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About mozartplayer

  • Rank
    E-3 Seaman

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  • Location
    Grand Rapids, MIchigan
  • Interests
    Ham Radio, amateur astronomy,book collector

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
  • Branch of Service
    Air Force
  • Hobby
    Ham Radio - W8BB

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  1. mozartplayer

    Base of Tongue Squamous Cell Carcinoma

    Sorry to hear of your loss to MRSA. I had a cousin die of MRSA in 2004 after acquiring it at a VA hospital after his last chemo treatment for colon cancer. I'm familiar with both MRSA and squamous cell cancer. I had two squamous cell carcinomas and one basal cell carcinoma excised from my scalp this past summer and that was preceded by prostate cancer treatment in 2005 with hairy-cell leukemia diagnosed same time and still active today 10 years later. I've always believed the diseases listed on the VA's List of Agent Orange Presumptive Diseases are just the tip of the iceberg. I'm not convinced that Agent Orange doesn't cause many other diseases not on the Presumptive List. I also had a colon resection this past June to remove two adenomas which were rapidly becoming cancerous. My Agent Orange Compensation claim is still pending an appeal on the claim I flied August 2009,. Was denied February 2011 and I immediately appealed it, that appeal still pending over 4 years later. I would consider MRSA to be secondary to the squamous cell carcinoma and if it were me, I'd file a claim regardless of whether or not it's on the Presumptive List. The St. Paul VA RO did send me for a C&P 2-hour exam almost 10 weeks ago after my claim was transferred from Detroit VA to St. Paul VA after I gave them proof I worked on C-123 aircraft at Langley AFB, VA 1963-64, but did not know then that they were flying down to Eglin AFB, Florida and spraying Agent Orange over a remote area of that Air Force Base. The Air Force told me Agent Orange was harmless and they also told me that TCE was harmless, a degreaser I used during my 8 years of Air Force active duty to clean electronic components. I now know it's extremely toxic as former Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune know from drinking water there for years that was contaminated with TCE and other chemicals. Most veterans know enough not to believe anything DOD says. They are still denying Agent Orange on Okinawa where I was PCS at Kadena AB for 18 months 1961-1965 and TDY to Howard AFB, Canal Zone where many of us believe Agent Orange was sprayed. I was also TDY to Tan Son Nhut AB, Vietnam from Kadena AB in late 1962, the same year C-123 aircraft began spraying Agent Orange as part of Operation Ranch Hand, My TDY there was classified Secret because our RF-101 Voodoo aircraft were flying photomapping missions over Laos in violation of a Geneva Accord which established Laos as a neutral country. I was unable to find written proof that I was ever there which would have resulted in my prostate cancer and hairy-cell leukemia being considered Presumptive. I'm still trying to convince the VA that my seven encounters with cancer were not simply random, but had to have been associated with my exposure to not only Agent Orange, but to the TCE I used for 8 years. I was also stationed at four different Air Force bases which the EPA later classified as Superfund Cleanup sites. As for MRSA, a good source of information for MRSA related issues is the website for the nonprofit MRSA Survivors Network - MRSASurvivorsNetwork.org . Most of my fellow seniors don't realize they are at higher risk of death from a hospital-acquired infection than they are from the surgical procedure they're having. I've not had a hospital infection even though I've had prostate cancer treatment, hip replacement and a colon resection, but there's always a first time. My advice when dealing with the VA is to be patient, but assertive. I spent many years working for the Social Security Administration and after retiring also spent 4 years working for Social Security judges as a legal assistant so I know that disability claims can be very confusing. However, I also know that SSA now has 1 million pending appeals, but is processing hearings request in an average of 14 months from the date a hearing is requested until the date the judge's decision is released. By comparison, the VA has roughly 60,000 appeals pending, but my appeal has been pending for over 4 years. I can only hope I'll soon get a decision on my request for a review by the VA RO because if it's denied, I'll have to wait for another two years for a BVA video hearing. I'm not getting any younger and an 8th diagnosis of cancer could the the one that kills me. Good luck in any case. You lose nothing by filing.
  2. mozartplayer

    Bva Hearing Timeframes

    On June 18, 2013, Gerald T. Manar, VFW Deputy Director of National Veterans Service, testified before the Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs on the subject of "Why are veterans waiting years on appeals?: A review of the post-decision process for appealed veterans' disability claims." His testimony explains why I've been waiting so long for the BVA video conference I requested in September 2011 after being denied in February 2011. It was actually the NOD I filed in September 2011, but didn't file the VA Form 9 until September 2012 because it took the VA RO ten months to send me the SOC which I received October 2012. Could not filed the Form 9 until I received the SOC. Consequently, it's been only a little over 18 months since I filed the VA Form 9 which means I still have a long wait ahead of me. In the meantime, I still have active hairy-cell leukemia diagnosed about the same time as prostate cancer was diagnosed. Fortunately, the prostate cancer is in remission after radiation leaving me with residual impairments, but I still see my oncologist every six months for the hairy-cell leukemia which will probably require chemotherapy in the future. Both prostate cancer and hairy-cell leukemia are on the VA's list of Agent Orange Presumptive Diseases, but I've been unable to find proof of my classified 1962 TDY to Tan Son Nnut from Kadena AFB, Okinawa. It's just as likely my prostate cancer and/or hairy-cell leukemia were associated with exposure to TCE which I used on a regular basis throughout my 8 years of Air Force active duty to clean electronic components. I suspect there are also hundreds of veterans who acquired diseases simply from being stationed on military bases which the EPA later determined to be Superfund Cleanup Sites which in my case, meant Dover AFB, Langley AFB and Elmendorf AFB, all of which were contaminated with a myriad of toxic chemicals. Link to transcript of Gerald T. Manar's testimony before Congressional Subcommitee: http://www.vfw.org/VFW-in-DC/Congressional-Testimony/%E2%80%9CWhy-Are-Veterans-Waiting-Years-on-Appeal----A-Review-of-the-Post-Decision-Process-for-Appealed-Veterans%E2%80%99-Disability-Benefits-Claims-%E2%80%9D/
  3. mozartplayer

    Agent Orange On Okinawa 1962

    Many of you have probably already read the article in the 5/17/12 Japan Times written by Jon Mitchell about recently uncovered documents that "..show the U.S. conducted top-secret tests of Agent Orange in Okinawa in 1962 according to a veterans services employee, Michelle Gatz, a veterans service officer in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota. For those of you who were stationed on Okinawa as I was 1961-1963 and have acquired disease associated with Agent Orange, it's an article worth reading found at the link inserted below. I have never thought it was a coincidence I acquired both prostate cancer and hairy cell leukemia a the same time in 2005, the hairy cell leukemia still active. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/print/nn20120517f2.html Jim Corbett Grand Rapids, Michigan mozartplayer@gmail.com
  4. You may have already seen the Japan Times article of 2/14/12 titled: "Vets win payouts over Agent Orange on Okinawa" which gives the details on two comp claims awarded by the BVA based on exposure to Agent Orange while assigned on Okinawa. To my knowledge, these two awards are the first since the January 1998 BVA award to a former U.S. Marine exposed to Agent Orange while serving on Okinawa. Link to Japan Times article: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20120214zg.html I was able to find the September 2008 BVA award which is Citation 0831082 dated 09/12/08, but was unable to find the July 2010 award cited in the Japan Times article. I will search for it later. I filed a comp claim with the VA in August 2009 based on being exposed to Agent Orange while serving with the Air Force on Okinawa 1961-1963 during which time I was also TDY to Tan Son Nhut and Don Muang in 1962. I was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer in 2005 and short time later was diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia which I still have for which I see an oncologist every six months. VA denied my Agent Orange claim February 2011 because no record of my classified TDY assignments to Tan Son Nhut and Don Muang could be found. I was given a 10% comp rating in April 2011 for my advanced cervical osteorarthritis associated with an aircraft accident in 1962 for which I was treated many times while in the Air Force and for whichi I had copies of Air Force medical records. I did request a BVA hearing on the Agent Orange denial and am still trying to locate copies of the TDY orders which involved classified RF-101 recon missions over Laos in violation of the Geneva Accord. Because I still have active hairy cell leukemia, one of the many diseases on the Agent Orange presumptive list, I need only convince the BVA I was actually TDY to Tan Son Nhut or Don Muang. I am fortunate that my leukemia is not as agressive as it could be, but I will require chemotherapy in due time. I have to believe I was exposed to Agent Orange what with acquiring both prostate cancer and hairy cell leukemia almost simulataneously. However, I am thankful my prostate cancer was diagnosed early enough for the treatment to be successful despite moderate side effects from the radioactive seeding in 2005. I may also have been exposed to Agent Orange while TDY to Howard AB, Canal Zone late 1963, but no way of knowing. I expect a long wait before being scheduled for a video hearing with the BVA for which I would travel to the Detroit VA Regional Office, less than a 3 hour drive. Perhaps someone else could locate the July 2010 BVA decision cited in the Japan Times article. I didn't spend a lot of time trying to locate it, but it has to be there. Jim Corbett Grand Rapids, MI
  5. I filed a comp claim in August 2009 on basis of prostate cancer and hairy cell leukemia which I believed to be associated with my duty while TDY 1962 to Tan Son Nhut & Don Muang while PCS at Kadena, Okinawa 1962-1963. I was denied Feb. 2011 because TDY orders were missing from my personnel file, not only for Vietnam and Thailand, but for other TDY assignments during my 8 years with U.S. Air Force. I suspect the classified nature of my Vietnam and Thailand TDYs had something to do with it, having to do with classifed RF-101 missions over Laos. However, the VA did award me a 10% rating in April 2011 for advanced cervical osteoarthritis related to a neck injury I received while working on aircraft in 1962 while at Kadena. I did file a NOD on the Feb. 2011 denial and just received a response to my NOD. The question now is whether to request a DRO or choose the Traditional Appeal Process. I'm inclined to simply select the Traditional Appeal Process because I do not believe a DRO is going to make a difference. I am also debating whether I should find a rep, perhaps from the DAV of which I am a member. I'm very familiar with the processing of disability claims from having spent over 30 years working for SSA before retiring and later spending 4 years working as a legal assistant for SSA administrative law judges. At the same time, I know a rep could help me prepare for a BVA hearing which I know could take a couple of years or longer, from what I've read. Any advice on these issues would be appreciated. I have until 12/11/11 to return the "Disagreement Resolution Election Form to the VA Regional Office handling my case. If I could find a copy of my TDY order to Tan Son Nhut, I would likely be approved because my hairy cell leukemia has been active since 2007 and I have significant residuals from the prostate cancer treatment in 2005.
  6. mozartplayer

    Agent Orange Stored And Sprayed Okinawa 1960s

    I was TDY for brief periods to both Tan Son Nhut and Don Muang in Thailand in 1962 during the time I was PCS at Kadena, Okinawa 1961-1963, but TDY orders for both were missing as was TDY orders for my TDY to Howard AFB, Canal Zone late 1963. VA denied my Agent Orange claim in Fed. 2011 (prostate cancer and hairy cell leukemia), but gave me a 10% rating in April for my acute cervical osteoarthritis associated with a neck injury suffered in 1962 working on aircraft for which I was treated multiple times in Air Force hospitals and for which I had copies of Air Force medical records. I have searched all BVA decisions rendered since 1998, but have not found any related to Agent Orange exposure on Okinawa other than the decision dated 1/131/98. That ex-marine was fortunate to get approved what with DOD and the VA all disavowing Agent Orange was ever stored or used on Okinawa which most of us believe is not true. I suspect my missing TDY orders are related to the fact I was working on RF-101 reconnaissance aircraft which were flying photo-recon missions over Laos in violation of the Geneva Accord of 1954. Because the missions were illegal, they were, of course, classified as was most of what we did in Southeast Asia during the 60s. I plan to soon appeal the Feb. 2011 Agent Orange denial, knowing I have until Feb. 2012 to do so. I am grateful for the 10% rating for my cervical osteoarthritis, but am hoping to avoid surgery as I'm also trying to avoid chemotherapy for the hairy cell leukemia which was diagnosed in Marcy 2007, but other than seeing my oncologist every 3 or 4 months, I do not yet require chemotherapy. Considering it's an incurable disease, I know that I will require chemotherapy in due time. I don't expect in my lifetime to see the government admit to having used Agent Orange on Okinawa, but I will continue to research it. I was successfully treated for prostate cancer in 2005, but I'll never know if both my prostate cancer and hairy cell leukemia were associated with exposure to Agent Orange, but with both diseases being on the Presumptive list, I have to believe there's a connection, especially with having been assigned to several locations where Agent Orange was known to have been used.
  7. mozartplayer

    Vietnam Vets With Cml Need To Get Together

    I too have questioned for a long time why CLL and HCL are on the presumptive list, but not CML. I was diagnosed with HCL in April 2007 after having been treated for prostate cancer in 2005 leaving me with moderate residuals. The HCL is still active, but chemo not yet recommended by the oncologist I see every 3 months. I filed for comp in August 2009 and was denied Feb. of this year because the VA could not find a record of my TDY from Okinawa to Tan Son Nhut in 1962, a TDY which was in connection with RF-101s flying classified photo recon sorties over Laos. However, the VA did award me a 10% rating for a neck injury for which I was treated many times during my 8 years in the Air Force and which led to severe cervical osteoarthritis. The only reason I got approved for the 10% is because I had copies of Air Force medical reports and lots of x-ray reports. I do plan to appeal the denial of the denial, but still have many months to do that. I will ask my oncologist if he knows how many of his CML patients were Vietnam vets, but he may not tell me for privacy reasons. I do believe my prostate cancer and HCL were associated with exposure to Agent Orange, not only in Vietnam, but possibly also during my 18 months at Kadena AFB, Okinawa 1961-1963 and possibly during a TDY to the Canal Zone in late 1963 where Agent Orange is believed by some to have been sprayed. I personally believe it's only a matter of time before CML is added to the presumptive list, but in the meantime, hundreds of vets could die from the disease. Fortunately, drugs such as Gleevec are keeping patients alive for prolonged periods of time. I spent over 35 years working for a Federal agency in a job that involved reading thousands of medical reports and medical histories and I do recall seeing a lot of reports related to Vietnam vets with a wide variety of cancers. I will check out the Facebook group on CML. There is also a new Facebook group having to do with Agent Orange in Panama. Perhaps the Facebook group on CML can lead to more research by the IOM on the subject. I admit I haven't yet taken the time to check to see if the IOM has done much research on CML. The privacy issues related to medical records makes it difficult to get accurate numbers. In any event, the issue should be pursued hard. I find it difficult to believe the VA added DM2, but not CML. I don't know if my prostate cancer and HCL was actually caused by exposure to Agent Orange, but I do know I spent time in four countries where Agent Orange was known to have been sprayed, the fourth one being a TDY to Thailand from Kadena. The odds of contracting both prostate cancer and HCL are pretty high, but I'm grateful it's HCL I have and not CML. HCL is incurable, but chemo is generally about 95% successful in full remission. I'll be probing for more information on the CML issues. I would advise all veterans with CML to file comp claims. The worst that can happen is to get denied, but it'll then become an official record should CML get added to the presumptive list.
  8. mozartplayer

    Nehmer Claim Pending

    After reading postings on this forum for past 18 months, I now realize I should have filed a VA comp claim when I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer April 2005 and treated for it August 2005. I was left with significant residual side effects from the treatment, but still did not file a claim. I was subsequently diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia April 2007 which is still active with me, but did not file a claim until August 2009 after reading that the VA was planning to add hairy cell leukemia to the Agent Orange presumptive list. That claim is still pending almost 19 months later, but I did have a C&P exam last November which had to do only with the prostate cancer residuals. After reading everything I could find on the Nehmer rules and how it affects retroactivity of comp payments, I'm still confused as to how it applies to my claim, if in fact it does apply. I did not file until August 2009 even though my prostate cancer was diagnosed April 2005 and hairy cell leukemia was diagnosed April 2007 by bone marrow test. I assume, if approved, I could be paid back to the August 2009 date of my application, but do not know that for a fact. I"ll be happy just to get approved and not have to appeal a denial because I know how long that could take. I know that Social Security disability claims can sometimes be retroactive 12 months from date of filing, but do not know all the retroactive rules for VA comp claims. I spent 35 years working for SSA and had experience with thousands of disability claims during those years, but reading 38 C.F.R. 3.816 and other VA CFR references gives me a headache. I'd just like to get a decision while my mind is still capable of understanding it. I am encouraged by reading postings by those receiving favorable decisions.
  9. mozartplayer

    Agent Orange In Panama

    I was TDY to the Canal Zone in the summer of 1963 for 90 days after spending almost 3 years in Southeast Asia 1961-1963 in Vietnam and Okinawa. I saw what I believed were herbicides being sprayed while in the Canal Zone, but do not know exactly what they were. I have read a number of reports including a 6/14/05 CBC article (link pasted below) which talk about Agent Orange in Panama, but I have never been able to find any evidence. I have had a VA comp claim pending since August 2009 with no decision as yet. I should have filed a claim when I was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer in 2005, but did not file a claim until long after I was diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia in early 2007, an incurable disease which is still active with me. I was TDY to Tan Son Nhut AB, Vietnam in 1962, not long after Operation Ranch Hand began and C-123s began spraying what was then Agent Purple, now known to be three times more toxic than Agent Orange which did not come into widespread use until 1965. I hope to get a decision on my comp claim while I'm still alive. The VA did send me for a C&P exam last November, but it was only for the prostate cancer residuals and did not address any of my other disorders such as hairy cell leukemia which I guess means they were satisfied with the tons of evidence I had already submitted. http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/agentorange/defoliants.html
  10. mozartplayer

    Ao Korea New Reg

    Having just read today's VA news release and the final rule published this same day in the Federal Register, I wonder how many other locations will be added to the presumptive list in due time. I was stationed on Okinawa during the same time a former U.S. Marine was stationed there who was approved for comp by the BVA in a 1/13/98 decision based on his duties spraying toxic herbicides within the Marine Corp training area in the northern part of the island. The same Marine never saw duty in Vietnam, only Okinawa, but to my knowledge, he is the only veteran approved for comp based on exposure while assigned to Okinawa. My claim filed August 2009 is based on my TDY to Tan Son Nhut in 1962 even though I suspect I was also exposed while PCS to Kadena Okinawa. DOD continues to deny Agent Orange or its equivalent was ever used in Okinawa despite the BVA awarding comp based on exposure there. My claim is still pending almost 18 months later, but I did have a C&P exam two months ago. Not sure why it's taking so long since the VA has all of my medical records related to my prostate cancer and hairy cell leukemia, but I'll continue to be patient while waiting for a decision. I'd prefer to still be alive when that day arrives.
  11. This article was posted today 12/28/10 on LawFirmNewsWire.com http://www.lawfirmnewswire.com/2010/12/veterans-lawyer-foresees-long-waits-after-agent-orange-case/ It makes this allegation: "More than 163,000 veterans or survivors of veterans have a pending claim related to these diseases. The VA hopes to have them all paid out by October of 2011. To meet this goal, some believe the VA has given special attention to the new cases and other veterans may see longer waiting times as a result. We have been hearing from the VA that the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has told it to process these claims prior to ruling on other claims," said James G. Fausone, a veterans lawyer who works for Legal Help For Veterans, PLLC. "As a result, we have been receiving word from local Regional Offices that the normal 'slow' process at VA has been slowed even further because the VA has been focusing on these claims and not working on the other claims." My claim involves one of the three new disease, hairy cell leukemia, in addition to prostate cancer, but I wouldn't go so far as to say my claim has been given priority what with it pending since August 2009. I did finally have a C&P exam November 29, 2010 which addressed only prostate cancer residuals since my treatment in 2005, but didn't touch on any of my other impairments, perhaps because they already have all they need on the leukemia, etc. No one would tell me why the C&P covered only prostate cancer residuals. I could only hope it was because they didn't need anything other than that. I don't expect to get a decision before February 2011. I have the feeling they scheduled me for the C&P when they did only because I contacted my U.S. Senator asking his veterans caseworker to check on it after I got very little information from my calls to the 800#. I probably should have also done an IRIS contact, but will do that if I don't hear something by end of February which will make it 19 months pending. I have confidence I'll get a decision sooner or later. I'd prefer to be still living at the time.
  12. The Federal Register to be published Monday December 27, 2010 will include a VA Notice titled "Health Outcomes Not Associated With Exposure to Certain Herbicide Agents: Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2008". It's probably not of interest to those veterans who have a disease that's already on the Agent Orange Presumptive List, but it does make the point that: "The determination to not establish a presumption of service connection, based on exposure to herbicides used in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam era for any other of the diseases, illnesses, or health effects identified in the July 24, 2009, NAS report, does not in any way preclude VA from granting service connection for these diseases, including those specifically discussed in this notice, nor does it change any existing rights or procedures." Link to text version of this VA Notice is inserted below: http://edocket.acces.../2010-32332.htm
  13. mozartplayer

    Vietnam Vets With Cml

    I have not read all of the IOM reports regarding research on link between Agent Orange and all types of leukemia, but I don't understand why CML has never been added to the presumptive list while B cell leukemias have. The hairy cell leukemia that I've had for over 4 years is very rare, but yet IOM established a link to Agent Orange for whatever reason. I've never understood how the VA could add Type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer to the list, but not CML and some other blood disorders. It's possible that I would have had prostate cancer and hairy cell leukemia had I never been in Vietnam, but the odds of having both at the same time are astronomical while having only prostate cancer is not uncommon among all men. There is much we don't know about the effects of Agent Orange decades later. In my own case, I believe it was Agent Purple that caused my multiple medical problems being how I was in Southeast Asia 1961-1963 before the tactical herbicide formula was revised to Agent Orange. I recall Agent Purple being so toxic it dissolved the rubber seals on the C-123 spray nozzles which were replaced with neoprene seals I believe in early 1962 after the beginning of Operation Ranch Hand. That was during a time when the Air Force was classifying almost everything Top Secret, some reports not declassified until recent years. Those reports can be found online.
  14. Saw this VA press release dated 12/17/10 titled "VA Processes First Claims for New Agent Orange Presumptives" This link leads to it: http://www1.va.gov/o...ase.cfm?id=2022 I'm happy to see the VA cranking out the new presumptive claims because mine has been pending since August 2009 on basis of prostate cancer and hairy cell leukemia. I'm somewhat more hopeful now since having had a C&P exam November 29, 2010, the report for which was signed by the nurse-practitioner the following day, a copy of which I received in the mail this week. I don't expect a decision this month, but maybe January.
  15. mozartplayer

    Ao Payment Update

    I filed in August 2009 on the basis of both prostate cancer and hairy cell leukemia, among other disorders, but after hearing nothing from the VA for many months and not getting any answers from calls to the VA 800#, I had to resort to asking my U.S. Senator's veterans caseworker for assistance and a week later, I had an appointment for a C&P exam late November 2010. However, the VA Regional office instructed the medical center to examine only for the 2005 post-prostate cancer treatment residuals and nothing was said about the hairy cell leukemia or my other numerous disorders. After returning home from the C&P exam, I wrote a letter to the VA Regional Office asking if I was correct in assuming they already had all the evidence they needed related to the hairy cell leukemia as well as the residuals from the two major DVTs I experienced subsequent to the prostate cancer treatment for which I have to be on blood thinners indefinitely. I like to give the VA the benefit of the doubt as I would hope they would give me the benefit of the doubt as required by regulation, but it's sometimes difficult. As I told my Senator's veterans caseworker, I'm a very patient man, but not patient to a fault. I had mistakenly assumed that because my claim involved an active case of hairy cell leukemia for which I see my oncologist every 3 to 4 months, it'd be a slam dunk, but that's apparently not the case. I know a veteran who was approved for comp this past summer after two and a half years even though he has an incurable form of soft tissue sarcoma. His claim for SSA disability this past summer took less than 30 days to be approved. I know the reg adding hairy cell leukemia to the presumptive list was effective only as of 11/1/10 so I'll continue to be patient, for the time being, that is. Perhaps I overdid it on sending the VA too much evidence and they're still separating the wheat from the chaff. By now, they must have every piece of medical evidence going back to my treatment by Air Force doctors during the 1960s. I'm encouraged by hearing about others getting favorable decisions.

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