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Help is needed
#149120 07/15/09 12:03 AM
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Hi Iím new to the forum and currently in the Air Force. I was just recently diagnosed with AS, its only a small case and we caught it before it could get worse.

I just started my 3rd year last May 09í and working as a Crew Chief. I was told by the doctors that if I donít change jobs that I could potentially make the AS worse and to new to cross train without an MEB.

Through all the tests from an off base doctor we found that Humeria works the best and now I am completely healthy to deploy. Unfortunately being on this drug makes me un-deployable and most likely if I go the MEB route they will boot me out. I want to stay in at all costs.

There is an issue that I need to take care of and thatís the advice that I need. I was never told that by taking Humeria I would be un-deployable because of its side effects; if I had I would have refused and sought other options.

Here is what I do know though:
Because of how expensive Humeria is, it had to be approved through Tricare.
I asked if the on base clinic could administer the drug to me at least till I could familiar with the procedures and side effects of it.
They said they could not an account of the side effects.
They had to research it more to find out about the side effects and should have noticed that it would make me un-deployable and yet they didnít.
It wasnít till a month later that I came in for a follow up on my condition with the on base doctor that he noticed that error.

I am not sure what to do, if I go ahead with the MEB with what I have so far they will boot me out. I do not necessarily want to lay blame on a single person for the mistake, I am healthy now, but it affects my future career in the Military and family. I need to know what my options are before I go back to the doctor.

I meet all the requirements for the MEB for changing jobs:

Clean record, passed PT test, off the drug I am healthy enough to deploy and met my job requirements as well. This is one of those errors that will follow my career even if I can stay in. Even though there was a medical error made, they proved that this drug will keep my healthy.

I need Help


Re: Help is needed
Tekaman2x #149219 07/15/09 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted By: Tekaman2x
Hi Iím new to the forum and currently in the Air Force. I was just recently diagnosed with AS, its only a small case and we caught it before it could get worse.

I just started my 3rd year last May 09í and working as a Crew Chief. I was told by the doctors that if I donít change jobs that I could potentially make the AS worse and to new to cross train without an MEB.

Through all the tests from an off base doctor we found that Humeria works the best and now I am completely healthy to deploy. Unfortunately being on this drug makes me un-deployable and most likely if I go the MEB route they will boot me out. I want to stay in at all costs.

There is an issue that I need to take care of and thatís the advice that I need. I was never told that by taking Humeria I would be un-deployable because of its side effects; if I had I would have refused and sought other options.

Here is what I do know though:
Because of how expensive Humeria is, it had to be approved through Tricare.
I asked if the on base clinic could administer the drug to me at least till I could familiar with the procedures and side effects of it.
They said they could not an account of the side effects.
They had to research it more to find out about the side effects and should have noticed that it would make me un-deployable and yet they didnít.
It wasnít till a month later that I came in for a follow up on my condition with the on base doctor that he noticed that error.

I am not sure what to do, if I go ahead with the MEB with what I have so far they will boot me out. I do not necessarily want to lay blame on a single person for the mistake, I am healthy now, but it affects my future career in the Military and family. I need to know what my options are before I go back to the doctor.

I meet all the requirements for the MEB for changing jobs:

Clean record, passed PT test, off the drug I am healthy enough to deploy and met my job requirements as well. This is one of those errors that will follow my career even if I can stay in. Even though there was a medical error made, they proved that this drug will keep my healthy.

I need Help



Hate to break it to you but you are not healthy though you may feel fine at the moment. The Humira and the rest seem to be more or less short term drugs and then they fail. The TNF blockers seem to be dangerous to me with increased cancers and people dying of molds and bacterias while on them from the suppressed immune response and because doctors normally don't suspect them if you get ill because the immune system is not normally suppressed and because these bacterias and molds are not normally killers in healthy people.

I told the VA a year ago, when offered them, to "let me think about it" after reading already about people's experiences with the drugs stopped working for them after so many months or a few years and I already knew of the increased cancers. I did more searches on the drugs when I got home from that VA trip and saw the news about the people using it dying from the spolds and bacterias infections too.

Here is the straight scoop without sugar coating. You already have a LOT of damage probably to your SPINE and much of it won't even show on X-raysand you have an incurable terminal disease.
http://images.google.com/images?q=as%20ankylosing%20spondylitis&oe

Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of chronic inflammation of the spine and the sacroiliac joints. The sacroiliac joints are located in the low back where the sacrum (the bone directly above the tailbone) meets the iliac bones (bones on either side of the upper buttocks). Chronic inflammation in these areas causes pain and stiffness in and around the spine. Over time, chronic spinal inflammation (spondylitis) can lead to a complete cementing together (fusion) of the vertebrae, a process referred to as ankylosis. Ankylosis leads to loss of mobility of the spine.

Ankylosing spondylitis is also a systemic disease, meaning it can affect other tissues throughout the body. Accordingly, it can cause inflammation in or injury to other joints away from the spine, as well as to other organs, such as the eyes, heart, lungs, and kidneys.

Initial symptoms
Early signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis may include:

* Chronic pain in your lower back and hips, especially in the morning and after periods of inactivity
* Stiffness in your lower back or hip area

As your condition progresses
Your condition may change over time, with symptoms getting worse, improving or completely stopping at any point. Over time the pain and stiffness, which usually begin gradually, may progress up your spine and to other joints. You may experience inflammation and pain in these other parts of your body:

* Where your tendons and ligaments attach to bones
* Joints between your ribs and spine
* Joints in your hips, shoulders, knees and feet
* Your eyes

Symptoms of advanced stages
In advanced stages, the following signs and symptoms may develop:

* Restricted expansion of your chest
* Chronic stooping
* Stiff, inflexible spine
* Fatigue
* Loss of appetite
* Weight loss
* Eye inflammation (uveitis)
* Bowel inflammation
And they didn't even list some of the good stuff like COPD of the lungs and hitting other vital organs and the list goes on and on LOL You will have many of these over time and which ones only time will tell. 10 years or more they might find a cure but I sure wouldn't bet on it and even if it does show up you will still have the damage it has already done. This does not mean you can't have one hell of a life or a ton of fun, just that it won't be what you thought it would be and while we are making plans life happens. In a way that is true for everyone.

The VA will provide the drug probably and the "tax free" disability checks are not based on monetary need but are more like insurance paying off on house or car damage. Not only this but if you get to where you can't hold down a regular job too then SSDI will kick in and pay ALSO, and health care available from both.
I hope this answers the questions but if you wonder about more either google them or just ask--Dwight

Re: Help is needed
Free10 #149309 07/16/09 02:35 AM
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Hi Dwight,

Thanks for the information, you are right about all the side effects of the drug. I have gone over all of it and I have gone over the future effects of AS with my doctor.

You over looked a few things though. My cry for help was pointed towards staying in the Military and living my life. I'm not worried about the side effects at all for the most part. With out the drug there would be a possibility of hurting my self further and being depressed. I have already gone through the depression and being scared of the unknown part of "What is causing the pain" and test after tests, after tests.

My goal right now is to take what already know, add more from everyone here and adapt to make a new life for myself.

If I have to change drugs I will, if I can't then I can't but there is no point in letting the pain get to me.

Once again thanks for the advice.

Re: Help is needed
Tekaman2x #149331 07/16/09 08:41 AM
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The military has already flagged you and it would be a mistake if you were healthy but that is not the case. The drugs can slow or delay the progress of the disease but how well over time is not known yet. The disease itself can causes depression or depressive feelings and thoughts. If you see them as frauds and not real but just part of the disease and ignore them they are not much of a problem. Life is like the weather if you don't like it wait awhile and it changes.

There are people with extreme effort that get medical waivers to stay in once injured like Shinseki, but his case was different as he was West Point trained with several years of combat under his belt and his condition (loss of a half a foot) would likely improve, in his ability to adapt to it and not go the other direction over the years.

Getting a medical waiver by arguing you are still highly motivated "to do the job" and that as long as the drug works you basically don't have an active disease reason, to be discharged might work and maybe saying if the case changes where it returns that they can then discharge you in the future. I would point out to discharge you now would wind up a sure loss of all your training and experience you already have and your motivation for a sure loss for the service. If later the disease "came back" and they had too then they would lose no more later. One way they might win by wavering you now, and a loss for sure for them if they discharged you now.

Give it the old college try and they might buy it, but I have my reasons for doubting they will. You can not deploy into combat where the germs are teaming about you at extremely high level with an impaired immune system. If you go down for any reason you are a liability to them and yourself and even without the drug this is true.

I now suspect you had this before entering and there are medical civilian records of the complaints of these conditions prior to service they have, which may prevent VA coverage of it and the after service health care. It normally takes7-10 years to show up and be found on x-rays and you have only 3 years in. If that is the case you need to start gathering "medical opinions" on aggravation of it from any doctors you can see now or saw in the past and get statements from them. The VA likes statement like more likely as not and then backed by a medical argument this is true and medical opinions from specialists such as rheumatologists are the best for evidence.

I wish ya luck and I think you will do fine in or out of the service. You have learned a lot since you entered and you now know what the problem is and will learn more ways of dealing with it. I have 40+ years of dealing with it and it took 20 years just to get it diagnosed. In the next 10 or 20 years I think the cure may be found and even more likely they will find ways to repair the damage in various ways.

If you can you may need to talk to officers in service about going for a waiver and see what they can come up with on this--Dwight





Re: Help is needed
Tekaman2x #150355 07/22/09 06:44 PM
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Well on the lighter side of my journey I talked to a few high ranking people in my shop and was given a persons name who is high the career field in our medical building who could guide me.

I told them everything that was happening and asked the same question of "What should I do or go to next".

I was told the basic process of MEB and what could happen, was also told several times to remeber that this is only a ruff estimate of what could happen and that every case is different and it vary. Basic outline of what I need to do:

Find out how much of the 365 days I have left before my file is automatically flaged through MEB.

Get my PCM to get in contact with the referal dr off base and try to get him to try a different med on me so that I will be deplyable.

If time permits get a second opinion and hope that they decide to put me a different medical route.

If time does not permit just get in contact with MEB officals and start the process hoping that it will work in my favor.

There are several other routes that I could possibly go but depending on the time frame that I have left my options dwindle down and it comes a point to decide what is the best route for my health and career.

Have a meeting with my PCM today to see what I can do.


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