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About jacanah83

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  1. Hello Berta, the MRI was ordered by my own doctor. The VA absolutely refused to relate any of the problems I had in the Navy to a neurological problem. They did do an MRI of my neck because of so called arthritis but they won't relate that to the problems with my lumbar spine. I would usually have received an appointment notice for a C&P exam by now but have not received an appointment so far; it's been over four months since I filed the latest claim. The rep filed this as a brand new claim instead of re-opening my last claim. She did that to claim the actual diagnosis from the IMO instead of re-opening one that had no diagnosis as the VA won't come up with one. The last C&P exam I went to, there wasn't even an exam done. The doctor claimed I was there just to update my records and had some more x-rays done of my knees and hips. There's nothing wrong with them, you'd think after four years they might decide to look somewhere else to find the cause. My personal doctor tried out Gabapentin to find out if the problem was neurological and the stuff worked wonders. That's why we went ahead with the MRI of my lumbar spine since I knew the VA already has an MRI of my neck. My biggest objections with everything the VA has done is that a problem with my spine was spotted in my enlistment physical, when I had problems with my lower extremities. That wasn't taken into consideration and I ended up having to get out of the Navy because they couldn't find the problem. In four years of seeing several different doctors within the VA medical system they have done little to nothing to find the source of the problem. They will give me all kinds of drugs to treat something they can't diagnose. None of the pills helped and I finally gave up on them and decided to go my own route with an IMO. Thanks for your response Berta.
  2. Hello all, haven't been on here in a while; have been in the "hurry up and wait" mode of filing a claim with the VA. It's been four months since I filed my latest claim. I have a rep at my local state Senators office assisting with the claim and feel like it's going in a positive direction this time. In the claims I've filed in the past, I'd have already gotten my denial letter for an increase in my SCD. I got the needed medical evidence outside the VA to submit with this claim, per instructions from the rep, that includes an MRI of my lumbar spine showing 5 ruptured discs. Another MRI of my neck, done with the VA, shows two ruptured discs with stenosis present in both the neck and lumbar spine. I also submitted my medical records from the Navy with the claim to show that "scoliosis of the spine" was spotted during my enlistment physical. I got a bit anxious to hear something about the status of my claim and contacted my rep for an update. She said the status was in "medical aspect of development". Could somebody define that phrase for me? I've never heard that one in previous claims and wondered what it meant. Thanks for any help anyone can offer.
  3. Thank you Berta and Broncovet for your responses. I haven't gotten the paperwork from the doctors office yet, should have them first of the week. I'll scan them then and attach for your opinions. To answer a few of the questions: The doctor is not a neurologist, couldn't afford to go that route. She is with a family practice office nearby. On my second visit to see her she suggested trying Gabapentin as a "test" drug to see if the problem was neurological. The medication had very positive effects so she suggested doing an MRI of my lumbar spine. The DDD in my cervical is already documented by the VA so checking the lumbar seemed like the next place to look. In all of the visits to the VA center in Nashville for 3 seperate C&P's as well as visits to the PCP there have been upteen million x-rays taken of my knees and hips; that's where the pain is. There is low level pain in the lower back but nothing like what was happening in the legs. In over 4 years of regular visits to Nashville there was never an attempt to see if this problem was neurological. The same can be said of the Navy while I was on limited duty for a year. Obviously, there is more technology these days not available in the late 80's but my lumbar spine was never looked at to see if that was the source. Did they overlook such a course of treatment or did they not want to find a problem there? Don't know, but it was never even suggested to go that route. I was receiving treatment for the polyarthralgia with numerous NSAIDS but none of them had much of an effect on the pain. At one point my PCP changed my prescrip for 800mg Ibuprofen to Meloxicam as he thought the Ibuprofen was jacking up my bp. After taking the Meloxicam for about two weeks (along with a Flexiril and Tramidol) my blood pressure was so high I burst a blood vessel in my nose and ended up in the ER to get the bleeding stopped and the blood pressure down. I then ended up on a bp med and Hydrocodone (along with the Flexiril). None of the meds did any good and the VA doctor was more interested in my vitamin D level than trying to figure out what's been causing over twenty years of pain. I quit taking all of the drugs and discontinued visiting the VA doctor; 220 mile round trip to see him after waiting 3 months just to get an appointment. As far as filing the claim itself, I've spoken with the veterans representative with Senator Rand Paul's office several times while getting all of the information needed together. Once I have it all in hand I'm to bring it to her office and they are going to assist me with filing the claim and making sure it's worded correctly. I've filed the first three claims on my own and just didn't have everything I needed to raise doubt in their diagnosis of polyarthralgia. I'm going to make notes of everything that you folks suggest here to take with me as well and hope for a better outcome than I've had in the past. I had to do a little research to find out what a CUE was (thank God for Google) but I want to explore that as much as possible. The Navy thought I was trying to find a way to get out of the military. Seems people wanting to get out will complain of knee pain as it is hard to prove or disprove. I know this from a civilian physician I was sent to at the end of my 2nd period of limited duty. He said they couldn't find anything wrong with me and I had to go back to sea or take a medical discharge my Navy doctor wasn't allowed to tell me that. I was E5 after two and a half years, could have taken the Chief's exam at 10 years if all went well and left myself 10 years to make Master Chief before retiring. I was also qualified at all my watch stations on the sub I was on and was a walk through and the Captains signature away from getting my dolphins. Why would I want to work that hard to get that far and then want to get out? Thanks for your help. This site is a Godsend for vets because of people like you.
  4. I'll try to keep this brief, my last two posts ended up looking like books. I've been on a 10%SC disability since the late 80's. I've been trying since 2008 to get it increased as the condition has worsened and I never believed the condition was diagnosed correctly, they've been calling it polyarthralgia since my discharge because that's what the Navy called it. Anyway, I've taken the advice of several people on here and have gotten an IMO. I had an MRI done two weeks ago and discussed the results with my doctor. It shows 3 bulging discs in the lumbar spine causing spinal stenosis. Her diagnosis of the lumbar spine is degenerative disc desease, also have it in my neck with two discs almost non-existent. My local senators office is assisting me with filing my next claim and I wanted some guidance from some of you folks that may have gone through something like this. First question I believe I already know the answer to but I'm going to ask it anyway. At this point I feel like I was robbed of a career in the Navy as they never even tried to find the cause of the pain I was having. From the research I've done, had they looked at this from a neuroligical standpoint they might have seen the problems with my spine and might have been able to treat it. So, the question is, is it possible to have a disability rating revised at the time of discharge if it's proven that not enough was done to properly diagnose the problem? I requested my medical records from my time in the Navy and my enlistment physical clearly shows that I had scoleosis of the spine so they knew of a problem when I joined then did nothing about it when I had a problem with it. Second question is should I file with the degenerative disc desease as the primary condition with the stenosis as a secondary condition? And, can the degenerative disc desease in the curvical spine be added as a third condition somewhat after the fact? I'm not even sure where these problems even came from. I've never had to spend the night in a hospital until I had appendicitis a couple of years ago. The only guess I've got is falling off a hay wagon helping the neighbor put up some square bales when I was about 18 with the first trailer into the barn. I fell on wooden pallets flat on my back but really didn't feel as if I'd injured myself. (I was doing it for free to help my neighbor out, would hate to find out I destroyed my spine for free. LOL) Thanks for your help.
  5. Thank you for the info J. I'm seeing a doctor now to get a bettter grip on a diagnosis and an IMO. The rep at Senator Pauls office advised me to check into getting with a neurologist for an IMO but my budget doesn't allow too fancy of a doctor. I can't really complain about the doctor I'm seeing right now. After three visits, she prescribed Gabapentin to see if it was neurological and the stuff works wonders. All the VA would prescribe was NSAID's out the ying yang. At one time I was taking a combination of 800mg Ibuprofen, Flexiril and Tramodol. They really didn't do anything for me except help me sleep at night as they made me quite drowsy. My PCP was concerned that the Ibuprofen was jacking my blood pressure up so he switched the prescription to Maloxicam. After taking it for two weeks; and not knowing what it was doing to my BP, I burst a blood vessel in my nose and ended up in the ER to get the bleeding stopped. My BP in the ER was 186/135. The ER doctor said it was probably a blessing to blow that blood vessel before something worse happened. So, I got upgraded to a narcotic with a prescrip for Hydrocodone mixed with Flexiril and Tramadol. My younger sister was a pharmacy tech at the time and found out what I was taking and told me he's trying to kill me taking a combination like that. I doubt he was trying to kill me but they didn't do any good anyway so I quit taking all of them. I guess my whole point about this is this has never been properly diagnosed from either the Navy or the VA. Where is this Craig Bash located? I'm having an MRI of the lumbar spine done next month to see exactly what's going on there; x-rays don't really show anything, and will be getting with Senator Paul's office with everything I have so far to see if I need a stronger IMO. If so, I might be interested in making contact with him if he's not too far away. I'm in Glasgow, KY very close to Bowling Green.
  6. Bobby, I'm unsure if they will decide a higher rating or not, we're kinda in the same boat there, but if you are having problems getting answers out of them, contact your local state representative or senators office. My senators office here in Kentucky has a representative that is very well versed in VA law and is assisting me in my next claim to ensure it is filed and worded correctly. Not sure it's going to do me any good but I do feel better that I've got some help that is way beyond my talent level in dealing with the beaurocracy of a government institution.
  7. Thank ya Senior Chiefs. This has been a long battle with the VA. I've filed three times for an increase and have been shot down three times. Just for the heck of it, I contacted my local Senators office to see if they could offer any advice or help in filing a claim. They answered my email with an offer to assist me in the next claim to make sure it's filed the right way. Once I get all the evidence from my doctor after the MRI and we have a concrete diagnosis, I'm to take all of to their office to have the claim prepared. I'm not asking the VA to take responsibility for what the Navy refused to, but they knew I had problems with my back when I joined. I can't do the kind of work I used to do anymore because of this and all I'm asking for is a raise in my rating so I can afford to live a decent life. And Navy04, I know what you mean by the C&P people. Because you can't see neurological disorders doesn't mean the pain doesn't exist. The problem with this is when I go to see them they can bend me all different directions and they aren't going to cause any pain. It doesn't happen like that. It just appears from nowhere with little warning that I'm doing something that is going to cause pain. The doctor I'm seeing after three visits gave me a prescription for Gabapentin as a diagnostic drug to see if the problem was neurological and it works wonders. How in the world the VA not go that route in over 3 years of dealing with them to figure this out? They just say you appear to be in very good health. The whole ordeal robbed me of the chance for a career in the Navy. I was selected for E5 while on limited duty after 2 1/2 years in. I could have had the chance to take the E7 exam before 10 if my math is correct. They just never made an effort to find the cause of the pain, they thought I was lying to them; was told most people that want to get out of the military will complain of knee pain as it's very hard to diagnose. Why the heck would I want to get out? It's all very frustrating.
  8. I'll try to be brief with this explanation, my last post here looked more like a short story. The shorter story is that I've had a long time go around with the VA to get a proper diagnosis for knee and hip pain when I was in the Navy. I was discharged with a 10% service connected disability that the VA has matched. The problem is they never wanted to put a very good diagnosis to it; calling it polyarthralgia which is a very vauge diagnosis (simply means pain in one or more joints in the body) so it doesn't rate more than 10%. I'm seeing a private doctor to get a more proper diagnosis. So far we've found out that I have degenerative disc desease in my neck. The VA actually has this very well documented as it's given me a lot of problems since 2007. Our next step is to do an MRI on the lumbar spine to see if there is deneration there as well. I had x-rays done a year after getting out of the Navy as the knee and hip pain was out of control and the VA at the time turned me away; they didn't believe there was anything wrong with me. Those x-rays showed my lower spine was twisted off center and that was the source of the pain. I feel confident that the MRI is going to show degeneration there as well and it will be termed DDD. So, my question is two fold. #1: Is degenerative disc desease on the VA rating schedule and at what percentage is it ratable? #2: Can the DDD in my neck be claimed as a secondary disability as the condition has worsened to include another part of my spine? I should add that during my entrance physical to enlist in the Navy it was noted that there was evidence of "moderate sclerosis of the spine" but they accepted my enlistment anyway. They knew I had a problem; one that I didn't even know I had or what the heck it even was (I was 21 and clueless), and then when I had a problem with it, they wouldn't do anything about it. Thanks for answers to my questions in advance. I love this site, wish I'd known about it since my battle started with the VA in 2008.
  9. Thank you Berta for the information. I've got an appointment with the doctor this Monday to discuss where to go from here. I know she will want to do an MRI, we just want to make sure we MRI the right part of the spine to get this figured out. The only real damage to my spine is in my lower neck, the VA has done an MRI of it but that's about as far as it went. I was wrong when I stated that polyarthralgia was not on the rating sechedule. It is at the 10% rating I'm at right now. It is a very vauge diagnosis; simply means pain in one or more joints in the body. I should have explained that in my original post. That's the diagnosis they want to stick with to not raise my rating by not finding the true cause of the problem. As far as the cost of seeing this doctor; it's actually been very affordable so far but the MRI will be at another facility. It's not overly expensive, $800, but it will still put a dent in the budget. Thank you as well Benanna for your comments. I've actually got the support of my local senators office helping me when I've got the medical info to file my next claim. I approached the DAV here in KY to file an appeal a few years back. Not to disrespect the DAV whatsoever but the advice from the rep I talked to said the best thing for me to do is to go to the VA ER every time I'm feeling pain which would require a daily 240 mile round trip to Nashville and to tell them that it was also causing depression. The last thing I wanted to do was end up on another medication. None of the ones they ever gave me ever worked to well; made other conditions worse. The DAV is a fine organization but I really didn't get too much help from them. I'm just kind of amazed that after three visits to this doctor, she found a medication that is having a very positive effect on the pain and 1 year of doctors visits while still in the Navy and over 4 years of visits to the VA neither was able to do anything for it. I feel cheated in a way as it cost me a career in the Navy, was basically thrown out to have to live with the pain for the last 25 years and am pretty sure they refuse to properly diagnose this problem as a cost cutting measure. Thanks again to both of you for your responses. Will keep this updated as it progresses.
  10. I'll try to keep this short but it is a rather long explanation I need help with. I was in the USN from Jan 88 to July 89, the last year spent on limited duty for severe knee and hip pain. In that one year, the Navy never properly diagosed the problem, calling it polyarthralgia. They never found the problem because they didn't do anything to find the problem besides a bone scan. For a year, once a month, I'd go back and see my doctor. He'd ask if there were any improvements and I'd tell him no; how would there be any improvement, they hadn't done anything. At the end of 11 months I was sent to see a civilian doctor that basically told me that I had to live with it and go back to sea or accept a medical discharge. He also told me I was sent to him because he could tell me things the military doctors couldn't; most people that wanted to get out of the service could complain of knee pain as it is hard to diagnose. I had been selected for E5 after only 2 1/2 years in the Navy. I could have made CPO before 10. I was a submariner, qualified for all watch stations and was about to take my walk through to get my dolphins before going on limited duty. Why would I want to get out? Without some help with it though, I had no choice but to leave the Navy. After getting out the knee and hip pain got much worse. I went to the Navy hospital in Charleston SC and saw a VA doctor. He never did an examination. He reviewed my medical record and basically told me I was a liar and shouldn't even have gotten a 10% SC disability from the Navy. He also gave me a prescription for the anti inflammatory med that got me put on limited duty in the first place. Since I couldn't take the stuff, and quite pissed off, I didn't even get it filled. After that I just had to learn to live with the pain as it was apparent nobody was going to help me. Fast forward to 2007, I was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in my neck and between the arthritis and so called poly-arthralgia, I ended up losing 2 jobs in less than six months because of the pain. Without an income and in a lot of pain, I ended up living with my sister so I could get some help with the problem at the VA center in Nashville. I was able to get the arthritis somewhat under control and was assigned to a primary care physician in Nashville as well. I've filed two different claims for an increase in my SC disability as I felt like the neck pain was related to the knee and hip pain. After about a million different x-rays of knees hips and neck, they declined both claims saying there was no proof of any worsening of the condition. My primary care physician tried multiple different anti-inflammatories; none of them relieved the knee and hip pain and did little for the pain for the arthritis. He switched me from Ibuprofen to Miloxicam as my blood pressure was high enough to cause worry for him. Two weeks after I started to take the Miloxicam, my blood pressure was so high I burst a blood vessel in my nose and ended up in the ER to get the bleeding stopped. I was then pulled off all NSAID's and upgraded to a narcotic. It's difficult to take a combination of Hydrocodone and Flexiril and function at a job. I could take it at night before bed but that didn't solve any pain problems while trying to work. I gave up on the primary care physician and all of his drugs and went back to the old plan of just trying to live with it. I actually felt better getting off all the meds. None of them were ever effective for the knee and hip pain anyway. Fast foward to the present, I was turned down once again as I filed another claim to add my neck arthritis as a second disability. That claim was shot down as well, so I contacted my local senators office. They are assisting me to file another claim but told me I need some medical proof for a correct diagnosis. I'm seeing a doctor now that has been making some great progress towards a diagnosis. She prescribed Gabapentin as a diagnostic medication and the knee and hip pain is virtually non-existant after taking the very first one proving the problem is neurological and that we will have to do an MRI to figure out exactly what the problem is. Paying for one is going to put a hurtin' on my pocket book but will do so for an actual diagnosis. My question, sorry this is so long, is why the Navy never tried to properly diagnose this after a year on limited duty and why the VA chose to take the same path for over six years now? After God knows how many trips to Nashville, 240 mile round trip, uncounted x-rays of my knees and hips that never showed anythiing, why didn't they take a different path to figure this out? None of the medications did much of anything besides make me sleepy and couldn't be taken and still function at a workplace. Second question, with a proper diagnosis, what path do I need to take to make sure the diagnosis would rule it SC? I never had any kind of pain like that till I joined the Navy. Can the poly-arthralgia be considered as a mis-diagnosis or will it be ruled there was never a diagnosis at all? I've had to live in pain for 25 years because of a very vauge diagnosis that isn't on the rating schedule. It always seemed like that's the way the VA wanted to keep it instead of coming up with something that properly represented the problem. I'm paying out of pocket to see this doctor; have no insurance (can't afford it) so I'm looking for the proper path to present the evidence to the VA claim to increase my SC disability. Thanks for advice offered and hope this long first post here doesn't put the moderator to sleep. LOL
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