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    Vets Master Muster & Intros

    Vets Master Muster & Intros

    Attention ALL Vets, (& vet family members) Please post an intro here so we can get to know our fellow vets better. Tell us a bit about yourself and include which branch of service etc.

    PLEASE Limit postings in this thread to introductions ONLY. If you have an issue or question etc PLEASE start a new thread.


    I am Gomer, aka Doc GOMER to some. Married to since 1973, we have four kids and 2 grandkids.
    I was made a ward of the state & hospitalized when I was 13 (almost 14) because I had quit my usual activities. I quit playing sports because I could not keep up with other kids my own age. I simply did other things I could do. I was in Civil Air Patrol and flying in a Red 1929 J3, looking down at baseball fields from several thousand feet up.

    I was asked at age 17 (1963) if I wanted to be exempt from the draft, I said NO!, I wanted to be treated as "normal". My caseworker (MSW in todays lingo) said it would be a good idea and I would not have to worry about future medical care (strange IMO at the time)

    I had to get a letter from my teen yrs hospital doc, who stated the circumstances (w/o listing a Dx) and described me as having an ability to persevere and should be given a chance. I became a GOMER even in boot camp (Great Lakes). . I was not even allowed to march in revue at my boot camp graduation, given watch duty instead.

    I made rate even before going to A-school in Jax Fla. Had higher security clearance than most of my fellow airdales, so I pulled a lot of TAD duty. I was picked (labeled a lifer) for a mag interview. I told him I was not going to ship-over (re-enlist) w/#1 reason being poor medical care I had received. I worked mostly in avionics, clean A/C conditions.

    I had MS Sx before and during my enlistment. I developed diplopia at age 18 (before I joined) and had to have my prisms doubled once while on active duty. (one of many items, including possible ON (NAS Pensacola base Hospital, missing from my official med records). I also suffered a documented hearing loss (MS??) while on active duty and was never told. I found out about it just a few years ago. I am service connected for the hearing loss as of 2007, and the VA does provide me with hearing aids and supplies!

    In the late 80s I insisted "something" else was wrong and sent to the shrink dept. They said I was not nuts or depressed, just "adamant" something else was wrong, just not showing up on testing. I gave up seeking an answer for decades. Turned out I was right, and finally formally Dxd in Jan 2010 with long standing RRMS and probably early stage of going progressive.

    I am getting reasonably good VA care now, too bad they did not listen to me long ago, maybe I could have begun treatment BEFORE my mobility declined. I use a power-chair part time and use a scooter for larger stores, malls etc. I get my non-MS care outside the VA. I am on Copaxone which I do get from the VA, $8/month co-pay.

    Gomer

    #2
    I am Dennis AKA "Sailors Song" and was in the Navy during the Vietnam era and spent one tour on a Guided Missile Destroyer off the coast. And just to set the record straight the Sailors Song is not because of the Navy. It is because my two major loves are sailing and music. I am divorced and have 1 daughter and 1 granddaughter.

    I first developed MS symptoms in 1988 and was on disability by the end of 1989. It wasn't until 2008 that I started to get my health care through the VA and applied for disability compensation due primarily for my PTSD. I am still waiting for the hearing on that even though the shrink for the C&P exam stated that I have service connected PTSD.

    After the Navy I worked for various companies in the New England area designing computers and software for them. I use to be able to and up multiple strings of numbers at the same time in my head. Now I'm lucky if I get the correct answer when adding 2 plus 2. Physically I am just about as bad off as I am with my math skills.

    In addition to the MS ( which the VA doctors don't want to officially DX ) I have COPD, IBS, Heart problems ( had 3x bypass in 2006), PTSD, GERD, and I'm sure I am forgetting some of them as the list is longer than that.

    I wish I could say that I am getting good health care through the VA here in Nashville, but I can't. The care is getting worse every month as no one seems to care about the Vets there. Well there are a few good doctors, but I sure have not gotten to see any of them for myself. Even the PA there don't do their job.

    Dennis
    Dennis

    The soul of a song will lift your spirits.

    Comment


      #3
      I was in the Navy from 81-87, on the crew of the USS Tullibee (SSN-597) in Groton, CT from 83-87. Right after I got out, I spent 2 years in the Navy Reserve. I then moved over to the Air National Guard for a few years.

      I was diag. with MS in 7/08. My first symptoms were numbness in my hands a year before that they originally thought was carpal tunnel. I have been on Tysabri since Feb. of this year, previously on Avonex. I can still walk short distances, but use a scooter if I have to go further.

      I was laid off from my last full-time job in 12/08 and started going to the VA since I no longer had health insurance. I went on SSDI a year ago, but hope to get back to work again. Too young (47) to be retired yet.

      Randy

      Comment


        #4
        Intro and a bit about me..

        I am female, Navy 81 to 84, medically discharged because of diabetes. My first MS problem came within a year of discharge, but the civilian drs said it "Might be MS" but chocked it up to the diabetes. (whole right side of my body went numb and I couldn't write legibly any more) But it was not until a car accident in 95 that I had a positive diagnosis of MS. So am now service connected for MS also.
        I was in Avionics in the Navy.. but when they found the diabetes, I had to go topside as they thought the flight line was too dangerous.
        So being a woman, they put me at the "woman's" job of Yeoman... well, I was still in for a bit thank god.. I had wanted to make it a career.. but that was shot to heck... oh well...
        Well, am glad to find a place where Vets can come and share.... glad to be here.

        Comment


          #5
          Hi Ya'll,

          Retired Captain Army Nurse Corps- left after Desert Storm ended. Graduated from GA State University, enlisted as a Lt. Never left Fort Benning - worked at Martin Army Hospital intermediate intensive care unit. Very busy (we got all the drunks for detox), they really need to stop selling that stuff so cheap. I had never gone camping before, and to me a Holiday Inn was roughing it, so suffice it to say that my entire unit called me Pvt. Benjamin.

          I had neurosurgery for a herniated disc in my neck while active duty, but honestly do not remember any MS symptoms other than the neuropathy associated with the disc. They would not give me permission to do any physical testing after that - said since the Army required sit ups pulling on your neck, and my first symptom of problems before I even had any pain was I suddenly could not do even one push up. I just fell flat on my face every time I tried. Then came the pain, wow what pain, in my right arm. Lost my triceps muscle completely. I could still run but they did not want me to. (I had always aced my PT test and am competitive by nature so I wanted to continue).

          I was diagnosed 6 years ago, but thinking back had it long, long before then. Fatigue episodes, unrelenting and unexplained, so bad I once went to an infectious disease doc thinking I had caught something like CMV from my patients. He told me I did not have CMV per testing, but never looked into the reason for crippling fatigue. Then I got better, and forgot about it. Another bout would return, but I would just endure until it too passed.

          I had searing ear pain, ringing and crackling in my ears, severe headaches, vertigo and imbalance. Even when I was not dizzy, I was off balance and started falling - a lot. I broke several bones and fell many more times injuring myself and my pride.

          The diagnosis came from a neurotologist who thought I had loose crystals and was going to do these exercises to jar them back in place. He sent me for an MRI just to make sure - and said I needed a neurologist and he could no longer help me.

          I played tennis but had to stop because of the dizziness, but continued to do ballroom dancing, having done this for many years. I just could not believe the diagnosis and was certain the doctor was wrong - I believed I had Lyme disease (curable). Dancing is/was my passion and this was the worst news I could get.

          I have been on Betaseron - my neuro said I would not improve but just slow the progression. I know that I have improved though - I had to sell my Corvette because I could not get out of it and it was embarrassing. Well, I believe I could get out of it now. I am still dancing, find that my thighs get noticeably weaker after awhile and some dances are much harder, but I still enjoy it anyway.

          I lost my job because of budget problems - I worked for the State doing Medicaid audits, and applied to the VA for the first time. They said my drugs are free!! Since I am not working, that is a real blessing. I have my first appointment at the VA clinic next week. They were very nice at the Atlanta VA Hospital when I went to apply.

          Glad to see this thread. I was proud to serve and the people I met in the Medical Corps were some of the finest young men and women I have ever met. We even had a Purple Heart recipient (Viet Nam) who was enlisted at the time and then came back in as an officer after he finished college. I was in his land nav group, thank God, and I just followed him. Amazing.

          Comment


            #6
            AD AF hit my 4yr in feb. just made e5..... not DX yet awt spinal tap results. doc said MRI looked like it was MS but wanted more tests done. scared about the unknown for my career... first had mild blindness witch drove me into to see doc. CC just said i am not to go on F/L (flightline) untill further notice. sucks because the shop im in that is where i work. any advice would be great

            Comment


              #7
              I was in the Army in 74-75. Stationed in Germany.

              Had a problem with my right knee which was dx as osteoarthritis. Could this have been the 1st symptom?

              In the mid-eighties, I had double vision a couple of times.

              In the early 2000's, I was dx with carpal tunnel by a neuro and advised to have surgery, which I declined.

              In 2003 I was dx with MS. I applied for SSDI and was approved.

              I am now on Copaxone that I get thru the VA.
              Joanne
              Happy in downtown Chicago
              Jerry is my 20 lb cat

              Comment


                #8
                another ex-army nurse here. i was on active duty from sep 66 to jun 75. served 18 mos in VN from Mar 67 to Sep 68.

                late MS diagnosis in 2003 at age 60, but knew i had it for decades before - within the 7 year window for service connection.

                already said i think it was Agent Orange related in that thread.

                VN vets were not welcome in the system for a few years and a FEMALE VN vet was not even recognized. at one place - Tampa - all they would offer me is the wives' group for PTSD. Excuuuuuse me?????

                too many long stories of frustration, fighting the system, but getting better care now at a COBC and Hines VA in Chgo.

                happy to meet you, but sorry it's here on this site. mary
                If i can walk and talk, and see and pee, i'm having a great day!

                Comment


                  #9
                  new on vet page

                  I am Jerry, I was in the Navy June 59 thro May 63. been a while. I had several unusual body things happen while in the navy but they were never recorded in my meds except one. I served on the USS Brister DER 327 in the pacific 32 months. I was dx with M S in 2003 much time after the 7 year window but I believe I had ms back then. I am currently trying to get service connected so my med bills won't be so high. cross your fingers for me.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi

                    I am currently a Captain in the Vermont Army National Guard. I also spent 5 years, 9 mos on Active duty at Fort Bragg, NC in Psychological Operations as an Army illustrator. I joined Fall of 1989, took two years off after active duty and then joined the NG. I got my commission through Officer Candidate School in June of 2001.

                    Needless to say, my health kept me home from a trip to Afghanistan this past year. Sad not to be with my unit, but glad also not to have the stress of a deployment (and heat). I've been to the Medical Review Board and since I am at 19 yrs of service, I am being allowed to stay until my 20 yrs.

                    Thinking back now, I think my first symptom may have been in college. There was a few months where my pinky finger and index finger and thumb would go numb for a while, then it would come back. Eventually that stopped happening.

                    I also wonder if I had ON in the past as I have always had a touch of color blindness in my left eye (the one that had the obvious ON in it in May 09). With all the migraines I get, I could have mistaken the pain in moving my eye as a headache.

                    So as of today, I've had ON officially dx in June 09, 3 non-specific lesions, positive spinal and 30% disability from the VA for MS. I saw a new neuro last Wednesday as my headaches are getting worse and I have a strange sensation of wet/cool on my left thigh and knee. He is concerned and is supposed to get me a new MRI

                    Also trouble with food not going down properly (and being able to actually clear my throat and bring it up), so I am off for a swallow test on 13 OCT. So, we will see if things are getting worse. I hope not.

                    I am not any drugs other than Depakote for migraines, 3 different inhalers for asthma management, Wellbutrin, and Claritin. Neuro says if my new MRI shows further activity, he strongly suggests I get on one of the DMD's. I was hoping not too.

                    Michelle in Vermont

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Intro

                      Good morning, I'm currently serving in the AF, Joined Nov 99 and will be retired Jan 11. Throughout the least decade I remember I would get a tingly numb sensation in my toes and fingers a lot when I worked out on the cardio machines and got overheated, I attributed that to the constant repetative motion and the heat. Didn't have this problem when I was running on the track. Jul 09 I had a sudden onset of ON but didn't have any pain associated with it, just the grey void in the center of my eye. That started the testing and was diagnosed in Sep 09 and had my first relapse Oct 09. No relapses since then, which I'm happy about.

                      I'm an Engineer for the AF and spend 2 years in Korea and most recently, 6 mn in Iraq. I have a wonderful 21 month old little boy who makes even my worst days better. He was the best medicine when I was in the hospital during that last relapse. I have completed the boarding process and am waiting for my retirement date which is 28 Jan 11.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        intro

                        I'm Mike. Retired Jan. 2007 from Army reserves with over 10 years of active duty. Dx Feb 09. Found out by accident that MS was considered service connected if within 7 years of last activation. First attack was in 6th year. Just got a 60% disability rating from VA. Blessed to still be working and have a desk job. Most problems are with balance, terrible ear ringing, bowels, tingling and numbness in legs. Sometimes in hands, lips, face. Jaws have started hurted recently when they get cool. Have yet to go to VA clinic, but would be nice to get help with Avonex copay of $100 per month. Avonex seems to be helping, since I have not had a relapse since (knock on wood).
                        Still have previlige of helping troops everyday, as I work in a military pay finance office. Don' log on much, but always find something interesting when I do.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hi all! I'm Kari, aka Kari4566. Vietnam era, 74-76 Woman's Army Corps.

                          Diagnosed '97, but received SC, because I was able to show symptoms recorded back in 77. Women were diagnosed as "hormonal" or "hypochondriac" way too often back then! They said it was "all in my head", guess they were right, lesions on brain!

                          Was in denial for past 10 years, finally decided it was time to grow up and stop lying to myself. Here I am!
                          MS, it's a brain thang!
                          Proud to have served, U.S Army WAC

                          Comment


                            #14
                            INTRO!!!

                            Hello All! My name is LaCage, and I am an Army vet. I joined in 2003 and took off my uniform for the last time in 2007. Although I left ad knowing about the m.s. I didn't leave bc of it. I left bc of ptsd. Because of my "wonderful" (awful!!) chain of command, they made life hard for me so that I would just leave. I was stationed in Ft Polk, LA and had a profile that kept me out of the sun, heat and no "army" activities. Needless to say, I was looked at as a faker and just somebody who didn't need to be in the army. I really was a lifer until my health went south and rather than listening to me, everybody just pushed me off to the side. They sent me to the psych floor of the hospital bc they thought that all of my issues were in my head. I won't deny that some of the issues were mental, I am glad that I went. My docs on the psych floor believed me!!! In fact on of the doc's mother's had m.s. and she finally made me feel like I wasn't crazy. All of my mental health professionals backed me up and even helped me find a doc in the hospital to treat me. Unfortunately, the pressure too hard and I left with just an honorable discharge and a ptsd chapter instead of a medical discharge or even retirement.

                            I have two wonderful kids, one boy and one girl. I homeschool both of my troops and we love every minute of it. They don't know anything about the m.s. right now. I'm sure my son, 8 yrs old, is starting to notice how tired I am. We are exploring how to tell him in a way that will not worry him or upset him. I am also a 4.0 nursing student. I have just been invited to my honors college bc of my g.p.a. I want to pursue a masters degree in nursing after completing my undergrad degree. I figure as long as I can, I will fight to reach all of my dreams.

                            I have been married for nearly 5 years to a soldier. Its a totally different ball game going from soldier to spouse. I am still learning how to conduct myself as a wife rather than a soldier. Although the wives don't always understand, the troops seem to get me.

                            After getting out of the Army, I pretended that the M.S. didn't exist. I didn't pursue any compensation from anybody. I avoided all treatment and meds. I had a few relapses but nothing major. But now I am paying for being a rebel. I have relapsed in a major way and I am being told that if I would have been a good patient and taking meds, this relapse would not have been so bad. Most of it isn't so hard to deal with. The ear ringing isn't so bad. The fatigue is annoying, but the pain is unbearable. I am in a funk right now, bc I hate taking pills. I also hate being high espcially since I have kids and other responsibilities in my little world. My husband and the docs have convinced me to see a neuro doc after being away for nearly 4 years. I have agreed and since I will let them poke, prod and question me, I might as well contact the VA and see what they can offer me as well.

                            Since I have went so long with ignoring the m.s., I never really dealt with it. I hardly spoke about it and I pretended that none of it bothered me. But with this newest relapse, I am finally dealing with what m.s. means in my life. Its hitting me hard and some days I just want to cry. I am 26 years old and have had this disease for most of my 20's. Sometimes I forget how old I am and have to sit and count the years to figure it out.

                            I play drums at church and also teach children's church one sunday a month. My family and friends show me that there is so much to be thankful for. I have been avoiding any sort of m.s. support groups bc I just wasn't ready to deal with it. But now I think that I really do need the support. Its hard for people to understand that when I have a relapse, things don't just improve overnight. They all expect for the pain to stay away after the pills. I am really tired of hearing people ask me if I am feeling better or getting better. But I really can't fault them bc they are really concerned and they don't know what to really say or ask. Heck, I don't even know what to tell them to say. I am thankful for the people in my life that want to see me happy and health.

                            Sorry for the super long intro, I just had a lot to release all at once. You all have a great day!
                            LaCage

                            Comment


                              #15
                              LaCage, MS is presumptive of service if it manifests itself within 7 years of discharge. File for VA compensation, get everything on record. Your filing, puts you alongside many of us with MS, adds to our numbers, and just maybe they may find something in common (other than just military service) that could be a cause of our MS.

                              Unfortunately, women in the military are still treated differently, and most are looked at as shamming when in fact, there is a real medical cause. I went through something similar, except it was with the VA! I was "too young" (the Doctor was overly concerned with my ethnic/religious background, as he mentioned it NUMEROUS times in the report) to have answered in the affirmative to the Doctor's questions, so it was put in my medical records that I was suffering from hypochondria. I was actually hospitalized for my gallbladder (ended up not being removed for over 20 years because of that dx) that was not functioning. Well, now it's a joke with me...."they thought it was all in my head, and it WAS, MRI some 30 years later, showed lesions on the brain!" Had it not been for having ON way back when (along with neurological signs showing during that period of "hypochondria"), my MS would never have been service connected.

                              I went through 10 years of denial, still have difficulty fully accepting it, so don't think you're strange with your thought process in that respect. Just like you, it was this last exacerbation that smacked me with reality. Heck, I went through 10 years of blaming EVERYTHING else on my exacerbation. I was really good at lying to myself!!

                              Sorry for the circumstances that brought you here, but welcome aboard. Hopefully, in time, you will see the humor some of us have found with this disease, it helps ease the stress.
                              MS, it's a brain thang!
                              Proud to have served, U.S Army WAC

                              Comment

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