Veterans Benefits and Prostate Cancer

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Sonny3
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 2448
   Posted 4/27/2011 5:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Just an update on my PCa journey and VA Disability Benefits. I am putting this here for others that may need the info now and for future members that will come here looking for answers.

In October 2009, I learned here at HW that I might be eligible for VA Disability because of my PCa and Vietnam service. It's all about Agent Orange relation to PCa.

I submitted my claim in October 2009 and was called to the VA in Jan 2010 for a physical evaluation. My claim was approved in April 2010 (back paid to Oct 09) for 100% disability. Additionally, and I try not to laugh too hard, I was awarded a Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) of $96.00. This award is for the "loss of a creative organ". In government speak, this is the award for ED and the fact that it does not work any more.

In January 2011 I was directed to report to the VA for another physical and re-evaluation.

Today I received correspondence stating that I would continue to receive 100% disability.

Further my status has been changed to "Permanent and Total". This means I will not have to go through any further exams and re-evaluation. Also, in my last exam I reported that METS had been found and they would like me to submit documentation of the findings as I may be eligible for further compensation.

In Florida, Veterans also receive benefits when they are designated P&T. These are; DAV license plates for all of my vehicles at no cost; no cost hunting and fishing licenses; ID cards for my wife and I for access to all military bases and use of the exchanges and facilities; and last but not least in Florida, P&T status relieves me of paying any "Property Taxes" on my home.

Please understand I am not posting this here because I feel like I found a winning lottery ticket. Yes I am glad the "Blue Bird of Happiness" has visited me once again, but I would trade all of this to have never gotten the PCa diagnosis in the first place.

I post it here for all of you that may be eligible for VA Benefits and are just not aware of it. There are many of you that could probably use a little help in dealing with this crappy journey we are all on.

All of this is further evidence of the absolute value of HW and the help and support that is freely given here. I would have never known about any of this if not for HW.

As an aside, this whole discussion I learned from, about Agent Orange and PCa was one that Purgatory had started that October day in 2009. He was informing us all about the possible benefits and the fact that he was submitting his claim.

As of my conversation with him today, "He has still not been approved and is going through the "red tape" appeal process. The guy just can't catch a break with any darn thing.

Sonny
60 years old - PSA 11/07 3.0 PSA 5/09 6.4
da Vinci 9/17/09 Post Surgery Pathology: GS 4+3=7
Stage: T3a
Tumor Volume 12.5% positive margin, extra-prostatic extension
PSA .6 IMRT completed 1/15/10 35 treatments- 70Gy
2/23/10 Post IMRT PSA 1.0
3/22/10 PSA 1.5
4/19/10 PSA 1.2
5/22/10 PSA 1.3
8/9/10 Radiation for MET
9/7/10 PSA 2.2
1/5/11 PSA 3.9
3/7/11 PSA 4.2
4/10/11 PSA 3.8

Post Edited (Sonny3) : 4/27/2011 4:14:27 PM (GMT-6)


compiler
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 7270
   Posted 4/27/2011 5:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Very Interesting.
 
Mel

Purgatory
Elite Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 4/27/2011 5:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Sonny, now that I got a personal response back from Senator Lindsey Graham, I feel more confident. My entire claim is being held up on the slimmest of technicaliy, one that only exists for Navy Viet-Nam vet's like myself (and you). And the fact that the VA admin in SC sucked big time, and were aggervated that I wouldn't back down and they tried to stop me from appealing directly to the VA in Washington, DC. I knew my legal rights, and went forward. Our particular Senator is real pro-Vet's rights, and I am confident that it will be resolved. The back pay they owe me now is huge.

I am happy for your good fortune. Perhaps my break will come soon.

David in SC

PS Give a careful hug to Lynn from me.
Age: 58, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, on catheters for 101 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06, 2/11 1.24, 4/11 3.81
Latest: 6 Corr Surgeries to Bladder Neck, SP Catheter since 10/1/9, SRT 39 Sess/72 gy ended 11/09, 21 Catheters, Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/10

SubicSquid
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 252
   Posted 4/27/2011 6:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Does anybody know if they have opened up these Agent Orange benefits to the "blue water" Navy yet? I know they added a bunch of smallboy ships that actually pulled into port in Vietnam, but they were trying not to have to add all the carrier sailors. I unfortunately was on a carrier during all three tours. Had one night in Danang, which could probably qualify me, but there is absolutely no way to get proof. My old ship (USS Oriskany) is now a reef off of Florida. Anyway, good news for you Sonny! That 100% disability might even get you 1/4 of a tank of gas for your RV at todays prices! Squid.
*Age 64, PSA July 2009 .66; Biopsy: 2 of 12 cores positive, Gleason 3 + 5
*open Surgery 10/22/09
*Post Surgery Biopsy Gleason 4 + 3; 2 positive margins
*03/11/10 - Bladder neck surgery for stricture
*PSA - 30 day/.07, 90 day/<.1, 180 day/.21
*07/27/10 - IGRT done - 39 zaps, 70 gys
*Post IGRT PSA - 9 mo. PSA, still <.1

Sparrowhawk
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 130
   Posted 4/27/2011 6:56 PM (GMT -6)   
  Let me ring the ship's bell and add some scuttlebutt.   I've had a terrible time in NY (Bronx VA).  The urology interns (Yes- Interns!) there really didn't speak to me about my condition or my options.  On top of that my biopsy was some what screwed up, the number of samples don't watch the number of actual samples taken.  (Doesn't really matter since the out come was cancer.)
  Well, good thing is this was all my first opinion and being service connected it hasn't cost me anything but piece of mind.
  Next step is off to Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan.   I've requested and received all my VA paperwork, biopsy slides, a CD of MRI's-bone scan, ultrasound's and PSA results since 2005.
 
  As for Blue Water Navy Sailors, (Thanks for you service by the way!  Welcome Home to all of those who served in Viet Nam!)  If there is any documented proof that Agent Orange was transported aboard your ship- you are service connected.   If you ship pulled a port in Viet Nam you are service connected.  It is a royal pain in the butt to get proof.  Most ship log's do not record what was brought on board or delivered by the ship.  There are cases of Mar-Det logs with notations of having posted guard on Barrels of Chemical Defoliant.   Check with your ship's web site, her cruise books for photos,   The impression I'm under from the DAV chapter I'm with is that the VA is open to claims for any Veteran  assigned to a  ship that was stationed off Viet Nam.  The VFW is under the same impression.  The American Legion didn't know, but thought that any Veteran awarded a Viet Nam service ribbon was eligible for a service connected claim. 
 
USS Independence CV(A)-62 Cruise Book Historian
Indy Crew of 1980-83, Air Dept. VO Div. ABH-2

USN 1979-1987  Grt Lks 79-267, NETTC Memphis,
NAS Millington, NETC NPT RI Brig Staff
Life Member DAV, Member VFW, Member AL

60Michael
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2243
   Posted 4/27/2011 7:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the update Sonny. Like you I still get check,  but live with the fact that it comes at  a terrible price. Would rather have my health and be here for my family for as long as posssible.
Michael

Mitch128
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 83
   Posted 4/28/2011 2:52 PM (GMT -6)   
 
Sonny,
 

The old axiom "There's no such thing as a dumb question" may very well apply here.

 

With that said, I have no idea if I qualify for VA benefits, yes no. My situation encapsulated:

 

NROTC scholarship student at the University of Tennessee 1957 - 1961 followed by flight school at Pensacola, followed by 6 years active duty flying A4 Skyhawks, then F8 Crusaders - all 1st/7th fleet blue water, combat related. I was honorably separated to the USNR-RA as an O-3 (Lieutenant) in 1968.

 

In the ensuing years I joined the Reserves and flew C-130's out of Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska for 2 years followed by another inactive period of several years. I rejoined the Reserves in Greenville, SC and flew F-14 Tomcats as XO of VAX-1 out of Beaufort, SC MCAS for 4 years. Both the Anchorage and Beaufort assignments were as a "Weekend Warrior". Total active duy time including NROTC and weekend drills amount to 17 years +/-. I resigned my commission as an O-5 (Commander) in 1992 and accepted transfer to the Inactive Naval Reserves.

 

I've never stepped foot on a military reservation since then and have never given a thought that I might be entitled to any VA benefits. My frame of mind at the time (and up to this point) was 'The Navy and I are square, so long I'm going to pursue a civilian career and play golf'. 

 

Sonny, your post does raise the question that I could possibly qualify for medical and/or monetary benefits should I apply. (Another factor - I had to have a back operation and a hip replaced, both attributable to 2 combat related ejections.)

 

Based on the foregoing, do you think I should pursue the matter?

 

Thanks,

 

Mitch in SC

Post Edited (Mitch128) : 4/28/2011 2:10:02 PM (GMT-6)


Purgatory
Elite Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 4/28/2011 4:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Mitch, I can answer for you. During any of your military time, did you do missions in Viet-Nam, and at anytime did your plane stop on the ground in Viet-Nam, i.e. re-arming or re-fueling, if so, you would have a legitimate shot at the Agent Orange provision for Prostate Cancer with the VA disability. If your planes were carrier based, and all your missions were in the air over Viet-Nam, or off the coast, it would probablly not qualify. They use the phrase "boots on the ground" to determine eligibility for this provision. To the VA, it doesn't matter if you spent a night in Saigon, if your military records state that, then you would be eligible, or if you were in the Army and spent 3 tours of duty on the ground. With us Navy guys, the burden of proof can be harder, as you are trying to establish something that took place over 40 years a go.

I was in VP-17, P-3 Orions. Even though the planes obviously weren't carrier based (4 engine turbo prop), it still counted as "sea duty". My squadron was deployed from Barbers Point NAS in Hawaii, to Sangley Point NAS in the RPI. We had detachments in both Utapao, Thailand, and Cam Rah Bay, South Viet Nam. We were part of the Market Time missions off the coast of Viet-Nam and over Viet-Nam. We would refuel at either detachment center based on weather conditions and hostilities at the time, since our planes were unarmed.

So I was on the ground at both detachment places, a number of times, yet my military records show the planes being deployed to the P.I. The VA has been fighting me on that technicality. They even have pictures of our planes from my squadron at the exact time I was there, both on the ground in Cam Rah Bay, and in the air over the Mykong Delta.

The U.S. Navy knows exactly where the planes were on any given day, right down to the rosters of the flight crews. This has been my personal hangup.

After wasting a year plus fighting the VA in SC, my appeal has been lingering in Washington, DC. I have recently invoked the services of our Senator, Lindsey Graham. I have heard from him recently, and he's trying to get it approved directly.

Hope this helps.

David, also in SC
Age: 58, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, on catheters for 101 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06, 2/11 1.24, 4/11 3.81
Latest: 6 Corr Surgeries to Bladder Neck, SP Catheter since 10/1/9, SRT 39 Sess/72 gy ended 11/09, 21 Catheters, Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/10

Sonny3
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 2448
   Posted 4/29/2011 11:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Was doing a little research about changes in benefits when the rating changes to P&T and ran across this website;

vets.yuku.com/directory

It is a forum for Veterans Benefits Network. A quick look around shows it is an absolute wealth of information and it's membership seems to be a knowledgeable bunch of folks. There is a lot of Agent Orange and Blue Water info there as well as just benefits info.

Thought this might be helpful to some. Also I was looking around yesterday about the BW claims and found some sites that list all ships that ever docked or harbored in VN waters during the VN war era.

FYI and good luck,

Sonny
60 years old - PSA 11/07 3.0 PSA 5/09 6.4
da Vinci 9/17/09 Post Surgery Pathology: GS 4+3=7
Stage: T3a
Tumor Volume 12.5% positive margin, extra-prostatic extension
PSA .6 IMRT completed 1/15/10 35 treatments- 70Gy
2/23/10 Post IMRT PSA 1.0
3/22/10 PSA 1.5
4/19/10 PSA 1.2
5/22/10 PSA 1.3
8/9/10 Radiation for MET
9/7/10 PSA 2.2
1/5/11 PSA 3.9
3/7/11 PSA 4.2
4/10/11 PSA 3.8

Tim G
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2362
   Posted 4/29/2011 2:45 PM (GMT -6)   
I've posted about this issue a number of times over the past several years. The bottom line is: Except in special circumstances as mentioned above, if you're a Blue Water Navy vet, you get no Agent Orange-related prostate cancer benefits. I'm sorry to have wasted my time applying for benefits.

The link below may help to answer some of your questions:

http://www.nvlsp.org/Information/ArticleLibrary/AgentOrange/AO-VABattleBlueWaterVets0407.htm

Post Edited (TimG) : 4/29/2011 1:48:33 PM (GMT-6)


Mitch128
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 83
   Posted 4/30/2011 10:13 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks David, Sonny and Tim,
 
Much as I thought.
 
My only "wheels down" experience in Viet Nam was for an extended cycle gas/napalm strike package at Da Nang. Beautiful 8,000 (10,000 ?) foot runways, but I still got to scarf sliders and bug juice in the dirty shirt wardroom, after trapping aboard the Constellation, and sleep in my own rack that night . Three of my squadron mates on that senseless, cluster **** mission, including the CO, weren't so lucky skull
 
Mitch in SC
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