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Turned Down For Chronic Fatigue


Gredge

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Hello, everybody.

My name is Greg. This is my first post. I'm 28, an was deployed to Iraq/Kuwait in 2005-2006. Shortly after coming home, I started noticing a lot of trouble with funning, and general energy issues. I went to a doctor (I was on active duty, but at a reserve post, so I had Tricare Remote), and I was diagnosed with depression. That didn't fit, because I'm generally happy. I can't really explain why I feel this way, but I have always felt this was a physical issues. Literally, within a span of a week, I went from running a 12-minute two-mile to failing my PT test. Ever since then, I struggled with feeling weak, fatigued, and just not 100%. I also have pain. I ache quite a bit, and sometimes it feels like I have a persistent, under the skin sunburn.

So, after I got off active duty (i'm still in the reserves), I started seeing my own doctor. She put me on a few anti-depressants that didn't do anything to help me. I asked for her to do some blood work, and it came back with slightly lowered T-levels, as one would expect from somebody who doesn't feel like exercising anymore. Finally, after testing my heart, lungs, thyroid, and blood tests, she diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She said that fibromyalgia also fits some of my symptoms, but she didn't diagnose me with that.

Anyways, I submitted my CFS to the VA for a disability after reading that it fell under the category of presumptive illness. I filed for a few other things (bursitis in my shoulder, broken wrist, nothing major), and was turned down for everything. The wrist and shoulder were issues I was in physical therapy for while I was on active duty. I do not have a LOD on them. For CFS, they said that my slightly decreased Testosterone levels accounted for all of my symptoms. They did not conduct an exam. I had one appointment with the VA where I went in and they read of the items I was filing for and asked me to confirm that was it. I confirmed and left. It was literally less than 5 minutes.

I work a regular job. My condition does affect my performance (I feel hazy quite a bit and have trouble concentrating, I am often late for work because I have trouble getting out of bed, ect.) Luckily, my job has flex scheduling and generous time off, or I'd have been fired. I don't know how I'm going to convince the VA to recognize my conditions. I am not out for money or anything (its nice, but I have a job), but I want the recognition that I'm not crazy. I'm also fairly young, and I feel like crap all the time. I'm afraid this issue is going to get worse when I'm older, and I want the VA support system there in case things become too much for me and my family to handle.

I posted here because CFS/FM symptoms are more closely related with Gulf War Illness than the OIF/OEF stuff, and figured I might get more insight from these forms. If you guys have some advice on how to approach this situation, I'd greatly appreciate it. I recently got in contact with a VFW VSO, and am working on filing my NOD. I got my denial in January, and I should have been working harder on fixing this sooner...I just kind of got depressed and didn't feel like dealing with it for a bit.

Thanks for any help you guys offer.

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have they checked you for fibro my algea?

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Not specifically. As my doctor understood it, there isn't a real test for FM. From the description of my pain, she felt it was more in line with CFS than FM. Though, she is not specialist. My main point of concern is trying to explain to the VA that my symptoms are not a result of Low Testosterone, rather the Low T is probably a result of the symptoms I have.

I forgot to mention that the Army has also diagnosed me with CFS (based on my doctor's tests) and has given me a permanent profile to walk instead of run. I included that in my packet, but it didn't seem to help.

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I read somewhere that the VA denies upward of 70% of initial claims. I just finished a claim recently, I was initially denied and had overwhelming evidence. It was overturned and the condition was serious enough that it came back rated 70%.

Your condition sounds serious. Perhaps you should seek an attorney seeing how your disability robs you of focus and motivation. You need both to beat these people. Woods and Woods veterans attorney firm I hear is top notch.

Good luck and thank you for your service my friend.

Edited by Philgrenier
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I would do as you are with a NOD.

Second, I would try going to a rheumatologist with the condition. Research the symptoms of fibromyalgia and you will notice they are very similar to CFS. Very often the two will go hand and hand. The rheumatologist will also have a second set of blood work drawn to rule out any other problems that may exist. Your T level will very each time you are tested and at this point it may stabilize with your condition and be at an acceptable level. This is what you want. With that you can present that with your NOD. State specifically that your T levels are up and your condition still exists and is chronic and is to the point it is becoming debilitating.

If you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia that would be an additional claim by itself.

Both are covered under Qualifying chronic disabilities under 38CFR 3.317.

As for Gulf War or OIF/OEF veteran. They are all considered Gulf War Veterans and would use this statement when addressing the conditions. Presumptive service connected disability due to service in the Gulf War per section 3.317 of title 38 of CFR.

Gulf War Veteran refers to any veteran who served in South West Asia during operations; Desert Shield/Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom or any other operations with dates August 1990 until present.

Here is a link to help with your disabilities and a guide to follow.

www.ngwrc.org/guide/ngwrc-guide.html#2

Remember their are numerous CMI' listed in the guide relating to your condition. Look at them and go from there. I hope this helps.

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