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#275676 - 08/13/16 04:39 PM New to Board Looking for Advise
crazytired03 Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 08/07/16
Posts: 3
Hey all,

I'm currently writing my appeal after being denied by the VA. I first started feeling symptoms after getting sick while in Iraq. Back pain/hip pain/hurt to even walk. I was in a fob in the middle of the desert so I was only seen at an aid station and put on profile for a few days. I later got into it with my platoon Sgt, because he thought I was faking being in pain, bad enough that he finally believed me and let me go to the field hospital in talil.

I was medivacked to Germany and back to ft bliss. While there waiting for medical I was told it would be at least 6 months to be seen by a specialist, then another 6 months if they recommended surgery, and then another 6-12 months for recovery/rehab. Or I could go ahead and get discharged and jump in the front of the line at the VA back home since I was retturning from overseas.

Stupidly, I took the discharge; unaware of the shitshow that is the va. They repeatedly 'lost' my paperwork asking for an appointment and it ended up being almost 8 months before I saw an actual doctor. All she did was come in, asked where it hurt, and asked me to bend until it hurt. I did, and she said surely I could bend over further. So I did and started crying from the pain. She told me that my records from overseas couldn't be located, so therefore she couldn't do anything for me. She told be to take ibuprofen and return in a year and maybe by then my records would be located. She was in there for maybe 3 minutes before she left. As she was leaving I asked her if that was it and was she actually going to do something for me? She said that was all she could do but that I should set up an appointment for psych exam because I was obviously having anger issues and my symptoms were probably just in my head.

I was truly on the edge of snapping in anger and had to leave before I did something stupid. But I did go to the psych eval and was diagnosed with ptsd. My pain never went away and progressively got worse until I could barely walk a few feet before being overwhelmed by pain. I couldn't sleep, walk, sit, lie down, or pretty much do anything without it hurting my back. As I was enrolled as a college student, when my father's job started offering insurance I was finally able to go to a civilian doctor. X-rays suggested 3 bad discs, cracked vertebrae, and deterioration in my lower back. As she wasn't a specialist she said she could either recommend me for physical therapy or to be seen by a different doctor. I was scared of having the va do any possible surgery since I couldn't really afford it any other way so I did the therapy.

It helped enough that I was at least able to start working. But over time I started feeling worse again. My back, my hips, my knees, my feet, my shoulders, my wrists, my hands, my neck, and my eyes all hurt all the time without getting better. It got bad enough that I lost almost all strength in my hands to the point that I could barely use them for anything. I went to my doctor who ran the test for RA which came back negative, so she sent me to my rheumatologist.

During his initial eval, when I told him I had been hurting since I had been in Iraq he automatically assumed I had ptsd. And that it was probably just symptoms of that since it was unlikely for me to hurt in all them places. But he said he do a full run through anyway and sent me to do X-rays. As soon as they came back, I was sent to do MRIs. Apparently the damage in my back and hips was obvious. Initially I was diagnosed with unspecified seronegative spondylarathopy, before he later changed it to ankylosing spondylitis. Ibuprofen has done no the for me for years, naproxen, diclofenic, methotrexate by itself, and a couple other meds really had no effect for me. Thankfully the combination of Humira and methotrexate has helped me enough that I've regained use of my hands for the most part and it seemed to be turning things around for me. The uveitis goes away with the drops, but it comes back unfortunately.

My life has been completely different from before I got sick overseas and now, like night and day. All my problems seemed to start then, and even though I may have naturally developed this crazy disorder I don't think so. No one in my immediate or extended family has anything like this, the worse being some of my older relatives with arthritis in their hands. I know it's going to be an uphill battle fighting with the va because after the doctor so dismissively told me to take ibuprofen and come back in a year, I've avoided them like the plague to preserve what I have left of my sanity. So I have no X-rays or MRIs with them, and my records were supposedly destroyed in the fire at St. Louis and are incomplete.

Long story I know, but it feels good to let it out sometimes. Does anyone have any advise on what I should do with my appeal?

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#275679 - 08/14/16 05:24 AM Re: New to Board Looking for Advise [Re: crazytired03]
Ken Delano Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 1495
Loc: Minnesota
The DAV did an awesome job on all four of my cases. I also know that the Purple Heart guys are excellent also. Are you using any of these type of services? Many states also have VSO's for each county.
_________________________
AS/PsA DX in 1988

Retired on disability
in 2005 at age 44

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#275694 - 08/14/16 06:34 PM Re: New to Board Looking for Advise [Re: crazytired03]
crazytired03 Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 08/07/16
Posts: 3
I live in a very rural county in Texas and my county doesn't have any local VSOs as far as I know. They send everyone to the next county which is where I've been talking with a Texas Vet Commission representative. It was actually him that convinced me to put in for benefits.

After my ordeal with the VA I have wanted nothing to do with them, but if I could get at least enough disability to cover what I pay my civilian doctor it would be great. My TX vet rep really knows nothing about this disorder unfortunately.

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#275701 - 08/15/16 04:03 AM Re: New to Board Looking for Advise [Re: crazytired03]
Ken Delano Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 1495
Loc: Minnesota
Not sure if you can change reps during a current case or not. But a call to the DAV would answer that. Follow this link to find your closest NSO.

DAV National Service Officer
_________________________
AS/PsA DX in 1988

Retired on disability
in 2005 at age 44

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#275726 - 08/17/16 02:38 AM Re: New to Board Looking for Advise [Re: crazytired03]
crazytired03 Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 08/07/16
Posts: 3
Yeah I'm going to have to call them first to see if anybody in that office has dealt with anybody with AS or the like. The nearest DAV service officer is over 100 miles, like 1.5 hours away. I'll have to make it a trip if someone there actually knows what AS is though

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#275733 - 08/17/16 06:43 PM Re: New to Board Looking for Advise [Re: crazytired03]
Ken Delano Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 1495
Loc: Minnesota
You should be able to do everything over the phone.
_________________________
AS/PsA DX in 1988

Retired on disability
in 2005 at age 44

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