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Gw - Endometriosis, Etc Husband/wife Claims


sam2007

Question

Good evening. My wife and I were both active duty army and both participated in ground operations in Just Cause - Panama and Desert Shield/Storm - Saudi Arabia/Iraq. Out of sheer ignorance and failure to investigate we just recently became aware of some of the benefits we are eligible for via the VA. We both visited our local VA hospital, updated our information and received our VA medical cards at a “tier 6” level. We are pretty excited about this step in and of itself. During our initial medical examinations the physician, who was great, asked us each if we ever submitted any disability claims - neither of us have. Based on our medical and service history the MD actually encouraged of both to do so. This is where I have a couple of questions.

I think my claim will be fairly straightforward - I have had documented hearing loss 45, 55, 60 in both ears, along with tinnitus since leaving the service. I also have had years of mild to moderate IBS. It simply never occurred to me that I may be eligible to receive care and/or seek a claim via the VA. I am confident I will be able to get some award and up my VA hospital rating to “tier 3,” it is my wife’s claim that in my naive opinion may be more complicated. My wife suffered from very painful and irregular menstruation for years after leaving active duty. This was diagnosed as endometriosis and she wound up having a couple of major surgeries for the condition. The first was an I/D (I think) to clean things up and ideally allow us to conceive a child. We went down that path for some time, but things only got worse, no children, and she eventually had a complete hysterectomy - both ovaries and the uterus. This solved the immediate issue of horrible month pain, trouble using the restroom, etc, but it also placed her on hormone therapy for many years longer than suggested. Looking through the VA website and related materials I see that “menstrual disorders” are listed as a presumptive condition related to gulf war service. Last week visited with a VSO from the DAV who initiated my claim process, but suggested my wife collect all her pertinent medical records first and then return to the DAV to file a “fully developed claim.” We are following his advice and have already requested the medical records. I know this is a long post but we are really new to this entire thing and it seems there are many conflicting reports of success and/or failure in the claims process. She had irregular periods in service but the hysterectomy was not until several years after discharge - yet within the 12/31/16 window referenced on the VA presumptive webpage. Sorry for the long post - Has anyone else successfully pursued this type of claim? Does it matter that the hysterectomy was after she left the service? Any thoughts?

Also - I don’t know how it may apply, but she was also hospitalized while stationed in Panama, first at Gorgas the on base facility, then a civilian Panama City hospital for 3+ weeks. Likely meningitis, but no firm diagnosis. They could not break her fevers, so she was air evacuated to BAMC, Ft Sam Houston, where she was hospitalized for another 3 weeks, IV antibiotics, tons of tests, etc. Fevers broke, but still no firm diagnosis. We really don’t know what type of relationship or fall out this long series of inpatient hospitalizations could have had on her current health but it is very concerning.

We feel kind of ignorant for not pursuing any of this years ago! Great site!

Thank you. AP

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Thank you both for your service!

This link here has plenty of information on the Gulf War presumptives.



In the radio show link, I might have gone over the older presumptives as well as the 9 new ones the show was about.

There is more here.
http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/medically-unexplained-illness.asp

Menstral disorders fall under Undiagnosed Illnesses in the regulations.

Endometriosis however is a diagnosed disability.

These cases might help you:

"Although the presence of endometriosis was not clinically
established until several years after service, the
foregoing evidence suggests that the veteran's
endometriosis was first manifested in service. At the very
least, the foregoing evidence is in relative equipoise with
respect to that question. That is, there is an approximate
balance of evidence both for and against the veteran's
claim. Under such circumstances, all reasonable doubt is
resolved in favor of the veteran. 38 U.S.C.A. § 5107(b);
38 C.F.R. § 3.102. Accordingly, service connection for
endometriosis is warranted.


ORDER

The veteran's appeal with respect to the question of
timeliness of her substantive appeal is granted.

Entitlement to service connection for endometriosis is
granted."

http://www.va.gov/vetapp03/files/0335747.txt

and

"ORDER

Entitlement to service connection for gynecological
disability with endometriosis resulting in hysterectomy is
granted."

http://www.va.gov/vetapp04/files3/0421655.txt

This above decision was for was a Gulf War veteran. I am not sure the first BVA decision I posted here was for a GWV, but she had inservice documented manifestations

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Good information Berta.

1. Get your military records.

2. Have a updated diagnosis by a physician (important)

3. Does SMR's have a incident or like symptoms treated during active duty for what you are claiming.

4. Connection (service connection)

a. nexus- doctor opinion connecting current disability to military incident/symptoms

b. chronicity- issue noted to be chronic in SMR and chronic in current diagnosis.

c. continuity of symptomology- like symptoms were underdiagnosed in service and now issue has become chronic.

d. aggravation by service- issue noted before active duty and active duty made issue worse.

e. Continuity of care- Issue started on active duty and veteran has continued to receive treatment for issue since leaving active duty.

NEVER GIVE UP

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