Vietnam: The Battle at Home

By Barry H.
See the guy in the picture. Nice smile on the outside, but inside, not so much. That is what it’s like living with essential thrombocythemia. It’s a life sentence without parole. The need for MPN advocacy and continued MPN research is essential or there would be no smile at all. Over the last year, in an effort to influence the Veterans Administration, MPN Advocacy and Education International and I have made contact with the almost three hundred Vietnam Veterans with a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) and we continue our outreach to find more.

The VA has denied almost all claims for compensation because they say there is no scientific proof that these diseases resulted from exposure to Agent Orange. Yet, other blood cancers are on their ‘presumptive’ list including, hairy cell leukemia, B Cell leukemia, and multiple myeloma. The ‘presumptive’ list presumes a disease was caused by exposure to AO so why the need for a smoking gun for MPNs.

These afflicted Vietnam veterans from all over the country have one basic thing in common, their exposure to Agent Orange. In my opinion, Agent Orange was “friendly fire.” The North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong did not expose us, our own government did. The casualty all these years later from Agent Orange exposure cannot even be counted.

Ironically, some individual veterans with MPNS have received full or partial benefits so why aren’t all of us? War is never fair, to fight at home for fair and impartial treatment is equally unfair. There are too many veterans with essential thrombocythemia, myelofibrosis and polycythemia vera for it to be a coincidence. Our efforts will continue in hopes of persuading the VA to put MPNs on the ‘presumptive’ list where they belong.

If you are a Vietnam Veteran with

polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia or myelofibrosis,

click here




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  1. Barry
    Thank you for letting your story of AO exposure and having ET be told…I also am a VN vet and have ET. I am about to submit my first claim to the VA probably by the end of the month (Nov) I do not expect a favorable response but I want the paper work in the VA hands so if anything comes in the future I am “there”!
    Jerry Smith
    VN ’69-’70

    • Dear Mr Smith don’t give up my stepfather was a Korea Vietnam vet 20 year retired marine he died in 1990 of MPN after four attempts to get DIC for my mother finally I/We had a hearing on Dec11 2013 I took everything I had showing a nexus between AO and MPN as well as doctors opinion based on the information I gave to the Doctor stating that There professional medical opinion was that the veterans MPN was more likely then not due to exposure in Vietnam and the funds were in my mothers account Dec 19 2013 after 28 years of trying so do all the research get all you can find a physician that will take the time to look at what you have get a ” nexus letter” and you WILL get approved if you need assistance let me know I have navigated the system more then once and would be glad to help

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