For the past year, while advocating for active duty military officers I began to experience an increased elevation of my blood platelets, each time they shared their traumatic experiences of ongoing military workplace abuse. While “fighting” the system myself, I was diagnosed with a rare chronic blood disorder, Essential Thrombocythaemia (ET), characterized by the overproduction of blood platelets. In some cases the disorder may be progressive, and rarely may evolve into acute leukemia.
I was first diagnosed with ET almost year before I was discharged from the Navy and began chemotherapy treatment a few weeks before my discharge. Because of the negativity associated with of each of the victim’s experiences, I’ve had to end my one on one support to them and undergo additional chemotherapy treatment. I’ve encouraged each of them to seek professional psychological counseling, especially while serving in uniform. Your health is more important and there are hundreds of other qualified officers able and willing to “get the job done” to protect our national security!!
I have not abandoned them and I sure as hell have not abandoned the cause for “military justice” for our veterans. Yet I’ve adhered to the advice of my oncologist,
“We cannot all save the world, but we have to be alive if we’re gonna try”!
Once final words of wisdom, “Everybody’s got something”—Robin Roberts