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Archive for the ‘VA’ Category

They’re continuing the migraine appeal (to take me from 30 to 50%), and contradicted their reasons for not approving me the higher amount. Seriously. In one paragraph, the examiner noted 3-4 migraines within a 2-3 week period, then lapse of 2-3 weeks before the onset of another migraine or cluster of migraines. “Severe nausea, vomiting, photophobia, left side parathesis” follows that, as well as how I treat the migraine (medication, very dark room, lying very still, alternating heat and ice), and then go on to say that…its not debilitating enough to prevent me from working. How many of you bosses out there are willing to hire someone who can’t move for 2-3 days at least once a month? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

The breast cancer is again denied because while they have documented evidence of three complaints and a diagnosis of fibrocystic breast disease while in service, the examiner noted a strong family history of fibrocystic breast disease (the examiner last month). I had Justin come in the exam room with me, and he said that NEVER was said by the dr or claimed by me.

The mental disorder is “clearly evidenced to exist prior to military service” (no records anywhere or statements to indicate that), and that the normal progression of the disease was not complicated by my service, as this disease usually has onset in adolescence or “early adulthood.” I joined the army at age 19. I discharged from the Guard at age 28. Wouldn’t that cover “early adulthood?” Wouldn’t documented traumatic events during service have at least a 51% chance of “complicating or aggravating” the normal progression of the disease?

They didn’t address at all my PTSD. Maybe on a later appeal. Two of their examiners said I have it. One did not. So…PTSD denied. WTF. The law says at least a 51% chance…last time I checked, 2/3 was more than 51%.

I told Justin they’ve won, he said no. The truth is, I’m tired. I’m worn out and depressed. They said if I appeal this decision, I must do so formally, and include specifics of why they’re wrong, i.e., after reading their stipulations, I basically have to be a legal and medical professional in order to send in my appeal. I’m going to forward all this to my attorney, but its still so frustrating.

They also said they can’t give me an earlier effective date on the migraines, claimed when I reopened my case in November 2008, because I didn’t claim fibromyalgia until June 2010, and the migraines were granted as a secondary to fibromyalgia. Here’s the catch. In 2008, I claimed all the symptoms for fibro (I didn’t know about fibro by that name). I WAS APPROVED, at 10%, for an “unspecified illness” that went on to list the symptoms I’d claimed. In 2010 my family dr referred me to a specialist and I got the diagnosis of fibro. The specialist at one time did a stint at the VA, and wrote out a letter for me to present to them. In the letter, he stated upon reviewing my records I’d had the symptoms at least since 1992, and that his professional opinion is that is when the fibromyalgia began to cause difficulty for me. I gave the letter to the VA and added the claim for fibro that same month. They approved it quickly…but only gave me effective date to the fibro diagnosis (by an outside specialist). They had their doctor examine me in 2009 and gave me the 10% rating for “unspecified illness with symptoms blah blah blah” and then after my specialist diagnosed me and sent the letter (i.e. new evidence), instead of putting it in support of my claim for “unspecified illness with symptoms blah blah blah), they only did it back to June 2010. Does this make sense to you? Same exact freaking symptoms. I just got an actual NAME for it, and added new evidence, so it screwed me out of 18 months comp?

What it boils down to is that I’m being punished for not going to the doctor very often after I got out of the Army, because Hello, I didn’t have insurance for most of that time. I’m being punished because I don’t go to the ER or the doctor every time I get a migraine. My last ER visit for migraine was 2007. Let’s see…sit around an ER for several hours, bright lights, lots of noise, while puking in a bag, or lie in a dark room and take same meds they’d give me via IV in the ER? Sounds reasonable to me. I’m being punished because I’m easily confused after all these freaking surgeries and my memory has suffered (which is why Justin goes into the exams with me now, to tell me if I or they said something I can’t remember). I’m being punished because while my issues technically are not 100% disabling because I have good days as well as bad days, they don’t take into consideration that no one will hire someone who has to call out sick every couple weeks. I don’t live in a metro area, there aren’t a lot of jobs available to begin with here.

I never had a migraine before I came back from Saudi. I never had breast lumps and/or pain until after I was on active duty. I never had any mental issues diagnosed (or even seen about) until I was active duty. I don’t even care about the mental right now, I knew that would be a losing battle because I destroyed evidence when I was going for my flight physicals. I took the records out of my medical record because the recruiter and I were left alone with them and she told me to do it, and I was stupid enough (and wanted to fly badly enough) that I did it. I should have kept them but she took the pages from me. Dumb dumb dumb. I do care about the liver cancer. I do care about the fibromyalgia, which is considered presumptive (automatically related to my Gulf War service), but because I wasn’t diagnosed within one year of discharge, they don’t have to give me the full benefit (that’s what they said anyway). I don’t care about the breast cancer…I’m 15 years post-diagnosis and God willing it doesn’t come back. I don’t care about the knees. None of that is going to kill me. I care about the liver cancer because barring an accident, the liver cancer will most likely be my cause of death when I go. I care about the PTSD because my life has radically changed due to it, but even that I’d let slide if they’d just give me the connection for liver cancer.

They even said I said I’d slept walked as a child when I got treatment for sleepwalking in Saudi. DO WHAT? When asked if I or any family members had every slept walked, I said that my uncle had a few times when he was a kid (either Uncle Carvis or Uncle Kernis, I forget which one now). Somehow that became ME sleepwalking in elementary school. That conversation happened in very late 1990 or very early 1991 (in Saudi), and I honestly can’t remember everything that was said. But I didn’t sleepwalk as a kid.  That much I know for certain.

OH get this. They said the Social Security records validated my complaints BUT they couldn’t consider those because they were “too old.” My last review for continuing Social Security eligibility was…last fall. Less than a year ago. But those records are “too old.” Unless my lawyer wants to do anything, they’ve won. I fought from 1994-1996, and reopened it and have fought, continuously and hard, since 2008. I don’t have it in me anymore. This is the government and this is what they do.

They want me to remember, in detail, everything that happened to me or that I said or did 20+ years ago. I can’t remember my own name some days. They also said the medical form I filled out in 1991 when I discharged…that I said I had no problems with migraines or sleeping or nightmares or…etc etc. First, I remember no such form (not that I didn’t fill it out, I just don’t remember it). Second, I’ve asked repeatedly for them to produce said form, and they won’t. What I recall of discharging was “name, rank, social, payroll signature” and they were pushing stuff at me so fast the only thing I actually remember signing was my DD-214. Third, a lot of my symptoms didn’t show up right away…I returned in April 1991 and I discharged in June 1991. Not a lot of time for stuff to start showing up.

Politicians won’t help either. They want me to bring new evidence to them before they’ll get involved. There isn’t really any new evidence. This is all stuff that is documented, but the VA doctors deny, the civilian specialists (many, many of them, across three states and multiple facilities) all feel its connected. I’m screwed, mostly because I didn’t keep records and didn’t go to the doctor for a decade after I discharged unless I was deathly ill because I couldn’t afford to. Its pretty hard getting medical records that are 20+ years old these days, especially with so many clinics and hospitals merging, closing, being bought out, etc over the years. Bottom line, keep everything. If you have a house fire or two, well, you’re outta luck. Everything I had from my army time was lost in my house fire in 1999. The only reason my DD-214 was saved was because for some reason I had it at my mom’s instead of in my house.  I’d really love to have all my old journals back.

Whining over. Stick a fork in me.

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Seriously.  I am completely exhausted!  My appointment today was at 11, so we had to leave home around 7:30 to make sure we got there in time.  We actually got there early, but then began the “hurry up and wait” that I learned so well while in the Army.

It was 4:30 p.m. before we got out of there.  I didn’t even see a doctor until after 2:00!!  We didn’t get out of traffic and get something to eat until after 5…so no lunch.  That made us both grumpy and have headaches, but we managed.  We did get a bottle of water and a snack cake each from the gift shop to tide us over…the food court had already closed when we got done seeing the doctor.

Good news…looks like I may have service connected disabilities.  Bad news…until its sorted out, I have to keep going all the way to Jackson for appointments and interviews and stuff.  Its hard…about six+ hours in the car total, IF we don’t run into rush hour traffic at any point along the way.  Once it all gets sorted though, I’ll *hopefully* be able to get everything taken care of in Hattiesburg or on the coast.

I got Epi pens today…I haven’t had any in years because after my last ones expired, I never got around to buying more…they were kinda pricey, even with insurance.  Today it cost me ZERO dollars.  I’m liking the VA I think :)

Oh and I had a confirmed diagnosis of PTSD too.  Well duh…I’ve known that for years.  I guess its good to get it into the computers though.

Now I have to track down “summaries” of all my medical issues from the different hospitals, clinics, and doctors I’ve been seeing…that should be fun.  I have to make contacts tomorrow from New Orleans to Nashville and points in between basically.  Gonna be a long day.  But, I need all the documentation…the more the better.  The fact that I’m on SSI already goes in my favor…if they can link some of these issues to a service connected disability, it’ll be even better, as I’ll then get monetary benefits for allowing the military to ruin my health ;)

So anyway.  Its late and we’ve just gotten home and settled.  I’m ready to crash and get some rest.  Its amazing how tired you can get from sitting around and waiting all day.  I got a lot of questions today too about “how’s the baby doing” because I had to tell them I’d just had a c-section two weeks and five days ago.  That was hard, but not as hard as it was.  I guess I’m healing a little…I’ve only cried a few times today talking about her.  I still miss her so much though.  Speaking of, they told me to make sure I mention to the screeners about her birth defects she had…apparently it might be related.  I’m not so sure, but I’ll mention it all the same.

I think I hear my big tub calling my name…a hot bubble bath sounds pretty good right now.  I’ll worry about all the medical and military junk tomorrow

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