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About toomnyhats

  • Rank
    E-3 Seaman
  • Birthday 12/22/1961

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    Family, computer programming, sewing, reading, researchaholic

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
  • Branch of Service
  • Hobby
    Computer programming, Sewing, Spending time with my Family, Researchaholic
  1. Just spent a week getting my first annual sci/d evaluation at the Minneapolis VA. I've been receiving outside care for my sci for the last 12 years. I can't say enough good things about the VA sci/d process. They have it down to an art. Not only was the medical part totally complete and comprehensive, but the staff were professional, kind and caring. I know the VA healthcare system gets a bad rap many times but I believe it is just like the civilian system ... there are good facilities and there are bad ones. I feel blessed to have experienced one of the best. Kudos to Minneapolis!
  2. Heard back from VSO. They couldn't grant spine because there is nothing in military file...makes sense since I've never been a complainer. Usually I just sucked up the pain and moved on. They granted the neurogenic bladder because there was documentation of bladder spasms. She does think since I have my first VA annual sci exam coming up that we have a good shot at the doctor agreeing to the "at least as likely as not" for the aggravation of pre existing spinal stenosis and will then resubmit for reconsideration with the new evidence. From there it should be a cascade effect for all the other related items. If the VA doc doesn't feel comfortable doing that, I'm fairly certain my civilian doc will. Either way...I will push on. Thanks for the encouragement and advice! Hopefully I'll be able to post back positive results in a few months if a reconsideration is done. Otherwise - I know I'm looking at years lol.
  3. Thanks TALON II FE. Unfortunately our family income precludes us from the pension avenue. Income not high enough to pay for all the things involved with having a severe disability but not low enough enough to qualify for pension guidelines. I'm waiting for the final envelope but it is my suspicion that they didn't find anything neck/back related because even though I had a lot of pain during my time in service, I'm not a complainer so I'm guessing they couldn't find anything. Will have to dig through the archives in the attic for letters written home and rely on current medical opinion most likely. Luckily I'd already been given catastrophic status (priority4) and now this recent rating moves me to priority 1 and an extra 1000 bucks a month so even if I get nowhere with an appeal, I will still be thankful to God for his newest blessing! Sometimes, I feel greedy wanting to pursue this further but I will do so and just accept however the ball rolls once we've exhausted all avenues.
  4. Thanks so much - I'll get to work on it and hope for the best. Haven't received the big brown envelope yet so that might shed light on how they came to the conclusions they did.
  5. Thanks Buck52. So if I understand correctly, I should file a NOD and get my rehab Mayo spinal cord specialist to weigh in on the spine issue - he has already expressed a willing to do so. He can express a relationship between the spine and the other issues along with his opinion on %disabled which he feels is 100%. I've been on SSDI for 12 years. I know the VA doesn't look at that as relevant but my physicians feel it is appropriate. Would it be beneficial to have him fill out a DBQ? Also, could this in anyway have a negative impact on the current rating they came up with? One last question - which I think I know the answer to lol - is the NOD/appeal process an extremely long one? Thanks!
  6. I served 4 years active USAF from 1986-1990. Worked avionics...lugged heavy toolboxes and worked in cramped spaces and on flight line. Fast forward to 2001...C5-6 disc rupture resulting in cervical myelopathy and incomplete spinal cord injury (quad with para function). Apparently I have a very narrow spinal canal which obviously existed when I was in the AF. The degenerative processes in my neck had already begun by that point. On 11/30/2015 I submitted claims for: Spinal stenosis, cervical myelopathy, quadriplegia, neurogenic bladder (I have to cath), neurogenic bowel (I have an ileostomy), severe spasticity and muscle spasms, tinnitus. They scheduled C&P's quickly but only for bladder and tinnitus. Claim moved fast. Today I was granted 60% for neurogenic bladder and 10% for tinnitus. Everything else is listed as non service connected. While I'm extremely grateful for the 60% rating, I'm confused because the neurogenic bladder was caused by the spinal cord injury which they didn't service connect or even do a C&P on. I submitted a lot of medical records from Mayo Clinic regarding the spinal cord issues so they may have used those but I don't understand how they can rate the bladder but not the spine. Because they only rated the bladder, I assume I won't be able to pursue IU because the bladder is not what is keeping me from effective employment...it's the spinal cord injury, spasticity and pain. Can anybody shed any light on it? Thanks!!!