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HadIt.com Anniversary 24 years on Jan 20, 2021
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Ankylosing Spondylitis, IBS D, and Irisitis/Uveitis


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I served in the USAF from 1994-1998. Deployed to Bahrain, Turkey and Saudi, and was at Khobar Towers in 1995 when it was bombed. I am currently rated at 90% total. 70% PTSD from the bombing, 50% sleep apnea secondary to PTSD and 10% Tinnitus. 

I have suffered from IBS for over 20 years. It was finally getting bad enough this spring that I went to the VA and talked to my primary care. She ordered a colonoscopy and referred me to the GI department. Colonoscopy came back relatively normal, with a few polyps removed and biopsied all coming back negative. They put me on fiber twice a day which has improved my issue a little. My GI nurse told me in a video conference yesterday that she was finally officially diagnosing me with IBS type D.

About the same time I was having the worst of the IBS issues this spring, I also started having severe joint pain. I was referred to rheumatology and was sent in for a CT scan, and gobs of blood work and x rays. They diagnosed me with Ankylosing Spondylitis. My bloodwork did show that I am HLA-b27 positive, but have no family history of AS or any type of auto immune diaseases. I am injecting myself in each leg once a month with 300mg Cosenyx. The injections help but they are talking about adding a pill to help get it under control 100%. It is really affecting my knees, my thumbs, and my ankles the most and I am afraid of it getting worse. I drive a truck for a living and I really need my joints to work to continue to provide for my family. 

During the Xrays of everything, they found several masses in my lungs. They did a CT scan and said that they were likely not cancerous, but wanted to do follow up tests in a year to compare to make sure nothing was growing. I was a smoker for a few years so I cannot say that is from the sand but who knows? 

For about the last 3 years, I have had a few bouts of irisitis/uveitis which my civilian opthamologist said was likely rheumatoid arthiritis. It is also a common side effect of my AS. I take a steroid eye drop when I have flares and when I catch it quick enough, knocks it out before it gets really bad. I have had one flare up since I have been going to the VA, and had them look at it and document it, and now get my prescription eye drops from the VA.  

I know IBS is a Gulf War Presumptive. I am wondering if my AS would be condsidered GWP also? Would it be secondary to my IBS? Should it be a stand alone claim and the irisitis be secondary to AS? I am not the kind of guy that is trying to claim everything wrong with me is somehow a VA claim, but this stuff just has gotten the better of me and I can see no reason why I am having these issues. 

As always, I appreciate all of the help!

 

 

 

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I was in Bahrain in the early 80s and some other sandpits was hospitalized 24 months later for GERD and diarrhea, that was in 1987. I hurt everywhere as time clicked by. My Gi doc 5 months ago found o

Stop working and file a claim for increase to the 100% rate based on the fact that all your service connected condition preclude you from gainful employment.  Vet Rep PVA...

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Usaf9498 Sorry to hear about your disabilities man, especially being a truck driver. Vision and joints driving is tough. If you can get the IBS as s-c, do it. The thing about Gulf War syndrome is I believe you have to rule out everything else and when there is nothing left, then it is considered. You GW veterans are going to be fighting that uphill battle for 50 years, just like Vietnam guys have with A.O. I don't think it is too much of a leap to figure your conditions are likely to get worse, so start planning. If they get so bad that you can't drive anymore, TDIU may be something you need to deal with. Can you link your eye condition as secondary to a s-c condition? Try to figure out a plan to get to 100% scheduler, rather than having to hope for TDIU and not being able to work at anything. How about pain as secondary to all your conditions; it would be a MH issue, but keep working on getting more ratings. SMC's may be in the future by setting them. Consider getting a lawyer on GW disabilities. Yes, it will cost you, but the VA will fight really hard to stop 90 going to 100%. And GW stuff they reject at a 80% rate anyway. Your odds of winning will be a lot better on whatever you go after, IMHO. Think of it as an investment. You're still young; the payback is worth it.

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 I was in Bahrain in the early 80s and some other sandpits was hospitalized 24 months later for GERD and diarrhea, that was in 1987. I hurt everywhere as time clicked by. My Gi doc 5 months ago found out that I had picked up Helicobacter pylori the damage done of the years can not be fixed but not being anemic and finally up taking fat soluble vitamins like K, D and calcium sure make you feel just a little more alive. They did not test for this until after two docs got the nobel prize in 2005 and the treatment is the same as amtrax it sucks but worth it.

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The IBS is not in any way related to nor can be related to a AS condition. I know that working supports our family but I had to quit after I increased my education to make certain that I would or could do sedentary work management. AS just as many Rheumatic conditions only worsen the older we get and especially the longer we are physically active. I filed for TDIU because I had 90% and that increased my rating to 100%. Then I added SSDI twenty years ago as I am now 72 years old and I began to take better care of myself. Good Luck.

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    • By KansasNavy
      Good Morning,
                  Attached is my Decision Letter.  I think they may have made a mistake.
      Background:  Retired 2014.  Claimed IBS in 2015 but was denied due to no diagnosis.  Didn’t fight it.  Starting in 2017 to today started having more and more issues.  Was diagnosed in 2017 with IBS by Doctors at Naval Hospital.
      Leads us to Decision letter
      Oct 29, 2020 – Requested IBS Service Connection via Gulf War Syndrome 38 C.F.R.3.17
      1.     Received Decision Letter today 13 Jan 2021.
      2.     A 10% evaluation is established for IBS and added to the previously established non-compensable evaluation for hiatal hernia/GERD (I did not ask for this or ask to be reevaluated for hiatal hernia.  I realize they often combine the two.
      3.     Examiner provided opinion that current disability is at least as likely as not (50% or greater probability) incurred in or caused by the in-service Injury, event or illness.
      4.     Service Connection established.  Huge Win
       
      However, I think they may have made a mistake.
      1.     On page 3 of decision letter:
      a.     Paragraph 1 – Hiatal hernia warrants non-compensable evaluation
      b.     Paragraph 2 – Irritable colon syndrome warrants 10% - Moderate symptoms
      c.      Paragraph 3 – Additional symptoms – Alternating Diarrhea and Constipation
      d.     Paragraph 4 – I don’t understand what this means
      e.     Paragraph 5 – they agree and state that I do have alternating diarrhea and constipation in my records. I also have constant bloating and gas in my records as well.
      f.       Paragraph 6 – Hiatal Hernia 0% I agree with, No argument.  I wasn’t trying to get an increase.
      g.     Paragraph 7 – A higher evaluation of 30 percent is not warranted for IBS unless there are severe symptoms demonstrated by diarrhea, OR alternating diarrhea AND constipation, with more or less constant abdominal distress.
                                                          i.     In Paragraph 5, they already agree and state that I do have alternating diarrhea and constipation.
                                                         ii.     Alternating diarrhea and constipation is the epitome definition of MORE OR LESS CONSTANT ABDOMINAL DISTRESS.
      h.     Paragraph 8 – Deals solely with the Hiatal Hernia/GERD evaluation
       
      2.     I feel like when they combined the two 7319 & 7346 codes which they often do, I understand that however I clearly meet the Irritable Colon Syndrome of 30% evaluation in paragraph 7.  See below as well.
      3.     But when they combined both codes they make it seem like I have to have the other Hiatal Hernia/GERD symptoms as well to qualify for the 30% 7319 IBS Rating.
      4.     Wanted to get some advice before I figure out how to proceed. 
       
       
      7319   Irritable colon syndrome (spastic colitis, mucous colitis, etc.):
       
      Severe; diarrhea, or alternating diarrhea and constipation, with more or less constant abdominal distress
      30
      Moderate; frequent episodes of bowel disturbance with abdominal distress
      10
      Mild; disturbances of bowel function with occasional episodes of abdominal distress
      0
       
       
       
      7346   Hernia hiatal:
       
      Symptoms of pain, vomiting, material weight loss and hematemesis or melena with moderate anemia; or other symptom combinations productive of severe impairment of health
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      Persistently recurrent epigastric distress with dysphagia, pyrosis, and regurgitation, accompanied by substernal or arm or shoulder pain, productive of considerable impairment of health
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      With two or more of the symptoms for the 30 percent evaluation of less severity
      10
       
       
      Redacted.pdf
    • By flow1972
      So, I am SC'd on GERD 10% and IBS 30% which they grant at a 30% combined rating since (according to the VA) codes 7319 and 7346 (Hiatal hernia is what they use for GERD) fall in the inclusive rating categories according to this:
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      I would argue that, that's not what that says..
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      However, my actual question is about code 7204 Esophagus, spasm (cardiospasm).  I submitted a claim for this, but it was not rated separately.  Instead, I was given:
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      We have reviewed the evidence received and determined your service-connected condition(s) hasn't/haven't increased in severity sufficiently to warrant a higher evaluation.  We have continued a 30% evaluation for your IBS and GERD with esophagus, spasm of (cardiospasm) based on:
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      A 10% evaluation would be warranted for your GERD with esophagus, spasm of (cardiospasm) (claimed as esophageal condition) based on:
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      So in reading that, I do not  see how 
      7204    Esophagus, spasm of (cardiospasm). 
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      falls in to that rating criteria.  Does anyone have any experience in getting a separate rating for 7204? I'm now at 92.23% SC'd with 1 rating on appeal and an increase on remand.  Both of which (if granted at what the reg actually says) would kick me to 95.29% (or rounded to 100).  This one, I really expected to be at 30% on its own...so I'm confused as to why it was rolled in to another rating.
       
    • By KansasNavy
      All, Taking everyone's advice, I put together my letter that I plan to submit with my claim.  I think it would be a supplemental claim since they denied me in 2015 due to no diagnosis.  I typed out my history and included notes from my medical records.  If someone has time, can you read thru it and give me an honest opinion?  I used Blast Daddys advice for the presumptive piece.  Anything you would add or change or that I am missing?  We don't have VSOs out here in Okinawa so working on this by myself.  I redacted names.
      I also have to submit the medical records from 2014 to Present but the files are huge.  Can you upload then electronically or will I have to use snail mail?
       
      Thank you
      Claim for IBS Presumptive to GW Redacted.docx
    • By Navy89
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    • By Navy4life
      I am beyond frustrated right now!!!!  My claim is now preparation for decision and my fear is that it will be denied and I will have to appeal.  I filed for my non-service connected Fibro as caused or aggravated by the service connected IBS and/or service connected PTSD on an as likely as not basis.  See my screen shot attached of my original claim in July 2018.  I had my first C&P exam in September 2018 and it was negative based on the examiner stated there was no causation of my s/c PTSD to my Fibro.  See the screen shot below. I will note that he did a separate C&P exam for Fibro and agreed I had Fibro. Never looked at aggravation and never looked at the possibility of IBS.  I sent a statement in support of claim pointing this out to the rater.  I get another C&P exam in December 2018 BUT by now I have THREE positive medical opinions from BOTH my RA and MH doctor.  Both state my Fibro is aggravated by my PTSD and my MH doctor also states my Fibro is aggravated by my IBS.  SEE ATTACHED 2 of the 3 letters. 
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      This medical opinion was done last week w/o me present and once again the medical opinion was negative and doesn't address anything the rater asked.  In fact, his statement is laughable.  While he states he reviewed conflicting medical evidence, he sites PT notes and doesn't refute the positive medical opinions.
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      MH positive opinion.pdf
      RA positive medical opinion.pdf
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