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    • Temporary 100% post surgery/convalescense pay
      Whats up guys, hopefully someone out there can help me out here. Ok I had surgery on my right knee (service connected) on 4-13-16 at the VA hospital in Phoenix. I applied for convalescense pay the day before which was 4-12-16. My surgeon wrote a statemwnt saying I would be out of commission for 8-10 weeks or more if "desired strength in leg is not met" how long does the VA take to process something like this? And my understanding is the VA doesnt pro-rate meaning my convalescent start date is 5-1-16 and for 8 weeks will that be from 5-1-16 until 7-31-16? I currently am at 40% so i get $699.36/month. With convalescense do they pay 100% per month (in my case its $3187) or will they pay one lump sum for both months? Thank you     Quote   Edit
    • Ankylosing spondylitis. Rheumatologist diagnosis
      Hi all. Got a good one for you again. I saw my rheumatologist today and was diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis. It affect both my feet and my right hand. Apparently this condition is related to rheumatoid arthritis and when i start treatment i will have to take shots for the rest of my life. I just got low balled at 30% for bilateral plantar fascitis which i just found out is related to to ankylosing spondylitis. My question is do you think i should file a claim and will this get services connected??? So internet research i have seen said RA is easier to get service connected but this is another new road i must go down so i would apperciate some Knowledgable feedback. This condition also affect my neck and back and i did have some back issues in my service medical records. Thanks all and i look forward to youtlr replies. 
    • CUE? Not using SMR?
      What I see missing here is any mention of 38 CFR 1154(b) Combat enhancement. VA did not give  him enhanced credibility in 1983. In fact, they didn't even mention it which they would be required to discuss by law (and then discount as not being probative). That is CUE. VA is required to take any testimony about his feet in the combat environment as Gospel. It's clear they had the STRs when they made the 1983 decision. Presumption of Soundness at entry on the physical sets the injury metric.  If he had flat feet when he left, then it occurred in service -38 CFR 3.303(a). If he says he got flat feet and he has a PH and CIB, VA cannot argue otherwise. Having proved CUE, all he has to do is show that the error manifestly changed the outcome. The 2015 grant is proof of that. The only thing that could poke a hole in this balloon would be an unappealed BVA decision which would have rendered the subject closed. No appeal up to the BVA on any of those reopens following 1983 means a CUE  claim is still viable for 1983 as well as any follow on denials in the interim. Personally, I'd go for it. I'd get an atty. because it's going to be a cat fight for that many dineros. Sorry about that sugar. Your email didn't mention the medals and the CIB. That's a whole different ballgame. Anyone who would die in combat for their country gets a bye on their testimony as being credible without corroboration. 
    • NOD / DRO or TARP?
      Also, I want to point out that my husband returned from his 2nd tour in October of 2008. I do not believe I would have said that I was that concerned with him returning when he had just got back as was stated in the decision. He usually has at least a couple of years between deployments.  I could be wrong, I don't remember. I do recollect saying that when he was gone, a lot of the memories of what we did and seen during the invasion returned or bothered me more..?.  Sorry, I can't be sure.
    • Dr Ellis IMO
      Thanks for the info Flores.  I actually called the clinic this morning.  I am in the process of gathering my records and will be sending them out hopefully by Monday.  They said that they are currently scheduling for the end of June, beginning of July.  The lady sounded very nice.  I am looking forward to meeting Dr. Ellis soon.   Good luck on your claim. Travis  
    • Pending Case Dispatch
      They said it was remanded back to the RO.
    • 25 Year Long Service Connected Disability Denied After C/p Exam.
      Thanks all for the kind words. And yes I do sometimes feel that i don't deserve anything as i did not do combat. And there is way too many service men and women who have given up way more and come home with less than they left with. So it is even harder to stand up and ask for help when I see those Brothers in Arms coming home with severe injuries and some coming home with the Flag we all swore to defend. Thomas that road of drinking and drugs i went down and it almost destroyed my whole family. And after spending 30 days locked up in a rehabilitation hospital i don't care to go back again. I have been sober now for over 2 years have not had a drink and don't miss it none at all. I still pain medications but the VA limits that now and I have to sign that contract every month to get it. I do want to mention something I feel is Good News... As I look at the eBenefits website almost constantly to see if any changes are made. Good news tonight when I looked at it as one of my Open Claims is now in the Notification Stage. And then I looked to see and they had approved my second application to include my wife and kids on. Of course my daughter is in college and my son is 25 now, which they did not accept him as a dependent. That means they may have approved my Claim for Depression and Anxiety. But most likely they are going to a New condition and I will have to fight for the back pay. But since my previous Claim is in the DRO stage and I am awaiting the outcome of it. This new claim for Depression should move over to it now and be included. Is that correct as I can't file another NOD on it til the DRO issue's a SOC first. Anyways here a screenshot of them accepting my wife and daughter as dependents and also a screenshot of the awaiting Notification letter to be delivered. . 
    • NOD / DRO or TARP?
      After some digging, I was not able to find my complete original 2009 decision. I did however find my PTSD appeal decision from 2011 and the rating part of my 2009 letter. I must have separated the 2009 letter at some point to prove I had a 10% service connection, but didn't want them seeing the notes. I hope this is enough to maybe point a path. I can't express how much I appreciate what you guy's are doing here. I have never been comfortable sharing this stuff with anyone, To the point that I have been doing this with just my husbands help because I did not want to talk to a VSO that I don't know. But I see on here that everyone is helping everyone fight the same fight. Thank you very much!  In reference to the previous questions: It appears I did file the DRO route, and no, I did not continue the appeal to the BVA. I actually found where I started to fill out the VA form 9, but I was so fed up with the OKC VA back then that I must have said "screw it". Big mistake on my part I know. Appeal Decision 2011.pdf Original Rating 2009.pdf

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Lower Back - Degenerative Disc Disease

10 posts in this topic

Like many, I've suffered lower back problems for years and have received PT, MRI and lots of drugs over the years while active duty. I retired with 27 years active duty (AD) last year. I recently received a copy of my C & P exam from Sept 2010. While AD I was always told that the pain in my LB is caused by "Bulging Disc" at L4/L5 and the sporadic pain and follow-on numbness down my right leg is Sciatica. But the C & P calls it Degenerative Disc Disease instead. <BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character: line-break">

My question is – does the VA look at long-term chronic pain when judging for award or only range of motion on that one particular day of the C & P? My range of motion is stricly determined by my level of pain . . . on C & P day it was minor, and I had full ROM.

Thanks in advance - Jim

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ROM on the day of. The usual canard is to approach the C&P as if it was your worst day, or, a bit more drastic, don't medicate for a few days prior.

CAS

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I bet if you are having numbness down your leg you have a herniated disc even if it is not really bad. When did you get a MRI the last time. When it starts to run down the leg it means the pulp of the disc is impinging on the nerve in a serious way. I am no doctor. I have DDD in neck and back so I am telling you what I know. I have herniation in my neck and I get the pain running across the shoulders and numbness. That is a clue you probably have some of your disc touching the nerves that run down your leg through the backbone. I am sure you know all this already. Has anyone recommended surgery? When VA says DDD they may be implying that it is just due to normal aging. I am really glad you filed your claim soon after discharge because if you wait the VA has a way of saying it is just due to age.

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I know just how you feel.

I'm having more trouble with being able to stand. Numbness and shooting pain down both legs now. Butt cheeks feel brused. Used to be just the right leg or just the left. Have lost 1 inch in the length of my right leg due to muscle loss from nerve damage is my guess. But, just a guess cuz no ones ever said what caused it.

I've lost work just by sneezing and having a disk pop to the side.

I have several disks and joints in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar that are bad. One in the cervical that is poking the spinal cord, but hasnt penitrated it according to MRI results.

According to research i've read and people i've talked to who've had joint fusion, they say it wasn't worth it and little if any pain was helped.

I've delt with DDD and DJD for over 40 yrs. Have had many periods of 3 months or so where I could barely walk.

About all i've found that helps is muscle relaxants for spasms, and Oxycontin CR. You must do some kind of exercises and stretches. Any part you dont use, you'll loose the use of it. If the disc is completely gone, you may not have a choice but choose fusion.

I'm no dr, just know how"my" body works.

PS

After seeing the patient next to me only get operated on one side of his cervical because the students operating ran out of time in the operating room, than having to go through being knocked out and another operation the next day to finish it, I don't think I would have the VA operate anyway. I would rather get surgery where i'm not a lab rat.

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I know just how you feel.

I'm having more trouble with being able to stand. Numbness and shooting pain down both legs now. Butt cheeks feel brused. Used to be just the right leg or just the left. Have lost 1 inch in the length of my right leg due to muscle loss from nerve damage is my guess. But, just a guess cuz no ones ever said what caused it.

I've lost work just by sneezing and having a disk pop to the side.

I have several disks and joints in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar that are bad. One in the cervical that is poking the spinal cord, but hasnt penitrated it according to MRI results.

According to research i've read and people i've talked to who've had joint fusion, they say it wasn't worth it and little if any pain was helped.

I've delt with DDD and DJD for over 40 yrs. Have had many periods of 3 months or so where I could barely walk.

About all i've found that helps is muscle relaxants for spasms, and Oxycontin CR. You must do some kind of exercises and stretches. Any part you dont use, you'll loose the use of it. If the disc is completely gone, you may not have a choice but choose fusion.

I'm no dr, just know how"my" body works.

PS

After seeing the patient next to me only get operated on one side of his cervical because the students operating ran out of time in the operating room, than having to go through being knocked out and another operation the next day to finish it, I don't think I would have the VA operate anyway. I would rather get surgery where i'm not a lab rat.

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Thanks to everyone for the quick replies and information. I am 50 years old now (retired last year with 27 years AD), and have had LBP since 1992. I was injured in the line of duty as a flight mechanic with the Coast Guard. Luckily mine is no-where near as bad as most of the cases I've read. I had my C & P while still on active duty (Sept 2010). I just wanted to make sure that it was listed in case it gets worse as time goes by; I agree that there is likely a herniated disc pushing on nerves. That's why I was surprised to see it listed as DDD rather than the original diagnosis I received from the flight surgeon. I did have an MRI back in 2006 which merely showed compression and "slight" bulging at L4 L5.

I haven't received my results from the VA as of yet – I was told that I currently have a suspense date of July 18th.

Again thank you all - I really appreciate your time.

God Bless America - Jim

I bet if you are having numbness down your leg you have a herniated disc even if it is not really bad. When did you get a MRI the last time. When it starts to run down the leg it means the pulp of the disc is impinging on the nerve in a serious way. I am no doctor. I have DDD in neck and back so I am telling you what I know. I have herniation in my neck and I get the pain running across the shoulders and numbness. That is a clue you probably have some of your disc touching the nerves that run down your leg through the backbone. I am sure you know all this already. Has anyone recommended surgery? When VA says DDD they may be implying that it is just due to normal aging. I am really glad you filed your claim soon after discharge because if you wait the VA has a way of saying it is just due to age.

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The day of my C & P was a great day, I felt good . . . I didn’t lie or embellish the way I felt – but did explain that it was a good day, and that I had been on terminal leave for a considerable period of time, so I naturally felt better as I hadn’t been doing much. Of course none of that was in the remarks.

Thanks again – Jim

ROM on the day of. The usual canard is to approach the C&P as if it was your worst day, or, a bit more drastic, don't medicate for a few days prior.

CAS

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The day of my C & P was a great day, I felt good . . . I didn't lie or embellish the way I felt – but did explain that it was a good day, and that I had been on terminal leave for a considerable period of time, so I naturally felt better as I hadn't been doing much. Of course none of that was in the remarks.

Thanks again – Jim

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I just retired from the Air Force after 26 years on 31 Dec 2010. I've had two back surgeries while on active duty for L-5-S1 decompressive laminectomics & microdiscectomy at Bethesda Medical Center, Bethesda Maryland. (Dec 2001) & L5-S1 redo discectomy Nov 2010. My C&P exams were conducted Aug& Sept 2010.

During physical therapy Feb 2011, I experienced shooting pains from my lower back & buttocks down my left & right legs. 02 Mar 2011, I was treated in the emergency room for chronic back pains & given Percocet's. 19 Mar 2011, Ihad an MRI, & the results were forward to my Neurosurgeon. 21 Mar 2011, treated for lower back pain in the emergency room & given Neurontin.

07 April 2011, I received my MRI results from my Neurosurgeon, recurrent left L5-S1 disc protrusion, central broad-based L5-S1 disc protrusion, L5-S1 lateral recessstenosis, right L5-S1 neural foraminal disc protrusion with questionable involvement of the right L5 nerve root. There is also a right L4-5 neuralforaminal disc protrusion with questionable involvement of the right L4 nerveroot. There is also left L4-5 neural foraminal and proximal far-lateral discprotrusion with involvement of the ventral aspect of the left L4 nerve root.There is also a left L5-S1 neural foraminal disc bulge/protrusion.

07 June2011, I received the brown envelope from the VA 80% disability

50% Sleep Apnea,

20% IVDSdegenerative arthritis changes, thoracolumbar spine, lower back, status postsurgery

10%Patellofemoral syndrome, left knee condition with osteoarthritis

10%Residuals right ankle fracture with brace, inserts, degeneration and torn ligaments

10%Tinnitus

10% Boweldysfunction associated with IVDS with degenerative arthritis changes,thoracolumbar spine

Statement also attached from the VA: We have reviewed your records and they suggest you may be entitled to additional benefits. We first need a claim from you or your representative. Please tell us on the enclosed Statement In Support of Claim (VA Form 21-4138) that you want to file a claim for degenerative changes of the left hip and DJD, right knee and bilateral pes planus, plantar fasciitis and hallux valgus.

09 Jun 2011, I filed a VA Form 21-4138, for reconsideration of rating decision of thoracolumbar IVDS and TMJ, status post surgical repair (claimed as dental surgery x 2/hardware and Individual Unemployability. Per the DAV, I'm also entitled to service connection for DJD left hip, DJD right knee, B/L plantar fasciitis,B/L pes planus and B/L hallux valgus.

21 & 23 June 2011, back in emergency room & treated for Lumbar disc herniation with radiculopathy, stenosis of lumbosacral spine & osteoarthritis of the knees. 12 Jul 2011, myelogram & CT scan revealed 3 herinated disc's with bone spurs. My next appointment with my Neurosurgeon is schedule for 3 Aug 2011& Orthopedic surgeon appointment, 10 Aug 2011. My back isn't getting any better & knees are always buckling. Good luck with your claim.

Edited by Big Mac

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Wow a 6 month turn-around time on your claim - Good For You . . . I've heard most take longer. I guess your medical stuff was very well documented.

I retired last Sept, and other than a couple of letters stating that the VA is working my claim I've recieved no correspondance at all.

Hope you can get better with PT and BE CAREFULL!!!!

Jim

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