Air Force Member with Crohns Disease need help!!!!!!!

Do you think I will pass the board?
Yes - 0.0%
No - 60.0%
I dont know - 40.0%
It all depends on how bad you want to stay in - 0.0%

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/16/2009 6:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi my name is Leilani and I am 20 yrs old and currently in the Air Force....I was diagnosed with crohns disease in May of this year and was told that the disease was all throughout my large intestines and a large portion of my small intestines also. Since then I have been on an up and down rolloercoaster with the illness. I had several ER visits since then due to the pain in my side along with naseau and not being able to hold my food down since I was taking several medications.  The doctor hadnt given me any suggestions for a new diet to follow and I really dont think that it was a certain food that set it off.....Im convinced that I probably developed the disease from a mixture of an improper diet(I have a horriblly small appetite) and stress(due to a really tough divorce with a lunatic).  Very recently I found out that I am to be medical boarded. Im not sure when quite yet but through what reasearch I have done since the bad news, I haven't really seen any positive outcomes of military members in general with the illness. Im trying to figure is there anyone out there that does have Crohns and is still active military or does generally anyone diagnosed with this get medically discharged? Im trying to be hopeful because I had no intentions of leaving the air force on these terms, but I also need to be realistic. I dont want to get caught without being prepared because I was hopeful and ended up discharged. I want to say that they base the decision on how severe your case is, but i definitely dont think mine is mild. So someone please help because I really dont even know where to start with finding out my chances of passing and what will happen to my benefits if I am in fact let go. I've only been in for 1 1/2 yrs and I'm afraid that because of that I will not get my GI Bill. Thank you for reading this and I await your response.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 8/16/2009 6:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Leilani,

Welcome to Healingwell, only sorry you have to be here. I do not have any answers for you, but I am sure one of the others will be along soon. We do have a few ex military on the forum.

I am a moderator here and was concerned about your screen name as it is an email address. You are liable to get ALOT of spam if you leave your screen name as it is. Could you please go into the control panel and edit your screen name to where it is not a email address? I also believe screen names are not allowed to be emails. This is no biggie, so no stress ok, its just for your personal protection.

Big Hugs,
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium  w/Vit D, and Xanax as needed for my anxiety.  Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 57
   Posted 8/16/2009 11:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Lei, I hope that you will find us all willing to listen to you and somewhat helpful to you. I am not in any way military but my one suggestion would be to get to a doctor and try to get on some medicines before your test comes up. I would think that you would have a better chance of passing if you were feeling better and were stable. Your diet is especially important but it is secondary to the correct meds and believe me that takes a while. I have had Crohn's and Colitis for 30 years and my GI and I have had to go through many many meds to find the right ones to help me feel better. As you are finding out, Crohn's is a terrible disease and you can spend all day and night in the bathroom, but there are new medicines that can help IF you can find the right GI and the right medicine. If it were I, I would want to be feeling better before I went in front of the board if I had the time. If it doesn't take long to see a doctor, run don't walk and see what a GI can do to help you. GOOD LUCK!


Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 377
   Posted 8/16/2009 10:00 PM (GMT -7)   
its weird. It sounds like your case is severe so I'm wondering why they haven't tried some of the strong time meds right out of the block. Like IV meds. However, I will say that Crohns gets worse the more stress you're under. I say that only to see from the Army's perspective as well as yours. I will say that if I were you, start getting insurance NOW. Pre-existing condition or no, you can find a way to pay for any meds/doc visits before ANY decision is made through the Army. Is it possible to change what work you do within the ranks? Can you fight the decision? How on EARTH did you survive everything basic training and whatnot caused to your body without feeling sick before if you've got scarring throughout? LOL. I mean, there are tons of us who are strong, were superstrong people before diagnosis...and I wonder if any of us had to be put through the type of physical strain you were put through; although there are some who had children and that's a tremendous strain as well.

Anyway, I wish you the best with you situation. There's always a solution, you've just got to search sometimes to find the right answer for you.
27/f/CD. 4 CD related surgeries: 2 resections, 2 JP drains, 3 NG tubes, many absesses (including the one my most recent surgery scraped off my ovary) and fistulas.
Have lost in these surgeries: appendix, 8 in. intestine, R fallopian tube, gallbladder, 10 in. intestine
Allergies and Asthma my whole life
OTC Wal-Zyr D 12-hour
Depression after surgeries and illness of 2003.
Crohns Dx'd: February 2008.
Fibromyalgia Dx'd: July 21, 2009
Prenatal Vitamin

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 6131
   Posted 8/16/2009 11:08 PM (GMT -7)   
hey Lei. thats too bad. i went through the same thing only it was in 1985! they pretty much had made up their minds before hand. however there were only like 2 drugs back then. now with so may drugs to try and treat you, the longer you can hang on the better off youll be. your first priority should be base legal! get some help and dont sign ANYTHING without a legal person looking out for YOUR interests and not the USAF's. the whole thing is to get you out witht the least cost. you need advice from a veterans rep. like the DAV, AmVets, American legion etc.. make and appointment! its free and they are there to watch out for you! there should be a rep maybe even on base. i know there is here in my area. depending on the rules now, if they insist you go, try for medical retirement and not medical discharge. more benefits. also if you have been overseas at all? the veterans rep may be able to help you with getting them to give you service connected status . very important for medical benefits etc... like were you close to any burn pits? chemical spills? nuclear leaks? nerve agents, etc... good luck and keep us posted.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 314
   Posted 8/17/2009 9:08 AM (GMT -7)   
I just wanted to say I know someone that got med-boarded right after boot camp and they got their GI bill, but that was the army

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 8/17/2009 9:35 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I'm in the military (AD AF) and sort-of going through the same thing. I was diagnoised with Crohn's in Feb, got a second opinion and then diagnoised with IBS. So they haven't exactly figured out what will happen to me yet.

Anyway I did a bunch of research so here are a few things for you:

Chron's Disease is a mandatory MEB because of the unpredictable nature of the disease

Yes, there are people who have been retained by the MEB with Crohns, most of those have thier disease under control and it has no impact on thier daily job performance, your current commander has a big part in the MEB so keep him/her in the loop

The military doesn't like to use the stronger immune supres. drugs because you will loose your world-wide qualification, much more likely to be separated if you loose your ability to deploy

I could go on and on about the MEB/PEB process but you better off visiting the web site below.

Go to is the best site for MEB/PEB related issues and they have a ton of knowledge about the MEB process and your legal rights, additionally several people with colitis/crohns frequent the site and can help.

Good luck and keep use updated!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 517
   Posted 8/17/2009 6:02 PM (GMT -7)   
I would say there are not active duty service members with this disease nor reservists for that matter. A possible sequence of events: There is a temporary retired list and a permanant list. I am not exactly sure of the details of the sequence...but your case might go as being placed on TDRL, and then some time later be placed on a permanent list, (get orders for you to be sent to your home of record). At some point there will be a percentage rating established for the severity, once the doctor actually does indicate the diagnosis and determines the %, as you say there is some things in motion, basically the higher the % the more retired pay. establishing the rating may involve a military lawyer so you want the highest % rating that you can get. ask questions, if it is not explained. This disease can be unpredictable for the future.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 8/17/2009 6:07 PM (GMT -7)   
I actually know people that are active duty with this disease, but they are doctors and nurses.
Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease/Thyroid Disorders:_All comments have the caveat contact your local health care provider.

I will find a way or make one. –Phillip Sidney 1554-1586

All that I am and all that I shall ever be, I owe to my Angel Mother.

The Bucket List- Have you found joy in your life?  Has your life brought joy to others?

Make sure your suffering has meaning…

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 589
   Posted 8/18/2009 2:31 AM (GMT -7)   
I have no idea how it works after you're already in the armed forces, but whenever the recruiters called I'd offer a simple explanation of Crohn's, and they'd thank me for my time and hang up.

Kinda sucks, really. I may have actually enlisted.
21, Male, diagnosed over Christmas Break of my Junior year in High School.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/18/2009 2:14 PM (GMT -7)   
I do not know anything about continuing on active duty with Crohns, but I am an attorney with VA and I know a hell of a lot about getting disability pay after you've been discharged. You can get compensation for this, which is of dubious value as the monetary amounts tend to be pretty low, ranging from about a hundred bucks a month for a minor case to about $2k for a very bad case (and if it's that bad, you probably can't work, which means the $2k is your only income). However, there is one big advantage that is often far better than the compensation: all treatment for Crohns is free for the rest of your life if you get it through VA. This means appointments, medication, surgery, etc. It is definitely worth pursuing.

In order to get access to these benefits, you need to establish what is known as "service connection" for Crohns. It's a complex process and you should talk to DAV or another one of the vet rep organizations. However, there are a few things that are very very helpful to your case:

1) Get a diagnosis in service - Make sure it's written down in your medical records that you have Crohns
2) Do not let the military say that Crohns existed prior to your enlistment. If they try to do that, fight it as hard as you can. If they do say that it existed prior to enlistment, get medical evidence that it got worse while you were on active duty.
3) Get another diagnosis immediately after you get out of military service.
4) Submit you application for compensation and pension AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after separation. Do not delay, the system takes a LONG, LONG time to work through. It's not unusual for it to take 6 months for a basic claim to be granted... and if it is denied and you have to appeal, you're looking at a multi-year process. The faster you get on top of this after you get out, the more likely your claim will be granted and the faster it will happen.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/20/2009 5:55 AM (GMT -7)   
thank you so much for all the replies...My mom was happy to know that so many people are out there to help and give advice. I have not received any word on the meb or when it will be yet so it looks like im going to have to take a little initative and knock peoples door down. Which is not suprising but never the less....I will keep you all posted on whats to come of this mess...but i do have another quick question...Is it possible for you to get your home of record changed??

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 8/20/2009 4:47 PM (GMT -7)   
if your next of kin has moved then it is possible.
Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease/Thyroid Disorders:_All comments have the caveat contact your local health care provider.

I will find a way or make one. –Phillip Sidney 1554-1586

All that I am and all that I shall ever be, I owe to my Angel Mother.

The Bucket List- Have you found joy in your life?  Has your life brought joy to others?

Make sure your suffering has meaning…

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 8/20/2009 7:38 PM (GMT -7)   
I am a former marine, I had crohns since I was 18. I've joined the marines when I was 23, I told my recruiting officer that I had this disease and he suggested not mentioning it on the apps. Low and behold I had a flare up during the schooling process which landed me in the hospital. Not telling anyone that I had it the Airforce Doctors discovered that it was crohns. Now if I've known about the benefits of a illness aquired during service I would'nt of been so honest to the Doctors. So now I was classified as "epts", existed prior towards service...which means no benefits and I was dicharged with care, and all because I was honest to my recruiting officer. The USMC was not honest to me and they owe me for covering up my illness...

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/24/2009 8:27 AM (GMT -7)   

You can still get service connection for a pre-existing disability if you can show that it was permanently aggravated during military service. The boilerplate legalese language is:


A preexisting injury or disease will be considered to have been aggravated by active service where there is an increase in disability during such service, unless there is a specific finding that the increase in disability is due to the natural progress of the disease. 38 U.S.C.A. § 1153; 38 C.F.R. § 3.306(a). Aggravation may not be conceded where the disability underwent no increase in severity during service on the basis of all the evidence of record pertaining to the manifestations of the disability prior to, during, and subsequent to service. 38 U.S.C.A. § 1153; 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.304, 3.306(b). A preexisting disease or injury will be presumed to have been aggravated by service only if the evidence shows that the underlying disability underwent an increase in severity; the occurrence of symptoms, in the absence of an increase in the underlying severity, does not constitute aggravation of the disability. Davis v. Principi, 276 F.3d 1341, 1345 (Fed. Cir. 2002); 38 C.F.R. § 3.306(a).

Aggravation for purposes of entitlement to VA compensation benefits requires more than that a preexisting disorder become intermittently symptomatic during service; rather, there must be permanent advancement of the underlying pathology. Aggravation is characterized by an increase in the severity of a disability during service, and a finding of aggravation is not appropriate in cases where the evidence specifically shows that the increase is due to the natural progress of the disease. Furthermore, temporary or intermittent flare-ups of a preexisting disease during service are not sufficient to be considered aggravation of the disease unless the underlying condition, as contrasted to symptoms, is worsened. See Jensen v. Brown, 4 Vet. App. 304, 306-07 (1993); Hunt v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 292 (1991); Verdon v. Brown, 8 Vet. App. 529, 536-7 (1996).


What this basically means is that you need to get a doctor to give you a medical opinion that your Crohn's got permanently worse during military service. If you can prove that, you'll get service connection just as if it had started in service. For you, I recommend the following steps:

1) Get in touch with a vet rep agency such as DAV, VFW, VVA, etc. They'll give you more info on what to do and what evidence you need.
2) Get a private doctor to look you over and give a written opinion about whether your Crohn's was permanently aggravated by military service. Make sure he conducts a full exam before giving the opinion AND make sure he reviews all of your old medical records, especially your service medical records. Make sure the doctor gives a detailed explanation of WHY he thinks your Crohn's was permanently aggravated, citing your own medical history and current medical knowledge if at all possible. Send this report to VA with your claim.
3) If you do the above, VA will likely schedule you for an exam of their own to get a VA doctor opinion on the issue. If the doctor agrees with the private doctor, your claim will likely be granted. If he disagrees, your claim will likely be denied. If it is denied, (promptly) appeal the claim properly up to the Board of Veterans' Appeals. Your rep can help you with this.
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