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About Athena2

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    E-3 Seaman

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  1. Hi All, I am a veteran that served for over seven years active duty in the ARMY. From FEB 1992-OCT 1999. I am hoping someone can help me further with my NOD process. Here is a bit of history in dealing with VA. I currently have a combined rating of 40 percent for Retropatellar pain sydrome of both knees, tendonitis status post-surgical of first dorsal compartment of left wrist and tendonitis right wrist (major). I had filed for an increase for several conditions (over 17) for which I was denied back on August 2012. So after speaking to a rep at a VA hospital I go to, I filed a NOD. In my NOD I listed all the conditions currently plaguing me. They range from 1) Obstructive Sleep Apnea, 2) Sjogrens, Dry eye syndrome (secondary to Sjogrens), 3) Raynuds syndrome, 4) Chronic Cholecystitis which required an open gall bladder removal with severe symptoms that required hospitalization of over 3 week and to make matters worse they (va doctors) had left a remnant of my gall bladder which grew back and required further surgery to remove, which I had over two years later because they did not believe me and the pain I was still experiencing. They went as far as to send me to a psychiatrist because they thought it was all in my head. By the way I still suffer from abdominal pain daily 5) Insomnia and sleep disturbances 6) migraines and headaches 7) Bursitis of Left Hip 8) PTSD for which I was seen by a therapist while on active duty but they conveniently lost my medical records and VA told me is not service connected- which makes me go huh??? 9) Depression 10) Menstrual disorders 11) Unspecified Diffuse Connective Tissue Disease which is an immune condition which could develop into lupus or Rheumatoid arthritis. All of this conditions are in my medical records as I get seen by by VA specialist. By the way I probably should mention that I never received a C & P exam for any of the above. I am also on immune suppressant medications, anti depressants and over 12 medications that are truly hard for me to afford (even at $8.00/monthly prescription of each),since this conditions are not service connected. Now, VA send me a letter dated April 7, 2016 stating that I needed to file a VA form 21-526EZ for the above conditions which I did file with my local VSO. At the same time I received a statement of the case stating I need to file a VA form 9. And this is where I am stumped. There is so much legal jargon I am at loss. Please help I am so close to finally getting somewhere, I know time is of the essence. Who do I filed this Form 9 with? my local VSO office? What do I reiterate or state that I probably did not in my nod.? I am truly feeling lost in the legal sea of paperwork. Needless to say I do not trust VA or my local VSO to do this for me. Any guidance is really appreciated. Thanks....
  2. I was active duty from 1992-1999, but did not deploy to Iraq, and was not in any combat area. So I do not know if that makes me a Gulf War Veteran or not, or if the Gulf War presumptive regulations will apply to me. I was station in Fort Sill, OK; Fort Wainwright, AK and Fort Bliss, TX. My last unit in Fort Bliss did six month rotations to Iraq but I was pregnant and did not deploy, and then I ETS out of the service. My job was as a small arms repairer so I did work a lot with cleaning solvents and like chemicals, don't know either if that has any impact on any of this. Thank you Carlie, I did not think to make sure they entered into my records how debilating and bedridden the migraines make me. I literally have to lay in bed for hours on end, in a dark room without any sounds. I will make sure to tell them to enter this into my medical records, but I would have thought they would anyways. Goes to show u, I am still new at this whole thing. While still in the Army I had surgery in both my wrist for DeQuervains Disease - Inflammation of tendons in my wrist - tenosynovitis. After I ETS, I was continuously seen @ VA hospitals for joint pain in right and left knees which required cortisone shots. For years now I have had knee arthralgia which is in my medical records. Pain has now spread to other joints like shoulders and hips. But I do not know if this is all connected or what? So, I do not know if this will help VA compensation connect the dots with my current health deterioration. Thanks again....Have a great Day!
  3. Oops, I forgot to give thanks for lending me a kind ear, for letting me vent and most importantly for having this great forum with great people...Thank you, God Bless and Take care!
  4. Hi Everyone, Berta, don't mean to be annoying but I am still new at this: "what do you mean by inservice nexus"?? Thanks for the kind words justrluk. By the way just yesterday I went to see one other specialist, a neurologist (VA hospital) for really bad headaches I am getting at least 1-3 per week for at least the past 3 months. One of those actually lasted for a couple of days...ouch! Anyway, I am puzzled by what this specialist had to say. He said that at this time it is presumptive that I have sjogrens syndrome or fibromyalgia, as only my ANA test was positive and other blood tests have come back normal. He said that my Rheumy is basing that decision on the symptoms I have and that is all. So the best he can do at this time is not do an MRI of my head but give me a new medication for breakthrough of migraine pain. This is Sumatriptan, as I already am taking Gabapentin which he increase my dosage of. The million dollar question is: What am I suppose to say about that? Or how am I suppose to reply? Well, I started crying, which I tend to do when freaking frustrated and told him this whole thing is very frustrating to say the least, and that I would rather be healthy and not have any symptoms at all, or any diseases for that matter. That is when I think they look at me as if I am crazy or was making the whole thing up, which makes me soooo angry. Have I mentioned I only recently turned 39 yrs old.!!! I further reiterated that my quality of life with my sons, husband and family continues to be impacted by all these symptoms. My life is not the same. Needless to say he wants me to keep a headache journal, which I already did and wants to see me in 4 months, which by the way happens to be next year. It is at times like this, that I ask the heavenly almighty God to give me patience. One day at a time..one day at a time! I sincerely hope his comments or this does not affect my trying to get an increase of my disability rating. Maybe I am going crazy or wait, maybe just maybe being super hyper sensitive and annoyed is also a symptom...lol!
  5. Hello Everyone, Thank you all for your support. It has been a tough last couple of months. This past July I was diagnosed by my Rheumy Doc with Sjogrens Syndrome(same one Venus Williams was recently diagnosed with). My Rheumy Doc still believes there is something else going on, but says that we will just have to wait and see what happens. In the meantime, I am really feeling worse. Pain is ever present in my life, from the moment I wake to the moment I try go to sleep. "Try" being the key word here. Insomnia is a horrible thing! I wake up feeling exhausted. To make matters worse I am been getting this monstrous migraines, for which my PCD has made me an appointment to see a neurologist. She has also done blood test to check for vitamin defiencies (vitamin D, B-12, etc.) but those test came back normal. I see so many specialist I can barely keep track. It is depressing, having to go over the same things over and over and not help but feel that nobody really understands. Sometimes I feel nauseous, dizzy and like I am going downright crazy. Specially when people look at me, and they think I am making the whole thing up. Oooh, but you look so healthy and young was the comment from someone. What I would not give to be healthy like I used to be, instead of trying to fight my doctors, VA for what I think was taken from me.(my health) Oh and there is the people that think that you must be contagious or something, because they are ignorant. One lady told me her son was in the airforce and she said: OOh I hope my son does not get that. Really? As if I had a choice. Sorry about the rambling. Thank you for letting me vent. The ever present question for me is: Does anyone know if the VA pays for Sjogrens syndrome? What about all the symptoms associated with it, like dry eyes, headaches, fatigue etc. ? Do I have to prove Service Connection? I have had joint pain problems since I was in the service, where I use to get cortisone shots in my knees and wrist. Of course, that was so long ago, and things are getting much worse now. My latest pharmaceutical drugs include: Gabapentin, Hydroxychloroquine, meloxicam, omeprazole, oooh and ursodiol for having gotten only part of my gallbladder taken out. This by the way has created for me a flurry of digestive issues I don't even want to go into. And so it goes, a partial diagnosis for me means only the beginning. On my best days I try to remain optimistic and resilient but those are far and in between. No matter, I try to keep my chin up. I have many things to be thankful for like my son and husband. And yes the sun comes up every morning and it is a beautiful thing isn't it? Again thank you soo much for your support and letting me rant for soo long. I feel better now. God Bless and take care.
  6. Hi, Thank you for your input! I try to always be careful and always, always ask the pharmacist lots of questions when it comes to my medication, especially since I am not used to taking meds. I find the whole thing a bit scary if not daunting since doctors these days seems to think that with a pill they can make anything better ~ I do not agree. I believe they need to find out what is wrong, and if they do not know than say so, and together we can find alternatives. This is why I am very inquisitive about the whole thing! Frustations aside...the bottom line is I hope I get better, before I get worse. Thank you for the support. God Bless! Hello Athena, Berta has brought up a good point. I have been warned on some of my heart meds concerning the use of Lipids and actually had the doctors change some of my heart meds. However it is so easy for them to miss your medications reacting wrong on you that you have to follow up with it. I just also found out that the Rheumatologist from VA has now prescribed me Prednisone for the immune system inflammations in my legs, feet , hands and elbows , which may cause me some problems with my heart. This could be a big problem since I already have had one Myocardial Infarction. I just got them and am going to research some to find out what I may be facing. The diagnosis of Fibromyalgia as Pete pointed out is hard to diagnos and you may have to seek other opinions . I do know that Peripheral Neuropathy can also be a symptom. You could also be facing a chemical exposure so understand that the Neurologist can help you but also can not spot some hidden features. Where were you stationed??? Were you around any type of COC's like Benzo, Trichloretylene, Vx, Sarin, for example. Defining the damage to your mylan sheath on the nerves will require EMG and Needle Nerve Conductivity . There is also some meds that they try to treat with such as Neurontin, Gabepentene, or possibly Lyrica. These also can cause great harm in after effects and I have full knowledge of this so please be careful with any medication and reactions. I normally am asleep long ago , but am having some difficulty tonight. However you are among friends that also have experience with diseases and conditions like this and as you can see you are getting some help. God Bless you and keep you safe.......NEVER GIVE UP. C.C.
  7. Hello Retired dat 44, I actually had an upper GI in the past year as I am having several digestive problems, which at this point I do not know if they are due to gallbladder surgery or perhaps some other chronic autoimmune disease, frankly I don't think they(the doctors) know either. But the upper GI test did not show any type of obstruction or anything. I am also seeing a nutritionist that suggested I try different things with my diet. I no longer drink milk derived products, don't like soy milk so its almond milk for me. But honestly I have had no changes to my digestive issues. But hey, I keep on trying to see if eventually I hit the mark and hopefully my tummy feels better. Since this all started my eyesight has become more sensitive to the sun and it has been noted by ENT doctor. They also found I have senile cataracts but I found out this are very common in people or so am told. Don't mean to sound like a whiner, but at times I feel like I am going crazy literally - and really I am just trying to get different opinions maybe, just maybe some out there has been through this. Thank you I suffer and have been from many many years of pain all over,, I have intestinal disease too.. the edoctors wrote Fibro in my medical records many years ago... the intestinal disease is part of the cause if not all, but I also have neuro disease ... I am just trying to say that if you have fibro, there is a chance you have more problems... the problem with intestinal disease is that many times the cause will not show up in tests... you can feel so sick you are dying, but the test show you as healthy... and a really big problem maybe developing,, and there it goes festering until it all gets really bad... hopefully, you don't have anything worse... try different diets,,, you won't lose anything... at least you are trying... pain is soemtimes helpful because at least you can report that to doctors and get it into your records... and the doctors will not do tests unless there is something that forces them to look deeper into the cause... look for blood, diahrea, constipation.... different symptoms from differnt food... neuro symptoms, fatigue, weakness,, tremors... eye problems... fevers... antyhing else besides pain... the length of time the symptoms go on,, weeks or years... if only a few weeks, thaen it could be a passing thing... which would be great! just thinking out loud.. good luck..
  8. Hi WAC-Vet 75, For now they have ruled out lupus. My rheumy doc says I was negative for lupus on blood test. But, when I looked up sypmtoms for lupus on line it sounds like they are describing me. No they actually have not done any brain or spine MRI's yet, I will make note of that on my next appointment with PCD. I do not know what you mean by Lupus to be "presumptive" within a year of discharge. If ever I am diagnosed with it does that mean I will not be able to claim it? Thank you for comments.. Athena2, have they "ruled out" Lupus? Lupus can affect the gallbladder (I'm a fine example of that), and any organ in your body. Lupus is presumptive within 1 year of discharge, though it can take years to get a positive diagnosis, as your ANA can go positive and negative, many times. Also, see if they are willing to do a MRI of the brain and spine.......
  9. Hello All, First I want to thank you for having such a venue where veterans can come to get information and post their concerns. Now to my situation. I am a 38 yr old Female Army veteran. I served from 1992 to 1999. I was never in combat. I currently have a disability rating of 40% with an effective date of July of 2009. I have not been feeling good for what seems years and only feel like I am getting worse, which I told the doctor at my last medical eval. And thank to his advice I now have been seen a Rheumatologist (VA Hospital)since. It is obvious to me the Rheumatologist does not know what is wrong. All the blood test imaginable and otherwise have been performed and come back negative, I do have a positive ANA. I feel like they look at me like a trouble patient, and they do not know what to make of me, since according to them I am soo young. I am depressed, hurt all over like I just run a marathon, did I mention that doing the most menial task takes extra effort. In a nutshell I feel horrible. Well, I have been put through the wringer. To make matters worse. on FEB of 2010 I had emergency gall bladder surgery which was so inflammed and infected that I remained in hospital(VA) for a couple of weeks and of which I nearly died, surgery was supposed to be less than four hours mine was nearly eight. I have a big scar across the stomach as a remainder. The doctors were surprised to hear I have never had a gallbladder attack and that there is no history of it in my family. I believe in my heart this is connected with my inflammation and whole body decline. My health seems to me to be getting worse. I have no energy. The whole thing its so frustating to me, as I used to be very active and now have a hard time getting out of bed as it is. Every 3 months or so I see my rhemautologist, I also am seeing an Eye Specialist because of the medication I am on. I see GI specialist(also @ VA hospital) because I still have part of my gallbladder, which causes sharp pain on my right side and which ultimately they want to go back and remove, which is scary for me and I do not want to do as they are no guarantees I will take away the pain. But my choices are dwindling. I am on several differents medications: Hydroxychloroquine, ursodiol, omeprazole, meloxicam and just recently got prescribe amitriptyline because I cannot sleep and wake up in pain and exhausted. I also suffer from dry mouth and eyes and horrible headaches, which I never had before. I was one of those people that never even took aspirin. After a lip biopsy, they ruled out Sjogrens syndrome, but my rheumy doctor thinks I still have a form of it. (?) I am aware that it takes years to find any chronic autoimmune disease, which does not help at all. In the meantime I pray for health and hope someone will find out what is wrong before its too late to do anything about it. Last week after seen my rheumy dr. she told me I might have Fibromyalgia but still believes there is something else going on. I have made an appt. for 9JUN11 with a local VA Rep to see if I can get an increase on my VA disability. I am unemployed and at this time trying to use CHPTR 31 to go back to school. We will see how that goes I hope it goes well and am excited about it. I should also mention that while in service I was diagnose with Dequervain's tendonitis on both wrist for which I had surgery to release tendons on both hands. Inflammation problems again way back when. Also had pain in knees, but who doesn't in the Army right? Just like every soldier I also took Anthrax vaccine. Ultimately, this is why I am writing, I want to see what my options are to get an increase if any at all. Any help, suggestions or advice are kindly appreciated. Thank you. My Current rating is 40% for the following: (previously I had 20%) Retropatellar pain syndrome with limitation of motion, right knee & left knee: 10% (this is what change from 0% to 10% in 2009 evaluation) Tendonitis, right wrist (major): 10% Tendonitis, status post surgical release of first dorsal compartment, left wrist: 10% Retropatellar pain syndrome, left knee: 0% Retropatellar pain syndrome, right knee: 0% Bilateral pes planus, status post bunionectomy: 0%
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