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recently diagnosed with AS active duty Air Force
#172210 04/16/10 04:16 PM
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beka Offline OP
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My husband was recently diagnosed with AS. he is active duty in the Air Force. the doctors put him on humira and are waiting 4 weeks to see the results and then its to a med board. Is there any chance that he will be able to stay in the Air Force with this disease or does it mean an automatic medical discharge? any advice would be greatly appreciated thanks
beka

Re: recently diagnosed with AS active duty Air Force
beka #172253 04/16/10 08:43 PM
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I am active duty air force as well. I just recently got diagnosed with AS as well. From what the doctor told me, they don't even have to do a med board unless you are missing a lot of work because of AS related problems. Don't know for sure but a lot may depend on the doctor and his interpretation of the regs.
I work in a flying related career field and will have to get a waiver to do the same work but the doctor said we wouldn't have to worry about a med board. Don't know if that will change in the future but you might look into it and have your husband talk to the doctors. Here is the actual verbage,
"MEB required first if individual experiences occupational
limitations or absences from duty because of recurrence
of symptoms".
I would think that this applies to everyone air force wide, but there does seem to be a lot of room for interpretation.
I'm curious what they do though because my rheumatologist wants to put my on Simponi which is similar to humira I think. I think that while on the medicine you can't deploy so that my be a factor. Please le me know what happens because I'm still unsure about my situation.

Re: recently diagnosed with AS active duty Air Force
r01bns #172392 04/18/10 04:48 AM
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beka Offline OP
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my husband deploys as well. I will let you know how it goes he has not ever missed work because of it but cannot run in the pt test because ofthe pain thats why he went to the doctors. I will keep you informed as to what happens he is leaving for two weeks for training and then we have 4 weeks to wait and see if the meds help before going back to the doctor. let me know how things go with you as well

Re: recently diagnosed with AS active duty Air Force
beka #176064 06/01/10 08:03 PM
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Beka, I was just curious what they ended up doing with you husband? I'm still in limbo while they try to treat the AS. They doctor wants to start Simponi this month to see if it helps and I'm just curious how other people are doing as far as air force medical boards are going. Thanks for any info.

Re: recently diagnosed with AS active duty Air Force
r01bns #180966 07/31/10 03:07 PM
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My husband was diagnosed with AS in November. He took prednisone for a while, and is now off of it, and only taking sulfasalazine. The AS is affecting his ankles mostly, but started in the back, moved to knees and ankles. He hasn't had any problems with his back or knees, and the ankles are only tender when he does a lot of activity. Nothing to keep him from exercising or getting around. The informal board recommended discharge with 20%. He is appealing it. He has been in the Air Force for 10 years, is a TSgt, he was in the process of applying to OTS. We need some serious advice about what to do for the appeal. He wants to return to duty, but if they absolutely will not do that, he wants at least 30% for a medical retirement. His aunt, mom, and uncle all have the condition. His aunt has had 3 flare ups in her life, 15 years apart from each other. His mom and uncle have only had one flare up and that was the initial one.
His rheumotologist is writing a letter on his behalf for the appeal, saying he is fully capable of the physical requirements for his job. He is EGRESS, working on the seats. What else do we need?? They know about the family history, but I did read somewhere that anthrax vacc. could be an onset to the condition? How do they know if it would have flared up if he hadn't had the vaccine? He's not on Humera or any of that, just the sulfasalazine.

Please help. Formal board is next.. and that could be anytime this month.

Re: recently diagnosed with AS active duty Air Force
AZteach #181024 08/01/10 01:09 PM
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Perform agility testing to document his ability to perform his work and get it signed by a supervisor?


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Re: recently diagnosed with AS active duty Air Force
WhiteCell #181106 08/02/10 08:48 PM
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He is on profile, so he isn't supposed to be doing anything. But they won't lift the profile until the med board stuff is settled.

Re: recently diagnosed with AS active duty Air Force
AZteach #181755 08/10/10 01:48 PM
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I was recently diagnosed while on active duty, too. I'm 30, and my disease for someone my age, has advanced significantly.

I was told that I am being medical boarded, more for the medication, rather than the condition itself. Being on an immuno-suppressant, disqualifies one from being "world-wide-qualified", because if one were to fall ill in a deployed location, there might not be the tools/medication necessary to treat a person taking something like Humira or Enbrel. Also, the profile that I have been place on (because it has been proven that activities (e.g., running, stomach crunches, etc.), exacerbate the disease. Plus, with the new PT test, if you can't test, you're out. I was told by my doctor that the only physical activity I should take part in is brisk walking and swimming.

I am getting a second opinion in 2 weeks; something the AF was very reluctant to provide. I have heard through the grapevine, from people that have been in the AF longer than myself, that I need to make my way to Wilford Hall, because that is where the "real" AF doctors are. But I have no idea how to get referred there.

The Medical Group at my current base is giving me the run around about everything, I think they're attempting to make me sick of fighting the machine, and they're doing a good job. I am almost to the point where I just want to give up on getting answers from the air force, but I know that would be biggest mistake of my life.

I have only been on active duty for 3 years, if someone can please help point me in a direction(s) that I need to take this battle, please, let me know.

On a side note... Does anyone else with AS suffer from chronic fatigue? My body feels like it weighs a thousand pounds, nearly all of the time.

Re: recently diagnosed with AS active duty Air Force
AZteach #181756 08/10/10 01:54 PM
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When I wake in the morning, my ankles, too, feel like they are going to snap in half when they hit the floor. It's a horrible sensation.

I was on Humira for about one month, but I developed a horrible reaction to it (obviously no longer taking). I will tell you this, though, before I had whatever reaction I had, I had not felt that good since I was 18.

Sulfasalazine is an antiquated medication; it was developed in the 1950s.

I have heard that Methotrexate (spelling) works very well, but it is oral chemotherapy, and the side effects can be very harsh.

I think we're all in the same boat. This disease really sucks.

Re: recently diagnosed with AS active duty Air Force
RobertD #182230 08/16/10 06:00 PM
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beka Offline OP
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My husband is currently being reffered to the PEB because he is on the Humira and isn't world wide qualified because of it. we are just waiting to see what there decision is. they said we should know something in about 4 months. then if the rating isn't high enough appeal I guess.

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