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About sleeper692

  • Birthday 11/30/1959

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  1. Hey Doc, Did you file for TDIU (Unemployability)? Based on my experience and bouncing your symptoms against the ratings table, you should be at or near 100% for CFS alone and quite likely to be granted TDIU if that is what you are seeking. But I'm not rating your case and I don't have access to the immense amount of information that your claims rater does. Again, I'm not a VSO and I am just offering my opinion. I can say your CFS exam went better than mine. My C&P doctor didn't even do an exam and ignored all previous mention and diagnosis' of CFS. Again, I am challenging the exam, the doctor's credentials and ability to conduct such an examine based on a GWI claim and the total lack of a physical exam. The other thing I would do, particularly with the CFS, is request a "Permanent and Total" rating be assigned if you get TDIU or a 100% rating. From what your examing doc states in your exam, your CFS has been ongoing since 2003 and hasn't shown any improvement and (maybe) none is expected. It does not hurt to ask. I asked and, for reasons I believe are less scrupulous than they sound, got a P&T rating. Unfortunately they gave me P&T for PTSD and NOT my GWI symptoms. I'm not happy with that and I am appealing all my physical claims so they get it right. Good luck. Let us know how things turn out!
  2. Hey Snake Doc, First, I am not a VSO. I am, however, an ill Gulf War Veteran (GWV) that has been trapped in the hamster wheel of VA Gulf War claims for years now. I have some questions and observations: 1) Are you representing yourself or do you have a Veteran Service Officer (VSO)? 2) Am I correct that you filed a claim for "Gulf War Illness?? Since there is currently no directly assignable rating for GWI, my guess, based on experience, is that a pure GWI claim will summarily be denied. This is largely due to the fact that your VBA rater likely does not understand the medical side of GWI and likely does not understand or fully implement the VA regulations for rating illnesses associated with GWI (such as FM, CFS, IBS, etc). 3) Was your C&P exam done by a typical VA doctor? Unless this doctor is far outside the norm for VA doctors, it is very likely that the examining doctor had no idea what GWI is, its medical definition, signs and symptoms, tests or potential treatments. Seeing as the doctor did not address GWI directly, the first thing I would do when appealing is to challenge the exam and the examining doctor. A doctor who does not know what GWI is, or worse, denies GWI exists, is incapable of providing a thorough and competent C&P exam for GWI. To my knowledge, there are only a handful of VA doctors across the country who might be able to give you a C&P exam but, unfortunately, those doctors are conducting research and have not been shuffled away to give C&P exams. Currently, there is also no DBQ for GWI though we might get one in the future if the politicians seem fit to follow through with the bills currently in Congress. 4) If you do not have a VSO, I strongly suggest you find one or hire an experienced attorney that handles VA claims. If you go with a VSO, shop around. Ask a VSO if they have experince with GWI claims, how many they have done and what sort of success rate do they have? I have found out the hard way that when a VSO does not understand the ins and outs of a GWI claim they will not correctly file your claims and appeals for you. I STRONGLY suggest that you insist on reviewing all documents your VSO intends to submit before he or she submits them. That simple move could sav you a lot of time down the road.
  3. While this recent study connects GWI with definitive changes in the brain, so did the similar studies done by Dr. Haley at UT. Of course, as soon as a neurological connection was made by Dr. Haley the VA promptly cut off his funding. Dr. Haley has continued his research on his (and the universities) dime and has confirmed his results. He also released a study showing that the winds definitely brought low levels of chemical agents from bombed storage facilities right on top of coalition troops. After 22 years, there will likely never be a definitive cause for GWI. It is of the general opinion of the researchers doing valid work that it GWI is likely a result of a variety of different exposures plus a genetic component that makes some of us susceptible. While I agree that it would be nice if we could have solid answers as to what exactly caused this, I think it is more important now to find out how our bodies have been affected and finding effective treatments. Going backwards and spending limited research funding on speculative causes is money that could be better spent finding treatments to help us get some of our quality of life back and maybe keep us from keeling over dead. There are some interesting research projects and proposals to be found at the CDRMP web site: http://cdmrp.army.mil/ In particular interest in the research proposed by Dr. Ronald Bach from the Minneapolis VAMC. He postulates that one of the results of GWI is systemic inflammation which would, if he is correct, explain a great many things. It would also dovetail into the theory by Dr. Golomb that the underlying mechanism to all the symptoms of GWI is oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage. It would make sense that damaged and adaptive mitotic cells would cause inflammation as they try to adapt or die. If these two theories prove correct, proper dosing with CoQ10 and a daily aspirin could make a world of difference for ill GWV's.
  4. Using the research that Annesse posted, if you already have a fibromyalgia diagnosis (and rating if you are a GWV) you might be able to claim the osteoporosis as secondary to the fibro. You would need a clear osteo diagnosis and not have it linked to a conclusive etiology. Admittedly, it would be a longshot and it would take a savvy VSO to help construct the claim properly but it could fly if you had the right medical evidence, have the luck to have your claim reviewed by a competent rater and don't mind the wait for your claim to be adjudicated. Good luck with this one. I hope you don't end up in the appeals queue if you file.
  5. I know I left a long comment urging them to drop an end date completely when this regulation was in its proposal stage. I know its not easy but we all have to attack these things before they become regs. No one else is going to help us if we don't help ourselves in these sorts of matters.
  6. This doc would be correct IF the VA doctors had a friggin' clue as to how to treat GWI. I saw my neurologist yesterday and gave him a handful of recent GWI research reports. The first thing he did was look for treatment recommendations because he basically admitted that he didn't know what to do other than treat my symptoms. As far as I can tell, for now anyway, an outside doc is just as good as a VA doc in the level of care and expertise they can provide. Sometimes I think that the docs that are relegated to doing C&P exams full time are there because they aren't up to snuff to treat patients or they screwed up somehow and that is the only position they will let them have. Regardless, not a one of my C&P docs have ever had a clue what I was talking about when I brought up toxic exposures and GWI. Its pretty sad.
  7. You might be onto something. Looking at the legality of it, sulfur mustard gas certainly counts as a toxic agent. If a GWV was diagnosed with any of the respiratory illnesses associated with sulfur mustard gas and if the veteran could show they were exposed during deployment (i.e. exposed during the Khamisayah demolition) it might stand a chance. You'd need a well written nexus letter and documentation of some sort confirming the exposure. If you have a good VSO that thinks like a lawyer you might have a good shot at it. It sure as hell can't hurt to try. As for trying to link sleep apnea to mustard gas exposure, I don't see anywhere in the cfr that would give them the authority to grant the claim. Maybe Jim Bunker or Anthony Hardie have some information on that possibility.
  8. I've got a buddy in Yuba City who is having no luck in finding a competent VSO. He's called all around but he is confused and not getting any answers. He's called CDVA, DAV etc but can't seem to find anyone. I'm hoping someone here might be in his area and can help me point him in the right direction. Thank you! Pete
  9. I don't think there is anything (yet) in the presumptives for GWI that would allow you to claim osteoporosis. However, Dr. Beatrice Golomb at UCSD reported recently that she has found that GWV's consistently showed Vitamin D deficiency and has requested funding to further study it in GWV's.. My doctor found I had Vitamin D deficiency and I've been on supplements ever since. Vitamin D supplements have also been shown to help in reducing muscular pain and depression, both usual suspects in GWI. It will take you about 2 seconds of looking over a google search to learn that Vitamin D, or lack thereof, is a direct contributor to osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency also leads to tooth decay. I've had teeth rotting out of my head faster than a tweaker smoking 10 bowls a day. Now that I've been on supplements for a year my tooth decay issues have slowed dramatically. Without definitive research showing that Vitamin D deficiency is connected, or presumed to be connected, to service in the Gulf, I believe we will be out of luck on winning any claims in that regard. Hell, they can't get the current presumptives straight at BVA. Imagine the confusion when they try to figure out claims connected to a vitamin deficiency. I'd pay money to see that goat show!
  10. I love this Fillner guy! Its about time someone raised some hell. "Who is personally responsible?!?" He put some fire under Hickey's hind end and demanded the end of the BS. Did I hear that right, $1.86 million in bonuses last year? Bonuses? That money could have gone to pay for lot of things other than VBA executives vacation homes. Dental care anyone? 125 days and 98% quality for processing claims in 2012 is promised. I can say that is total BS as I have several claims that are way older than 125 days not to mention a serious error rate with more than 50% of my initial claims in appeal. Speaking of appeals, I never heard anything mentioned about how VBA is handling the appeals backlog. Did I just miss that or did they not cover that? I liked how Braley made an issue out of C&P docs overriding primary care docs. I've had that issue more than once myself. This is lengthy but definitely worth a watch or listen. Watch it in parts if need be but if you are a vet with claim issues then you should watch this.
  11. I have migraines that come in waves and are quite debilitating. Avoiding triggers such as stress, bright light, and loud noise is the first step. I've been on damn near every medication that is available for prevention of migraines. Unfortunately I've not tolerated any of them and I am starting to lean on non-medical treatments. I still have success beating back a migraine with naproxen NA and sumatriptan but I risk serotonin syndrome due to my high dose of zoloft every time I take sumatriptan. I just got started with weekly yoga classes and a weekly acupuncture clinic. Both of these are free to veterans in my community. Ask your doctors or the folks at your local clinic as they may have info on free or reduced fee yoga and acupuncture where you live. They might even have such classes or clinics at your VAMC. I can't vouch for the efficacy of the yoga or acupuncture on my headaches or other symptoms yet since I've only started but they can't be any worse than the toxic soup of medications the VA doctors try to ram down my throat. If nothing else they get me out of the house and I get to meet other veterans. One of the other things that has greatly helped me avoid migraines is getting a good night's sleep. My docs sent me to a sleep study where they found I have obstructive sleep apnea. They issued me a CPAP machine and, other than getting used to the damn thing, it has improved the quality of my sleep tremendously. I'm also on prazosin which is an alpha blocker and has almost completely stopped the nightmares I was experiencing nightly. I have found that getting proper sleep has cut my migraine attacks in half. I used to wake up already deep into a migraine. Since I've started on the CPAP 6 months ago I've only had one morning migraine which is just amazing considering I was losing an average of 2 days a week simply waking up already in distress! Diet is another thing I pay attention to. Eating in a reasonably healthy manner and not imbibing in lots of alcohol helps too. Ultimately, I think you will not find one easy cure-all for your migraines. It takes a concerted effort on many fronts to prevent migraines and every little bit helps! Pete
  12. I use it for IBS and neuralgia. Better than anything the VA has given me and no side effects. I have a two part question: What, if anything, can the VA do to me if they give me a pee test and find I've been using marijuana? I've already told my doctors I smoke it to relieve my IBS and neuralgia symptoms. They didn't say much. What if I am in a state that has legalized medical marijuana and I have my card issued from a state licensed doctor allowing me to purchase, carry and use marijuana for my stated medical reasons?
  13. I want to share my experience in helping with getting congressional support for GWI research funding and let everyone know that we need more GWV's in the fight to get funding for research. We also need more help in convincing Congress to hold hearings about the VA's blatant ignorance of research findings and possible treatments for GWI. This also includes the incompetence at the VARO level in rating claims for GWV's which should be important to every one of you. Yesterday was the deadline to get Congressional support from State Representatives on a "Dear Colleague" letter requesting $25 million for GWI research funding in FY13. The effort was spearheaded by Anthony Hardie (91outcomes.com) and Denise Nichols, a Vietnam era Air Force Nurse. They got a group of us together on Facebook and asked us to start calling not only the representatives from our own state but representatives from all over. As a group, we made numerous phone calls and emails to staffers asking for their Rep's support by signing onto the letter. It was my first time doing more than simply contacting my own Congressmen. At first I was slightly intimidated but after the first couple of calls, I got my feet under me and was able to politely pressure the staffers for a response. Many did respond, calling me back to let me know that their Rep had signed on to the letter. The campaign was a success as you can read here: Record Level Congressional Support for Gulf War Illness Treatment Funding as Kucinich-Roe Sign-On Deadline is Reached (Thanks to Anthony Hardie at 91outcomes.com) Coming up very soon, we are going to have to do the same thing on the Senate side. It will be yet another opportunity for us to join together as a force and put as much pressure as possible on every Senator we can reach. There are some scrooge Republicans that definitely need to hear from more veteran's than they ever knew existed. We also need letters describing the problems you've had as a GWV with your VA doctors not having any knowledge of all the research findings that are out there and denying that GWI even exists. We need letters describing your claims mess because the raters and C&P examiners don't understand GWI. We are making headway but we need everyone's help. It's easy to write a letter or make a few phone calls and that is all that is needed in most cases. If you want to help yourself and other GWV's, please go to the Facebook group: Gulf War Illness: Taking Care of Business. It is a closed group so you will have to request entrance. If that doesn't work for you, contact Kelly Staples McKenna or Denise Nichols on Facebook and they can add you to the group. If you have letters about your VA experiences and the VA's ignorance of GWI on the medical and/or rating side, send them directly to Denise Nichols at DSNurse1@yahoo.com. She will forward them directly to Capitol Hill. She told me just last night that the congressmen are reading them and are alarmed at what we are having to go through in dealing with the VA. We need more letters so Congress will be convinced to hold hearings about the VA's incompetent treatment of GWV's and GWI. The VA isn't going to do this for us. We have to fight the good fight and keep making sure our voices are heard on Capitol Hill. As yesterday's victory demonstrated, if we shout loud enough they will listen. Don't bunker down and just hope things get better. Pitch in as you can. Even if you only make one phone call or send one email, it will help us all. Pete
  14. I've had mixed results with bugging them versus leaving them alone. Are you going through a VSO? I wrote letters to my VARO asking them to expedite my claims, including IU, due to hardship. Well, that is exactly what they did. They went through my claim as fast as they could. They skimmed over the very strong evidence in my favor and denied pretty much the whole thing. Now my claims are being reviewed by the VARO after my VSO raised hell with them. Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Sometimes it just gets replaced. Or as someone once said, "you spin the wheel, you takes your chances." If you don't have a VSO, I would suggest you find a competent one that can fight the battle for you. It sure makes it a lot easier in the long run. Pete
  15. Thanks for posting this Carlie. Its very enlightening. The percentages of errors in St. Petersburg are alarming. I imagine they are similar across the nation. Imagine if your doctor had a 42% error rate! Or if an airline pilot missed his destination 42% of the time. They'd be out the door faster than valley girl with a credit card on the way to the mall. I wish the OIG would do an inspection of my VARO. I'm so tired of appealing claims that get turned down because the rating authority doesn't have a clue as to what they are doing.
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