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    • Question A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?
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Intro Of Newby



Hi all,

I've been viewing the site a while gathering info, but wanted to join on in.

I'm a the wife of a Vietnam era thru Gulf War era Marine Gunny who retired in 1994. He was a Helicopter Crew Chief and a Helicopter Mechanic for 21 years. Some of his service related issues will not be in his record book because of special ops.

When he was retiring, he had slightly elevated blood pressure, and the docs all told him to get it fixed or he would be put on a medical hold. He had a job waiting, and if he didn't cooperate, he would miss being able to support our family of 7. In other words, take a few days and relax so you can get out of here, so he did...and he did. Listing medical problems would have prevented his retirement - according to the flight surgeon. His whole career was medical treatment via the flight line visits, so much was undocumented.

He didn't know the importance of a VA evaluation the first year, and has paid dearly for that since. In 2008, after many strange illnesses and rapidly declining health, he went to the VA in Fayetteville, NC for an eval. They sent him to an "independant doctor" in Elizabeth City who diagnosed him in 15 minutes, declining most of his issues, accepting some at 0 percent, and recieving a whopping 10% total disability. Because a doctor "thought" he might have COPD and recommended a spirimetry test, his record shows him as having COPD. The spirimetry test indicated he had suddenly become asthmatic, and he has been treated for this. He was denied breathing problems because he was diagnosed COPD and so Gulf War does not allow diagnosed illnesses. After 3 years of rapidly declining health in all areas of his body and mind, we have gotten a DAV rep and he is stepping through the process. My husband has gone to so many doc appts this year with specialty testing and we think we know where we are going and I have been able to use some of the links many people have posted as documentation.

He was denied sleep apnea because it was diagnosed (even though he had sleeping problems a long time) after service. I have found the links to the Organic Chemicals and Sleep Apnea - thanks guys.

He was denied peripheral neuropathy, because he was now diabetic. Early neurapathy was listed in his record book (numbness in hands, etc.) He was diagnosed as diabetic in 2007 - suddenly - during the same series of diagnoses that lead to finding asthma. He was already living with the feeling of pads in his feet, etc prior to his multi-system failure in 2007. He has now had an EMG, and a neuropsychology review with cognitive testing. His Primary doc, his pain management doc and his neuropsych all believe it is due to the chemicals he was saturated in daily as a Crew Chief and Mech. I have found some of the studies to prove that also.

Our primary doc is reviewing the spirimetry tests from the base to determine if he can officially rule out the COPD. If so, he has fatigue, random strange rashes, muscle and joint pains that are "etiology unknown" and therefore point to Gulf War.

Our doc reviewed all his 0% and evaluated him as to whether he rates the next level (bursitus, limited knee functions, etc.) We started the first week of January this year getting all our medical in order and all our proof, and it has been a full time job. My husband had to quit working by the end of May because he did not have the energy to work more than an hour or two at a time, and he couldn't commit to that every day. He would have had to quit 2 years ago if he had not become an independant contractor, and myself and our son had not covered a lot of the customer service and phone calls for him to allow him to keep working. By then end of May his Doc said "NO MORE." It killed him to quit. We have filed for SSDI, and that is in process, but will take almost a year. We are filing now for the VA benefits, as they take a whole lot more proof (SSDI just looks at his medical records and accepts what they say, they don't care who is to blame).

His neuropsych said he has frontal lobe damage, most likely due to chemical exposures to dry cleaning solvents, jet fuel and trichlorotrifluoroethane, to name a few. Does anybody know of studies relating to this to prove it?

We are also trying to prove that the severe degeneration of his entire back is related to the work he did. Example: when the CH-46 rotar blades were recalled, they had one working set for 8 birds. Every day they had to change the blades repeatedly to keep each bird up. They would lift the 200 lb blades up with a couple guys, put them into the slot and bounce the blades into place, standing with their hands above their heads jumping to force the blades in. He had repeated entries for back pain, but they say they were "all resolved." This is just one example.

My super outgoing and happy husband is becoming a pain riddled, depressed, secluded man at 55 yrs old. It breaks my heart. I'm working full time to get him the help and support he needs to get any kind of quality of life he can. We are just barely surviving until we get help. Food stamps only gave us $121 a month because his retirement pay isn't "earned" income. We found a food bank, so we are doing better with that. Navy Relief helped us with a couple of things. DSS won't help because he isn't officially disabled without SSDI. It is killing my husband not to be providing for his family. He did get approved for the VRAP program, if he can sit through school without debilitating pain, but they sent the approval the day after the semester started, and there was no way to get all the paperwork through in time. So, maybe in January.

All my docs want me to do the write ups and put it on a thumb drive and let them review it and sign it on their stationary. They all agree it is at LEAST "more likely than not" service related, but they don't have time to do the research.

Looking forward to getting to know some of y'all.

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  • In Memoriam

I started falling completely apart at 53 years old. I loved my jobs, but they had to end. I started on this road and didn't find hadit until about 4 years into the process. It took 3 additional years for me to get compensated. It doesn't take this long for all, but it did for me.

You have to be prepared for a wait. You have your foot in the door with 10%. There are things you can do to shorten the wait, but you will just have to dig them out of the hadit prior post and ask questions. Try not to get too angry with the denials that happen before you are awarded. You will be awarded.

I look forward to seeing your post in sucess stories.

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You found a site where the vets/friends of vets/family of vets will try and help you. What and when was he awarded the 10% service connected for? He retired in 94 and the problems became much more compounded the last few years, right?

Have you searched sites like google with chemical compounds you have listed in your post? Many times one can find side effects related to the chemicals, and studies done with documented facts you can use as evendituary in your claim.

Was he ever stationed in another country? I noticed you said your husband served during the Vietnam era and Gulf war era, so did he stay stateside, or did he serve in a country like Germany, where the copters/planes may have landed to be worked on? Those chemicals are heavy duty carcenogenics, so it is a concern he could/may sometime be diagnosed with some type of cancer. Also AO was stored in many stateside areas too. Some claims won on facts related to the vet stationed there and diagnoses of conditions related to AO exposure.

You do have all of his service records/ C-File, right? You use a decent VSO? (Veterans Service Officer, ie DAV, AL,State Vets Commission,etc)

It is important to make sure any all of your responses are TIMELY with the VARO. They take their sweet time responding to you but you better send it back to them TIMELY!

You will have to do just about all of the paperwork, research,seek buddies to write a statement of witnessing the occurances, anything that can prove what/when/where he was exposed to these toxins. A good start is here, and keep asking questions as you will find others who are willing to help or possibly advise where to seek. Be prepared to fight and stay focused through their denials/appeals/low grantings along this travel. BTW 0% grantings are easier to get a positive % awarded then a denied one. Don't get discouraged. Good luck! halos2

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In order to win benefits, you need all of these 3 things, and you should keep your focus on these:

1. Documentation of an inservice event, or that the military aggravated the condition. Go through all the SMR's and look for this. You wont be able to change this now. Remember, you are looking for documentation of symptoms, not necessarily a diagnosis. You dont have to show that you were diagnosed with sleep apnea in service for example, but you could try showing you had symptoms. One reason is that few docs can diagnose this..only a sleep doc and only then after a sleep study. Many of the docs wont even refer you to a sleep doc...they just think...oh he is just tired...during the day..so you dont get a referral to a sleep clinic.

You see, the VA will accept some "lay evidence", especially if the "lay evidence" is corroborated by a Doc, later. In other words, if hubby was tired during the day, did not sleep well at nite, snored loud, etc...these are symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea...later a sleep study could diagnose it. The symptoms will be reported by the Vet, and sometimes "buddy letters", but the diagnosis can only come from a doc. The diagnosis is "number 2"

2. A current diagnosis of a medical condition. No current diagnosis = no benefits. The VA wont pay you a dime for an injury you had in 1964, even if you have documentation of it, if you have absolutely no symptoms or diagnosis now. Your broken foot, or even a GSW that healed up and causes you no problems is not going to get you compensated for the "pain and suffering" you had in service.

3. A "nexus" between the two above. You mentioned number #3 above, where the doc said "it is at least as likely as not due to military service". Yes, you need that nexus, but you still have to have #1 and number #2 above. You must have all 3 for service connected benefits.

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