Hello all, Thanks for adding me as this is my first post. I am an Iraqi Veteran and left service in 2010. I filed my first claims myself between 2010 and 2013 for Obstructive Lung Disease, Tinnitus, and Polyarthralgia linked to Lyme Disease. For each of those claims, I only submitted VA 21-4138’s and articles from medical journals supporting my claim. After Extensive C&P exams, I was granted the tinnitus and the Polyarthralgia, but only service connected at 0% for the lung disease. 2 years later I resubmitted for asthma as the symptoms had gotten more severe and I was now on a steroid inhaler daily. I was then granted 30% for asthma.
Moving forward a few years, I have now developed Sleep Apnea, and after a year of CPAP treatment, I decided to use “Vet Comp and Pen” for help for my claim. With all of my civilian medical treatment records, and CPAP prescription, they were successful at combining my Asthma rating with the OSA awarding my 50%. I filed with the new Decision Ready Claim and within 6 day of the VA made their favorable decision.
A few weeks later I attempted to submit a new claim for GERD through “Vet Comp and Pen”. I supplied them with medical treatment records showing an Esophagram in 2006, Endoscopies in (2007, 2012, 2016, and 2 in 2017), another Esophagram in 2017, a Bravo PH Monitoring exam in 2017, and an Esophageal Manometry in 2017. All test show Esophagitis Grade B, Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease with Esophagitis, Erosive Esophagitis Stage III, Hiatal Hernia, Diaphragmatic Hernia, and Duodenitis. I have been on Omeprazole 40mg since 2012, and have continual heartburn, acid reflux, a persistent cough, arm and shoulder pain, and worst of all, regurgitation of food, and vomiting acid into my mouth while sleeping. I was attempting to file this claim as a secondary service connection attributed to the daily dosage of NSAID’s like naproxen, and Ibuprofen along with the Symbicort Inhaler usage. Unfortunately with all of the medical evidence I supplied them, “Vet Comp and Pen” only instructed me to submit a 21-4138 personal statement and a VA 21-256. Basically nothing was submitted in support of my claim, not one shred of evidence, no IMO, no Lay evidence, nothing to establish NEXUS. I even made three phone calls to Vet Comp and Pen confirming this is what they wanted me to do. Needless to say, after submitting it as a Decision Ready Claim as instructed, it was denied after the VA had it in their possession for 6 days.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I think instead of going through a long and lengthy appeal process, it may be more beneficial and easier to file again as a new claim. This time I will be going through the DAV again but this time submitting a 21-4138 personal statement, a VA 21-256, all of my medical procedures, and plenty of medical journal evidence showing the link between NSAID’s, Asthma inhalers and GERD. I am also having my Gastroenterologist complete a VA 21-0960G-1for Esophageal Conditions.
The problem that I am running into is the NEXUS. I was in the Army National Guard from 1996 – 2010. I had Lyme disease in 1998 and had chronic arthritis pretty much from that time on continuously taking NSAID’s. I saw a civilian Gastroenterologist in 2006 and 2007 prior to my last deployment to Iraq in 2008 – 2009. Unfortunately being a helicopter pilot in the Army, any type of medical issue had the high probability of grounding you rendering you useless to your unit. I self medicated with Prevacid and Tums until I returned home from my deployment and a friend urged me to see a Dr again explaining the problems if left untreated ie, Esophageal Cancer. I am looking for someone that can review all of my evidence and compose a solid Independent Medical Opinion connecting my symptoms to the required usage of NSAID’s and Steroidal Inhalers for my Service Connected Polyarthralgia and Asthma.
Any help, suggestions, and input would be much appreciated.