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Brian360

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  • Military Rank
    E-5

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  • Service Connected Disability
    30%
  • Branch of Service
    USN

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  1. Hello, I have more questions than I can find answers so I thought I would create a post to see if any of these can be answered? I apologize for the length. I have read, read, and read some more on this board for years and I very much appreciate any assistance that can be offered. I will also be donating to support this all-important forum once I can get through this snail-pace of a process! I separated from service almost 6 years ago after 14 years in. I am currently rated at 30% disabled as I received 10% each for tinnitus, hypertension and a metatarsal fracture that occurred in service. I also received 0% connection for chronic thoracic & lumbar strain due to morbid obesity (?!). This grant to service connection dates back to the day after I got out of the service. I am not "morbidly obese" and this really bothers me that they have this described as such. I mean, why would they service connect if it's due to being overweight?? Makes no sense to me. Are they inferring that they are taking responsibility for being so called "obese" as well? We all know that you get kicked out of service if you are outside the physical readiness/weight requirements ... very frustrating and even insulting. The C&P examiner told me that he didn't have time to evaluate everything I had claimed so he didn't even look at some of my claimed issues physically, but I was still denied by the VA regardless as no service connection for some of these unexamined claims. Anyways, the C&P doctor told me to basically push through my discomfort (discomfort was evident) when conducting the range of motion part of my back exam, and he even placed his hand on my back when telling me to push further. I did not know at the time that he was not looking out for my best interests...so my range of motion came back within normal limits. I feel that this was wrong on his part but I did not know at the time, and I am afraid if I did complain about this now that I could risk losing my service connection? My back is in very poor condition from the service. In fact, I was on light duty when I separated because of a back injury I sustained a few months prior to my separation. I do have copies of my STR's and I have numerous complaints of back pain throughout my many years in that nothing was done about as they were just complaints noted, and I do not have the STR from the back injury. I was sent to medical and they shot something into my back and I immediately felt relief but my back has not been the same ever since. My back issues are causing me an excessive amount of lost time at my current job. I just went to the VA at the end of last month as a walk-in because the pain was so much and they took x-rays and named FIVE things wrong with just my lower back. I am now waiting for the VA to send these x-rays to my civilian doctor to have a comprehensive MRI done at the local (non-VA) hospital and then I will go forward from there in deciding how to approach this. The VA doctor "just" said I have facet joint arthritis, but VA radiology noted five things wrong? My first question is how should I proceed with adding these conditions and/or getting an increase from 0%? Does anyone know what "chronic thoracic & lumbar strain" service connection covers? Is it just strains or does it encompass the whole lower and middle back and all associated conditions of these areas? My x-rays from the VA in August of this year report "superior plate wedging at T12, this is age-indeterminate and correlation with physical exam for symptoms of point tenderness would be beneficial (again, I was a walk-in at my local VA clinic that day and the doctor didn't have time to see me...). Multilevel anterior endplate spurring throughout the lumbar spine. Lower lumbar predominant facet anthropathy. Bony neural foraminal narrowing at L5-S1. Mild Vascular Calcification". This was all through x-rays so I am sure an MRI will show more...which I will have done soon. Should I even complain about this C&P doctor at this point almost 6 years later or would I risk losing the service connection? I need to know what they have on my back at the VA that caused the service connection, I do know this. I do not have a copy of the record of my back injury from right before I got out and I am thinking/hoping that they do, but I will not know until I get the C-File. I need my C-File (I know, I should have requested it long ago...I am learning). My main question is, can I request a copy of my C-File while I have an open appeal (on other first year out of service claims -- open since 11/2019) and I also just put in for two new claims at the beginning of this month that are moving fairly quickly. I have heard that requesting your C-File can cause delays and possibly affect open claims and appeals you have on-going...and I of course do not want to cause any kind of a delay. Since my separation I have only filed my initial first year claims and I filed appeal on some of those denials. I have waited all of these years and not done anything more because I was under the presumption that you cannot file any new claims until the appeal is processed and closed. I did though just file two new claims this month once I was informed that presumption was wrong. Lastly, does anyone have any recommendations in how I should proceed with all of these new back findings (and also what becomes of the MRI in a couple of weeks) with regard to my already service connected chronic thoracic & lumbar strain -- due to morbid obesity(!!). New and material evidence to reopen? New individual/separate claims? File for an increase in rating? Secondary's? Or, should I wait until I have my C-File to see what they are basing the back service connection off of? Also, shouldn't thoracic and lumbar be two different conditions/disabilities? Sorry this is an overwhelming amount of information; I am so overwhelmed and discouraged by this whole process...and pushing through constant pain to boot. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
  2. Hello, Does anyone know if emails I sent to my wife (from my military email while active duty) and communication we had back and forth relating to my in-service health issues/injuries endured/symptoms and sleep issues I was experiencing count as evidence I can submit with my VA claims for disability? There are many emails going back many years while I was in the service. I just have very limited documentation in my service medical records as I only went to medical when I had no other choice so I thought to ask if these could help connect my claims to service? Thank you for any and all assistance. Brian
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