Yesterday I found out that the place that they had the largest burn pit in Iraq, LSA Anaconda, was also known at Balad Air Field when I was there. No one I was attached to ever called it LSA Anaconda. I think that may have been a convention that came later. Why does this matter? I was there for the last three weeks before I left Iraq. This really freaked me out yesterday. For those who may not know, I was hospitalized for pulmonary issues about a month ago. My issues: reactive airway disease, early stage COPD, suspected Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Diseases attributed to burn pits: hypersensitivity pneumonitis (very similar to reactive airway disease), COPD, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea...
I went into instant freak out mode. I looked at the list of cancers attributable to burn pit exposure and it instantly crossed my mind: What if I have one of those? I need to go to the doctor. I'm dying!!
I snapped myself out of the last sentiment, but I still can't shake this overwhelming feeling of dread. What if? What if? What if? Gah! Get out of my head! I was up until almost 0400, unable to close my eyes because I couldn't get my mind to shut this line of thought down.
I have that webinar focus group today. I hope I can get this anxiety under control. I feel like I am going to crawl out of my skin. It is so frustrating - every time I feel like I am making headway and getting the PTSD under control, something comes along and messes with me. See what I mean? Catastrophic thinking at it again. At least I recognize it for what it is. That, at least, is a step in the right direction.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.