Active Duty AF with Crohn's

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txmark
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 4/27/2009 5:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all.....new guy to the forum.  I'm looking for some help/guidance/advice with air force career.  I'm an active duty pilot going on 9 years in the AF.  I have been having some back/abdominal pain since March of 2008 and finally diagnosied with Chron's in Feb 09.  I have tried two different rounds of pred, pentansa, and flagyl and I'm currently on sulfasazine, Cipro, nexium, and folic acid.....symptoms are getting worse if anything.  As a pilot I'm only authorized to take pentansa and I have to be symptom free for 6 months before I can continue to fly.  Doesn't look like that is going to happen and the GI may start me on some of the stronger drugs which are no good for a military career.  Like everyone else I'm hoping for a 30% rating to keep the benefits.
 
Anyone go through an AF MEB/PEB for crohn's?  Likely outcome?  Any advice/help is appreciated!! 
 
Thanks!!

gachrons
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4527
   Posted 4/27/2009 6:48 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Welcome to Healing Well was wondering why you aren't able to take the higher up meds with your job? lol gail
Hallarious woman over 50 ,CD ,IBS 27 years--resection,fistula's,obstructions,hemmies,and still alive.lol gail
"Blessed are those that can give without remembering and recieve without forgetting ~Aurthor Unknown~


Ides
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 7077
   Posted 4/27/2009 8:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome to Healing Well, txmark! I'm sorry that CD has so negatively impacted your military career. My husband retired after 20 years in the Army so I know a nit about the military health care system. I am short of time tonight but will come back tomorrow and give you a link to someone that I think can give you advice or direct you to information regarding your situation and the MEB/PEB process.

Are you having CD related arthritis issues in your back? Have you seen a rheumatologist? Have you been assessed for ankylosing spondylitis?

I'll get back to you tomorrow. If you are more comfortable taking this issue off the board, feel free to email. My email addy is available by clicking on the envelope icon under my screen name to the left.
Moderator Crohn's Disease Forum
CD, Ankylosing Spondylitis, lupus, small fiber peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis, peripheral artery disease, degenerative disc disease, and a host of other medical problems.
 


randynoguts
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 6049
   Posted 4/28/2009 1:16 AM (GMT -7)   
hey TXmark... yes i have . your email is set to private. so if you want some info email me through here or off my crohns webite below.. that wa y we can get specific and not bore everyone else.. :0). randy
randynoguts 



     http://www.geocities.com/randynogutsweb/


Ides
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 7077
   Posted 4/28/2009 9:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Did your back problems begin before the abdominal symptoms? There is a disease, ankylosing spondylitis [AS], where a person sometimes later develops Crohn's. In reverse, a person with Crohn's can develop AS after the onset of the CD. There is an active AS group with an expert in the MEB and VA rating process in regards to AS. I am hopeful they might be able to give you some advice re: MEB/PEB. At the following link, pose your questions to them: http://forums.spondylitis.org/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=23&PHPSESSID=

Also, randynoguts has lots of experience with this and I encourage you to contact him.


Moderator Crohn's Disease Forum
CD, Ankylosing Spondylitis, lupus, small fiber peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis, peripheral artery disease, degenerative disc disease, and a host of other medical problems.
 


txmark
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 4/28/2009 3:54 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks everyone for the responses.  I started having abdominal problems within 2-3 weeks of the back pain.  I do have a herniated disk but the doc's say it is not associated with my pain.  Since the treatment for crohn's started the back pain has improved significantly.  I have had blood test and an x-ray focusing on AS (both came back negative) but I have not seen a rheumatologist and my doc's haven't said anything else about it.  I just started seeing a new GI specialist at UNC today and I really like him.  He seems very knowledgeable and interested in ALL my symptoms. I will address the back pain and other joint pain I have with him.  Unfortunately, he is repeating the colonoscopy and wants me to do a test in which I have to swallow a camera before he changes any medications.  So I have another scope scheduled for next week.

 

As far as the military goes, pilots are very limited on what medication they are able to take.  The concern is that the body may react to something differently in the "flight environment".  Steroids and immunosuppressant are not allowed and crohn’s has to be in full remission for obvious reasons.

 

Randynoguts email sent.

 

Thanks again for the help!!  


randynoguts
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 6049
   Posted 4/28/2009 6:57 PM (GMT -7)   
hey mark i answered ya ..
randynoguts 



     http://www.geocities.com/randynogutsweb/


MissCris
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 321
   Posted 4/28/2009 8:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Finally something I can be useful on :P I was ADAF when I was dx with Crohn's. I worked on the flight line so I didn't have as many restrictions on medications as you do but all they pulled me off anyway because of all the vicodin they pumped into me. I went through the medical board and they gave me 30% for CD and 30% for anxiety for a total of 50% (go figure).

As long as they consider your CD service connected (which they should as long as it wasn't pre-existing), that will be covered for life no matter what (through the VA). Higher percentages just determine how much disability you will receive monthly, if you qualify for things like Vocational Rehabilitation, and if you have to pay a co-pay when you are seen at the VA for medical services.

Also...if they offer you severance pay know that if you take it, you will have to "pay it back" before you can get your full disability because you can't technically collect both. I took my severance pay (which I don't regret) so I have been getting half of my disability checks until the severance pay is "paid back" which happens to be August of this year. As of August I will start getting about 800 dollars a month.

If you have any more questions that I might be able to answer feel free to ask. Hopefully I can help :P Best of luck to you!!
"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity" ~ Horace Mann


randynoguts
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 6049
   Posted 4/29/2009 1:42 AM (GMT -7)   
miss cris... after they take the first 30%... then you are only 70% or a person ,so they take another 30% of that and it leaves you with 50. rounded up of course. yea, they dont miss a thing. ;0)
randynoguts 



     http://www.geocities.com/randynogutsweb/


txmark
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 4/29/2009 3:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Miss Cris,
 
You said you were rated at 50% but recieved a severance check???  Was the 50% rating from the VA after the MEB/PEB seperated you.  It is my understanding that if you are rated from the PEB at above 30% you are either put on TDRL or PDRL and recieve full retirement benefits.  Anything less than a 30% means a severance check and only VA health benefits.
 
How bad was your crohn's at the time you seperated? 

MissCris
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 321
   Posted 4/29/2009 7:53 PM (GMT -7)   
My MEB/PEB rating was 10% which I was told didn't mean anything, they just had to give me a % to get me out the door. After I had been out for a few months I started the VA rating process and it took about a year to get my rating from them. They put me at 50% but since I had already accepted severance pay, I only get half my disability until the severance is paid back.

I really can't remember what the qualifications for retirement are but its possible that you would have to get 30% from the PEB to get it...but they only gave me 10%. Obviously retirement is better but I've been out for over 2 years and I really can't complain about the benefits that I DO receive. The VA takes good care of me. As of August I will get a little over 800/mo in disability, they pay for me to go back to school through Voc Rehab (I also get a monthly stipend from Voc Rehab), and I get seen at the VA for any medical problem I have, even a cold, completely free of charge.

At the time I separated...I was still in bad shape. It was never to the point where I had to have surgery but two months before I was discharged, I was hospitalized for a week. I never got into remission and they didn't really care. I had an unlimited supply of vicodin and they were fine with leaving it at that. They had me on 3x3 Pentasa which didn't really cut it. After I got out, a new GI upped my Pentasa and started me on steroids which finally helped. Prednisone helped me get things under control and I needed to almost double my Pentasa before it started helping. Even then, I still had bad days. How much Pentasa are you on currently? My current maint. dose is 4k mg/day.
"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity" ~ Horace Mann


Former58D
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 173
   Posted 5/3/2009 5:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello all. I am also an active duty Army guy, 11 years of service, OH-58D pilot (former) who was diagnosed with Crohn's. I'm interested in your outcome with the Airforce. I was diagnosed in Sep 2007 and since I'm currently in a non-flying job there has been no rush to figure out my aviation career until recently. I just had my Aeromedical Summary sent to Fort Rucker which will result in my permanent grounding. I don't think I will require a MEB/PEB at this point. I have Crohn's in the rectum and currently take Colozal and a nightly suppository. I still have small amounts of bleeding and some urgency, but nothing crazy. I have never had a crazy CBC - never anemic, elevated ESR or CRP. I currently exceed the maximum dosage for the 5-ASA drugs. Thinking about going to 6MP in June when I see my GI doc again.

Good Luck and please provide any info you can!

christianbcmom
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 5/3/2009 8:48 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all. My husband was in the Air Force as well, missile maintenance, and he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2006. As of August 2007, we (my husband) were medically seperated from the Air Force. It went extremely fast for us, and it was our plan to retire military. However, I guess the Lord had other plans. We went against the medical board and were out within months. He now gets paid by the VA monthly, like someone else mentioned, and he gets Voc Rehab benefits as well. He was rated 30% for the colitis alone, but we have a total rating of 60%. He was rated on his knees and back as well. Fairly simple process. Like someone else mentioned, we too have to pay back the severence pay that the Air Force originally gave us, (which I think is stupid!!!) but once we are done paying that back we should receive around $1200/month. We actually are currently in the process of appealing his claim for UC. His UC is so severe we are to the point of discussing colestomy's and iliastomy's (sorry for spelling). Anyhow, on the bright side of things, we also receive approx. $850 a month from Voc Rehab while he's in school. It's pretty neat. They not only pay for all of his schooling and textbooks, but they also pay us an additional $850 a month. So being on the outside of the military isn't so scary!!! It was at first after being in for 6 years and always living on base, but now, it's not so bad!!! I wish you the best of luck, and my prayers are with you!!!
Alaina - age 26
Vitiligo
Hyperthyroidism
Ulcerative Colitis-- Diagnosed when I was 16. (It has it's ups and downs)
Uticarial Vasculitis (my newest endeavor)
 
 
Current Meds:
Xyzal (5 mg every 12 hours), Atarax (every 6 hours), Pepcid (every 12 hours), Doxepin (50mg at bed time), Levothyroxine (.50 mg), and Ativan if needed, but I haven't really used it. I also have been loving Aveeno Oatmeal bath, and their calimine lotion when all else fails!
 
 
 
 


KNJ
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 6/8/2009 9:29 AM (GMT -7)   

My husband is in the Army and was diagnosed with severe Crohn's Disease in Nov 2008.  He joined the Army in 2006.  He has been in the hospital 3 times with it, but has not had to have surgery.  He was started on mercaptopurine (6-MP), along with prednisone for the CD.  The 6-MP was not working for him, so his GI doc said he had to be more aggressive with treatment during his last hospital stay in May 09.  He is now being infused with Remicade.  The problem with Remicade is that he is non-deployable while taking it, and his GI doc said he would be on it for a minimum of 2 years.  Our PCM on post told us that it would be inevitable that he would have to go through a MEB Board, so we decided to go ahead and do it now while she is still at our post.  She is leaving in a month.  has seen him through the entire process, so she knows his case the best.  This week he is going through Phase I, II & III of the process.  We are not sure what our outcome will be at this point. 

 

Is there anyone out there that has a severe case of Crohn's that has already received a disability rating? 

 

KNJ


randynoguts
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 6049
   Posted 6/8/2009 7:50 PM (GMT -7)   
knj. yes i started at 30 then 50 ,60 then 100. pretty severe case though.. check my website below for the whole sordid story.. randy
randynoguts 



     http://www.geocities.com/randynogutsweb/

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