Chernobyl: 25 Years Later
Bella and Alex
Mr. Schmit
901, 904, 905

Dear Journal,
I don’t even know where to begin. It’s been 25 years since the accident. I haven’t talked to anyone about it for a long time. My doctor believes this journal will help me deal with the impact the accident has had on my life physically, mentally and emotionally.
Maybe I should start at the beginning. It was April 26th, 1986 in Ukraine. I was 16 at the time and was only thinking about boys and my job at the family restaurant. I was so ignorant and had no idea what experiments were going on only 120 kilometers away in Pripyat. The explosion completely changed my life forever.
It was like any other day; I woke up around eight to go work at the family restaurant. The lunch crowd was just leaving and we were clearing all the tables for the dinner crowd that would be bustling in later on in the evening. While we were cleaning up, my mom turned on the radio and we started to overhear the breaking news about the accident at Chernobyl. I remember them making it seem like it wasn’t that big of a deal. They had the plant stabilized and the victims were receiving treatment and there was nothing to worry about. Even though I didn’t think it sounded like it would affect us that much, my parents put us in the car and drove us to my grandmother’s house which was an hour away to put even more distance between us and what was going on.
At first, we didn’t see any affects from the event and as time wore on people started to forget and move on. The only time where we were really reminded us of the accident was when it rained. When it rained the leaves would turn white and somewhat dissolve(1). This aftermath was something the government couldn’t hide from us and it started to cause real fear of what side effects were still to come and what else the government wasn’t telling us.

Dear Journal,
I just arrived home from a doctor’s appointment. I’m devastated, I bawled the entire drive home. My doctor told me that he got the results back from my CAT scan and they showed the huge tumor that has developed in the right side of my brain. I don’t understand how this could have happened to me; I have never smoked or drank much, exercise often, and ate healthy. He told me it was from what I was exposed to when I was 16(3).
At my doctor’s office, he explained to me that I am not the only one experiencing these side effects. He said that 600 million other people have suffered from minor exposure to radiation. He went on to explain that people only see the effects of the explosion later on in life. This time elapsing makes it so much harder to deal with since I thought I made it out okay but I now am finally seeing the effects. Dr. Alberts said that most cases involve thyroid cancer, breast cancer and brain tumors. He explained that I was lucky to not have any family members who were liquidators (2) because it has been said that they can develop cancer in other regions of the body such as in the blood or prostate. He explained to me why I have had two still-births. It’s because of the radiation and genetic mutations I have experienced over the last 25 years.(3) This is so traumatizing to know that I will never be able to have kids, which is something I’ve wanted my whole life. Tonight as soon as I’m done writing in this journal I am going to call every relative and friend who was in the Ukraine around the time of the disaster to tell them to go to the doctor to get checked out and make sure they are healthy and if not, get treated.

Dear Journal,
Today I went to another doctor’s appointment. I felt so helpless as I sat there and had the doctor try to explain to me what was going on inside my body. The language barrier makes it so hard to understand all the medical terms and procedures when I can barely understand basic English. What I walked away with was that I was going to be treated with the same stuff that is killing me? I don’t understand at all how this is going to cure me. They said that they were going to use the method of radiation to kill the tumor inside and make sure it does not spread to other regions of my body because that will make it almost impossible to recover (4). I am scared. I am scared that I am going to lose my battle against this disease. My papa told me to always keep fighting no matter what but this disease is something I don’t understand and I don’t even know where to begin to take steps forward. But seeing the look of terror on my face, the doctor explained to me that I shouldn’t worry because the medical field now has more information than ever on brain tumors and the correct treatment and that I was almost lucky to have gotten sick so much later in my life because 25 years ago they didn’t have the technology they have today. He said that the World Health Orgazation, United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization are on the fight to help the people of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia to recover physically, mentally and emotionally from the incident.

1. The chemicals produced from the radiation are soaked up during rain and brought up into the air and causes a severe acid rain to occur during rain showers.
2. Clean up workers of Chernobyl and were the first ones on the scene which made them receive the most radiation.
3. Radiation affects the body by altering the DNA code. This altering doesn’t kill the cell but causes a defect in the DNA blueprint. This defect is called a mutation. This mutation causes cancer and can cause heritable mutations if located in the egg or sperm of the parent.
4. Radiation therapy has an impact on both the malignant and benign cells. They do not affect normal cells permanately because normal cells have the ability to repair themselves. Over time, the radiation will shrink the tumor and kill it. This therapy does not remove the tumor though. Side effects depend on the type of radiation used, amount of brain that is exposed to it, the location on the brain and the total amount of radiation used. Side effects are: hair loss, skin irritation, hearing impairments, vomiting, and some neurologic complications.

"Radiation Therapy." IRSA - RadioSurgery Association. Web. 16 May 2011. <>.
"How Does Radiation Affect Humans?" The Office of Health, Safety and Security. Web. 16 May 2011. <>.
"WHO | Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident." Web. 16 May 2011. <>.
More, Tell Me. "A Survivor Reflects On Chernobyl Disaster, 25 Years Later : NPR." NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. Web. 16 May 2011.

Subject Author Replies Views Last Message
905 Samantha Swartz nnhs_sswartz nnhs_sswartz 0 40 May 25, 2011 by nnhs_sswartz nnhs_sswartz
Nick Dam Response nnhs_ndamianides nnhs_ndamianides 0 82 May 22, 2011 by nnhs_ndamianides nnhs_ndamianides
904 nnhs_stanaka nnhs_stanaka 0 40 May 22, 2011 by nnhs_stanaka nnhs_stanaka
25 yers later response nnhs_jkaneski nnhs_jkaneski 0 45 May 20, 2011 by nnhs_jkaneski nnhs_jkaneski
901_ley nnhs_eley nnhs_eley 0 50 May 20, 2011 by nnhs_eley nnhs_eley
905, Claire Milldrum nnhs_cmilldrum nnhs_cmilldrum 0 81 May 19, 2011 by nnhs_cmilldrum nnhs_cmilldrum