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Monday February 11th 2019


Do Any of you Have a Thyroid Disease or Cancer as a Result of Living in Germany Post Chernobyl?

Post Published: 06 June 2011
Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 97 responses. Leave a comment

It still amazes me to think back to my younger days, I had so much going on back then. I was pregnant with my second child, a boy. My husband was on Active Duty in the Air Force. We had gotten a new assignment in Germany. I had been stationed there myself a few years earlier, had friends there, and knew the ‘lay of the land’, so to speak.

So off we went.

Being 7 months pregnant, I was healthy and happy. We easily found off base quarters, picked up the car in Bremerhaven, and were settling in and looking forward to the new baby. Life was good. I knew enough German to pack up my then two-year old into the stroller and waddle through town to pick up items on ‘the economy’ to supplement our grocery trips to the base. My son came into the world healthy and happy, for the most part. Life was good. We were enjoying our European adventures. Back in those days, I lost the baby weight easily, and had a cholesterol level of 170. You remember what it was like before your thyroid decided to change your life?

We arrived in Germany just a few months after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. We were assured that there was no danger, so we pressed on with our everyday lives.

After diagnosis, I had a long talk with my Endocrinologist.  He said there may be a connection between my Hashimoto’s and Chernobyl, but who could be sure.

Pre-diagnosis, a few years after my son was born, we were still in Germany and my health started declining. I noticed one morning while dressing that I had some kind of fluid leaking out of my breasts, strange. With breastfeeding behind me, and knowing I wasn’t pregnant; it was time for a trip to the Base Clinic to find out what was going on. The good news was that the liquid was ordinary breast milk, and after making sure I wasn’t pregnant, the doctor decided to check my thyroid levels. I was told that the results were on the high end of normal, and there was nothing to worry about. We would revisit it the next year at my annual checkup.

By that time, we were moving back to the US and there was nothing new going on until my menstrual cycles went haywire. I began having heavy month long periods and the doctor at our new base checked my levels and said the same thing as the doctor overseas said. He began testing me for cancer.

So began my up and down adventure into the medical system. I had more biopsies than I would like to recall. I have been told that it’s all in my head, or my personal favorite, ‘You just think you are dieting’, or when I began missing cycles in my early 40’s and I was asking if it was possible that I was in early menopause, only to be laughed off and told I was too young for that.

Right after I turned 42, I realized that I hadn’t had a menstrual cycle in a year. I was told that I was now post-menopausal. I asked, ‘how could that be, when just a year earlier I was too young?’ The response was a blank stare and a canned response, ‘sometimes that’s the way it happens’. When I returned with questions regarding unusual weight gain or wild mood swings, or sweating until I literally thought I was melting, it was all chalked up to menopause and aging! Ah, that magic word, aging. I would complain about the lack of energy, my libido, my eyebrows falling out and they now had an out for me. I was put on HRT, which only exacerbated my symptoms. I stopped them after a few months because it was easier to deal with my symptoms instead of being in hyper drive.

I unloaded on a poor doctor at the clinic one day because I had finally had enough. I had been dieting and exercising like a madwoman to lose weight for a wedding, only to gain weight, yet again. The doctor was sympathetic. He ran all the usual tests and said the same exact thing, ‘a little on the high side, but we’ll keep an eye on it’. I have to admit I went a tad psycho on him and kept it up until he finally suggested that I see a specialist for a second opinion. I still believe that he only did so to get this large mad woman out of his office. I finally got authorization to see an endocrinologist.

The first questions my new doctor asked was why I there, and what was my history. I even came with a copy of the lab results from the military clinic that said my TSH was at a level 6, and actually stated that the ‘normal’ range was 4. I guess that was what the doctor meant by my being at the ‘high’ end of normal.

The Endo listened to my tale of woe, looked me over, threw some Synthroid at me and gave me a new request for blood work. He felt I had Hashimoto’s and sent me on my way with orders to return in a couple of weeks with the new blood work completed. I thought he was nuts. I had never heard of Hashi’s and how could all those doctors I had been seeing miss something like that?

Well, the Endo was right, and thus began a whole new adventure with Synthroid. At first I thought it was a miracle drug. I felt like my old self, I didn’t lose any weight, but was told not to worry. It would come off eventually.  As the months went by, I noticed that all my original symptoms came back with a vengeance, with some new ones came along for the ride. I went from mood swings and the occasional absent mindedness to forgetting how to do my job, knowing what day it was, or how to complete a simple task that I had done a million times. My boss started calling me in for daily talks about my slowdown in productivity, not to mention the rising error rate. I questioned my Endo and was told there was nothing in the medication that would cause that, and maybe I needed to go back to the base to find out the reason for these new problems. He did, however mention that my levels were perfect, so he had no idea what the problem was. It went on like this for months; I eventually had to quit my job, as I could not keep up with the demands.  I couldn’t go out on disability because the doctors were telling me there was nothing wrong.

It wasn’t until a few months of being unemployed that I returned to the Endo for a checkup and he commented again that my levels were perfect and he had no idea why I was having these problems. I kind of went a little ‘psycho’ on him too, and asked what good are ‘perfect levels’ if I feel like crap, and couldn’t find my way home without a map. He decided to add Cytomel to the mix. He will not take me off of Synthroid for any reason. He cannot even believe I suggested Amour or one of the natural desiccated thyroid drugs. And please don’t tell me to find another doctor. I tried to get an authorization for a new endo and was told there was no reason for it. My guy was good and I had to learn to follow his advice.

Anyway, I am doing much better now. I actually feel pretty good most days. I have even begun to lose some weight. I had been following a Mediterranean diet for years. I like the flexibility in foods it gives me, plus there is nothing like a small portion of pasta to soothe ones spirit. Not to mention, the occasional glass of wine! The only change I have made to my daily routine is that I now take my meds at night. My Endo sees no problem with it as long as I take my vitamins in the morning.  I had read about it on one of the thyroid blogs about it and decided to try it. It made sense to me that having the medication in my system all night couldn’t hurt, plus it really helped with the sleeplessness that I was dealing with since beginning this rollercoaster ride.

Getting back to Chernobyl, like I said at the beginning. It may have nothing to do with any of my health issues or it may have everything to do with it. Who knows? I do know that no one in my family has ever had thyroid issues. I still a friend that lives in Germany and was surprised to learn that she too has Hashi’s as do several of her friends. Coincidence? I just don’t know. I would like to know if any of you fine people that follow these blogs were stationed in Europe during that time frame, and if so, when did your symptoms start?

Written by, Renee

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97 Responses to “Do Any of you Have a Thyroid Disease or Cancer as a Result of Living in Germany Post Chernobyl?”

  1. Jenny says:

    I lived in Heidelberg Germany from 87 – 90. I am unable to donate blood due to being exspoed to Chernobyl fall out and the posabilty of bring exposed to Mad Cow. In 2008 I learnd that I had Thyroid Cancer.

    • Professor Lvivsky says:

      If you suspect that your papillary cancer is because of I-131 exposure request the sample tested for genetic make-up, as radiation induced cancers have specific signature.
      BTW in 1987 there was no danger from I-131 as it decayed.

  2. mike5816 says:

    Where did you live in the United States before going to Germany? You have as much a risk of nuclear contamination this way as you do from Chernobyl if you lived in certain parts of the country. You’d be surprised at just how much fallout there is across the United States from the above-ground and above-water nuclear tests, and just how much nuclear waste from uranium mining is (literally!) sitting next to the interstate in big, uncontrolled piles, blowing around in the wind and washing away in the rain…. as if a chain link fence around it with a warning sign is going to contain it. Of course, it’s all hush-hush, this being the United States and all…

  3. Leigh says:

    I was stationed with my husband and 10 month old daughter in Berlin in April 1986. My health declined beginning with anemia in 1988 and after many years I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. My doctor’s were equally perplexed and I wasn’t aware of any family members with anything close to thyroid disease, so the progression went unchecked. It has been challenging trying to find information, specifically about what we were exposed to. I have written two letters to the VA since February requesting information but they have not provided a response. I am sorry to hear of your circumstance, but glad to see I am not alone. I recommend reading the book “Why do I Still have Thyroid Symptoms? One of the recommendations is to go on a gluten free diet; something about gluten molecules resembling thyroid tissue. Desperate to be able to function normally, I tried the diet and it is working for me. My brain function has improved and my joints feel better. I was wondering if you would ask your friend that is in Germany, if residents there are being screened for thyroid disease. Thank you and good luck.

    • Renee Ciuffetelli says:

      Thank you for the kind wishes, I wish the same for you. Looking back on my husband’s military career I realized that most of the places we have been stationed may have contributed to my Hashi’s. New Mexico, Germany, and now California. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if I started glowing in the dark! As for my friend in Germany, I will ask her but I doubt they are being screened. She had never made the connection between her thyroid and Chernobyl until I had brought it up to her. She was planning on talking to her doctor and her other friends about it. I will let you know the next time I speak with her. I am doing much better now, I now have a good dialogue with my Endo, and the ‘on-base’ docs are actually listening. I am doing much, much better. I feel like I have made it through the tunnel and am walking into the light for the first time in a long time. There are still rough days, but they are getting spaced out much further apart with every passing month.
      Good Luck to you, and stay well!

  4. Joan says:

    Both myself and my then 16 yr old daughter were exposed to Chernobol fallout while we lived in Germany (Nuerenberg) from 1985 to 1987. I now have severe autoimmune disease, arthritis and hypothyroid. My daughter was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer 5 yrs ago–it was outside the thyroid. She is not doing as well as we would hope.
    My disease is almost like lupus, and RA. Its nasty and I have lost many joints, plus attacked a lot of internal organs. I am seen at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to the number of autoimmune issues.

    It would be nice if we had been warned about the radiation THEN! I really feel for the children and familys in Japan…..

  5. Tish Holmes says:

    My family lived in Germany (Kizingen) 85-88 when I was a child (6-9 yr old) I am now 33. My father developed brain cancer in 1990 (army docs@ WRAMC decided due to working with lead paint for several years) and passed in 1999. I developed severe migraines in my early 20s (again living in Germany, but this time as an Air Force spouse, in Spangdahlem) Finally got a doc @ McConnell to admit it wasn’t “just headaches” refer me offbase to a neurologist & have been on Topamax, mostly migraine free since 2008. In 08 as well (now in my 30s) at my annual “lady visit” the nurse noticed my neck seemed swollen. Referral offbase to an endo, I have a benign fluid filled cyst hanging out on my thyroid. We’ll keep an eye on it, but it looks fine for now, and no I’m sure living in Germany had nothing to do with it. (Doc’s words not mine) Now we’re in Alaska and I’ve been able to convince the docs here to do one offbase u/s just to see how things are going. That was 2 months ago, still waiting for someone from the clinic to get back to me for a follow up, as my PCM has PCS’d.

  6. S. Peterson says:

    I lived in Germany, US Army, during Chernobyl. At least five of my close friends that lived in the same housing area have died of cancer – they were all the same age as me. I found out I have cutaneous t-cell lymphoma (very rare type of cancer).

    • Leigh says:

      S. Peterson,

      Your note is very distressing to me. I recognize you are also searching for answers. I will soon prepare a letter to the VFW that told me “I wasn’t exposed to ‘bad’ radiation.” The VFW representative I initially spoke to had never heard of Chernobyl.

      Do you mind if I ask what community you were stationed in ?

      I wish you strength in your battle.

  7. S. Peterson says:

    I was stationed in Hanau, Germany from 1980-1989. I do remember at the time the medical dispensary was filled with people having “flu-like” symptoms and other complaints. We were warned against drinking any milk or water. My daughter, who is now 38, has suffered from migraines and skin disorders.

  8. E Ladig says:

    Check out this: Google the Cit # below

    Citation Nr: 1111873
    Decision Date: 03/24/11 Archive Date: 04/06/11

    DOCKET NO. 04-08 331 ) DATE

    On appeal from the
    Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia


    Entitlement to service connection for a thyroid disorder, to include non-malignant fibroid nodules, follicular adenoma, multinodular goiter, and residuals of a thyroidectomy including hypothyroidism.

  9. Christina G. says:

    I was found to have 14 tumors on my thyroid after my tour in Hanau, Germany from 03-06. Turned out being papillary cancer. I was 20 years old. NOBODY believed that something was wrong with me.

    Less than 6 months before my diagnosis, my ex developed a cluster of tumors on his salivary glands (he was also 20.)

    We lived 5 miles from this nuclear plant: http://www10.antenna.nl/wise/index.html?http://www10.antenna.nl/wise/493-4/extra-4886.html

    2 months ago, my best friend who was also stationed in Hanau had her thyroid removed due to tumors.

    We were all too young to grow all this funky stuff, I can’t help but wonder if the nuclear plant explosion that never got cleaned up properly is to blame.

  10. Scott Pretorius says:

    I lived in Germany 86-90 @ Kaiserslaughtern. Should I be worried about this? Can this also be passed to spouses? She has never been to Germany but has every symptom regarding Hashi’s. In fact I thought I was reading my wife’s medical bio in the above letter.

  11. Jon Myrick says:

    I can sympathize but believe you would have an almost impossible time tying this to military service. I was stationed in Kirschgoens (about 20K north of Frankfurt) from Oct 1984 to Nov 1986. I have asked my VA rep and the doctors at the Minneapolis VA Hospital is there were any know issues with European service during this time frame. Nobody seems to want to even discuss it. I have no symptoms but have always been curious as to what I could have been exposed to.

  12. Karen says:

    I was station in Sembach Germany from 1987 till 1989 and I’ve wonder if I was exposed to Chernobol fallout while I lived in Germany. Less than a year after returning from Germany I hd a Thyroid problem and to this day I continue to have issues. I have Graves disease, sjrogens, arthristis, Fibromyalgia and breakout on my face all the time that no one can explain. Had no period after my daughter was born in 1991 and every doctor told me that was normal. To this day all the doctors want to do is put me on more pills no one very really sits down and helps me workout what is going on with my body. I have dieted for years only to gain more weight back and with all my autoimmune diseases it hard. They tell me if I have lupus or RA it could several years before they can really tell me I have it. I wish I could get somewhere good to be seen.

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Karen,
      I also was stationed at Sembach from 1988-1991. When I returned to the States I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I was still very young, just 24. I have been on synthroid for 18 years. I wish I would have known about the dangers we faced…as I’m sure we all wish we would have been told something. Good luck to you

      • Kathy says:

        too many of us are having thyroid issues and other health issues for this to be a coincidence.

        • Christopher Collins says:

          I agree,Kathy. I have 7 medical conditions today and one is hypothyrodism. None of us were told not to eat or drink this and that. I was stationed in Bad Aibling, Germany from late 1984-Dec. 1987. My VA claim is now in the prep. decision stage.

  13. Don Wall says:

    I was stationed in the Heidelberg Germany area, 1983-1989. Five years ago thyroid nodules were detected and the doctor suggested I be checked every year. This year my PCP recommended that I see an Endocronologist, which I did. A fine needle biopsy was done on my right thyroid and the results are questionable for follicular thyroid cancer. My doctor feels that exposure to the fall out from Chornobyl could have caused this cancer and referred me to an Oncology surgeon for further evaluation. I filed a claim with the VA for radioactive fall out when I retired and the VA denied it, stating they only recognize exposure to fall out to those who served in the 1940-50’s. My congressman also refused to answer any of my questions concerning this issue. I’m afraid we’re on our own when it comes to our government.

  14. Don Wall says:

    I forgot to mention that I have done some research on the issue of fallout from Chernobyl and have a report from our EPA, fallout saturation schedule for throughout Germany and several other documents/web sites, that might be helpful in VA claims. I would be more than happy to email these documents to anyone interested.

  15. S. Peterson says:

    Interesting that this month I am now being tested for hypothyroidism as is evidenced in so many posts above. (I lived in Hanau, Germany from 1980-1989); however, I also lived close to the Hanau nuclear plant, and found this interesting article online about that plant: http://www10.antenna.nl/wise/index.html?http://www10.antenna.nl/wise/493-4/extra-4886.html

  16. E Ladig says:

    Mr. Don Wall, Va did approve one claim. See my early post about googling the information. You should attach it with a new claim and see what happens.

  17. E Ladig says:

    This will be another fight just like Agent Orange. (While in Vietnam, the veterans were told not to worry, and were persuaded the chemical was harmless.)

    • Kathy says:

      they get it now….I don’t think they have to prove much besides the fact that they were there….which should be easy to do.

  18. Chris Loiselle says:

    I lived at Sembach AB from 79-85 and again from 87-90. Was diagnosed with bone cancer in 85 and treated at WRAMC. My mom was diagnosed with vasticular cancer in 84 and treated at WRAMC as well. My brother was diagnosed in 89 with Luekemia (sp?) and again treated at WRAMC. Three members of my immediate family, all in the same household and all lived at Sembach AB, Germany.. what are the chances? Something doesn’t add up.

  19. Pam Chamberlain says:

    My husband and I were living in Germany when he was stationed there in 1986-1987. He was diagnosed with Hypothroidism 10 years ago and I was diagnosed with Graves disease 2 years ago. I became pregnant a few months after the Cernobyl disaster. My son is now 25 and he is healthy. No one in either of our families has ever had throid problems. I thought it was strange when he became hypothyroid and I’m almost sure now that I have graves disease that it was caused by the accident in Europe. We were not warned or asked to evacuate.I must depend on medication daily to function as does my husband.I worry about the future of my son’s health. The military doesn’t provide anything for families once you leave the military. We wer serving our country and now we are sick. The government shouldprovid health insurane for us or at the very least pay the costs related to thyroid disease. There are too many cases being reported for this to be a coincidence. I’m sick of being sick.

  20. A. Steward says:

    Please email me the information at annette_steward@yahoo.com

    Thank you

  21. A. Steward says:

    Don, Please email me the information at annette_steward@yahoo.com

    Thank you

  22. Dan Guerra says:

    I and our family were stationed in Berlin from 1983 to 1882. When Chernobyl fallout blanketed Berlin, we were asked to stay indoors and to mask ourselves if ever we were out after they allowed us to. I recall the days when the backhoes were digging out the sandboxes in our housing area, and how a close friend who was a member of the local Jagermeister club was forced to hand over his pig due to extremely high rads of radiation. My wife was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 1995. Prior to diagnosis, I just didn’t feel she was doing well, but she never was a complainer. When I learned of this, I immediately started researching I-131 symptoms- even to go as far as to contact experts in England and France who were tracking the effects of Chernobyl. I mentioned my wife’s condition, and doctors said that it could indeed be a result of this- to keep an eye on her to ensure it did not progress into cancer. She has recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia- a catch-word for “who knows what is going on?”. We certainly could use any good news for others who are suffering as such, and the posts we’ve discovered today are shedding light on this. It is only a matter of time before the VA will recognize this as a Cold War infliction. Thank you for this site and feel free to contact us to share advice or concerns… God Bless Us All…

  23. Kelly says:

    Stationed in hohenfels, Germany during chernobyl-now 49 and facing cancer surgery.

  24. Donald Wall says:

    Kelly, this organization might be able to assist you with a claim. http://www.repforvets.com/ I’ve gathered some info concerning the Chernobyl incident if you would like for me to email it to you, just write me at dwall0011@att.net

  25. Josh says:

    I lived in Wildflecken Germany with my Dad from ’86-’89 when I was 9-12 years old. A military doctor noticed an enlarged thyroid when I was 16 after returning to the states. I had bad hyper-thyroid symptoms for years until diagnoesed with a multi-nodular goiter. My thyroid eventually needed to be totally removed ~’05. I have often wondered if it was from living in Germany at the time.

  26. Debbie says:

    My husband and I lived at Sembach Air Base from 1998 until 2001 and became pregnant while there. I developed eclampsia and HELLP syndrome and my baby was born 6 weeks premature. I almost died, spent one week in ICU. Then I was told I had Hypothyroidism, later Fibromyalgia, splenic cyst, adrenal insufficiency. Before moving there I had perfect health and since living there i have spent 12 years trying to figure out what caused my health problems. Could this still be the cause that many years later?

  27. Mary says:

    I too was stationed in Nurnburg Germany from 1984-1988. My symptoms began by dropping to 103lbs (not good at 5’9″) the doctors gave me a bunch of meds said it was my nerves I did gain some weight, then my hair was falling out in clumps and it seemed like the slightest bump and I would break a bone. I broke my hip in 07 from a slip and fall and it shattered after they filled me with titanium they did a dexa scan, the results shocked everyone it showed I had the bones of a 70 yr old woman. Then they tested my thyroid levels and again shock, since 07 they have tried every 6 months to regulate my levoroxine but it will be ok and then go wacky again. In fact I think it is really messed up again cuz I just dont feel right. I have filed and been denied 2 times for comp, last April I filed again with the help of my local VA rep, we still have not heard anything but keeping my fingers crossed because it has been so long this time. BTW my son was born 4/16/1986 and Chernobyl blew 4/26/1986. Good Luck Everyone and fight for what is yours!!!!

  28. Andrea Ferguson says:

    I was stationed in Mainz, Germany 90-92. I was diagnosed hypothyroid by a civilian doctor in 05 and placed on Synthroid. I lost my health insurance in 07 and went untreated until 09, at which time I began treatment with the VA. I also developed a very large, fast growing benign ovarian tumor and several smaller ones shortly after I resumed my hypothyroid treatment. I had a complete hysterectomy as a result. I was 25 when I was medically discharged for a knee injury. Is it possible my hypothyroid was caused by Chernobyl fallout?

  29. Ryan says:

    I was in the USSR (Moscow, Leningrad, and Kaliningrad) in 1986, shortly after Chernobyl exploded.

    I have unexplained hypothyroidism now (diagnosed in 2005 after many years of being mistaken for depression) and it affects my life every day, in big and small ways. Most recently it meant missing out on a life changing opportunity because my mental fog and all the rest of the lousy symptoms came back and an increased dose of artificial thyroxin didn’t start working until too late.

  30. Donald Kirkland says:

    I was stationed in Schweinfurt West Germany in April 1986 when the Chernobyl plant exploded. We were not told anything about it as we were in the field doing manuvers on the Hof border. I was then re-assigned to Bad-Kissiigen a few months later and stayed there until I drosed back to the states in June 1987. I have had a host of health problems and was told it was depression, etc. A couple of years ago, I was told I had Hypothyroidism. Been on meds for it and no better. Now they say I have Hoshimoto (sp) disease. Chronic thyroiditis. I have to see an endocrinologist. I also have skin cancer. I plan to file a claim and use the female soldiers case she won in the 9 circuit court of appeals as precedent as she did not get to germany until almost 2 years after it happened. I was there when it happened. My father was a vietnam naval vet and I saw what he endoured with agent-orange and the poor treatment by the VA. If anyone has any information that may be of benefit, please send it direct to my email donaldkirkland58@yahoo.com Thanks. SP4 Donald Kirkland U.S Army (med. ret.)

    • Kathy says:

      I was married to a soldier and we were in Schweinfurt from 1989-1992…I have a host of health problems too….I don’t think any of this is a coincidence. I have even had surgery to remove a parathyroid gland.

  31. jo coleman says:

    Goeppingen 1987-1989hypothyroidism upon. return. I see service members now for counseling. and am surprised by the number of men. and women with thyroid disorders. what is the connection?

    • Don Wall says:

      Jo, you say you see service members for counseling. Who do you represent as a counselor? I’ve done as much research as I could Via the Internet plus my surgeon that removed part of my thyroid said there could very well be a connection between my thyroid cancer and the radioactive fallout I was exposed to in Germany. I would guess that what you see on this web site is but a small percentage of soldiers and family members who have or have had health issues due to the Chernobyl accident. You can reply directly to me at dwall0011@att.net

  32. Manuela says:

    I was in Germany from 89-91. I was diagnosed with thyroid problems after my deployment to Iraq in 04-05. I live right in the vicinity of the base burn pit.

  33. Deborah says:

    I was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany from April 1986 to June of 1988. I didn’t stand a chance, as soon as I got in country about a week later Chernobyl exploded, being new in country when my hair started shedding and my skin was drier than usual I just thought it was the change in the water that I had to get ues to. Reagan had just bombed Libya so my unit was on lock down in case we had to go to war with them. No one was even aware that Chernobyl had even occured. Since my tour I have osteoarthritis in over 50% of my body. I have asthma, sinus problems, heart problems been hospitalized just recently for bradycardia (slow heart rate) I have nerve damage from the osteoarthritis in my lower spine and my neck. I have advanced peridontal disease, and the beginnings of carpal tunnel. I lost my military career because of the weight gain. The weirdest thing is that everytime I’m tested for thyroid the tests always come back normal. This is very frustrating. When I was in the hospital for my bradycardia the endo doctor came into my room and told me that it was a little high but that he was going to let my pcp decide whether to put me on thyroid meds or not. Of course a month later whan I was retested for my thyroid I came back in the normal range again. So my doctors and nurses are telling me that all these symptoms are in my head, especially my fatigue. And when I asked for a referral to see the endocrinologist, my nurse told me “NO” that there wasn’t enough evidence to send me. Lets see, Osteoarthritis in both knees, both hips my neck, my lower back and my left shoulder, really? bradycardia, Cholesterol through the roof, high blood pressure, constant weight gain,dry skin, I can’t wear capris or dresses because my feet and ankles are always peeling no matter how much lotion or baby oil I put on my body. I think that’s enough evidence. But since my tests always come back normal I’m suffering because of the fact that I chose to serve my country. Like everyone of you guys I’m sick of being sick and not able to work because I can hardly walk. My family is suffering because of this. And you guys are right, we are on our own, the military is not going to acknowledge they left us with our butts hanging out. I wish everyone the best dealing with their health issues, and the doctors who won’t take us seriously.

  34. Michelle says:

    My uncle referred me to this forum. My family was stationed 1985-1988 in Southern Germany, Stuttgart, during the Chernobyl fall-out. We were told to stay indoors, heard about all the livestock that were slaughtered due to radiation exposure, and were only allowed to consume food from outside Europe. It was my first and only time drinking boxed milk (not soy or rice – cow).
    Fast forward to the late 90s when my mother was finally diagnosed with hypothyroid (after having symptoms for about 7 yrs). Fast forward to 2000s – my father and sister were diagnosed hypothyroid. Just within the past year or two, my brother and I have high levels of thyroid antibodies.
    I would think that genetics would be a strong case, but it doesn’t run in my family and the fact that both mother and father have this is odd to me.

    I’m interested in what you have to share Don – I’ll send you a separate email.

    I’m grateful my uncle found this site. It’s a relief to know others have concerns about living in Europe during the Chernobyl meltdown.

    • Michelle says:

      I want to add ages – in 1986 I was 8, my brother 9, my sister 13, and my parents in their early thirties. Thanks!

  35. Chris says:

    There is a Facebook page concerning Chernobyl. It is for Veterans but they may allow you in.


  36. Mary says:

    The page mentioned above is no longer valid?? I am a veteran and I have been fighting with the VA for years. Unless it is cancer there chances of compensation are next to none. I am on my third appeal

    • Donald Wall says:

      Do you have a copy of the court action derived from an appeal in which the soldier claimed thyroid cancer from Chernobyl fallout? It may help with an appeal if you refer to that court ordered payment from the VA. It took the soldier 2 years but he won his case before a judge. write me at dwall0011@att.net and I’ll send it to you.

    • Chris says:

      Mary, the page is valid. I just checked as I am in that Facebook group. Try again.

    • Chris says:

      I used the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization for my VA claims instead of going straight through the VA. I shall see how it goes.

  37. jec says:

    Real problems for those of us with thyroid cancer due to new OBAMACARE rules. My daugthers and myself were affected by our stay in Germany during Chernobyl. One has cancer outside the thryoid, in the lungs as well. She has been stablized with radation treatment every three years. She is due to be treated this year, but was denied by OBAMACARE rules because..she is in REMISSION! She has cancer nodules in her throat that they have not been able to remove, and still there was the previous cancer in her lungs (2008). Shes had surgeries, and her cancer doctor is just sick bout the new rules which she has to follow. Now everyone has to follow the OBAMACARE death panel/rationing rules, all insurances do (well it certainly saves money!). And you can not even complain or sue the death panel members who are NOT doctors making life and death decisions and telling doctors what to do! Its up to my daughter to fund the testing to PROVE she still needs treatment. AMA says she does, but the death panels says NOT until its actively discovered. I am scared that is going to be what we all find out. And then, if the cancer has spread, OBAMACARE cost saving will say its too late. SHe is only in late 30s. Too young to die from Papillary cancer of the thryoid. My youngest daughter, a baby during Chernobyl has just been diagnosed with thyoid issues- its starting for her as well…

  38. Donald Wall says:

    Today I received a solicitation from the VA to participate in a research program they are conducting, called One Million Veterans. After reading thru 58 questions there was not one question relating to exposure to radioactive fallout. There were over 125,000 soldiers and family members in Europe during that disaster. You would think they would want to know the impact it had on thousands of military members. Questions asked covered as far back as Vietnam, thru the middle eastern wars to today. Again, our government at work for you and I.

  39. Raisa Davis says:

    My Husband was stationed in Vicenza, Italy from 1985-1989. He now has head and neck cancer, that has spread to his lungs and brain. I am wondering if this was caused by Chernobyl. His cancer is rare, not from smoking nor genetics. Is there anyone else that was stationed in Italy at that time dealing with Cancer?

  40. jec says:

    Have the doctors checked for a ‘fingerprint’ which they can do for Thyroid cancer? Sounds like it might have started there. I am so sorry for your husband,you and your family. Look at the fallout maps to see where he might have been exposed. Best to you all in your fight.

  41. Sally Tidwell says:

    I was stationed with my husband in Berlin from 02/85-02/88.
    I developed two types of thyroid cancer.

  42. Dawn Salisbury says:

    I don’t have cancer yet, but wanted to share my story here. I’m looking for answers too. In 1986, my dad was stationed in Augsburg Germany with the Army. My sister and I were 11 and 12 at the time of Chernobyl. My father worked outside the entire day of the fallout, and we were outside playing. From other studies I’ve read, I saw that the radioactive fallout circulated over Europe three times, hitting Sweden and Germany particularly hard that year because of heavy rains. Within 6 months I had developed a large ovarian cyst, (12 years-13 years old), and by the time we came back to the US the cyst was now 8lbs at 14 years old. I had major knee pains, not related to activities, migraines, and my sister and I were sick with flu symptoms. Because the cyst was so large, they surgically removed it with the ovary, since it was too damaged to save. I wasn’t positive for cancer. I just turned 40. This is my life now: I have 7 kids. Oldest is 15 and just diagnosed with a duplication on the 22nd chromosome, 4 of my other kids are also suspected to have chromosomal defects. We deal with autism, ADHD, anxiety/depression, eye problems, learning disabilities, and all of them have problems with speech and language (left side of the brain affected), motor control delays and developmental delays. My oldest child has a chest deformity, my youngest son has severe allergies (milk, wheat, peanuts, beans). Some of them have some slight facial deformities (wide eyes, cleft nose, high pallet, small head) and are prone to respiratory infections. Three of my kids are affected adversely enough that they qualify as disabled. I continue to have migraines, degenerative disc disease, entering early menopause, arthritis, cysts on my right ovary (now considered PCOS), and they suspect my thyroid has issues but it always tests low normal. I was nearsighted just before Chernobyl happened, but afterwards, my eyes get worse dramatically every year. I don’t know if I’m considered blind yet because my eyesight can still be corrected to 20/30. I also have Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder. I think I have fibromyalgia, however they haven’t addressed it yet. Considering I would be first generation affected by Chernobyl, my kids are 2nd generation, I don’t know that anyone knows how far reaching this is. My kids have a 50% chance of passing on the chromosome changes to their kids. Thank you for reading to this point. I am wondering if anyone here would have information that could point me in a direction that would give more information on the chromosomal effects of radiation? I saw a lot of reports on Down Syndrome, but I suppose that is more noticeable than the rarer chromosomal disorders, therefore easier to report. I read that is happening in Japan as well. I don’t know that I could get any compensation from anyone on this (I am a veteran too, Air Force for 12 years), just mostly looking for connections so I can figure out how better to treat my family and what their future will look like. There is a group on FB that I found that supports 22q11.2 Duplication. I posed these questions on there and a handful of people responded that they were in Europe for Chernobyl or in the US around nuclear plants and testing (AZ and UT) and that their kids now have multiple chromosomal duplications and deletions on 1-3 chromosomes. How long can this continue to be swept under the rug? It is just so far reaching.

  43. Don Wall says:

    Here is an interactive map of the Chernobyl fallout area across Europe. Pretty revealing:

  44. Don Wall says:

    I finally got a Senator’s staffer to listen to me and accept a presentation about how the VA is denying claims for those who were affected by the Chernobyl disaster. It’s this coming Wednesday. As a part of my presentation, I’m using all of the posts on this site. If you have an objection, please let me know. After my meeting I’ll post my opinion of the staffer & whether he’ll pass this on to Senator Ted Cruz.

  45. Stacey Beck says:


    How did your presentation go with the Senator? Please post and/or mail me please.


    Stacey Beck

    • Chris says:

      Just recently, I went the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) for my claims. They will represent me with my case concerning Chernobyl.

  46. Dear Thyroid says:

    Hi – I’d like an invitation to this group, please. I believe what you’re doing is extremely important and I want to make sure that Dear Thyroid readers are updated when you are ready to update them by writing a post or writing ongoing posts.


    thyawry@gmail.com would be the invitation email address.

  47. Stacey Beck says:

    I have posted before about having GWS like symptoms and now I am being diagnosed with thyroid disease with cysts, possibly cancer. I was stationed at Wildflecken FRI from 1989 to 1991. I will be re submitting my claim to the VA.

  48. Roland Burritt says:

    Can you please send an invitation to me at 84770Guy@gmail.com. I was stationed in Wiesbaden in 86. Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s a few years ago and suspect Chernobyl radiation exposure may have played a part as there is no family history of this. Thank you.

  49. Rebecca sanders says:

    I was a dependent when Chernobyl happened living in Heidelberg Germany 84-88. I was diagnosed with hoshimoto disease in 1998. In 2012 I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer and also have been having trouble with my joints. The doctors believe that it is Rhuematoid Arthritis. I wanted to know if there was any recourse against the government for my medical bills.( which were in the thousands) rebecca

    • Don Wall says:

      Rebecca, in light of what the VA is doing, or not doing, for our veterans I would suspect that a veterans dependent would stand even less of a chance of getting any compensation from the government. The VA doesn’t even recognize the Chernobyl accident as a legitimate event for soldiers who were actually affected, like myself. I only know of one soldier who actually beat the VA on a claim related to Chernobyl and it took 2 years and a judge to order the VA to pay compensation. From what I’ve read, the only way to “prove” someone was affected by the fallout from Chernobyl is to test a cancerous organ for traces of I-131 radiation. I’ve talked with numerous congressmen and none of them will do anything towards resolving this issue with the VA. I would guess that if you had any chance at all for compensation, would be to get at least 2 endocrinologists to write a letter stating that your exposure could have caused your cancer and other illnesses. I had one side of my thyroid removed two years ago. The biopsy showed papillary thyroid cancer. Now new nodules have started to grow on my one remaining thyroid. Have you talked with an attorney, one that specializes in medical issues? Good luck. I’ve given up dealing with the VA and congress. Let me also say, I have numerous documents relating to Chernobyl, fallout areas etc. If you would like copies, email me, dwall0011@att.net

  50. jec says:

    Sadly Rebecca,do not think you (or myself and children) have recourse at all. But you sound just like my daughters case, she was diagnosed in 2006 with papillary cancer. She does not have RA, however I have developed RA in every joint..total shoulder replacements, fused all lumbar spine, , knees/feet,hands have had six surgerys..need more surgerys all the time. Left ankle this time. So many meds I glow in the dark. But all on private insurance, not covered by government like VA claims.

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