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Agent Orange has effected my Quality of Life

I am Vietnam Disabled Veteran who didn’t know I was until flash-backs began after 9-11.
I had suffered from shaky hands since 1970 when I got my Honorable Discharge, but continued working full-time for the next 30+ years as a Commercial Electrician & High Voltage Splicer, when my tremors got so bad I could not work in my trade. After my flashbacks I did get into the VA system, but denied my claim on AO exposure, which is a normal practice so it took a decade before I got authorization for DBS which did calm my hand shakes for near 5 years, then my batteries failed so I had surgery for new ones. The surgery left me with hand tremors enough I had to stop all my art, sculpting, working on the basement, etc.

Now for the past 6 months my upper legs muscles keep locking up making my gait unsteady, my body movement is becoming eradicate & jerky, my speech is difficult. My falls are becoming serious, causing injuries.

My wife gets angry at my increasing clumsiness but refuses to talk about my PD or how PD is causing my ED, which her complaints do not help nor does her anger. I have considered divorce, which my son encourages me to do, I have considered an affair, but I am not ready for that really, I have considered suicide but it’s too final & doesn’t allow changing my mind.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • shakybigbro
    1 year ago

    I too have PD as result of our beloved AGENT ORANGE. I also have PTSD and diabetes from Vietnam. My wife is probably the only reason I am alive. The battle with PTSD is never over. She is still with me and has supported me since I got out of the Corps in “69”. She has been needed in my battle with diabetes and the onset of PD has proven to only increased her importance to me. If I didn’t have her complete support I couldn’t make it. You have to have some one that will pick you up when you. A wife is too close to you too keep if she doesn’t support you. Best of everything to you!

  • jeanita
    2 years ago

    Are you having your DBS recalibrated periodically? Many of the issues mentioned might be improved by recalibrating the DBS. Physical therapy and speech therapy could e very helpful. Are you seeing a Movement Disorder Specialist? Have you and your wife considered attending a Parkinson’s support group?

  • joanna.bodner moderator
    2 years ago

    Dear @elkmagik,
    I first want to thank you for your service and also commend you on sharing your personal PD story with us. I am so sorry to hear of what life altering difficulties you have now been forced to endure all likely due to your AO exposure. You sure have had quite a difficult journey and sure continue to experience many hardships. We sure understand just how difficult this must be to manage. I am also so sorry to hear that it does not sound like you are receiving the type of support you need. It sounds like you said she is not being receptive to even discuss, but have you considered seeking help & support from a 3rd (neutral) party such possible therapist together? Know you are never alone in this! As we do with all of our members is to encourage them to get the support they deserve! Not only from your doctors or online, but in-person support groups, therapists, etc. Don’t give up hope for better days. I know you indicated that ending things is too final & does allow for changing your mind and you are absolutely right, but should these thoughts creep in or if you are ever in danger of harming yourself, there is always someone to talk to! 24/7 you can always reach out to…

    For Veterans: 1-800-273-8255 (available 24/7) or online chat
    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

    Thank you again for sharing your story & especially being part of our community.

    Joanna (ParkinsonsDisease.Net Team)

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