Who? Us?

We are two disabled, oldish women who have been adventuring through life for years. We are talking about how disabilities, both visible and not, change the way we enjoy our retirement.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Invisible Ones: KnowThy History

So this isn't my first rodeo.   
I didn't connect the dots at first.  Not until the md who diagnosed my Chronic Fatigue (CFS), Fibromyalgia (Fibro), etc., etc.,  mentioned that "most people who develop these... had a history of thyroid problems."

I didn't know, in the late 1980's, that my bout with Grave's Disease (hyperthyroidism) was a portent of things to come.

I knew something was up when my family lived in Berlin, Ger.  With my ex stationed at Templehof AFB and me working for the US Army, the two of us and our three boys were doing the best we could to make a life there.  Now, Berlin is cold, damned cold in the winter months with the sun not reaching its apex for almost four months.  In spite of that, I'd get over-heated quickly, sweated walking to and from work in my faux-fur-lined boots or inside sitting at my desk.  I was getting very tired but didn't sleep well.  My anxiety was ratcheting up and up. My arms and hands trembled sometimes.

But I pawned all this off to the hypervigilance we had to maintain.  It was Kadafi and the Red Army Faction then, blowing up Americans (and others, collaterally) in Europe.  The Armed Forces Network (AFN) repeatedly cautioned adults and children to be on the lookout for "strangers" and "strange objects".  We were directed to check under our vehicles each morning - before keying the ignition.  "Officer Friendly", with his big grin, told the kiddies to go tell their mom or dad if they found an "unknown object" on the playground.  

There were bomb threats at the boy's schools.  Soon machine-gun mounted-armed-troops escorted their school buses to and from home and school.  The army built a 12 foot high, razor-wire topped fence around our shopping area and the kids rec center.  The police blotter I received every morning as part of my job, reported all the un-exploded bombs found in our neck of the woods - as well as the misbehavior of American civilians with whom I worked.   

Then there was Chernobyl.  

The spring of 1986 was gorgeous.  Longer and longer cool, sunny days and shorter and shorter, cooler nights.  We were all outside as much as possible.  The kids had their soccer teams and I played catcher for a women's softball team.  We didn't know until over a month after it happened - as the radiation had laid over us day after day like an invisible blanket.  The powers that be told us not to wo, rry, just shower or bathe "thoroughly" every evening and "don't let your kids play out in the rain... or in rain puddles... or, pick the mushrooms in the fall (a yearly event for all).  The folks in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden could not eat the reindeer, nor could the Brits, their mutton.  But... the radiation would have no long term effects, "they" told us.

Well, none of us glow in the dark. Yet.  But exposure to radiation is noted as a possible cause of thyroid problems.  And stress is, too. Those four years in Germany, alone, had produced enough stress to weaken anyone's immune system.  And stress is a known cause of autoimmune conditions.  

Those Invisible Ones.

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