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Rick A

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About Rick A

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    E-3 Seaman

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  1. Wow, I don't know offhand who it is on the cover. I'm not selling the book. I'm a Veteran who met Dr Decker when he worked at the Vet Center. He was the first person to suggest I file a claim for PTSD after I returned from Iraq. At the time I didn't even know what that meant. I wasn't sure what PTSD was. And I had NO knowledge of what a claim even was, what it meant, or any of it. I didn't know I could get help from the government. At first I was VERY resistant to filing. ...In the 10 years since the deployment my health deteriorated rapidly. I've survived (so far) a very aggressive and rare form of cancer which my Oncologist and the VA agree is service connected. I went thru some xxxxxxx gnarly shit. Thanks to my medical Docs AND to Dr Decker, I'm still here. I think very highly of the man. Sorry if the word "spirtitual", or a picture of some old statue raise your ire. Out here.
  2. "The Alchemy of Combat: Transforming Trauma in Combat Veterans" is a book for therapists who are treating combat PTSD. There is an appendix in the back of the book, "Helping Veterans Establish PTSD Service-Connected Disability Claims with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs", which may be of particular interest to Veterans who are in the claims process for PTSD. Much of the treatment advice for therapists is of spiritual nature. The claims advice is backed by the authors 34 years experience treating combat Veterans. I have had the good fortune to know the author and recommend this book.
  3. See the book "Vaccine A" by Gary Matsumoto. The Lupus connection is well documented here. Documentation of cases of "Systemic Lupus Erythematosus" in Gulf War Veterans. Mr Matsumoto also states that BioThrax has listed this disease as one that recipients of the vaccine have reported. I found this book to be a little tedious to read. But I think anyone who recieved the Anthrax vaccine may find it interesting. Of particular interest to me is coverage of the story of "one of the oddest briefings in the annals of the United States Air Force" on page 173... There was so much concern over these vaccines that apparently the Air Force took the show on the road, because around 1999 I had attended a very similar briefing which was held for the ENTIRE Wing, in a large conference hall near our base. It was a big deal at the time. I was there.
  4. Regarding your original post- I know one of the guys I was with at BIAP was rated for sleep apnea. Myself I had bad digestion problems since I returned from the desert. They worsened over time and I think contributed to the hemmies I had surgery for in 2010. In 2012 I was waking up every morning with a sore throat. (GERD?) It was weird because I didn't have a cold or anything like that. I went to a civillian ENT Doc and he put a scope down my throat. He said it looked like acids were coming up into my throat while I was sleeping. He told me to prop myself up on some pillows at night and low and behold the morning sore throat went away. One month later I was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer (I had a funny feeling growing in my right side for quite some time during the sore throat issues, so I had that checked next, lucked out they found the tumor). Over the next two years I went thru three abdominal surgeries due to the cancer. Chemo too. They took out a piece of my liver. Now I take pshyllium and a bile sequesterer. I think those meds help with the reflux stuff.
  5. The guy who conducted the GW Registry Exam was arrogant, aloof, and condescending. Prior to the physical portion of the exam I filled out the questionaire on toxic exposures... Then I was interviewed. Mr. Examiner went over my answers to the registry questions, and grilled me for over an hour and a half. He tried to get me to answer "No" to specific questions like "Were you exposed to Depleted Uranium?". I mean, he wouldn't let it go, he did everything up to and including LAUGHING at me. I asked him how could he have an opinion on how I answer the questions? Had he been to Iraq? ...This so-and-so never even served in the military. But he was obviously serving an agenda. As an Iraq Veteran with a rare, aggressive, and lethal abdominal cancer, I felt it was important to go through the Gulf War Registry Health Exam and be counted. I'm not the first and certainly won't be the last to get sick due to wartime exposues. I believed my participation may help other Veterans down the road. I had no idea that part of the process would be to try and discredit me, make me shut up, and go away. I didn't go away. I got motivated. I made this my mission. I made a claim and along the way I found some good doctors, good advocates, and some good people in the VA. I'm very grateful for the good folks who helped me. When I finally got the service connection, in part what I recieved was some small justice. The way I see it, if you got injured or sick in the service, your not abusing the system if you ask for help. The fact that there are "VA gatekeepers" who make it hard, is no reason not to take full advantage of what is available you. We served honorably. The VA is there to help us in our time of need. You just gotta have some thick skin to get the help.
  6. I was in Baghdad at BIAP in 2004. I came home with skin and digestive problems. Things did worsen with time. I signed up for the GW Registry after I was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer in 2012. My experience with the Gulf War Registry Health Exam left me with a firm conviction, that there is a real bias within the VA, against Veterans making claims of getting ill due to environmental and toxic exposures. Nevertheless, I did file a claim. The VBA eventually conceeded that my cancer "is directly military related". The recognition of that was important to me.
  7. According to GovTrack.us H.R. 1960 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 which included- "Section 644 - Directs the Secretary to provide transportation on scheduled and unscheduled military flights within the United States and on scheduled overseas flights operated by the Air Mobility Command on a space-available basis for veterans with a service-connected, permanent disability rated as total." Passed the House on June 14th 2014, but was changed to H.R. 3304 (same title) Enacted — Signed by the President — Dec 26, 2013 as "NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2014, Public Law 113-66". Public Law 113-66 does not include Section 644. What gives?
  8. 12" inch scar? Ouch! I believe I can empathize with you. In my case I have a bunch of scars of various sizes, between the four cancer related surgeries, including open abdominal Liver surgery (the Liver surgery was the big show). The internal abdominal adhesions and post-surgical hernia I suffered are like the gift that keeps on giving. I do hope they do better for you on the appeal.
  9. I have been reading Hadit.com for support during these last 19 months while I waited for the VA decision. I am an Iraq Veteran. I was rated 50% for PTSD in 2005. 19 months ago in 2012 I was diagnosed with Gallbladder Cancer. I filed a claim for an increase in PTSD, and for cancer. December 2013 I was increased to 70% PTSD and 20% for surgical scars secondary to the cancer. Combined rating 80%. I got 0% for the cancer, but they did give me a service connection for it. My oncologist, and my service record, made a convincing argument that helped establish the service connection. I couldn't work anymore and I just received a 100% IU Total & Permanent. It took 19 months start to finish from when I applied, after the cancer diagnosis. I experienced some stress during the wait for their decision. At this point I am grateful to many of the people in the VA, my Congressional Representative's staff, my VSO, and my Oncologist, for the help they've given me. I know I am a very lucky man.
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