Sunday, February 18, 2018

You Were Never There

Here is something that has been going through my mind for the last few days. My father passed away in October. He was an Army veteran and had told me he was in Vietnam. He had nothing to prove this and I had never asked for proof because why would he lie to me?

I had written a paper on him and his experiences when I was in high school. I remember it clearly. I had asked him if he would be willing to be interviewed for it and he told me to sit down and pay close attention because he was only going to tell his story once. He didn't like talking about it and he would never speak of it again.

His story was vivid, and he went into as much detail as he could. I remember my father waking up in the middle of the night at times rushing outside because he couldn't breath. I had heard it was because he was having flashbacks from when he was in Vietnam, being in a tunnel, and someone had gassed it; he was trying to get out of the tunnel so he could breath again. I had felt shrapnel from a mortar in his scalp.

He would tell me about his first stint in the army when he was in Germany, met a German woman, and married her. How she died in a car accident. I have that photo of him and her together in Germany. His stories included "a buddy of mine", never any names that I can remember... and he would tell me he learned not to make friends with anyone because then it wouldn't hurt so much when they were killed.

After my father dies I wrote to the National Archives asking for his full military records including anything from Vietnam. A few days ago I got a letter back with the information I already had from his time in service with a note stating there were no records or orders to substantiate any service in Vietnam and his overseas duty was in Germany.

Now here is where things get confusing, at least for me.They gave me a list of his medals. One of them is the Overseas Service Ribbon with the numeral 2. This means he was overseas twice. When he was in Germany when I was a kid (I was there too) he never went back overseas after that. He never went before that for that current enlistment. My mother and he got married, he was stationed in Washington, then stationed in Germany, and then Colorado; he finished his enlistment out in Colorado. What was the other overseas tour?? Was it the time he was there and met his wife? I am trying to remember if he said he was there stationed or just went there on R&R. How was he in then and able to not get sent to Vietnam? Something is missing here.

I am not sure where to go from here. I am going to send off for his Selective Service record, since he was of age during the Vietnam draft. I am going to send off for as much information as I can, but not knowing who he served with, or any other details because my father was a SUPER private man is going to make this difficult. I refuse to believe he lied to me. I have done some searching online and have seen numerous other Vietnam vets that have been told "You were never there", and trying to find a way to prove it because they needed to make a claim with the VA because of cancer or something else connected to their service in Vietnam. This isn't right. I refused to allow my father's memory to be sullied by the government that can't ever keep records straight.

This might explain why my father chose to be buried in the local cemetery rather than in a national cemetery. He probably knew they lost his records, he probably knew they were denying he was there, and he didn't have the energy or means to fight it. He was also too proud a man to discuss any of his issues he had had with the VA over many years. He wanted to be remembered for his service in Vietnam on his headstone and he made sure he was. If he was buried in a national cemetery he wouldn't have been remembered as such. It was his way of telling them FUCK YOU I WAS THERE!

Anyway, I am feeling lost, and apart from requesting his selective service record I am not sure where to go from here. If anyone knows, please let me know.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Time to Catch Up...

Here again! My last post was almost 4 years ago... damn. I am awful.A friend of mine from when I lived in Germany suggested I start writing again as stress relief. Goodness knows I need to. No one is probably reading this anymore, but if anything I am getting it out. Facebook is not a diary, but this can be... sort of. SOOOOOOOOOO much has happened in that 4 years, and I am not even sure how to even start on what has been going on.

When I last posted I believe I was working Loss Prevention at AAFES, I did that for a few years and then quit for a job at MWR that I left out of misery and then started working as a Loss Prevention Manager at Lowe's in Fairbanks. While I had a few issues while I was working there I loved my job, loved my fellow LPM's in Anchorage, and loved the boss I had.

The most recent thing is we are no longer in Alaska. We moved to Texas in July 2017 and it has been nothing short of a culture shock to me. I quit my job that I LOVED in Alaska to move because big army said so and was unable to find a job for 6 months. The job I left in Alaska opened the day we landed in Texas and so I applied for it, I interviewed, I was not selected. I was devastated. Every job I applied for I was either completely ignored, got a thanks but no thanks email, or called for an interview and then rejected (sometimes radio silence after an interview which I found EXTREMELY unprofessional). I finally got a job but I hate it. I mean, I love what I am doing (loss prevention), but management is toxic and the pay sucks horribly. They can't blame it on Texas vs. Alaska because places off post (yes, I am working for AAFES, seems I have come full circle in a way... boo) here in Texas pay more than this place does. I have 3+ years of experience and a masters degree and I am getting low wages. I took the job because I panicked and was desperate. My unemployment was about to run out and no one was hiring me. I was wondering if something was wrong with me... but people have been telling me that here it is not about what you know it is about WHO you know. I have never had that issue before.

My father passed away in October. I have not seen him since right before we moved to Germany. I called him often, but I was never able to get to Nebraska to see him... I feel awful about that.  It was apparent by how he was living that he was a very lonely and depressed man. I hope in death he has found the peace he couldn't find in life. He died of natural causes, but you could tell he had given up.

A few years ago my daughter was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and ADHD. As it stands now it's just anxiety and ADHD, and she has made some MASSIVE strides in her own recovery and I have had to be a strong advocate for her. I was taking her to counseling appointments weekly, then biweekly. I was taking her to appointments for medications she needed. I was fighting with army docs over medications. Just recently she was diagnosed with endometriosis. She is taking it well and hoping it was caught early enough to not have caused much damage internally so that she can have children some day. She will be graduating high school next year if all goes well.

I called it quits on my last attempt at a masters degree. I finished all my coursework and stopped at practicum and internship because of some major soul searching. With everything going on in my life; with my husband with PTSD and my daughter with her anxiety, and with me being the one to deal with it I realized that if I became a counselor I would NEVER get a break. I would burn out FAST. It wasn't the right time for me to do it.... and while my passion behind doing it is the same, I realized that my passion wouldn't save whatever sanity I have left.

So here is some good stuff! We got another dog. The husband named him Sapper because "he was going to be his dog", but Sapper decided that I was his human... I wanted to name him Bear, either way we had to change the name he came to us with: "T-Bone"... this dog is not a steak. I have a job interview on Tuesday and I hope that it ends well because I need out of the job I have. Fingers crossed! It's just a supervisor position, but its better than what I have now and if I get it I can have an easier track into management.

I cleaned out my Facebook from a LOT of negativity. People who I had thought were friends that were just a cancer eating away at my confidence and whatnot. At first I kept them around to keep an eye on them, but then realized I won't see any bullshit on there so I realized better to cut ties and be done with it... it actually relieved a lot of stress. I keep my friend circle small and share very little with people because I have trust issues. I am too old for high school drama.

I will do my best to blog regularly again and make them more entertaining than this one was. I just felt like I needed to explain why I was gone for so long. Something has to change. The stress I am under has caused me to emotionally eat, which caused me to gain weight, which makes me more unhappy. So here is to hope. Here is to luck.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

PTSD and Cancer

Yes it has been a while, a long while... who would have thought I would get to busy to write??? Maybe I am not too busy, but I have been lacking in motivation. So here is what is new:

My husband's PTSD is getting better, meaning he is learning to manage it better. It is by no means gone, and regardless of what his doctor says it is not in remission (my personal belief is that it can never go into remission, it just becomes a little more manageable with practice and therapy). We have been doing more together as a family like going out for dinner and going to the theater to watch a movie, and while that is an ordeal in itself we have been doing it.

Going out to eat or going to the theater is an ordeal because it always puts my husband in a preemptive trigger. He knows he is going where there will be a lot of people, and he gets very uncomfortable about the thought of it, so he will either become the asshole and go in a bad mood or try to pick a fight so that he can say "Fuck it, go without me."

Last weekend we went to go see Gabriel Iglesias at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. Before we left he was being crabby, we went to dinner first and he claimed he was not hungry and did not order anything, after we left the restaurant he was hungry so we hit up the McDonald's drive through. Going into the arena he stalled by having to have a cigarette, then when we sat down he was focusing on everyone around us commenting on the way they were dressed, the way they looked, etc. To be fair there was one girl there who was wearing a bra and shirt WAY too small for her which gave her 4 boobs... even Fluffy couldn't believe her fashion faux pas judging by the look on his face, lol:

It looked ridiculous. The husband remarked that he was surprised no one said how stupid she looked before she left the house.

Once the show started he was fine. He was laughing and enjoying himself, it was a nice break from his PTSD until the show was over and he started noticing everyone around him again. He can be super judgmental and I had to repeatedly remind him to lower his voice and relax. We got to meet Gabriel as well, and then we went home. He said he had a good time and was glad he went. Success!

A few weeks ago my oldest son told me that he had found a lump on his testicle. He had tried to get an appointment, but there were never any spots available, so one day when he had a bad cyst on his back that he wanted looked at and fixed he went to the E.R. and had the lump checked then too. An ultrasound was scheduled and he was referred to a urologist for follow up. Long story short, they were pretty certain that his lump was cancer since it was a solid mass and had its own blood supply. The doctor wanted to remove the testicle and test the lump, my son agreed. So in a time span of two and a half weeks he found a lump and had his testicle removed because of it.

Fun fact:  The testicular cancer ribbon is purple, more specifically orchid purple. The color is orchid purple because orchid literally means testicle in Greek.

Moral of the story? Check yourself! Feel your balls! You may lose a ball, but you will also save your life!