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About rk4435

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    E-3 Seaman

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  • Service Connected Disability
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  1. They rated me for Dypsnea (shortness of breath) doc25, but I was put on a COPD inhaler several months ago. I'm not sure if the rating criteria is very different for the two. I do know that month by month I'm using the rescue inhaler far more and have trouble doing my job. The dypsnea ID is what I was referring to regarding the helpful C&P examiner, he told me he was adding that code, apparently shortness of breath was not cutting the mustard. The VA has denied the breathing claim two times in the last decade. I am fortunate that I still function at a lower level but it seems to be degrading. The largest problem with the burn pit breathing illnesses is that many still have a somewhat FEV etc test, but have COPD like symptoms, so they are typically denied.
  2. I did complete the Burn Pit Registry and the VA kept emailing me telling me to get a "Burn Pit Physical." Every time I called to see about the physical the local VA Clinic said they were aware of the physicals but did not know how to obtain one for me. That took two years to resolve. As soon as I got in touch with a patient advocate he immediately gave me the number to call for the exam and I could have been there in days if my schedule allowed it. The actual exam was basically a VA employee reading my responses back to me and typing. Basically it could have been done over the phone. The person pushing the paper told me I should file a claim for IBS, and a letter that arrived weeks later invited me to file for IBS as well. I left wondering why they were advising me to file for IBS, yes it sucks, but the elephant in the room to me is the loss of breathing capability. I did have an independent medical opinion from a pulmonologist that understands the impacts of burn pits. Hopefully, now that it is SC, the VA will be willing to provide my inhalers. BTW, they denied the IBS claim.
  3. Of course VA math is curious, but I was granted the SC status. My breathing has been continually degrading for years due to burn pit exposure during my Iraq tours. I quit smoking years and years ago, but keep needing more and more inhaler use to make it through each day and had to add a steroid COPD inhaler several months ago in addition to the rescue inhaler. The 30% rating does nothing to my overall combined rating, but it does at least give me the peace of mind that the VA has acknowledged that I have a condition and hopefully it will help me if my lungs keep getting worse. The rater seemed to go out of his way to help me with the breathing condition, while the other C&P examiner for a different condition blatantly lied on the DBQ. The VA is a mess.
  4. Thanks Brokensoldier. I have trouble reading that mumbo jumbo. She reported initially that I do not have IBS and managed to somehow leave out much of what I responded to in her questions. I would think keeping and at times needing back up clothes at work would have made it into her DBQ, no dice.
  5. Background, I have many weird symptoms that that I am certain are related to burn pit exposure. After completing the Burn Pit Registry the VA encouraged me to file a claim for IBS. I did so. The examiner did not record my responses correctly from what I could see at the Blue Button report. Last week my claim went from "Pending Approval" back to "Gathering Evidence." Today I was able to access this note that I cannot decipher despite being fairly smart. Is she saying there is no way I have IBS because I have a history of GERD? I've had GERD for years and it is very different from the symptoms I have had since my deployments. I'm adding a screenshot of her response. I posted a different question last week because she seemed to have granted me a very generous range of motion that I have not had for years regarding a back condition.
  6. I figured out how to access my C&P exam through the blue button and I was shocked. I have been rated at 20% for several years with an additional 10% for radiculapothy. The examiner notes read as if she was examining someone other than me. She noted no radiculapothy and also somehow measured me at 45 degrees forward flexion. It is like she literally lied on the DBQ. I have not had 45 degrees forward flexion in years and the radiculapothy is fairly persistent. If I understand the ratings correctly, her findings are good enough to get my rating lowered despite being much worse off than I was when the 20% was granted. Do they get performance bonuses to screw people?
  7. Just wondering about the DBQ you posted. I had a C&P exam for my back a few weeks ago, I do not see a DBQ posted by the examiner, should I see it in eBenefits?
  8. I was rated over a decade ago at 10% for a Lumbar Strain. About 5 years ago the rating was increased to 20% for lumbar strain with an additional (secondary) rating of 10% for radiculapothy, sorry spell check won't touch that, numbness of the left extremity. I finally filed an appeal tied in with another issue that included a full diagnosis by a real doctor. It included multiple issues, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and on and on. Does the VA rate those independently through the combined rating table, or do they simply grant the highest rating of all the issues? I always felt like "lumbar strain" sounded rather temporary. My doc says I will need 2-3 fusions, I'm just terrified to do it and can't afford to stay out of work for a couple of months.
  9. Several months ago I finally had a "Burn Pit" (Environmental Exposure) examination. The letter that I received a few weeks later stated that I have a "presumptive" service connection due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome and I was invited in the letter to apply for compensation. I've never known the VA to invite people to apply for something that would cost them money. I have been concerned about the overall effects of the burn pits for years, but it was only a couple of years ago when I started discovering that many other illnesses have been linked to burn pit exposure. I have been far more concerned about my problems breathing but it is practically impossible to pursue that despite now being on a rescue and COPD inhaler. Has anyone else had a favorable outcome when the VA invited you to apply?
  10. I know the title is confusing. I met with a VSO several weeks ago and she prepared a claim for me. SHe had me digitally sign and told me she would send it forward when I sent in the medical records. It took a couple of weeks to get the records and once I had everything ready I was unable to get a response from her. Her office said she had been out ill. When I did hear back her reply was that I needed to come in to see her and complete a claim. I was thinking she had me mixed up with someone else. As it is, I've only had a one sentence response in four weeks and no calls have been returned. I'm thinking I should just submit myself through eBenefits. If she ever gets caught up and sends the claim forward, will it mess anything up. In all honestly I'm thinking it is not a VSO that would be beneficial anyway.
  11. Thanks Andyman73. I guess I should submit the MRI and see what happens. I'm terrified that they will somehow lower my rating despite the condition becoming worse. I've heard many horror stories.
  12. I was rated 10% for a lumbar strain 9-10 years ago. About three years ago the rating was increased to 20% with a secondary rating of 10% for radiculopothy. I've was relatively successful in reducing serious flare ups by being careful not to do anything too strenuous. In the last couple of years it has become more debilitating and the flare ups are longer in duration and happen without anything necessarily causing it. I finally went in to seek help from a specialist. My MRI shows advanced Degenerative Disc Disease, protusions (blown discs) and stenosis. I'm in physical therapy, which helps for a couple of days. After that the surgeon said we would try injections, and ultimately he said that if I can't get to an acceptable pain level I will ultimately need surgery. He said it's more of a "when" rather than "if" thing for surgery, and he also said it will be a major operation that will require some fusions. Needless to say I don't want that happening anytime soon. My question: I'm rated for a lumbar strain, should I appeal to the VA for a more proper coding or is that a waste of time? I've been told that a "Lumbar Strain" rating is considered to be a temporary thing. Thanks in advance for any advise.
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