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    I have memory problems and as some of you may know I highly recommend Evernote and have for years. Though I've found that writing helps me remember more. I ran across Tom's videos on youtube, I'm a bit geeky and I also use an IPad so if you take notes on your IPad or you are thinking of going paperless check it out. I'm really happy with it, I use it with a program called Noteshelf 2.

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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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I m thinking about asking my VA primary care provider(NP) to taper me off of hydrocodone.  It has become such a hassle to get it refilled and get it delivered.  So many times I have missed the UPS delivery because I could not get to the door on time before he drove away.  Every so often I have to go into the clinic for a urinalysis for drug screening before the nurse will refill it.  

 

I ve been taking this medication for about 15 years for pain. It reduces the pain level about 30%, enough for me to function.  If I go off of it, the alternative  I plan to use reduces the pain about 20%, so my daily functionality will be reduced.  I have to weigh the two approaches.

What are the health effects of long term opiod use besides possible addiction?

 

Any suggestions or ideas

 

 

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My doctor says if you are taking opioid's for a long time you are addicted.  I hate the drug tests and the looks from the pharmacist.  It is your decision and if you can function without them that is good.  I need to research the long term effects myself, I can say it is better than high doses of aspirin or Motrin.  My suggestion is if you can, do taper off.  It is much better off than scrambling to find a new doctor if something happens to yours.  I just am stuck since the pain is more than I can handle without the opioids.  I did do without them for several years and then finally gave in when I was unable to sleep at night or walk.  

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When you taper off, just make sure not to overload on the tylenol. Get a referral to the pain management clinic (not just to physical therapy). They have some potential alternatives that might give you relief.

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This is just my opinion, so that and two bucks will get you a cup of coffee. I am not speaking from personal experiences on any opioids, because fortunately, I never had a long term need. I had surgery for my gall bladder at the VA and my surgeon said after I woke up that I did well but I would have to take some for a few days. I said NO I DON'T. He said, yes you do or I can't release you. I told him I was deathly afraid of taking any of that crap and could handle the pain. Again he said, with a wink and a nod, ok. If I prescribe some and you take them home, what you do with them is your business. We agreed to disagree. But I will say this, you can only make informed decisions based on the info that is available at the time you do the research. But, that said, time usually provides data that may change what the medical profession recommends at at any time. Case in point; my recent post on malaria pills. The DOD said it was ok to use; now, not so much. Substituting one pain reliever for something else may be the right decision now, based on current medical evidence, but years fro now. Who knows? 

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5 hours ago, vetquest said:

My doctor says if you are taking opioid's for a long time you are addicted.  I hate the drug tests and the looks from the pharmacist.  It is your decision and if you can function without them that is good.  I need to research the long term effects myself, I can say it is better than high doses of aspirin or Motrin.  My suggestion is if you can, do taper off.  It is much better off than scrambling to find a new doctor if something happens to yours.  I just am stuck since the pain is more than I can handle without the opioids.  I did do without them for several years and then finally gave in when I was unable to sleep at night or walk.  

There is a difference between addicted and dependent,  yes they seem like the same thing but here is the difference......addiction is when you are using something other than how it is prescribed to you, taking it more often, more than you are supposed to at a time but taking a drug you are prescribed and then titrating off of that drug because you have become dependent on it, which can happen with many medications, some anti-depressants are like this, benzos, many meds, even meds that you don't even think about honestly.  There is so much of a stigma  and even shame associated with those who take and need opioids or any other medication that may be abused in some way.  It is perfectly normal to want to titrate off of something that may not be working for you any longer but like someone mentioned above make sure you go to the pain clinic and know what other options are available to you.  Sadly, if you do decide to completely go off of them you might not be able to go back on them.........so many doctors are just refusing to prescribe them at all now.  I hope it all works out well for you.  If you are in a medical legal state I highly suggest you at least try medical marijuana.

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    • Peggy toll free 1000 last week, told me that, my claim or case BVA Granted is at the RO waiting on someone to sign off ,She said your in step 5 going into step 6 . That's good, right.?
      • 6 replies
    • I took a look at your documents and am trying to interpret what happened. A summary of what happened would have helped, but I hope I am interpreting your intentions correctly:


      2003 asthma denied because they said you didn't have 'chronic' asthma diagnosis


      2018 Asthma/COPD granted 30% effective Feb 2015 based on FEV-1 of 60% and inhalational anti-inflamatory medication.

      "...granted SC for your asthma with COPD w/dypsnea because your STRs show you were diagnosed with asthma during your military service in 1995.


      First, check the date of your 2018 award letter. If it is WITHIN one year, file a notice of disagreement about the effective date. 

      If it is AFTER one year, that means your claim has became final. If you would like to try to get an earlier effective date, then CUE or new and material evidence are possible avenues. 

       

      I assume your 2003 denial was due to not finding "chronic" or continued symptoms noted per 38 CFR 3.303(b). In 2013, the Federal Circuit court (Walker v. Shinseki) changed they way they use the term "chronic" and requires the VA to use 3.303(a) for anything not listed under 3.307 and 3.309. You probably had a nexus and benefit of the doubt on your side when you won SC.

      It might be possible for you to CUE the effective date back to 2003 or earlier. You'll need to familiarize yourself with the restrictions of CUE. It has to be based on the evidence in the record and laws in effect at the time the decision was made. Avoid trying to argue on how they weighed a decision, but instead focus on the evidence/laws to prove they were not followed or the evidence was never considered. It's an uphill fight. I would start by recommending you look carefully at your service treatment records and locate every instance where you reported breathing issues, asthma diagnosis, or respiratory treatment (albuterol, steroids, etc...). CUE is not easy and it helps to do your homework before you file.

      Another option would be to file for an increased rating, but to do that you would need to meet the criteria for 60%. If you don't meet criteria for a 60% rating, just ensure you still meet the criteria for 30% (using daily inhaled steroid inhalers is adequate) because they are likely to deny your request for increase. You could attempt to request an earlier effective date that way.

       

      Does this help?
    • Thanks for that. So do you have a specific answer or experience with it bouncing between the two?
    • Tinnitus comes in two forms: subjective and objective. In subjective tinnitus, only the sufferer will hear the ringing in their own ears. In objective tinnitus, the sound can be heard by a doctor who is examining the ear canals. Objective tinnitus is extremely rare, while subjective tinnitus is by far the most common form of the disorder.

      The sounds of tinnitus may vary with the person experiencing it. Some will hear a ringing, while others will hear a buzzing. At times people may hear a chirping or whistling sound. These sounds may be constant or intermittent. They may also vary in volume and are generally more obtrusive when the sufferer is in a quiet environment. Many tinnitus sufferers find their symptoms are at their worst when they’re trying to fall asleep.

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    • Precedent Setting CAVC cases cited in the M21-1
      A couple months back before I received my decision I started preparing for the appeal I knew I would be filing.  That is how little faith I had in the VA caring about we the veteran. 

      One of the things I did is I went through the entire M21-1 and documented every CAVC precedent case that the VA cited. I did this because I wanted to see what the rater was seeing.  I could not understand for the life of me why so many obviously bad decisions were being handed down.  I think the bottom line is that the wrong type of people are hired as raters.  I think raters should have some kind of legal background.  They do not need to be lawyers but I think paralegals would be a good idea.

      There have been more than 3500 precedent setting decisions from the CAVC since 1989.  Now we need to concede that all of them are not favorable to the veteran but I have learned that in a lot of cases even though the veteran lost a case it some rules were established that assisted other veterans.

      The document I created has about 200 or so decisions cited in the M21-1.   Considering the fact that there are more than 3500 precedent cases out there I think it is safe to assume the VA purposely left out decisions that would make it almost impossible to deny veteran claims.  Case in point. I know of 14 precedent setting decisions that state the VA cannot ignore or give no weight to outside doctors without providing valid medical reasons as to why.  Most of these decision are not cited by the M21.

      It is important that we do our due diligence to make sure we do not get screwed.  I think the M21-1 is incomplete because there is too much information we veterans are finding on our own to get the benefits we deserve

      M21-1 Precedent setting decisions .docx
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      • 5 replies
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