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Army Veteran With AS #101624 12/24/05 02:52 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
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JMHIll Offline OP
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Seasons Greetings To All!

Have been visiting this site quite often since February and finally decided to participate in this forum.

I served on active duty as a 13B (Artilleryman)from 78-83 and then in the IRR from 83-86. During this time I performed all the normal basic cannon crewman duties, served as a gunner, then section chief and finished my time in the service as a Drill Sergeant at Ft.Sill, OK.

At the time of my honorable discharge my MOS was 13B3X.

Was diagnosed, finally, with AS in 2003 and found to be 100% disabled by SSD in 2004.

I am HLA-B27 Positive and have had chronic back pain since I was a teenager. I always figured the back pain was just par for the course given growing up in the rural Northwest doing hard, physical labor on farms and ranches and participating in wrestling and football. All that coupled with the physically demanding work I did in the Army led me to believe that my pain and stiffness was just something a guy was suppose to "Tough out".

The main issue that led to the major decline in my health was when I ruptured a disc in my back at S-1, L-5 taking care of my Dad just before his death in December of 2000. This seemed to start a series of events that continued to spiral down until I was no longer able to work. The AS eluded diagnosis for quite some time, until the HLA-B27+ was found.

I am not in receipt of my military medical records, but I know the only major issue I had while in the service was a diagnosis of chronic prostatitis(at age 22). I do not know if this would potentially have any correlation to AS or not. I am 46 years old now and have not pursued any compensation through the VA system as would imagine my service dates would not qualify me for anything.

Hopefully this information may help someone out there.

Re: Army Veteran With AS #101625 12/24/05 02:29 PM
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mmparker Offline
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JMHill,

Don't sell yourself short. The fact you have your military medical records after all these years is golden. Go see the DAV of VFW in your area and have them go through your records. You will be surprised at what may be ratable. Even a service connected condition with a 0% rating will lead to some benefits. here is a link to a booklet on benefits.

http://www1.va.gov/OPA/vadocs/current_benefits.htm


There is no statute of limitations for filing a claim. However, any payments will only be retroactive to when you file, so the sooner the better.

You might even be able to make a case that your AS is service connected due to aggravation from your military service.

BTW, What part of Idaho are you from?

Mike

Re: Army Veteran With AS #101626 12/24/05 02:44 PM
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Ken Delano Offline
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I know the only major issue I had while in the service was a diagnosis of chronic prostatitis(at age 22). I do not know if this would potentially have any correlation to AS or not.

Now that sounds familiar! I too was given a DX of that while I went threw the process of getting a DX for AS. Even today the VA has me at 0% for it!

Anyway, getting on to the question at hand. Contact the DAV Service Officer in your area. The two of you will have to prove a nexus between the Military and the AS. I'm not sure how one will prove that the DX of a prostate problem was in fact AS. I know for sure that I never had any problem with my prostate. The pains in my groin area were also given a DX of a hernia. These were in fact the inflamation and fusion process of the SI joint.

After you contact the DAV, let us know what they think. You can contact us here or over at www.ftspondy.com .


AS/PsA DX in 1988

Retired on disability
in 2005 at age 44
Re: Army Veteran With AS #101627 01/01/06 09:55 PM
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JMHIll Offline OP
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I wish all a very Happy and Blessed New Year!

Mike and Ken,
Thank you for your responses to my post. They were both supportive and thought provoking.

I have not yet met with my county VSO, due to the holidays, but plan on doing so hopefully next week. I want to go to this meeting as fully prepared and with as much factual information as possible.

I came across the following documentation, which I hope may provide the nexus that you mentioned, Ken, regarding a connection between chronic prostatitis and ankylosing spondylitis. It is as follows: web page This documentation appears to follow my situation extremely closely. I am very much interested in anyone's thoughts and comments regarding this information.

Having experienced the low back and groin pain of both diseases, I can say that it is, for me any way, often hard to differentiate the AS from the prostatitis. I too suffer from the effects of advanced SI joint fusion, bilateral hip, lumbar and thoracic spine involvement. I have great empathy for all those who must deal with AS each day.

Mike, you mentioned the posibility of making a case for service connection due to aggravation from my military service. Is there any documentation that I could cite in this regard which I could take to the meeting with my VSO?

My wife, Gwen, and I live just about 5 miles north of Moscow, Idaho. There is a bit more information regarding my military service on a site called Military.Com in case anyone is interested.

I look forward to hearing from any fellow veterans either on this board or at jmh1917gkh@verizon.net.

Jon M. Hill

Re: Army Veteran With AS #101628 01/04/06 12:59 AM
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I met with my county VSO this afternoon and came away feeling very hopeful. I explained my situation to him, he put in a request for my service medical records, and we discussed the documentation I mentioned in my last post. He felt that the correlation was valid enough to warrant a potentially well grounded claim.

He told me to take that information to my treating physicians in order to get formal statements regarding the connection and then we would proceed ahead with the effort required to establish a claim for compensation from the VA.

I DO NOT anticipate this process to be quick, simple, or that I will come away with any rating, but at a minimum at least the process has begun and that in itself gives me hope.

I am still interested in hearing anyone's comments and thoughts with regard to the information I mentioned in my last post.

Had it not been for Mike and Ken's recommendations to meet with a VSO I'd still be thinking my service dates excluded me from any potential VA benefit. Thanks to both of you.

Jon

Re: Army Veteran With AS #101629 01/04/06 01:39 AM
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Jim,

Since you was a Redleg, I will try to type louder. I misread your first post I thought it said "I am NOW in receipt of my military medical records" vice "I am NOT in receipt of my military medical records". Sorry.

Regardless, to get VA disability, you have to demonstrate your condition developed, was permanently aggravated, or developed later but was somehow tied to you military service.

Getting your records is the best thing as they provide the most concrete and indisputable proof. Sometimes conditions become presumptive, like diabetes and agent orange. If you get diabetes, and you stepped foot in Vietnam during the war period, it is automatically assumed the two are related. There are a lot of these presumptive diseases. A case can sometimes be made by providing statements from those who witnessed your condition/issue during your time in service.

I suffer from chronic reactive arthritis triggered by bacteria in drinking water. Being HLA-B27 of course make you a good candidate for such a disease so bring it up with your rheummy for sure.

My sister's family lives in St. Maries, ID. It is beautiful country out there.

It may be a long battle but worth it.

Mike


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