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abarrus

Can I lose benefits if testosterone cures my depression?

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Hi, All.

Just a couple weeks ago I had my testosterone levels checked after suspecting I had low levels since before I served. The levels are abnormally low. I begin testosterone replacement therapy this week. I've been 70% disabled for depression for 10 years. I became clinically depressed just months after returning from Iraq 14 years ago. I've been on medication for depression for all that time.

I'm now suspecting that getting my testosterone to normal levels (currently at 60, the normal range for men of 35 is about 600) will cure my depression, as it tends to have that effect. My hypogonadism isn't eligible for anything close to 70%. I'm looking forward to an improvement in my quality of life. I'm not looking forward to the possibility of losing $20k per year of tax-free income, which pays for my house and cars. It supported me without the need to work when I lived abroad after college.

I'm getting my testosterone replacement therapy from the VA. If I begin to report that the testosterone is working very well, will the VA benefits people see those medical records and decide that my depression has improved and give me a rate of less than 70%?

 

I'm excited about my life changing, but should I just go outside the VA for this? I'm not sure how the VA works. Worried for my family's financial security.

 

Thank you in advance for your input.

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Relax.  Read the criteria for reductions.  It says, once you are p and t or "over 5 years" SC, they cant reduce your benefits UNLESS you have "actual improvement under ordinary conditions of life".  

I have been here over 10 years and not have heard of that happening.  It would be like:

"Ok, you lost your leg.  Well, we gave you a wooden one, and now you are "good to go" so we are gonna drop your compensation because you can walk ok with your wooden leg."  NO!!!!

    I fractured my leg in service, and eventually I needed a total knee replacement.  Actually, Im doing well on my new knee.  Im not the slightest bit concerned about a reduction because I have a new plastic/metal knee that helps me get around with less pain and increased ROM.  

    If they even TRY to do such an insane thing (reduce my comp because I get around better with a plastic/metal surgically implanted knee) I have an attorney who will be on that like white on rice.  Its true VA has done some wild shennanigans, but there is some stuff that they just wont touch.  

    There is a M21 that says that they cant give you a C and P reduction exam if you are over 55 years old.  I think it happened to ONE Vet, and they contacted them, pointing out they were over 55 and the reduction c and p exam got quashed.  

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I have hypogonadism as well, and receive testosterone from the VA. Im 42 (ugh). While its not had much effect on my depression over all in the last 2 yrs, it has helped my energy levels through the day so Im not completely exhausted from mundane tasks. Quality of life is important but its not a cure all. I self inject, incidentally, its not that difficult once you get the hang of it, and they provide the needles and syringes. I would recommend drawing your dose with a larger needle, like a 20 gauge (still pretty small), then switching needle tips on the syringe and using a 22 gauge to inject. Reason being is that piercing the top of the container to draw out your dose dulls the tip of the needle just a bit, and its noticable when you use the same needle to draw and then inject. Trust me on this. VA used to give me sets of both gauges, for awhile, then they stopped. Not sure why, but in any case you can, for about 20.00 a box of 100, get syringes and needles for self injecting from Amazon without a pharmaceutical license or anything like that. That way I am still able to draw with 1 needle and inject with another. Its pretty simple. 

I have not had benefits reduced, but depression is long term treatment resistant type so it depends on what yours is and its cause. If  you go outside VA it will be at your cost and I don't know what that costs. I get my dosages 2 to a bottle, and I reorder from VA pharmacy online. I take shots once a week. If you have insurance that will cover it, why not, but if you can get it for free from the VA, I would. You'll have to go in every three months or so for the first year so they can monitor your doses and make sure you are compliant with injections (basically, that your levels are static) and that you aren't having any other issues. Keep in mind that if you start taking testosterone your testes will stop making it and it will basically render you sterile. Not 100%, but your S count will drop to the point of being unable to have kids if that is a concern. Your doc should fill you in on all this, too. 

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TYVM brokensoldier244th,

I guess I may be having a paranoid overreaction, especially since I have lived off my disability in Mexico, and like to always keep that option in my back pocket. I'm 35, I've got a 2 year old and a 7 month old. I've been asking my wife to let me get my nuts nipped. She's 37 and wants to have another one at 40. I guess this can protect against accidents, and I hear that the erections and orgasms will get better, so that may be really handy. We don't have any help where we live, and 1 baby per parent keeps us too busy as it is.

I just now talked to a DAV rep. He told me that the only way they will look at reducing my depression/anxiety comp is if I ask for an increase, which I have before. I know better than to do that now. To get more than 70% one needs to be perpetually psychotic, which I'm not, thank god. I have a wonderful home life, i love my job, and love my city. Seems that fixing the low T is a big thing missing that's missing in my life. I certainly can use more energy, mental agility, focus, to help me at work and with the kids.

thanks everyone for your great advice.

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