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Presentation - David Winnett, IOM Gulf War Illness "CMI" Panel.

Presentation - David Winnett, IOM Gulf War Illness "CMI" Panel.

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Published by Anthony Hardie
Presentation by David Winnett, Meeting 1, June 26, 2013. Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel, "Development of a Case Definition for Chronic Multisymptom Illness" in 1990-91 Gulf War veterans.
Presentation by David Winnett, Meeting 1, June 26, 2013. Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel, "Development of a Case Definition for Chronic Multisymptom Illness" in 1990-91 Gulf War veterans.

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Published by: Anthony Hardie on Jun 27, 2013
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08/07/2013

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 June 26, 2013Institute of MedicineCommittee on Developing a Consensus Case DefinitionCMI related to 1991 Persian Gulf War VeteransTestimony of David K. Winnett, Jr.Captain, United States Marine Corps (Retired)
Personal background;
I am a 59 year old male. I served twenty continuous years as a United StatesMarine; enlisting as a Private (E-1) in 1975. By 1979 I had attained the rankof Staff Sergeant (E-6). In 1982 I was selected from a Marine Corps-widepool of 2,500 applicants to be appointed along with 249 other Marines to therank of Warrant Officer. I rose to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer-3. In 1990I was selected for a commission as an unrestricted officer and was appointeda First Lieutenant. I served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War as a FirstLieutenant. At the time of the war I had already served in the military for sixteen years.I mention this because I am not in the majority in terms of the average agegroup for ailing Gulf War Veterans; most of whom are in their forties.I was assigned to the 1
st
Marine Division Headquarters during the PersianGulf War, where I was responsible for all of the vehicle assets assigned to theDivision Headquarters. During the ground war I coordinated large vehicleconvoys in support of Division combat operations throughout the theater of operations. In 1992 while serving at Marine Barracks Guantanamo CubaI was promoted to the rank of Captain. After a year at GITMO I was assignedto my final duty station at MCAS, El Toro, California. I served there as theStation Transportation Officer until my retirement from the Marine Corps in1995.I am a five year Veteran in the fight for justice for the more than two hundredthousand Persian Gulf War Veterans who suffer from Gulf War Illness. I aman
active member of the National Gulf War Resource Center 
and a
four-time “Consumer Reviewer” on the Congressionally Directed MedicalResearch Programs (CDMRP) for Gulf War Illness Research.
I have also
 
recently been
appointed as a member of CDMRPs “Integration Panel”
for that same research program. I am the
sole administrator of the closedFacebook page: “Gulf War Illnesses”
which currently has an activemembership of seven hundred Gulf war Veterans, family members, andothers interested in advancing the cause of our ill Veterans.
History of my Symptoms;Note
– I have been rated with
mild COPD
. But the VA’s rating does not tiemy respiratory problems to the Persian Gulf War. I had a very serious caseof LLL Pneumonia the first year of my enlistment in 1975 which causedpermanent scarring of the LLL. This led to at least twice yearly bouts withpneumonia in the years that followed and in 1987 the LLL began to bleed. Iwas hospitalized for three weeks at Balboa Naval Hospital during thistimeframe and subsequently put on a six-month observational “MedicalBoard”. I bled twice more in that time and was close to being medicallydischarged. Thankfully the hemoptysis stopped just as the pulmonologistswere contemplating removal of my LLL. You can imagine my concern whenthree years later I found myself surrounded by 700 burning oil wells in Kuwait.
Late 1990;
while deployed forward (in the desert) awaiting the start of thewar, while showering one day I noticed a very
painful lump inside my lefttesticle
. I was seen at the field hospital where the physician initially thoughtthat the lump might be "torsion". It turned out to be internal inflammationcaused by an
infection
. I was treated with antibiotics and it resolved within aweek to ten days.
Late 1991:
While stationed
at GITMO
I began to experience frequent bouts of 
intermittent blurry vision
. One day the vision in my left eye will beextremely blurry, the next day it would be normal. The same would happenwith my right eye. Physicians at GITMO were unable to diagnose theproblem. Note: The problem continues to this day but in 1995 after I had leftactive duty the VA diagnosed this problem as
“Ophthalmic Migraine”.
 
Late 1991:
Also at GITMO – I began to experience
intense inching on myupper forearms
. Physicians at GITMO took skin scraping samples but wereunable to identify any kind of fungus or other skin related problem that wouldcause the itch.
As long as I don’t scratch the area when it itches, theskin shows no visible signed of irritation
. The problem continuesintermittently to this day.
 
Late 1991/Early 1992:
While still at
GITMO
I began experiencing extreme
difficulty controlling the bladder muscles
that start and stop urination. Iwas checked for prostate problems but the prostate was normal. Two yearslater in
1993
while assigned to MCAS El Toro I
underwent a bladder operation intended to correct what the Urologist believed to be “tightbladder neck”.
The bladder neck was surgically widened. The
operationhad no effect whatsoever 
on the problem which continues to this day.
Istrongly believe that this problem is related to the nerves that are usedto consciously control urination
. I am forced to sit when I urinate becauseof the time and difficulty it takes to begin urinating – even with a very fullbladder. And when I am able to start, the flow is very slow. There is atendency for me to lose my concentration whereupon the urine flow stops.
Mid-1993;
I began to experience
additional vision problems
. Whenviewing something up close and then looking up to focus on somethingdistant, I noticed a very bothersome delay in the time it took my eyes torefocus on the distant object. The problem persists.
1995;
I began to experience sensory deficits. Specifically, my
sense of alertness and mental acuity seemed dulled
, as if I were on some kind of drug (which I was not). The feeling manifested further by causing me toshuffle when I walked. I often tripped on things because my foot coordinationwas disrupted. I reported these problems to the VA, but no evaluation wasperformed. In 1999 I finally saw a civilian neurologist who prescribed a drugcalled
Lamictal.
Lamictal helped significantly but unfortunately myneurological problems were still evolving.
2000;
By the year 2000 I had begun to develop
chronic weakness andfatigue
. Although retired and now working in the public sector I was
continuing to exercise at least three times a week.
Running three miles,doing upper and lower body work in the gym at Los Angeles Air Force base.But over the course of two to three years it became progressively moredifficult to run. I forced myself to complete the intended distance, but I wasconsiderably slowed by the profound fatigue that running caused. EventuallyI just could no longer muster the will to endure the pain and fatigue thatrunning exacerbated.
In hindsight I do strongly believe that my diligentpost-military exercise regimen served to slow the onset of the muchmore severe fatigue and muscle pain I now live with.
 

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