can fight this any longer.  It would be so easy to slip away, sleep the eternal rest.   I would take my own life if it wouldn’t leave my son behind and the heartache it would give him.  I can’t do that.

Bravery?  What does it mean?  Is it taking that leap of faith and taking chances?  Is it fighting the unknown for the greater good?  I’m not sure anymore.  I know I’m not brave enough to face the unknown right now.

I listened to Martina McBride’s song, “Anyway” and it makes me want to go forth and do battle; but the emotional turmoil and the heartache to come have me scared.

“You can love someone with all your heart, For all the right reasons, And in a moment they can choose to walk away, Love ’em anyway…… I sing I dream I love anyway”

I used to be a big risk taker; but found I gave my heart to someone who could not take the same risks.  I am so hurt by this.  I’ve decided to close myself off from the world and let it end.  I can’t risk the pain anymore.  I’d love to be able to; but my emotional well being is at stake, as well as my physical well being.

Of course, I have loved my son, whom is the miracle I never knew I would get.  My love for him is eternal.

I know a boy that has faced so much more than I have and he’s but a 10 years old.  Can I give up in the face of what I know “Robo-boy” will be going through?  Can I give up and show him that I’m not as strong as he is?  Is that fair to him?  Can I take away his faith?

Or do I stand strong against impossible odds and fight like the devil to survive the uncertainty that my life has so become?  Decisions are so hard to make right now.

I’m wrapped in barbed wire and roses, if you come too close, you will be hurt.

And I sometimes wish I were like the Tin Man, without a heart.  Just so I won’t feel my heart breaking each day.

God, please get me through this.  I don’t know how much more I can go forward and take in this miserable heart.  Abba, I want to come home.  I want to be with you and walk with you in the cool of the day in Paradise, basking in Your great love.  I’m so tired of stumbling through this horrible world.  What is the point?

Prednisone is Satan’s answer to Lupus.  Take these nasty things and look like a fat, chipmunk cheeked Ompa-Lumpa.  It’s no wonder I’m alone.  I hate that not only is my body beating itself up; but that bastard is invading my mind with his bull sh*t rhetoric.  It’s echoing in my mind.  Has to kick a gal when she’s down.  Jerk!  If I could get my hands on him, I’d kick the crap out of him.

Here it is, the pity train is leaving the station and is on the express line to full blown tantrum.  Crying and upset over a body that is bent on killing itself slowly and a mind full of lies.

All aboard………

unbreakable

 

And the day came….

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The above quote has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  It is a quote that captured my soul from the first time I heard it.  I do not know why; but it has always given me strength when debating a risk in life.

I have suffered debilitating shyness, anxiety and depression over things I have had no control over and at one time, I let it rule my entire life.  NO MORE!  I’ve needed and used this quote to get me through so many things that come naturally to some people.

Suffering through PTSD is hard.  Coming to terms with it was a challenge.  The first time I was in counseling, my therapist worked with me on being raped in the Marine Corp.   Shortly after I had surgery and was on large amounts of narcotics for the pain, my roommate got a phone call in the lounge and left me, asleep, in our room with some guy.  He proceeded to assault me and left before she got back.  Despite the fact that I was heavily medicated, I was able to get up, stumble to the duty officer and report the incident.  I was taken to the clinic and things moved forward.

What I didn’t expect was that the SgtMaj would blame me for the whole thing.  Standing in front of his desk, he proceeded to tell me that had I not been asleep, on drugs and let a man in my room, I would not have been assaulted at all.  He didn’t care that my roommate was the one responsible for creating the situation, he blamed me for not being in my right mind at the time of the incident.

The Court Martial was a joke.  The SgtMaj tainted those who were there and I was basically further humiliated by a man who thought women in the military were only there to slake the lust of the men.  So glad he retired shortly there after.  He was not a man, he was a coward.

For years, I carried this around in my heart, letting it make me sick.  It nearly destroyed me; but I was finally able to overcome it all when I completed 2 years of therapy.  I was able to forgive them all.  My roommate, the SgtMaj & the rapist, not for them; but for me.

I was to the point in my life that I was living in fear.  If I got separated from someone I was out with and could not find them, I’d have a panic attack.  I went from zero to 100 in rage in less than 10 seconds.  My life was out of control.  I needed help.  I am grateful that I found someone who knew how to help me and was able to do so.

My second time in counseling was after my husband tried to kill me.  I am grateful for the therapist who helped me get through the horrible domestic violence, which was close to bringing me back to the darkness.  I was also lucky that my son also received help at the same time, as he was a witness to the events.

June will mark 8 years since I broke free of a 14 year lie.  From October 2009, I spent 2 years in therapy for all that he did to me and I was able to breath again.  This may sound cold and callus; but when my ex died in October 2016, it was such a relief for me and my son.

I was not allowed in session with my son as he went through his own trial with domestic violence; but I was given a report of the abuses he suffered.  I am so glad he was also able to overcome what he experienced.  I never once influenced him.  He began by telling me about what was going on behind my back and I knew if I needed therapy, so did he.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this wonderful quote.  It keeps me going, it reminds me that life is a risk worth taking.  It brings a smile to my face and pushes me to be brave.

The Fallen

I just finished watching an episode of NCIS: LA about a man who was under investigation for “espionage”. He was accessing classified documents and in the end, we found out that what he was really doing was making a tribute to all the brave men & women who died in service to their country in Secret Operations. A tribute to those who gave their lives for me and you!

This brought up memories of another story I know. A true story about an Air Force woman during the Korean War. She was a very good friend of mine for the first 10 years after I left the USMC. Together, we stormed the VA for better treatment, respect for women and better services for all.

JP enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War. She worked in communication and was on the line each day reading all the communication messages that came in listing those who were wounded, missing or killed. JP, being the sensitive and caring person she is, cried for each and every man and woman listed. She later was diagnosed with an ulcer over her worry and strife.

She later married her USAF sweetheart, had three children and became a crusader for veterans with the American Legion. What an honor and privilege to have known her. I carry her in my heart, like the other women veteran’s I have known and love. She’s a wonderful, wonderful person.

Together, we were lucky enough to have gone to the dedication of the Women In Military Service for America (WIMSA) in Washington, D.C. in 2007. We put together a charter bus with 3 buses to go of Women Vets and their loved ones. What a beautiful adventure that was.

JP & I traveled the state of NY, meeting other Women Vets and championing our cause. Twenty plus years ago, Women did not have the kind of care necessary within the system. I remember my first time at the VAMC where the doctor, after spending more than 5 hours to see him, decided that my pain was secondary to my mental health. My pain was (on a scale of 1 – 10) at a 20 and I was on verge of vomiting, when he decided I was depressed and needed to see a shrink. It was a hard start for me. I went to their mental facility only to be given a “pat down” by two male guards and put into a state of distress. To say the VA was women friendly was a joke. I did later report the incident to the head of the hospital; but the lasting effects were hard on me.

Anyway, we had a number of women who met together and made plans, implemented changes and helped to make the VA more women friendly than it ever was. At the time I entered, you couldn’t get much in the way of women’s services. Mammograms, Paps, etc. were not the standard. Oh and we also made sure that men and women were given gowns to wear during exams, which at our hospital was unheard of. Anyway, I am grateful to my dear friend, who has a heart of gold and a beauty that is rare. Still great love for her and her family. ❤