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    Can I join the military??

    First here's a little bit about me. I am 30 yo female, Dxed with MS in 2006. I have been very luck to have a very mild course so far, with symptoms that are mild and rare. I have occasional pain in my legs and sometimes my waist gets slightly numb when I overheat. I have never had difficulty with walking or physical limitations (which I am very thankful for). No cognitive impairments. I am not disabled.

    Here's my question:
    I am going to graduate from nursing school in May and am interested in being a nurse in the military. I know I may have to enlist like everyone else and go through basic which is fine with me. I CAN do it. In the end, I will be a nurse. I can run, exercise, and perform without limitations.

    BUT from what I hear, having MS will automatically disqualify me from joining the military, even though I am not disabled. I don't plan on going into combat, and I wouldn't have an issue if I was allowed in with certain restrictions. I think restricting me from even joining is too restrictive based on my abilities and strengths. I know I can get doctors to state the overall picture of my health if I were allowed to do a waiver.

    I guess I'm just looking for people out there to share some advice or ideas. I don't like being told no and I will go as far as I can before I accept that something is impossible. I have googled the subject and have found many stories of people that were DXed while already in the military. I have not found any evidence of someone with MS enlisting.

    #2
    I don't have an answer for your exact question but will say it does not take much to be turned down as they have people lined up at the door trying to get in just for a job. My daughter has a freind that was turned down due to bad credit report, just shows you how picky they are now. A nephew was turned down due to arthritis in his shoulder.

    You also state you do not plan on going into combat, what makes you think you will have the option on that, you may not be front line but you can still be in a high action area.

    Another option is going to work for the VA as a nurse, much less scrutinity. Good luck.
    Plan for the future, but not too hard; itís not your decision anyway

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      #3
      You can find your answer in DODI 6130.3 Medical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Military Services. It does specifically list multiple sclerosis as a disqualifying condition. Trust me, as an active duty AF member fighting to stay in with MS, with no limitations or issues, I understand your frustration. You can always go and talk to the recruiter about it, but the regulation is going to govern the decision. MS is too unpredictable and expensive for the military to knowingly take on. Good luck!

      Comment


        #4
        Like Peanut said, you can always go and talk to a recruiter. But, honestly, I would not risk joining the service only to find that the military environment (high stress, possible exposure to questionable chemicals, being ordered to take vaccines, etc,.) may contribute to worsening symptoms. I starting having MS symptoms while in the Army. I was treated like a hypochondriac, made fun of, and taunted by superiors.

        The idea of looking into becoming a VA nurse is a good one. I would have stayed in the Army for life, if it were not for my medical condition. Now, I am looking forward to becoming a social worker with the VA system, once I graduate. The VA is one place where you can make a difference for those who served.

        Good luck in whatever you choose!

        Comment


          #5
          I developed diplopia about 1 year before joining the Navy. I had to get a letter from my teen years doc (missed lots of school due to hospitalizations) to even get considered for the Navy. (No formal MS Dx at the time)

          I had a lot of problems getting proper medical care while on active duty. I could not even get proper glasses Rx (prisms) for my diplopia from Navy medical/opti. I was Gomer'd a lot, treated like I was trying to get out of duties or skip A-school classes. (I was in the top 3 of my class).

          Even when I came down with pneumonia I was gomer'd for over a week. The A-school sick bay doc got mad one day and marched me down to Xray saying he was "going to PROVE there was nothing wrong" with me. Nex I taken by ambulance to the base hospital and charged with criminal violation of UCMJ, for failure to seek medical care. The case was dropped when I requested my past 10 days of sickbay records.

          Like TTowle said, I got OUT, refused to ship over, I even declined to take the test for E6 so I would not be tempted to re-up.

          I also agree with the VA idea, they sure could use more people that care.

          Gomer Sir Falls-a-lot

          Comment


            #6
            I understand

            why the military tends to discharge or not accept those diagnosed with MS.

            I was diagnosed in 2007 and medically discharged in 2008. I know my condition would be much worse than it is now; and trust me, it is bad now; if I had been allowed to continue to serve.

            One thing that I know is that I am very fortunate to have those fellow comrades in arms who are still able to serve. They are the people we trust our lives to and I wouldn't want to put my life in the hands of many other civilians.

            I know now that the military decision was not one out of meanness but one of caring. They care to discharge you because they have seen where you may go because of the history of many they have kept enlisted; rather than keep you in a situation that will deteriorate you, mentally or physically; they will step to the plate and never leave a fallen comrade.

            I have many sorrows of having to leave the service; I love my country and I love being able to have served, but, now, I understand the why. I would not want to say Yes, Sir or Ma'am, I am who you have to protect you; you can count on me; to anyone. There are many days that I feel I can barely protect myself from falling; imagine that in any situation where someone else depends on you.

            I fought very hard to stay in the service but, now, I say again, I understand why I was not allowed to.

            The service is for those who we all should be able to count on, mentally and physically, to protect us.

            While we may be feeling strong or show no symptoms, the service is not for those that may have an exacerbation or relapse; especially when there are so many people depending on you.

            Comment


              #7
              If you want to serve, perhaps you could join the US Public Health Service? It is a uniformed service, though not exactly the military.

              I had a scholarship from them while in college and in return I was supposed to serve with the PHS after graduation. During my college years I developed recurrent optic neuritis, was diagnosed with MS, and I was advised by my doctors that I should not be in the PHS, or any other uniformed service, whether military, combat or whatnot, as MS is just too unpredictable.

              The PHS authorities wanted me to join up anyway to repay my scholarship, despite having MS, and it took quite a bit of convincing by my doctors and my attorney before the PHS agreed that I could not serve.

              That was for the best for me, as civilian jobs have been much better for my health. But my experience suggests that maybe the PHS could work better for you than the armed services, as their medical criteria may be more lenient.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by livewire View Post
                The service is for those who we all should be able to count on, mentally and physically, to protect us.


                You've made an excellent point.
                Joining the military isn't about marching or doing push ups and sit ups. Its about being preparred, mentally and physically, to knowingly jump into the poop whenever someone tells you to do it.

                The folks wearing the other uniforms won't give you a do-over if you're having a bad day.

                You might spend 20 years and never see the front lines, but you have to be ready just in case you do.

                Comment


                  #9
                  No one...

                  Plans to go in to combat, but you must be worldwide deployable and you are not if you have MS. I am a nurse and was just retired 6 months ago due to MS. I would look for work elsewhere.
                  Melissa (dx. 3/22/2011)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Joining the military means basic training and field training. Also passing a PT test, regardless of the temperature and fitness has to be maintained and testing is done every 6 months.

                    I went in as a nurse and a Commissioned Officer, but field training for the medical people was no different than basic training for new troops. We ran as a group every morning at 5 am before classes, in San Antonio heat. If you can't keep up you will be noticed long before your first test.

                    There are many nursing jobs that do not have such physical demands. Look into home health, either through an agency or even with your State for community health visits. The State job will provide less money up front but better benefits for now anyway.

                    Good luck to you, there are many opportunities ahead. I did desk nursing - Medicaid audits for my State until I couldn't think anymore. They paid me to think so that wasn't working out, but it wasn't too physical except for travel and carrying a computer and files, which I used wheeled carry cases to help.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I was denied to join the Air Force when I was a Sr. in HS because of a prior traumatic brain injury that happened when I was young. I had a cranioplasty done and the initial brain damage paralyzed my left side. I recovered very well from that but the fact that I couldn't move my left toes like normal was enough for them to deny me even though I scored a 95 on the ASFAB test. I didn't get MS until my 40s.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by mlissa67 View Post
                        Plans to go in to combat, but you must be worldwide deployable and you are not if you have MS. I am a nurse and was just retired 6 months ago due to MS. I would look for work elsewhere.
                        While it is a certain "bummer", what you say is TRUTHFUL and CORRECT.
                        Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I can not speak for all branches but my husband is a Navy recruiter and MS is an automatic dis-qualifier They can not get a waiver for it.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            AS VABS and military

                            I took the ASVABs when I was a senior as well, and had no idea they were military aptitude tests, they were just explained as a great way to get out of class for a few days. I too scored particularly high in the mathematics and engineering areas, upper 98 percentile. I was very proud of my scores until the phone started to ring off the hook. I was a 17 yr. old female of a single alcoholic mother on welfare.. She was all for me joining because she knew I would make money, and she thought I would just live on a base and give it to her lazy drunk butt.

                            So I chose at the time to not join. I was told I was being scouted to become a jet engine mechanic. Looking back, ( I am now 44....) I regret not taking them up on joining. I would not only have done something to make myself proud for the entire rest of my life?

                            But I would have learned so very much. Now, while I have had MS for well over 15 yrs, and have it mostly under control? There is no way I can join. Even if I didn't have MS, I would be disqualified, due to the optical neuritis, and other health issues I've incurred.

                            Now that my dr. Has me not working, I feel much better, no stresses, time to work on my physical issues that I was affected with. As much as I want to return to the work force, I know that once I do, the symptoms will return. It's a tough pill to swallow at only 44, and although I feel great, I also feel worthless.

                            I would love to learn about jet engines NOW, go figure.. I want so badly to use my brain, yet there is no way I could get hired for this anywhere, no matter how smart my brain is. Another challenge... Being intelligent, ( testing at genius level, and not being able to use it productively)... I wish you the best, and I suppose I will look around for a business who may want a volunteer whom they don't have to depend on always in case I can't show up, and help them out as a volunteer, and feel useful still... Hats off to those who do serve, my heart and desires are with you to serve this country and our fellow men and women...

                            ** Moderator's note - Post broken into paragraphs for easier reading. Many people with MS have visual difficulties that prevent them from reading large blocks of print. **

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Enlisting with ms

                              Originally posted by peanut3636 View Post
                              You can find your answer in DODI 6130.3 Medical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Military Services. It does specifically list multiple sclerosis as a disqualifying condition. Trust me, as an active duty AF member fighting to stay in with MS, with no limitations or issues, I understand your frustration. You can always go and talk to the recruiter about it, but the regulation is going to govern the decision. MS is too unpredictable and expensive for the military to knowingly take on. Good luck!
                              I was dxed while serving in the army. I was forced to take a med retirement at 20 years and one month. My record was impeccable, I had 2 college degrees, was on top of every promotion list all the way to E8 in all 4 MOSs I held, and a chest full of medals. And they said I had to retire at 38 years young. I understood cuz of cognitive damage and some physical things that came and went.
                              I had read that there were sailors and airmen who were dxed on active duty and were allowed to stay. My guess was they had relapsing and it wasn't bad enough. I tried to fight staying to the bitter end. I served in combat 4 times. Twice with no choice and twice by my own choice. I would never watch my soldiers be picked and not have me to lead them. I was an airborne ranger and still it mattered not.

                              The service was my life from childhood as my father was a WWII Vet. I joined at 18. Literally, the day after was my entry date. The army was my life and all I knew. MS managed to really make things hard and take 2 of the most important things I had. My career and my marriage. She couldn't handle it and she was an RN!!
                              This tale may help u to understand why getting in after a d x is a problem.
                              And one last thing...unless u want to work at the VA strictly to care for vets, the pay is terrible. Half of what u get elsewhere. And I mean half! Its not right because they are caring for our nation's most honorable men and women and they should get paid at least what outsiders get.

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