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    Newly diagnosed on active duty

    Greetings,

    I was on a 365 deployment, had 3 months to go, and started having double vision/dizziness. After going to Landstuhl Germany, then Walter Reed in D.C., was diagnosed after MRI's and LP as having MS. My first appt with a civilian doctor here is in one month, and am sort of in a limbo phase until then. I am a Air Force O-4 flyer with 12 years in, and was pretty much told that my flying career is done, and a probable chance that I will be med retired once the MEB/PEB process/appeals ends.

    Over the years, I definitely had other symptoms that the flt docs couldnt figure out why, like Urinary Frequency/Urgency issues. Its a bit bittersweet after reading so much about this disease, these forums, DOD/VA disability percentages, ect. that my career could end just because of the diagnosis. After extensively looking at all the scenarios of disability payments, because of not being able to hit 20 years, the VA payments would only offset the DOD payment of 30% (maybe 32.5 or 35% after years in go up with appeals process).

    Anyway, a little bit of a rant, but am somewhat hopeful knowing that there are active duty members out there still able to serve.

    JT

    #2
    Originally posted by Excellius View Post
    Greetings,

    I was on a 365 deployment, had 3 months to go, and started having double vision/dizziness. After going to Landstuhl Germany, then Walter Reed in D.C., was diagnosed after MRI's and LP as having MS. My first appt with a civilian doctor here is in one month, and am sort of in a limbo phase until then. I am a Air Force O-4 flyer with 12 years in, and was pretty much told that my flying career is done, and a probable chance that I will be med retired once the MEB/PEB process/appeals ends.

    Over the years, I definitely had other symptoms that the flt docs couldnt figure out why, like Urinary Frequency/Urgency issues. Its a bit bittersweet after reading so much about this disease, these forums, DOD/VA disability percentages, ect. that my career could end just because of the diagnosis. After extensively looking at all the scenarios of disability payments, because of not being able to hit 20 years, the VA payments would only offset the DOD payment of 30% (maybe 32.5 or 35% after years in go up with appeals process).

    Anyway, a little bit of a rant, but am somewhat hopeful knowing that there are active duty members out there still able to serve.

    JT
    Hi JT and Welcome to MSWorld.

    Thank you for your service.

    And thank you for sharing what's going on with you. Getting an MS diagnosis can be like a kick in the gut.

    You are welcome to rant as long as you need to - we understand.

    Feel free to ask questions, and we'll be glad to help, if we can.

    Let us know how your doctor appointment goes.

    Take Care
    PPMS for 22 years (dx 1998)
    ~ Worrying will not take away tomorrow's troubles ~ But it will take away today's peace. ~

    Comment


      #3
      Newly diagnosed on active duty

      jT,
      I am truly sorry hearing about your diagnosis. Maybe others can chime in about your ability to stay in. I did a brief look at various forums and the results don't look promising keeping your job as a aviator.

      I took years until I received the diagnosis of MS. The military has a seven year rule for being diagnosed for it to be service connected. It took so long that I wasn't officially diagnosed until 10 years after my discharge. I was finally given service connection by what the VA did to me in 2002.

      I served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division as a M60 machine gunner from 1967/68. At the end of 2002 while an inpatient in the PTSD program they had a zero tolerance policy on interferon so for three months I was taken off my MS medication. I suffered a massive MS attach in early 2003. I kept being refused for service connection until I took my case the the BVA in Oakland CA. They not only gave me 100% service connection I also received compensation for 9 years back pay.
      Rich

      Comment


        #4
        The sky is not falling

        JT, Go to meet you and sorry you had to join our club of begrudging MS recipients. I was diagnosed less than a year after I retired from the Air Force. I had the symptoms years before but Iím glad to hear that the military is now performing MRIs, in my case they just wrote ďParisthesesĒ in my records. How to sole knew or could tell that I had RRMS, But boy did it ever creep up on me and and shocking speed. I want to tell you because you mentioned the bladder, I was diagnosed with a neurogenic bladder which is very common to MS patients. Iím going to tell you thatís probably one of the biggest things you need to make sure that gets under control because it causes exacerbations. my case I canít go completely or the other way happens as well. Having vitamin C in your bladder at all times will prove to be important. Iím not gonna tell you how much to take Iím not even going to tell you to take it you could do it with natural foods, but I will tell you if you donít address it, it will come back and haunt you.

        By the way the name of my screen name which I only just this morning log back onto after I donít know seven or eight years, the name is a fluke I got diagnosed with MS by the fluke of an MS extreme jaw pain. Lesions were evident in the MRI and a spinal tap and certainly the symptoms sealed the deal. So, if you can just walk away knowing that you donít have to stop your enthusiasm in aviation, but I do think flying is going to have to escape you if not eventually. Hey, I just wrote a story yesterday before I sign back on to the site and they posted it. Itís called ďOh Yah? Take THAT!!!!Ē. I know youíre not there yet but the earlier you develop the attitude I did the better off youíll be. Cheers, Sandy and thank you very much for your service.

        Comment


          #5
          The VA disability rating system is a joke and I would definitely not count on it as a primary means of living but rather a supplement to whatever your primary is. I was rated at 30% and then filled an increase due to more symptoms. I was awarded an increase but my original 30% was lowered.

          They sent me to a Nurse Practitioner to evaluate me for a Neurological condition. Dude didn't even check my reflexes. I really feel for those trapped in the system who need it more than I.
          The future depends on what you do today.- Gandhi

          Comment


            #6
            Well I had my appt today, and it pretty much went as expected. The neurologist confirmed that it is highly likely I have MS based on symptoms over time, test results, ect. My next appt is in three months, but no new tests scheduled unless new symptoms pop up. Now I am waiting for him to get his notes back to the med clinic on base, and for them to start the RILO process. The med personnel keep saying that I have a good chance at being able to stay in the AF, but its still a wait and see for now. However, they mostly guarenteed that I will have to go through a Med Board and the formal IDES process after this RILO is over.

            Overall, I guess there really isn't any news to report...still in limbo.

            JT

            Comment


              #7
              Hello there!

              I am currently active duty very recently diagnosed with rrms. I have some experience with the MEB process since I am a med tech 4N afsc(currently an instructor). Usually it depends on a variety of factors on whether you can be retained or not. Usually can you do your job still is the major one. If not is it possible to still be an asset in another way?

              With ms I'm sure you are like me. Mobility restrictions: no pcs,tdy,deploy fitness :ac only. Another is medications are you on an immunomodulator? Is your condition controlled or alleviated by said medication? How severe, how frequent and what extent are your symptoms? How is manning in your afsc? That will form the basis of your narsum but usually it's a history of your condition for the peblo to figure out if you are fit for duty after meb sends their findings to them. Usually your condition must be relatively unchanged for some time to undergo meb( basically pcm or the DAWG decides condition won't resolve within a year). Then your 469 will show code 37, whi ch is start of meb. If it still shows code 31, your case will be reviewed by dawg, usually monthly to decide when to start meb.

              My personal approach is going to be 1st attack 2014 facial parasthesia(they thought it was bells palsy), present= left leg parasthesia for a few months triggered emg/mris which found 8 brain lesions and large one on my c5. I'm hoping being an instructor will work out in my favor since I can't deploy anyhow. The fitness restrictions is the hurtful part for my case I'm hoping I can convince neuro to remove them since with just a numb left leg for now I don't have any mobility issues yet.

              The wait in between appointments may be to if the medication they have you is effective to get an accurate narsum for meb to eval.The climate today is cant deploy can pt test get out unfortunately. I'm still going to try to hold out and try to stay in!

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for your input! I am a little dismayed by what is transpiring now...my CC letter is stating Do Not Retain, even though he states in there that I can do another job, just not fly. So unfortunately that makes life much harder in terms of staying in the AF. I think my best chance now will be the Formal PEB way down the road. I'll have to find representation as soon as I can, but see it as my best shot now as far as being retained and to stay in doing another job.

                I changed to a Code 37 on Apr 12th. I think that my package hasnt made its way down yet for the MEB. Still am waiting for my PEBLO to make initial contact, so all this may be 2-3 weeks from now. I have been taking Tecfidera since end of January when first diagnosed, and now also take Detrol LA to help with Frequency/Urgency issues.

                JT

                Comment


                  #9
                  Sorry to hear about the DNR letter. I know my regular afsc I'd definitely get same recommendation but hoping my current special instructor duty has a slight chance of retain letter.I know the peblo isn't the guaranteed sentence of discharge people think it is but with ms default rating of 30pct it can be difficult to state hey I'm still of use to the air force even though you know you are. I started on tecfidera too a week ago but my only symptoms previously was left leg numbness but now my left arm has significant issues gripping, movement, or flexion 2 days before I started meds which is concerning.

                  So I wonder should I bring it up to doctor or not? The more your name pops up the more attention, quicker the process goes. More broken = less retainability but can equal less money if I do get retired. My struggle currently! Not that they can really fix it anyhow if I do bring it up.

                  I used to work for an O6 that's been a doc 29 years so I trust him and asked for him to check out my case for me to give me an idea on possible peb results. He told me there are no reliable predictors currently with peb but if you have rrms having longer periods without relapses give you a stronger case to stay in. Also the longer your case takes they can see if medication is controlling symptoms, which is a longer period to document control results making meb stronger.

                  They are actually performing free brain MRIs for anyone that served in enduring freedom, new dawn at sammc which makes me curious...just still have thoughts of anthrax vaccine or something on deployment started this since first attack was 3 months post deployment. Of course anything solid on vaccines would never go forward or EVERYONE would magically acquire ms costing too much $$$.

                  I know sometimes it's best to retire people if they know military life will just cause condition to worsen which can be a mercy but hopefully peblo looks at the whole picture. Yes it cant be cured but MS has a possibility of being controlled/mild. If it does get worse after surviving peb, they will just retire you after your annual RILO so recent mild diagnoses I feel they should retain. Give a heads up if anything changes since I am a month or so behind! Hope all goes well!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    So today I received an update that the I-RILO board met and has found me fit to return to duty! No MEB will be required...just a yearly review that will go along with my yearly physical. I am honestly quite suprised that they decided to retain me considering the CC comments, but I'm thinking that they looked at my rebuttal comments along with the medical facts of my particular case. It honestly made no sense just because my symptoms are thankfully at this time not severe, and the fact that any job barring flying I can still do, and would be doing the exact same thing in the civilian world.

                    A waiver will be submitted for me to return to flying status, but I highly doubt that will be approved. I will talk with my CC today and find out what he wants to do with me now. I had a PCS on the books scheduled for the end of June, but because of this process and the Code 37 I was taken out of the assignment.

                    I will still read and check these forums and stay active. Please keep me updated Adventured on how your process goes! I'll post any new info that I receive.

                    JT

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Excellius View Post
                      So today I received an update that the I-RILO board met and has found me fit to return to duty! No MEB will be required...just a yearly review that will go along with my yearly physical. I am honestly quite suprised that they decided to retain me considering the CC comments, but I'm thinking that they looked at my rebuttal comments along with the medical facts of my particular case. It honestly made no sense just because my symptoms are thankfully at this time not severe, and the fact that any job barring flying I can still do, and would be doing the exact same thing in the civilian world.

                      A waiver will be submitted for me to return to flying status, but I highly doubt that will be approved. I will talk with my CC today and find out what he wants to do with me now. I had a PCS on the books scheduled for the end of June, but because of this process and the Code 37 I was taken out of the assignment.

                      I will still read and check these forums and stay active. Please keep me updated Adventured on how your process goes! I'll post any new info that I receive.

                      JT
                      Hi JT

                      Thanks for sharing your good news with us!

                      Wishing you the best on your next assignment!

                      Take Care
                      PPMS for 22 years (dx 1998)
                      ~ Worrying will not take away tomorrow's troubles ~ But it will take away today's peace. ~

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Congrats

                        I stroll through this site about every six months, sorry I wasnít on earlier to provide advice-glad your iRILO went well. My original MEB was in 2010 and I have to admit that I still get nervous at every annual RILO. I highly doubt your waiver will be approvedóI actually current work for a MAJCOM SGP and if you review the waiver guide you will see that only IFCIII has any approvals, definitely not if you are a IFCII. The risk of sudden incapacitation is too high. What are you interested in cross training in to?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I'm not really sure what my options are for cross-training. My CC at one point mentioned 13S - Space. I don't know if possible but maybe something to do with foreign languages...I currently don't know any but would love to learn. I suppose overall though I am game for whatever...kind of like starting a new career entirely.

                          Fun fact: I may have been eligible for an Aviation Bonus AFPC just passed. I still applied, but obviously if I am DQ'd from flying that would go away. Shame...$25K a year for 7 years, until I hit 20.

                          For the annual RILO's, what is the process like, and what do they look for in order to potentially MEB you again?

                          JT

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Well that was a fast decision. The waiver was sent up just yesterday from medical, and it was denied today. I expected this decision from them, but really thought that it would have gone to ACS for their recommendation from the MAJCOM. Still definitely bummed out about it now that its official....didn't even get to have a fini flight before now having to change jobs.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Fini flight

                              Donít give up on your flight, it breaks my heart to think that after faithfully being Aircrew you would miss that final rite of passage. Talk to your Flight a Doc/SGP about a modified 2992 that would allow you to fly that last flight. I have done it before for guys that were in multi crew airframes. I donít know what platform you fly but you should try.

                              The annual iRilo looks to see if anything has gotten worse in the last year. I work really hard to prove stabilityóI run, bike, etc and got a 99% on the last fitness test . I had some issues one year because of a cardiac condition that coincided with my iRilo.

                              13S is a new, exciting career field and doesnít require PRP or MOD status so you shouldnít have any trouble at all. I have a friend that is a 13S at Peterson and he loves it.

                              Comment

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