Thursday, January 12, 2012

Major Vent About the VA Procedures

So I got another denial from the VA in the mail today. They didn't address the biggest concerns, but they DID deny my PTSD and foot claims.  They claimed I was never diagnosed with PTSD, but I have the records FROM the VA that show I was, on more than one occasion.  Good thing I got those printed out monthly.  They claim the foot condition I claimed wasn't evident, but that another one was, and was proven by their x-rays, but wasn't related to service connection because they had no evidence of fractures while I was in service...yet on the next page they referenced fractures that were documented and x-rayed while I was in basic.  Looking up the condition they said I have online, it results from several sources, but a common one is...the very fracture they referenced on the next page of the letter.  Makes no sense.  They claim my symptoms of PTSD were a result of my diagnosed bipolar and borderline personality disorders...but then went on to say that I had no history of mental treatment in the Army.  I was diagnosed in the Army! I was intimate with TMHCs at several posts!  It amazes me how when I first filed, I was denied because they had no records of anything I claimed...then when I appealed, the records miraculously appeared...but only in part.  First they had no records at all, then they had records related to my knee injuries, that they used to deny my claims because I didn't report further pain within a year of discharge...then they lost THOSE records again and suddenly I had no documented knee injuries...same with the breast diagnoses in the Army (1990 to be exact) they found records relating to one fracture in my left foot that they used to deny my claim yet it contradicts their very denial...oh and this is rich that my PTSD symptoms are a result of being bipolar.  My nightmares are very VERY specific.  My flashbacks are very VERY specific.  They relate to one incident.  I've had doctors and counselors from three different states and many facilities say I have PTSD...including the VA (which those records are now mysteriously missing, even though some are only a few months old).  I'm not asking for "something for nothing."  I'm not even concerned about a monthly check.  I do want the right to seek treatment at VA facilities without having to pay out the wazoo because they're "out of network" for my insurance.  Some acknowledgement would be nice.  And don't even get me started on the cancer.  The examiner last time I went, in October, actually told me because I didn't "catch cancer within one year of discharge," they were most likely going to deny it again.  "Catch cancer."  Seriously?  I'm being penalized because I was "strong" and didn't go to the doctors for years and worked through pain until something LITERALLY dropped me in my tracks.  They have documented cases exactly correlating to mine, except those people were "lucky" enough to either still be in the military or have gone to the doctor and had every little minor complaint documented.  I know the idea is to force me to give up so they don't have to deal with it...and honestly, after three plus years of this crap, I'm so tempted to just throw my hands in the air and say "I got screwed yet again, welcome to America."  This is not right.

I'm not saying the Army is bad, or the military is, or anything like that.  I LOVED my time in the Army and if I were healthy and not too old, I'd go back in a heartbeat because that's the happiest I've ever been in my life.  There is no reason for me to have the health issues I've battled for the past twenty years though.  I got sick while I was over continued when I came home and has worsened over the years.  What frustrates me is the loss of records that could prove my claim, while portions of those same records appear to "disprove" certain parts of my claim.  Its an obvious mismanagement and mishandling of those files.  Its upsetting though when veterans are denied things they should be entitled to.

Not to mention, every time I've gone for a review, I've seen my records...including my old jacket from my actual Army days.  There were four large files in October...each 3-5 inches thick (some were bigger than the others).  The smallest was the one in my jacket from the 90s, and it was at least 3 inches thick.  I peeked at it when I was changing into a gown for the exam, and it was, indeed, from my basic training days, as well as some from when I was in Saudi and when I came back (I didn't have time to look at the whole thing obviously).  I DID see the page that specifically addressed my abnormal breast exams.  Yet...they claim not to have any evidence such an exam took place.  These are just some of the things that make me want to rip my hair out.

I'm going to try one last time to contact my congressman.  He's ignored me ever since his lucky butt was voted into office (ousting a wonderful man who fought for veterans and for his MS constituents, even when it went against Democratic principles) on the wave of discontent the country felt over Obama.  If I still can't get assistance or even mild interest from him or his office, I guess the VA will have won.  I do not have the energy to continue this battle.  I'm exhausted.

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