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Senior Chief Petty Officer
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rootbeer22 last won the day on May 23 2016

rootbeer22 had the most liked content!

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About rootbeer22

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    E-7 Chief Petty Officer
  • Birthday 01/11/1961

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    Seattle Area
  • Interests
    Fishing, gardening, and communicating with vets

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  • Service Connected Disability
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  1. Folks: As always, thanks again for your comments. Frankly, I really appreciate and value your comments and sharing information helps just about everyone. Anyway, I wanted to follow up on my earlier posts regarding this neck issue and new re-evaluation exam. So, when I received the notice that I was being reevaluated for my neck injury issues and it was not a surprise. I have extensive records relating to my neck injury issues so there was no debate on the service connection. The basic problem was that there were two previous neck exams and during the earliest evaluation the nurse examiner did not use a goniometer. When I asked about it's absence during the exam, she go irritated? The other issue with that exam is that it was more than obvious that she appeared not to fully review my records prior to the exam. So, then about 1.5 years later when I had another neck exam, the doctor used a goniometer which resulted in a higher rating. Although the VA honored the higher exam originally, they advised that they would visit it gain within 2 years later which they did. Anyway, during the latest exam a few weeks ago, the CP doctor was actually a surgeon and seemed very thorough. He asked a lot of questions, used the goniometer and was professional. As a result of the neck injuries, I cannot move my neck very much and have significant pain always, especially when I do computer work and have to lean over the key board for hours at a time. The doctor asked my if I had considered surgery and I said although the pain is increasing each year and the pain is affecting my quality of life, the likelihood of a successful long-term surgical outcome is minimal at best? Anyway, as a result of my neck injuries, I was alt least 2-3 weeks behind in my work and it is getting worse. Anyway, the doctor of the re-evaluation exam ruled that my neck injuries were clear with significant mobility issues and nerve damage, but said the nerve damage was not "moderate' so they dropped the rating by 10%. The other relevant issue was that although I had reported debilitating instances during the last year and subsequent years, that was not considered in on the rating which I believe would have kept the rating at the same original level? Anyway, the good news is that my overall rating stayed the same due to some other injuries %. That all said, as I get older these military related injuries are really making it tough for me. I knew and accepted the risks and would still do it all again. Frankly, I don't think the average American citizen knows what we vets like us go thru long after our service is up. I read in the Sunday paper that the government wants to decrease our medial benefits via Tri-Care again and that does not seem fair at all... Anyway, Godspeed and good luck to all of you....
  2. Folks: Its been a long time since I’ve been on this board and credit many of you with the help that I received when I was helped with my original ratings. Anyway, I came home after work about Wendesday, and noticed a message on my home phone. Apparently, it was QTC giving me a short notice message about the re-evaluation of my claim. Anyway, when I got my final ratings two years ago, it said that I would be re-checked about the two year mark- and it’s been almost 2 years. Of course, like most, my anxiety level went up because I have visions of going thru everything again as I’ve heard the stories, but it’s just for my neck only. During my Army career, I was in a Tank accident and traumatic explosion so my neck got damaged pretty back and I suffer each and every day. Anyway, during my original claims processing and CP exams, I came across an article that said once a vet reaches 55 or older that these types of exams are limited or my not even occur? Since, I’m just shy of 57, I figured that that rule may have applied to me? But, it appears not? I do know that the VA CP folks can do just about whatever they want anyway?My condition has actually grown worse but I learned previously that a lot of the outcome has to do with the doctor doing the exams and how they operate.? I spoke in an earlier post that for my Gulf War Syndrome CP, that when conducts, I clearly had 5 of the 7 of recognized cumulative conditions detailed in my medical records. But, my 4 hour scheduled CP exam lasted just 20 minutes, and the doctor started by telling me not to speak unless he spoke to me first? Then he never made eye contact with me and proceed to focus on his computer and type the entire time until he told me to leave? I was denied of course. But, that afternoon, I went in for the rest of the exams and the other doctor was very thorough, engaging and asked a lot of questions about what caused the injuries. Those exams turned out much differently. I guess my question is that are the CP re-evaluation Or CP exams similar to the previous exams ones or are there general differences in how they are conducted and what they are looking for? Goodspeed, Rootbeer22
  3. ESV12B: I'm really sorry that you are going thru this but have learned that continued perseverance with regard to the VBA pays off. Asknod and Berta are wonderful examples on this website of Vets and spouses of Vets that have succeed by keeping the good fight going and not taking "no" for an answer? Eventually, I believe the same will happened with you as long as you keeping fighting and you will get your TBI rating that you will obtain and desire. In a lot of ways it seems like we vets have to endure a certain amount of pain to reach our objectives for these claims. No one likes it but it seems to be characteristic of this system? Yesterday, I made a big mistake at work and it had a lot to do with my memory issues and the TBI? It was not catastrophic and was easily fixed but it shows the impact of some of these injuries that we suffer? Overall, the VBA has been fair with me and my claims but it has not been easy because many times we feel like we are fighting an uphill battle and even with good solid evidence, sometimes the docs don't recognize it or try to tie the symptoms into other illnesses that a vet already has so they don't have to rate it separately? Frankly, most of the final decisions come down to the opinion of a specific doc and that's always been the key and convincing them to your way of thinking is very important. That why I have a theory about the "luck of the draw" and the docs that you get during any exam. I once went in for a Gulf War Syndrome exam scheduled for 4 hours that only lasted 20 minutes? Despite the fact that I had 4 of the 7 confirmed symptoms of GWI, he had already made up his mind the GWI was not a legitimate issue for veterans of the gulf war? That said, I've been reminded that the same thing happened with Agent Orange and Vietnam Vets so exam bias can play a big part in the overall disability claims process. Unfortunately,. many of those vets most affected ate no longer around and that's the real shame of that problem. Anyway, Good Luck and Goodspeed...my fingers are crossed for your eventual success with the TBI diagnosis and ratings...
  4. ES12B: Sorry, I have not been around much on hadit.com as we are doing renovations with a contractor on my house and it's taking a lot of time --- but looking good. I subscribe to the "happy wife, happy life philosophy" and it something the wife has wanted for a while. Anyway, I also go thru the Seattle RO, for the most part, I've found that they are pretty fair but mostly rely heavily on the doc's opinion to make a final determination. I was involved a massive explosion, early in my Army Career and never was the same after that explosion. I have headaches and memory issues that are growing worse? After a lot of psychiatrist and psychologists visits, I was granted TBI but only at 10% which really surprised me that it's not more? I've heard that TBI is one of the toughest claims to prove even if the evidence is clear with the linkage to the explosion-but can be done? I've done a lot of research and when the blast wave goes thru your brain and body it's affects are traumatic and long lasting. Also, many of those "effects" don't even show up until many years later? Based upon the extensive research, the studies show mood and personality changes can occur as you have mentioned with TBI--but can also be linked to PTSD?. In terms of patience, I've gotten less patient as time has gone by also and early on in the process had a tendency to personalize things...so I've now changed and worked at coming across as more patient and understanding to the docs and it helped my case. Who knows, maybe you should take a day or two, review all of your evidence again for the TBI, including "googling" TBI and cross reference the experiences that you are having now with the symptoms of TBI/PTSD which are linked together by the mental health docs. Then maybe right a "statement of support" of why you think this is all linked to TBI instead of PTSD as well as your rationale behind it? It will be hard but try to keep "emotion" out of your writing and state the facts as you best you know them? Then make an appointment with your PCP, be very polite and try and make your case for the TBI versus PTSD linkage by going over what you have found? Frankly, what the PCP writes can make all of the difference in the world---as you already know. Maybe, she'll come around and if not, still stay very polite and your best option will be the appeal direction. Frankly, the VA Docs and technicians are all human too, this is a complicated business and they have their own issues to deal with like heavy patient loads. They see a lot of patients and most vets have a lot of illnesses to deal with versus their civilian docs counterparts? I've had my own experiences both good and bad with my claims and have learned to try not to show my frustration to them, because the docs can discount you/me as a "problem" then they just back off? I've learned if you/we can convey your narrative or "story of what is happening and why it is, will help your case/claims in the long run. Anyway, think about it.... Godspeed and Good luck, Rootbeer22
  5. Vets: I've learned that you just keep plugging at it and never give up. Frankly, so much of the rating and disability system is subjective and requires lots of interpretation and there countless rules. As an example, we all remember that Agent Orange and it's harmful effects was a battle for Vietnam Vets for many years to even get recognised. Also, to the point were many vets died of the symptoms before it was fully recognized by the VA. Also, I don't think that there is some broad conspiracy against vets and the claims that they make by CP doctors? As human beings, we all have our flaws, biases, preferences and believe what they/we believe. Also, there are some that just don't put the effort into it and those are the ones that I'm concerned about, Frankly, your best ammunition is to learn as much of the rules as you can and apply it...to win your case. For many of us, Hadit.com is invaluable to that end... Rootbeer22
  6. Victor Ray: From these records, it looks pretty clear to me that you should be granted SC but I'm not a doctor? Sometimes, I think that they don't give the kind of attention to detail that would bridge the gap of evidence in favor of a veteran. I blame part of this on the VBA claims backlog and the complexity of the disability claims system? When I first starting submitting my initial claim, the advice was that the submitter (me) must make it extremely easy for the VBA raters to arrive at a decision for each and every contention that we expect a positive outcome. He said, mainly the "evidence" is king and any interpretation has to be at the 3rd grade level so they don't have to work too hard? Also, I've learned so much but although it's my own opinion, I call this the "luck of the draw"? Basically, your fate mostly is in the hands of the doctor and how they look at interpreting the rules for rating contentions? As an example, I had a CP exam for for Gulf War Syndrome and separately have confirmed diagnosis in my service medical records of 4-7 Key Medical Conditions that Support being service connected for Gulf War Syndrome. However, 2 years ago< I was scheduled and showed up for the GWS Syndrome Exam. So, my 4 hour scheduled CP exam lasted only lasted 20 minutes and the doctor never made eye contact with me and spent the entire 20 minutes just typing into the exam system? He also told me not to speak unless he asked me a question and he only asked a couple non descriptive questions to go thru the motions. Later, I realized that he was just one on those VA doctors that did not believe in GWS medically and philosophically? But, perhaps if I had came a day earlier and had drawn another doctor, there is a higher probability that it may have been written up properly and been granted GWS? I've seen other CP doctors that when they do grant service connection, it's rarely above 10%? One of my major challenges is that over half of my SMR are hand written. As a result, although I know what's on my SM records, some docs just can't interpret other docs handwriting which really hurts my chances for service connection for about a third of my claims/contentions. Frankly, on my original claimed contentions that were not SC, I'm kicking myself for listening to my wife and not spending the money and going to a doctor an getting new exams to support my claim? But, hindsight is always 20/20? Goodluck and Godspeed...Rootbeer22
  7. Wayne TX: It was very quick and took only about 4 months from what the 1800 # folks are advising to get a decision after I sent in the package? But, they just gave me service connection anyway for 1 of the 3 appealed contentions per my right big toe injury at 0%..with very strong evidence? But, I guess 0% is still something and I am very thankful for anything that they decide which is in my favor. I still would like to know if I still get the DRO hearing anyway? Who knows, maybe, I'll get a surprise soon and I'll get a notice about a hearing date and time...? Frankly, my other service connected injuries are taking a toll on my abilities to function, especially during the winter months... Take Care, Rootbeer22
  8. Vets: Yes, I've been out for a while and very busy with family and life...recently became a Grandpa for the first time which is an amazing joy. Yes, the whole thing has been odd and especially when the 1800 folks said a DeNOVO appeal decision has already been made and that they had to send me a letter no later than August 2017 --which is 10 months from when they first said my 3 contentions appeals decisions had it had already been resolved last December? For instance, I would figure that I would have received a letter from the VBA by now since they say an appeal decision has been made already? Especially, since I saw a change in one of my ratings on ebenefits from not service connected to one that was now service connected now at 0%? My lesson learned from this appeal experience is that I should have just went ahead and got new civilian exams on the 3 appealed contentions which I think would have gone further to work in my favor in the long run. At the end of the day it really comes down to someone's medical opinion anyway... Who knows, maybe a VBA appeal decision letter was already sent to me but got lost or I did not receive it? That has never happened before but there can always be a first? Rootbeer22
  9. Wayne TX: It was very quick and took only about 4 months from what the 1800 # folks are advising to get a decision after I sent in the package? But, they just gave me service connection anyway for 1 of the 3 appealed contentions per my right big toe injury at 0%..with very strong evidence? But, I guess 0% is still something and I am very thankful for anything that they decide which is in my favor. I still would like to know if I still get the DRO hearing anyway? Who knows, maybe, I'll get a surprise soon and I'll get a notice about a hearing date and time...? Frankly, my other service connected injuries are taking a toll on my abilities to function, especially during the winter months... Take Care, Rootbeer22
  10. Folks: I'm so thankful for the advice that I've received via the many experts from this board when I first filed my VA Claim. I learned a lot and the best thing I learned was that no one is going to care more about your claim than you do. At first, I was misguided and I relied on a VSO that was not really engaged, did not really care and seemed to only to want to "submit" the claim to get it on her books? But it was people like Berta, Asknod and several others of you that educated me to produce a solid claim that ended up at 90%. Anyway, now the second phase of my claim is to appeal 3 of the contentions, (Broken Big Toe, Broken Pinkle Finger and Severe Dry Inflammation-Blepharitis Eyes-as a result of injuries in service) that they did not originally service connect. Anyway, I filled out and sent in the form I9 with new evidence and asked for a DeNovo Review and a hearing. So, for about 4 months the appealed contentions were listed on ebenefits and I kept watching for a status update? Then, all of the sudden on ebenefits the general appeal continued to be listed but then the 3 contentions and their verbiage disappeared? So, I called the 1800 number and they said that a decision had already been made and I would be getting a from the VA within 6 - 9 months? I said, I thought at least that I was going to get a "personal hearing" to further support and defend my claim? Anyway, as I look at the ratings, the only change that I can see now that they have service connected my right foot - big toe trauma at 0% and that's it? Frankly, I guess my lesson learned now is that I should have just spent the extra money for brand new exams on all three contentions? Otherwise, it now look like I may have just wasted my time? I know that a new exam is considered the "gold standard" to challenge a claim but I felt as if I had enough solid evidence to get me over the top--but maybe not? 1. Anyway, my question is does the VA still owe me the DRO Hearing and/or can they just cancel it? 2. Can I still send my claim to the Appeals Board or is it considered resolved because a decision was already made? Good Luck and God Speed...
  11. Vets: I checked ebenefits a couple of days ago and noticed that the verbiage on my appeal of 3 contentions was now gone after only 3 months since sending it in as an NOD? So, I called the VA 1-800 Assistance line # and got someone very quickly which surprised me because it usually takes 30-60 minutes to get a person? Anyway they said my appeal had been decided already and that I would be getting a couple of letters soon and before August which did not make sense? Originally, I asked for both a De Novo Review and an in person hearing at the VBA Regional Office on the matter? That said, I've seen in the past whenever something is addressed sooner rather than later...at the VA..it's usually a negative for the vet in the form of a denial? So, anyway, can they deny my in person hearing and just decide after the De Novo Review without further action? Also, I expected at least one re-examination but guessed maybe because I'm over 55 now that did not happen is what I'm thinking? Overall, the VBA has been pretty fair with me with the exception of a handful of low ball ratings but I've learned that is common and why I'm appealing in the first place. This is my first time doing an NOD and had it.com was a big help to try and do it right. I provided new evidence but did not get new third party exams and hopefully it was still enough? If my NOD was denied as I think it was, then I'll know that I should have just gotten new exams and spent the extra money anyway. Any ideas of what could be going on? Rootbeer22
  12. Folks: Stayed up too late last night going over my medical records for this potential Diabetes II claim and think I hit a snag? On my retirement physical it says that I had over 105 (actually 106) for a Fasting Glucose and they considered it as high via the lab report? Now they range from or 110-160 and I'm on Medformann? But when I read the VA Circa 2000 Diabetes Training Letter last night it appears that a vet has to have at least a Fasting GLU of over 126 in service to qualify for a Diabetes diagnosis and compensation? Also, despite what I did in service with diet, I had terrible high cholesterol, liver hepatic stenosis and very high hyperglycemia. I was also diagnosed with a fatty liver when I was in service as well. Frankly, I'm not sure if the symptomatology alone or the progression of the disease inn service will get me over the hurdle to compensation now unless someone can give me a better idea of how to attack the possible service connections for the Diabetes that I have? That said, before I drop this idea completely, I wanted to reach out one more time to you great folks at hadit.com to see what you think if I had a chance and should just drop the effort? I don't want to waste anyone's time or efforts unless I had a shot in the first place of getting a positive outcome. That said, I realize there are no guarantees in this life but also want to be smart about this. Thanks, Rootbeer22
  13. Folks: Thanks to all of you for the excellent advice as I've been contemplating this a lot lately. I recently received my Disk of my service medical records. After reviewing my medical records, my Glucose over a 22 year career, was either to the mid or high range over the course of my career. I did notice that my Glucose was high and outside the normal range on the labs of my retirement physical and I know that they look at that stuff. Also, I battled very high, blood pressure, triglycerides and cholestoral after I came back from the middle east. I was stationed at Camp Doha, Kuwait which had an explosion that contaminated the areas soil with Depleted Uranium and high concentration lead in the soil. They say they cleaned it up but the job always goes to a low bidder and we know how that goes. Also, there was an outbreak of ecoli-poisoning-- contamination in the drinking water that got us all sick during my time. I actually got a copy of the warning letter from the Camp Commander regarding the ecoli and put it in my medical file. I've started on Medforman and and really hope that I can control the diabetes. Even with good evidence, it takes a doctor that understands the situation properly to support the veterans? God Speed, Rootbeer22
  14. Folks: I've been away from Hadit.com for the last few months due to work and travels issues. Anyway, I was recently diagnosed with Diabetes and prescribed Medforman and I'm wondering if its worth filing a disability claim for it? During my Army Career, my glucose numbers were always in the high range. Yesterday, I read the Diabetes Training letter and its a very scary disease. I'm already rated overall at 90% with a lot of the injuries stemming from a Tank Accident and Explosion that left me unable to do much physically. Over the span of my time in the Army my lipid counts and glucose levels were always high (109). I was also SC for Hypertensive Heart Disease during the processing of my claims. Ultimately, I'm trying to figure out if I should submit a disability claim for the Diabetes, because I also got very sick in the Middle East as a result of Ecoli Poisoning that I had gotten sick from at Camp Doha, Kuwait. After that incident, my blood pressure shot and remained up and my blood labs were never the same so there could be a connection? I spoke about this with another Vet who said unless a Vet is Vietnam Era and exposed Agent Orange, that SC is tough to obtain? I've always gotten good advice from this forum and appreciate your help in advance.. Rootbeer22
  15. cchelley1: This is the $64.00 question (back to the old TV guessing shows of the 1960's) that all vets want to know that have claims pending. Generally, if you put in your disability claims package while you are still in the military and have excellent evidence, it should only take a few months to a year? The problem is that each and every case is so very unique as well as the evidence and CP exams that you may have? Also, there are just too many variables to put an accurate timeline against disability claims to determine any kind of pattern and when you would get your final rating decision? Also, many vets sign-up and rely on ebennefits which is a very good but not great website? It's usually not updated regularly and if you are an impatient person then it can drive you crazy. Also, the various stages of gathering evidence and then reviewing that same evidence may go back and forth several times. That said, you want to check it to see if you owe any thing to the VBA that may hold up your case for any reason? If you see something wrong or missing then you can use IRIS to send the VBA an email which also gives you a record of the request or call the 1800 number. Also, even is you get very frustrated at times, try to be very nice to everyone that you speak to and work with at the VA. Frankly, they are people just like us trying to do their jobs and most can't expedite your claims, but do provide valuable information sometimes. Also one bit of advice, I learned that the easier you make it for a VBA rater to make a positive decision for you, the better it is for your rating outcome. Strong evidence and a link to the injury in service and that it's is still a chronic condition now establishes the "nexus" and is the key to success. Most of these VBA raters just try to follow the rules and the laws as they know them? But keep in mind that the VA is a very large and complex organization and this is a long journey for most Vets. Rarely, does anyone get the rating results that they think they should have in the first round? It may take many rounds and several years to get what you think is fair but again excellent "evidence" drives success as well as using forums like hadit.com to be educated. But the hardest part of the entire process is waiting and then waiting again some more. I personally have very little patience but this process has taught me to be much more patient. But again two service members with very similar disability claims can submit their disability claims at the same time to the same regional office and the final outcome and timelines can be very different? Once you've submitted your claim, try to check it about once a week at find something to do with your time to be distracted. During this time period, I decided to learn everything I could about my own contentions, especially if any part of my claim was subsequently denied or law-balled during the ratings process by going to the hadit.com and asknod.com forums. In this case, I learned a lot about appeals and the Notice of Disagreement (NOD) process and am appealing a few things from my original claim now--so the time was well spent... But in the end...you just have to wait...and be patient... Good-luck and Godspeed, Rootbeer22
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