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  • Trouble Remembering? This helped me.

    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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    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
    • Everyone needs to read our stories so they can try to avoid these screws by the va...
      Thank you, everyone contributes, good or bad, all of our stories will help others, and yes, they have been stated by others for ages, over and over, but we just get depressed, and the time turns into years as they screw us..

      Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs!  I can honestly say, "been there, done that".  

      Even after winning my tdiu in 2017, it was back to the drawing board as VA hornswaggeld my effective date.  (but of course).  

      I finally won my tdiu effective date in Feb. 2020, 18 years after I first applied!!!  

      Here is how they managed to drag mine out 18 years:

      1.  They never adjuticated my decison until 2009, where they called it "moot".  

      2.  I appealed, said it was not moot because it could result in an earlier effective date and SMC S under Bradley vs Peake.  The judge agreed with me, and ordered VARO consider me for extra schedular TDIU, under 4.16 b.  

      3.  The VARO piddles with  the remand for 3 years, and hoped I wouldnt notice.  I noticed and raised cane until they adjuticated it.  (denied of course).  

      4.  Finally, after the baord denied again, I hired a lawyer, in 2014, and appealed to CAVC.   

      5.  The lawyer won a remand, got an IMO and I won tdiu in 2017.  But at the wrong effective date, even after 15 years.  

      6.  I hired another lawyer, Chris Attig, and appealed the effective date, and he won a remand for effective date.  Trip 2 to CAVC.  

      7.  Mr. Attig won a remand, and advised me to get another IMO.  

      8.  The board awarded my earlier effective date in Feb. 2020.  

           So, I do have advice fighting VA for TDIU, they fought and fought and I hung in there and won it all.  

      ADVICE:  Dont count on VA, they could easily throw your fax in the trash.  Follow up!  
    • "Keep in mind that due to the nature of the digestive system, VA would most likely combined your conditions and pay you at the higher rate to avoid pyramiding".    That is one of my main gripes.  They are only listing the GERD with hiatal hernia and ignoring the rest of my gastric issues such as the gastritis which I also had in service.  I included it in my 2007 request for increase and again in 2019.  The info from the civilian dr that stated I had the gastritis with H pylori was not even provided to the examiner in 2007, nor did he have my VA health records. The 2019 request was based on an EGD I had AT THE VA in Jan 2019.   I filed for an increase 6 Mar and they did an ACE on 27 Mar and downgraded to noncompensable on that date.  The only reason I was thinking CUE:  38 CFR § 3.326 - Under Examinations  it states (c) Provided that it is otherwise adequate for rating purposes, a statement from a private physician may be accepted for rating a claim without further examination".  
    • Enough has been said on this topic. This forum is not the proper forum for an attorney and former client to hash out their problems. Please take this offline
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flow1972

How To Know What Injury Or Event Connects Current Issues

Question

Some of you know, I'm new to all of this.  I feel like I'm trying to build a 5,000 piece puzzle with no picture or instructions to look at.  I currently have 10% SC for Tinnitus.  I have a C&P scheduled for the 18th of November for my PTSD caused by MST Claim.  I have a ton of things in my SMR's as well as CMR's that I have no idea how to connect the dots on.  Is there some "place" or "person" that assists with this stuff???  I feel lost, and I'm a Data person.

I have currently diagnosed conditions:

1. Carpal Tunnel

2. Raynaud's

3. IBS/Spastic Colon

4.  Current Gastritis 

5.  Just had my Tonsils out at 46 (yep...tonsil lesion after decades of recurrent pharyngitis/Strep/Tonsilitus)

6.  Lower back disk degeneration (been on my Xrays for years)

7.  Arthritis in hands (not RH)

8.  Cold Sores

9.  Asthma/Allergies

10.  Right Hip (Injections a few months ago)

11.  Vertigo (I believe it's Motorist Vestibular Disorientation, but the one time I asked my PCP about it, they thought it may be my allergies causing it)

I left service back in 1996.  I had just had my first child and was still recovering from the affects of Pre-Eclampsia.  ( All over my SMR's.)  No physical at Separation. I have things in my SMR's where I had Asthma as a child but no issues since early childhood (on my Entrance paperwork).  I also have an entry where they state there was a review of my Medical Records (Security Review for Above Top Secret) and "No Chronic Illnesses" or something to that affect.  I literally had 9 cases of URI/Bronchitis/Phneumonia or a related lung issue in my 5 years of service logged in my SMR's. 

There was 12 cases of Strep/Pharyngitis/Tonsillitis along with a visit for some stomach issues that went on for several weeks (pretty sure this is when my IBS started showing up), a broken 9th rib (got kicked by a horse in Germany), Left Ankle Overuse Syndrome (I don't know why it says this because I'm pretty sure that's when I got sever shin-splints in both legs), Right ankle sprain, left knee strain, left hand and wrist injury, left thigh myalgia 2nd degree strain..then I started having to be given meds for allergies/Asthma episodes again the last few years in service.  I had a ganglian cyst removed from my right hand just a little over a year after I left service...I've read there isn't a "known" true cause but arthritis can be a possible cause...

I'm just overwhelmed with what relates to what and so forth.  My Carpal Tunnel...you know they'll try to say that's 100% due to my work as a Data Analyst when the "know" hand/wrist injuries as well as job duties that require repetition also contribute...I even have a note in my SMR's about my fingers being numb while I was pregnant, but I guarantee they'll attribute that to the Edema from the Pre-E.  So.....how do you work through it all in the best way NOT to screw yourself????

Edited by flow1972

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4 minutes ago, flow1972 said:

Really good info!  The only thing I guess I need to do is get an "actual diagnosis" for whatever they want to call it.  That provisional diagnosis was just before I got out; and they never sent me back for any other tests.  (Never had a PFT before or during service).  Never used an inhaler before service, but I'd meet the 10% criteria during and since service.  The thing about Docs is...they just take the fact that you say.."I've been told I have Asthma or "Asthmatic something or other" and write that down.  Then, they prescribe the inhaler and so forth.  They never "Actually diagnose you with anything..that I've seen."  They may write a note about Asthma symptoms or something...but not.."this person has Asthma" or whatever.  I "do" however have proof they found me "Allergic" to dust while in service...never had an allergy test (or allergies that I knew of) before service.  So..sounds like I need to see an Allergy Doc and get an "Actual Diagnosis" to then connect to the "Provisional" one.  Oy...so ridiculous.  Any person with a logical brain could look at the record and see..."Asthmatic Symptoms in Service"..."Asthmatic Symptoms after Service"...huh...these are likely related or the same condition.  Duh.

Yeah, having a current diagnosis does matter. 

Yes, they do write that down. That's the subjective part of the exam, much like the questionnaire on the entrance exam. The objective part is their assessment or diagnosis. For a current diagnosis, the objective part is what matters. Their notes in your records might look any one of these examples which imply "this person has asthma":

Diagnosis: asthma
Assessment: asthma
A: asthma
O: asthma

 

The tricky part about asthma is found right at the bottom of the rating criteria:

Quote

Note: In the absence of clinical findings of asthma at time of examination, a verified history of asthmatic attacks must be of record.

Asthma is commonly known to be intermittent and brief, not constant like a broken arm. If you told your doctor about having shortness of breath or possible asthma attacks, they would determine if you needed any tests and probably prescribe albuterol for starters. That would indicate a verified history of asthmatic attacks.

 

Asthma can be triggered by a number of things including stress, exercise, fatigue, and environmental factors like dust mites or pollen.

One of the facts about being in the service is moving to another region of the world. You might have lived in the USA all your life, but as soon as you moved to Germany you are exposed to a completely different environment. When I lived there in the 90's, they still used leaded gas. Not to mention all the different flora, fauna, or emissions spewing particulates into the air. Something in your body gets triggered and boom you suddenly have problems breathing. Hopefully they would be temporary, but in my case they lasted for 20+ years. It's like turning on a button.

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6 hours ago, flow1972 said:

  As soon as I got in to Tech School, I started getting URI's, Walking Pneumonia (once), and Bronchitis quite often.  When I got back from Germany, they sent me to the allergy doc.  It shows "Provisional Diagnosis" - alergic rhinitis and asthmatic bronchitis with allergy testing only showing reaction to dust.  That's one of the things I'm working on getting SC for. 

flow1972, 

I read your whole thread, I am new to all this also, I am 0% SC today, and I just enrolled in VA medical care about a month and a half ago.

I will try to share a couple of things that I have learned.

I was in the AF. I had an experimental flu shot at TECH school (the Air Force has been the guinea pig for flu shots for all branches since the 1940's) (when you have a reaction, you go to sick call, not that they will tell you that, but google will) (google lowry, university of colorada, flu shots, and 1972, or 1976 for real killer) that made me extremely ill....so much so that I refuse to take another....this was in 1973. The deal is....when doing what you are doing....connecting the dots.....the web just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

My STR's show first Acute Sinus with VK penicillin plus nasal spray script, was in NOV 73, I was given the FLU shot DEC 12.....does anyone think I was healthy and not immune comprised on DEC 12? What if I share that sometime between mid Sept, and NOV 73 I had a detail of shoveling Pigeon Poop, scraping it off building, and shoveling areas where the ground was covered in it.  Then add pneumonia at 29, pleurisy, and chronic problems from 73 till now.  Also when connecting all the dots.  My first head MRI scan shows a completely filled maxillary sinus cavity with mention of polyps. Then a head CT scan in 2007 mentions that sinus mucosal thickening probably due to FUNGAL cause......

MY recommendation? Don't jump to the first cause and effect you find when trying to connect the dots.

I just had a Gastro Catscan that incidentally shows thoracic vertebrae damage probably from using my back to break a center line underbelly antenna in 1975~(luckily I was able to track down the SSgt that working on the plane with me, and his memory isn't totally shot), it is probably going to tie in to quite a few issues that I have had since then, that no one could find a box for before.  Some boxes are going to have to swapped. 

I am going to have to rethink some of what I mapped out real pretty in the war room, over the last 3 months, as it has become easier to explain. 

I don't know if what I am doing is right, wrong or off planet....but, i am taking my time connecting the dots.  I found a VSO that is one of the top two in my State, by talking to upper level chain in VSO organizations. I told them what I was looking for, before I would accept a VSO, keeping in mind, that it is my responsibility, but, I want real interest and real help, or I will just do it myself.  I think if you search for it, you can find it.

As far as VA health care, its a mixed bag. I found a great hospital, but a primary care doc assigned to me at a CBOC is a joke. So....I have been to the 'URGENT/Care - ER' at the VAMC 4 times in less than 2 months.  

I also have had 3 skin lessions removed, one 5 stitches, two x 2 stitches.  One abdominal Catscan, wore a Holter monitor for a week, I just came back from a MBA - Mixed Barium Swallow.....which finally shows someone else that my esophagus has a mind of its own, and more that I can't think of right now.....I have been to the Patient Advocate office twice, they have a back door just for me. I called a Social Worker, I call the Help line.  I am supposed to be getting a new primary care doctor.

I got NOTHING FROM THE assigned Pact Team Primary Doctor......I am hoping you are getting my message about how it has worked for me....First time you hear NO is an invitation to go ask somewhere else, as long as what you are asking for is real, or you believe it is real.

I find it unbelievable that I have hope for better health, and for even more claims thru new diagnoses coming from the NEW VA.......but, it ain't easy, they make you work for it. If you quit after ONE NO......you are done.  I don't quit. I don't think you will either. 

I am thinking the Primary Care Doctor is the same as with an HMO, he is a gatekeeper, and the only tool he has is a LOCK.

The ER door is never LOCKED. 

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On 11/1/2019 at 4:17 PM, Vync said:

 

 

Question:  Do I need to submit every single URI occurrence "since service", or just 1 or 2 most recent where the word "Asthma" is used and/or an inhaler is prescribed?  Also, do I "need" to get a doc to literally write something saying "the current Asthmatic Episodes" are related to the same condition as the ones in Service; or will the C&P do that?  Asthmatic episodes don't "go away"..you either have reactive lungs or you don't..so not sure what "else" it could be related to.

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23 hours ago, flow1972 said:

Question:  Do I need to submit every single URI occurrence "since service", or just 1 or 2 most recent where the word "Asthma" is used and/or an inhaler is prescribed?  Also, do I "need" to get a doc to literally write something saying "the current Asthmatic Episodes" are related to the same condition as the ones in Service; or will the C&P do that?  Asthmatic episodes don't "go away"..you either have reactive lungs or you don't..so not sure what "else" it could be related to.

As far as the how many instances you want to report, that is up to you. When I filed for my increase from 10% to 30%, I took the time to list every instance, date, and the prescribed treatment. Included copies of the non-VA records and a release of information form (to be proactive).

I wouldn't go so far as to mention "current". Just needs to opine that they reviewed your service treatment records and found asthma has continued since service, plus any medical rationale they feel is important. If you can get your service treatment records and give the doc a list of dates you found where you had asthma, the doc can indicated they reviewed the records and found you were treated X number of times over whatever date range. The same could apply for post-service treatment visits. The doc does not need to go out of their way and get specific about what they reviewed. It never hurts if they highlight specific instances of increased severity (like if you were prescribed prednisone or similar meds)

Yes, asthma is probably present the whole time, but exacerbations (attacks) are what tends to go away (except if it is very severe then you'll probably qualify for the 100% rating). Mine wax and wane, but never know when one will happen or if I will have to go to the emergency room.

Keep in mind that asthma is not a URI, but is instead a lower respiratory condition. Some asthma sufferers have a condition called eosinophilic asthma which can be linked to URI's. They can test for a high white blood cell count and check your nose for polyps. That can potentially tie them together. The crazy part is docs often give swallowed/injected steroids (systemic) to treat both when severe. They can also treat with inhaled and nasal spray (corticosteroids) to treat both. There is also eosinophilic esophagitis which works in the same way but in your upper digestive system. That can be treated the same way with inhaled steroids, but you swallow them instead (just get some nystatin too so you don't get thrush).

Look up eosinophilic asthma, esophagitis, and nasal polyps, too. There can be a relationship between them that could yield some secondary SC conditions.

 

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    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
    • Everyone needs to read our stories so they can try to avoid these screws by the va...
      Thank you, everyone contributes, good or bad, all of our stories will help others, and yes, they have been stated by others for ages, over and over, but we just get depressed, and the time turns into years as they screw us..

      Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs!  I can honestly say, "been there, done that".  

      Even after winning my tdiu in 2017, it was back to the drawing board as VA hornswaggeld my effective date.  (but of course).  

      I finally won my tdiu effective date in Feb. 2020, 18 years after I first applied!!!  

      Here is how they managed to drag mine out 18 years:

      1.  They never adjuticated my decison until 2009, where they called it "moot".  

      2.  I appealed, said it was not moot because it could result in an earlier effective date and SMC S under Bradley vs Peake.  The judge agreed with me, and ordered VARO consider me for extra schedular TDIU, under 4.16 b.  

      3.  The VARO piddles with  the remand for 3 years, and hoped I wouldnt notice.  I noticed and raised cane until they adjuticated it.  (denied of course).  

      4.  Finally, after the baord denied again, I hired a lawyer, in 2014, and appealed to CAVC.   

      5.  The lawyer won a remand, got an IMO and I won tdiu in 2017.  But at the wrong effective date, even after 15 years.  

      6.  I hired another lawyer, Chris Attig, and appealed the effective date, and he won a remand for effective date.  Trip 2 to CAVC.  

      7.  Mr. Attig won a remand, and advised me to get another IMO.  

      8.  The board awarded my earlier effective date in Feb. 2020.  

           So, I do have advice fighting VA for TDIU, they fought and fought and I hung in there and won it all.  

      ADVICE:  Dont count on VA, they could easily throw your fax in the trash.  Follow up!  
    • "Keep in mind that due to the nature of the digestive system, VA would most likely combined your conditions and pay you at the higher rate to avoid pyramiding".    That is one of my main gripes.  They are only listing the GERD with hiatal hernia and ignoring the rest of my gastric issues such as the gastritis which I also had in service.  I included it in my 2007 request for increase and again in 2019.  The info from the civilian dr that stated I had the gastritis with H pylori was not even provided to the examiner in 2007, nor did he have my VA health records. The 2019 request was based on an EGD I had AT THE VA in Jan 2019.   I filed for an increase 6 Mar and they did an ACE on 27 Mar and downgraded to noncompensable on that date.  The only reason I was thinking CUE:  38 CFR § 3.326 - Under Examinations  it states (c) Provided that it is otherwise adequate for rating purposes, a statement from a private physician may be accepted for rating a claim without further examination".  
    • Enough has been said on this topic. This forum is not the proper forum for an attorney and former client to hash out their problems. Please take this offline
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