Senior Chief Petty Officer
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About hedgey

  • Rank
    E-7 Chief Petty Officer
  • Birthday 09/12/1959

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
  • Branch of Service

Contact Methods

  • ICQ

Profile Information

  • Location
    VARO is Buffalo, NY
  • Interests
    100% IU P&T - 70% for PTSD; 30% for IBS secondary to PTSD; 10% LF residuals injury; 20% LF residuals with RSD & metatarsalgia; 10% RF plantar fasciitis with RSD - 90% schedular

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  1. I normally ignore all the advertising on television for medications, but I have a lot of trouble sleeping, and the sleep aid commercials sometimes get my attention. A couple of months ago I saw one for Belsomra. It's different because instead of increasing the sedation effect in your brain, it supposedly switches off the "be awake!" activity. I won't lie, the ad was also cute. But it sounded like it might be worth a try. I asked my VA psychiatrist about it. She looked into it and learned that it's still not on the VA formulary, but since I'd been on almost every drug they have, the VA agreed to let me try it. I started at 10mg, which did very little, so she bumped me up to 20mg per night. It really helps. Now it can cause sleep paralysis in some people, and I did have one episode of it my first night taking 20mg. It was terrifying until I remembered that it was the Belsomra causing it. That was the one and only time I experienced that. Since then, I really think it's been helping drop off to sleep more easily. I'm still waking up to nightmares, but by then dawn is usually coming and it's not so bad. Maybe this will help someone else?
  2. I just got the award letter over the weekend granting me 30% for Irritable Bowel Syndrome as secondary to PTSD. My better half is positive that I should have been awarded SMC-S statutory based on my new ratings: 100% IU P&T - 70% for PTSD; 30% for IBS secondary to PTSD; 10% LF residuals injury; 20% LF residuals with RSD & metatarsalgia; 10% RF plantar fasciitis with RSD - I researched some here on Hadit, and I found this in a thread from July : That was written by Asknod. So my first question, which was whether TDIU was good enough to count as 100% seems to be answered. My second question, as to where a condition rated as secondary can be counted... I'm not sure. I called my VSO this morning and she said she would research it for me. She apologized that she didn't know the info right off the top of her head, but the SMC's are confusing on a good day... I feel like a greedy bastard asking for more. Then my other half say stop thinking that way and remember all the years (25 +) that I didn't ask for anything from the VA, not even a vaccine or flu shot.
  3. Thank you again, everybody. I can't measure what it means to me to have you folks here to cheer for me. Tbird, this was a big deal to me for the same reasons. It's painful and scary and it definitely affects the people you live with. Maybe you could try again? Maybe something has changed in the VA mind about connecting digestive distress (not too strong a word!!) to anxiety. I can't believe I'm the only one who will ever get approved. One question at the Comp & Pen seemed especially important in retrospect... she asked whether taking the Ativan for anxiety had any impact on my IBS. Well, yeah, it does. It calms down everything for a little while. Not for long, but for a little while.... I'd take it all day long if I could. But that would mean me sitting in my chair literally counting the flowers on the wall. That question was not asked at my first Comp & Pen for IBS secondary to PTSD. Thanks again, everyone. :)
  4. I looked it up, Bronco. Medical Care Cost Recovery. I don't think it applies to me here, because I went to my own private practitioner outside the VA. I couldn't face the crowded waiting room and all the anxiety of letting the VA doctors getting so up close and personal. <<< shudder >>> I'm extremely lucky to have outside insurance that doesn't cover everything, but does a pretty good job. My better half just came home from the club, and said I should be eligible for SMC-S because I have TDIU which made me a 100% disabled veteran, and now all my other separate disabilities add up to more than 60. Is that accurate? I thought you had to use "VA Math" to hit the +60 mark. Someone said that you use regular math for this situation. Is that right? My better half gets SMC-s but his "other disabilities" add up to over 100... Plus he has 100% for one single disability.
  5. Thanks again, everyone. It's so cool and warm to see "old friends" popping up to shake my hand. Bronco, what's MCCR. Have I been away too long?
  6. It doesn't say that the 30% for IBS is permanent - should that worry me? I guess in retrospect, the other ratings don't say P & T except for the TDIU and the PTSD. Leave it to me to worry a gift horse in the mouth!
  7. Thank you all so very much!! I can't tell you how much it means to have a place where people will understand and celebrate with me about something like this. :)
  8. I haven't been a regular visitor in well over a year, but still must say THANK YOU to Hadit and everyone here who gives so much of their time and wisdom. I'd been suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome for years. About 18 months ago I had an attack during a session with my VA psychiatrist. When I came back into the office, she was very sympathetic and mentioned that IBS is frequently an issue for PTSD sufferers and people with anxiety problems. I had read here or on a different veterans' forum that getting any kind of tummy trouble approved as secondary to IBS was almost impossible. But this was not something I'd ever had a problem with before the PTSD. I talked to my private gastroenterologist (can't stand the thought the VA doing any kind of scopy on my {shiver} and she agreed that PTSD/anxiety were very likely to aggravate IBS. So I got the DBQ disability form for IBS (from here, I think!) and had my gastroenterologist and my VA psychiatrist both fill one out and wrote a statement of my own to go with it. Submitted all back last spring. My first Comp & pen didn't go very well, I didn't think. The examiner was skeptical, plus she didn't have my DBQ from my psychiatrist or all of the records from my gastroenterologist. She didn't believe that it was a daily problem. In fact, in the record of the comp & pen she used the words "amplification of symptoms" although she suggested it was due to my mental state. I cried when I read it because I can tell you with absolute honesty that I did not exaggerate. It was no surprise that my claim for IBS was denied. But my intrepid VSO at the OPH said "pshaw! I'm submitting an appeal right now!" She did the appeal paper and I just resubmitted the DBQ's. Last week of September I had another Comp & Pen. Different experience completely. This examiner was sympathetic and kind and patient when she had to wait for me to come back from the restroom. Last week in the mail came the white envelope: 30% for IBS secondary to PTSD was granted!!! If it hadn't been for my VSO I would have crawled back into my corner and just let it go. I'm so blessed to have her. Especially since she isn't one of those "you have 100% TDIU, what more do you want?" She understood that I'm worried about the toll this IBS is taking on my body... Anyway, THANK YOU, Hadit!! You folks are the ones who gave me so much courage in the first place, years ago.
  9. THANK YOU, EVERYONE!! I cannot express how much your words of support mean to me. It's like having a big ol' life raft of comrades pull me out of the water after the ship went down. A life raft with truly good buddies and complete with loads of rations and fresh water. Plus a box of flares and a solar satellite radio. You have thrown me life lines (that is not too strong a phrase, believe me.) I have placed a call to my Gastroenterologist and will talk to her today or tomorrow. She's always been very compassionate and helpful, so I'm sure she will write a statement, complete with citations of medical findings. The DBQ she wrote for me is very strongly worded and includes the DX codes for PTSD, MDD, OCD and GAD. In my records, she has repeatedly noted that my IBS is worse when I'm stressed, etc. So I feel confident that I will have the best possible support in that respect. Thank you so much, again. My dear spouse thanks you too - I've been like a caged puma for the last 24 hours!!
  10. Thanks, man, I appreciate the support. I freaked and came here first. As always, there's someone here who "hears" me. I'm much calmer now (thanks to lorazepam and some time in the dark). It's not the first claim I've ever had denied, but it always hurts. It always feels so dang personal.
  11. I'm so upset, I'm in tears. I didn't even look to see what the examiner wrote about my feet. Her conclusion about my Irritable Bowel was that it was less that likely that my IBS was related to my PTSD and she attached some medical finding that said there was no concrete evidence of comorbidity. She also said something about amplification of symptoms that could not be connected to my state of mental health. I understand what amplification of symptoms means - it means that she thinks I was overstating my distress. All I know is that I was sitting there with cramps that were making me sweat. My DH was there and chimed in that I suffered from "tummy trouble" constantly and that it was running our lives. So I had handed her my Gastroenterologist's DBQ that specifically stated the IBS was definitely caused or aggravated by my PTSD. I also came home and submitted that DBQ via IRIS because even though I had already submitted it back with my original claim, but the examiner didn't have it or see it in my records. My question is whether there is any point in asking my Gastroenterologist to write a statement for me. He already filled out the DBQ, and the VA has requested my records. But is there any hope? I have always gleaned that whatever the C&P examiner says goes, never mind that they see you for 45 minutes out of your life and they are a NP at best. Is there any hope at all that the VA might actually take the word of my MD - specialist?? :(
  12. Hi all, I survived! Y'all were right, the examiner did not do any physical examination at all. It was good advice to bring my copies of the DBQ with me - there was no sign of them in my file. The examiner took my copy that had been completed by a gastroenterologist and used it as a guide to fill out the questionaire she was doing as part of my exam. I don't know how it went, but my private doctor made it very clear on the DBQ that my IBS was very much related to my PTSD anxiety and stress. Hopefully that will make it simple for the VA to grant at least Service Connection. IBS is awful and very dibilitating. I have also been told that it can be disasterous for your health. If I have a condition that might easily lead to a rupture and/or death, and the medical experts see a connection to PTSD, then it's important to me that the VA sees it as a service-connected (secondary) condition too. My gastro said that hospitalization is likely on my horizon... so it's important to me that my IBS be service connected.
  13. Hi everyone, Well, I got through the comp & pen okay. I think it went as well as I could hope. It was good that I brought my copies of the DBQ's. The examiner did not have a copy of the DBQ my podiatrist had submitted, nor did the file contain any of my podiatrist's records. I gave the examiner a copy of my podiatry DBQ as well as a statement that my podiatrist had written for me the week before. What makes me think it went fairly well was that the examiner was very gentle with my feet. Rather than the thumping and yanking I'd experienced from examiners in the past, she was very slow and gentle, no trying to force me to exceed ROM beyond pain, etc. She went by my podiatrist's DBQ while filling out the DBQ for the examination - which is what the examination was all about. She just filled out an electronic DBQ, mostly just copying what my podiatrist had said. I did tell her about the pain medication my private doctor had prescribed. She entered that I needed percocet everyday to manage the pain beyond the Cymbalta and Naproxin the VA prescribed. If anyone is wondering why I want an increase to conditions that are already service-connected, especially since I'm already TDIU, it's because I don't trust the future VA to continue providing care for non-SC conditions. While I have "residual pain in foot" service connection, it's at only 10% each foot. There is no question that my condition has worsened and will continue to deteriorate. Someday soon I will no longer be able to ambulate. I want the VA to acknowledge the level of my disability accurately, especially if I will soon have to rely on VA care for mobility, etc. I hope I'm wrong, but I foresee a VA healthcare system that is limited by service-connection and by rating. I already need daily pain intervention, walk with a cane or a walker, and have a lot of trouble with stairs. I expect my ability to walk will be sharply limited within a few years. Like I said, I hope I'm wrong.
  14. The only thing we can be absolutely sure of is that the VA is not interested in logic or the best care for the veteran.
  15. Wasn't there something in the news last year about a Vet getting retro back to the 40's for an injury sustained in WWII? I've read that big retro checks have to be approved at more levels, so they might take longer.