Monday, October 4, 2010
Faces of Agent Orange - Amy King-Applewhite
from The VVA Veteran, September October 2010
BY LINDA MAY
Amy King-Applewhite’s younger daughter once had to leave her classroom in the middle of a teacher’s instructions, but it wasn’t because she didn’t want to hear what her teacher was saying. Because of a problem with her eardrum, it sounded to her as if the teacher was screaming.
Her eardrum vibrations speed up and slow down abnormally so that without warning she either hears things at a painfully loud level or at a level so low that she cannot hear the sound. It’s only one small part of the story of the child’s problems, her older sister’s problems, and their mother’s problems.
King-Applewhite, 35, was born with an undeveloped digestive system.
“I went through many years of testing to find out why my stomach and abdomen hurt,” she said. “Being 12 years old and having multiple colonoscopies and throat scopes were painful and a violation to my body.”
Despite those invasive procedures in the 1980s, which were even more uncomfortable than they are today, doctors never came up with a diagnosis.
Her rashes, particularly on her hands and feet, made her skin red, itchy, painful, and peeling. Other children's reactions ranged from tactless to cruel. "I remember being asked once if I was part snake," she said.
Her teenage and early adult years were plagued with painful, irregular menstrual cycles (and misdiagnoses for the cause), endometriosis, bilateral fibroid tumor breast disease, and ovarian cysts. Doctors tried many medications, laparoscopies, and other surgeries.
Despite King-Applewhite’s medical conditions, she became the mother of two girls. She wanted more children, but ended up getting a hysterectomy. The ovaries that had been left intact produced cysts that ruptured.
Read more: www.vva.org
The VVA Veteran, September/October 2010, Page 18