Here is a link to The Military Veterans PTSD Reference Manual, by MSG. I. S. Parrish, USA Retired, www.ptsdmanual.com
Posted: 11 OCT 03:
Note: You may contact the submittor through the Webmaster.
Posted: 25 JUN 03: Homeless Women Veterans
is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, and that is the subject of
homelessness. I am a USAF veteran and I work for Southwest Behavioral
Health Veterans Homeless Program. I see on a fairly regular basis females
(myself included) who are homeless. Most of our clients are trying to recover
from issues of addictions, mental illness. What I see is females less likely
to seek help, or become narcotic dependent, or just are not listened to as
well at our VA's. When a female comes in with a situation, there are few
resources, doctors are less apt to listen to a female (in my opinion) when
such symptoms of PTSD come up. Usually they are diagnosed as Bipolar and
treated for depression. Unfortunately many of us do have issues that may not
be war related as you well know, but we do suffer just as much as men with
PTSD for reasons not related to war, but when it comes to treatment in our
VA's we are looked upon as an unknown disease. I see female veterans not as
willing to seek help and as a result many live in emotional pain, addictions
and with the thought that it's a mans world why bother.
Just a few words from a sister.....Betty
Posted: 24 JUN 03:
Posted: 24 Jun 03:
Posted: 24 APR 03:
This is my first time in the
site. My heart breaks when I read what is happening to so many female
veterans. My mind is filled with anger and I encourage you not to give up. We
receive training in the military, remember what you learned, use your training
and learn how to deal with the system.
Having said that, I had issues during a C&P exam at the Baltimore, VA Hospital and filed a complaint. As a result of the complaint an investigator called me and she is seeking information from female veterans. She might be looking only for Maryland, but she might offer alternatives for other states.
Here is her email to me. Also, there is a site, www.hadit.com that is filled with information to support veterans and there are lots of people with a helping hand. Check them out.
...below are my office phone number and VA e-mail address. Please feel free to pass this information along to other female veterans who have experienced similar issues while receiving care at the VAMHCS.
Linda Kalb, Risk Manager
Posted: 30 Aug 02: PTSD Appeals
Posted: 16 Nov 01
I am a disabled vet of the U. S. Air Force and am currently 100%. The question I pose to all of you is, have any of you woman served at FE Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming doing missile security duty? The reason I ask is myself and 2 of my friends, all entered the service completely healthy, never being sick a day in our lives. Not until we reported to our first duty station did we begin to encounter problems. I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis, and polycystic ovaries. My 2 friends kept having abnormal paps, and one was pre cancerous. We just thought it was odd, since we had never been sick. Has anyone else encountered this problem? Please let me know. You can e mail me at CGwfe@aol.com Thanks. Jenn
Posted: 30 Aug 01: "Notes from A Retired Army SFC
Posted: 7 Jun 01: "Scoleosis (Curvature of the Spine)
Posted: 7 Jun 01: "Have I Got A Story For You"
Posted: 21 May 01: "Education Grants/Scholarships"
Posted: 11 May 01:
Posted: 11 May 01: Support Group in Portland, Oregon"
Posted: 21 Mar 01: "Degenerative Disc Disease"
Posted: 21 Mar 01: "In Response to the 27 May 98 Post, Thyroid Cancer"
In reply to Thyroid Cancer and Fort Gordon. I have a thyroid disease and spent only a month at Fort Gordon for training, since I was in the air force. I also spent some time at Dhahran during Desert Storm. The nodule on my thyroid did not appear until after Desert Storm. I don't know if this helps, but my mother did say she thought there was a drug she took when she was pregnant with me for morning sickness in 1961. She believes she has heard about some connection with thyroid diseases in the babies of that drug that occurs around the age of 30.
Posted: 9 Mar 01: "Disabled Gulf War Veteran Seeking Others with Reiter's Syndrome"
Posted: 16 Feb 01: "Service Related Health Problems"
Posted: 11 Nov 00:
I want to tell women who write about their terrible treatment, PTSD, and other serious consequences of the culture we live in that they are not alone, the past is filled with largely silent women who have undergone gross injustices and mistreatment, but that there is, at least, some information out there about it. See my book, "Warriors Without Weapons: The Victimization of Military Women", by Donna Dean, and "Hornet's Nest" by Missy Cummings for example.
Posted: 11 Nov 00: "In Response to the 8 Jul 99 Post, 'Become Productive Civilians'"
Posted: 24 Oct 00:
I have been disabled since 1992 with lupus. While serving in the military, I received silicone breast implants at Philadelphia Naval Hospital. There has been much controversy regarding silicone and it's effects on the body, but some women do have lupus, connective tissue disease, etc. as a result of the silicone. Are there any other women veterans who received silicone at a military hospital? Does the VA recognize silicone as a problem? Since the surgery was done at a military hospital and while I was on active duty, I would think that my disability would be compensable, but I have not applied for VA benefits. My medical records could not be found at St. Louis, but I do have a copy of the inpatient records from the hospital
WEBMASTER NOTE: You may contact the submittor through the webmaster.
Posted: 15 Sep 00:
Posted: 15 Sep 00: "In Response to the 8 Jul 99 Post 'Become Productive Citizens'"
Posted: 8 Aug 00: "Foot disorders & Fibromyalgia"
Posted: 8 Aug 00: "Women with Disabilities Australia Under Threat"
Posted: 9 May 00: "Not Alone"
NOTE: You may contact the submittor via the webmaster.
Posted 6 Nov 99: "Equal Rights or Human Rights?"
I was on my way to Desert Storm, took around 20 vaccines. Years later....I
am fighting a chronic scar tissue overgrowth, started in ovaries. I have
had 3 major surgeries to remove tissue blocking small intestines. All
surgeries within 1 year. It is back and no one knows why. Do any
of you? Please help. E-mail: email@example.com
Posted 5 Aug 99: "In Response to the 8 Jul 99 post, 'Become Productive Civilians;"
The person who wrote the post about being productive civilians will probably never read this but I just had to vent. The nerve of you to come into this forum and downplay the severity of these women's situations. It is not only disgusting and disrespectful but I am appalled that it is coming from a former service woman.
I am so happy for you that you could pass a pft test if need be...I also could but that does NOT in any way make my disability any less real. I was a great and productive military member. It was by no means my choice to be separated from the Air Force and in fact I fought long and hard to stay within the military ranks. It was a panel of officers who decided my fate and it was also a panel of officers who continued for years to deny any wrongdoing in my case. I was not diagnosed on time I was ignored I was sent to mental health as a malingerer. I was pushed through the system. I had never been to a hospital a day in my life until I joined the service. And I feel that if I was taken seriously in the beginning I would not be where I am today, receiving VA benefits. Those benefits are put there for a reason. I qualify to receive them and I have no shame about it. And your comment about out the gate and to the VA? I waited 2 years to file my claim. And yes I do think that the military holds all responsibility in this. If they had done their job in the beginning I would still be a cop. As a matter of fact on the day of my TDRL board I was 1 of 3 women and 2 men going through it and out of the 5 of us, the men, were allowed to return to duty...is that justice? I had 7 letters of recommendation , 8 letters of appreciation, 3 different doctors letters and testified on my own behalf. And not one thing was taken into consideration.
Yes, you are entitled to your opinion...but I highly suggest you get ALL the facts before you begin to judge anyone!
Posted: 5 Aug 99: "In Response to the 8 Jul 99 post, 'Become Productive Civilians'"
In response to the person who claimed we went straight out the front gate and to the VA hospital. It took me 4 years before the swelling, pain and inability to move me knees affected my performance at work and I need to have them evaluated by the VA. I contracted German measles while in active duty (worked pediatrics at the time) and instead of spots my joints swelled up. The residual joint pain in my knees was diagnosed as osteoarthritis coupled with bursitis (the bursitis never went away). There were a few physicians in the military I would not even see as they were not very good so I can feel for some of my fellow vets when they literally had to wait until discharge to have the proper diagnosis. I was just recently awarded 50% for the arthritis in multiple joints and in the last 3 months I was granted an additional 10% taking me to 60%. I thank my DAV officer for taking the time to look at my records carefully. Bye the way I was a US Army Medic and worked for the first 5 years at a US Army hospital. Gail
Posted: 5 Aug 99:
Hello, after 8 years in the service I am separating with a diagnose of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder as a result of a sexual assault that occurred while I was active duty military. From what I have heard so far the VA is pretty much blowing off anyone who tries to make a claim on these grounds. I would really appreciate hearing from others who have tried to file such claims with the VA.
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Posted: 16 Jul 99:
I am a woman veteran who has posted here before but my e-mail has changed. I want women to know they can win claims for sexual misconduct, harassment, assault and rape which causes PTSD. I am 100% connected for PTSD and depression due to above. If you have any questions or want to just chat with another woman veteran my e-amil address is: firstname.lastname@example.org , Lynda K. Dokken
Posted: 16 Jul 99: In Response to the 8 Jul 99 Post 'Become Productive Civilians'"
I need to respond to this listing. How offensive that you would qualify yourself as judge & jury for those seeking medical care & compensation. Your name calling of "sick bay commandos" is unwarranted. You may indeed be able to pass a PT test, good for you. However, there are veterans who do not deserve to be chastised by someone who not only dosen't know them but also does not know the facts surrounding their cases. It is improper that you feel qualified to make such a judgement. It is more than sad that you chose not to identify yourself & receive the proper response from the veterans themselves. Does this make you a coward? Maybe. I'd be much more careful in the judgements I choose to air in this forum. If you feel such a distaste for the veterans who are stating their concerns and questions here perhaps you should visit another site. I am a Honorably discharged A.F. veteran, I am also disabled.
Posted: 9 Jul 99: In Response to the 8 Jul 99 Post 'Become Productive Civilians'"
You should consider yourself very lucky to still be able to pass a PT test, but not all women veterans are as lucky. Some have diseases or injuries contracted in the military or made worse by military service. I am disabled because I severely injured my hand in a fall while stationed in Korea. Due to the poor medical care I received in Korea, I have limited use of my hand and yes, I did file a VA claim for the injury after I was medically retired from the Air Force. I would gladly give back the money I receive from the VA if I could use my hand. And, I do have a life, a job, a family, and many wonderful activities. Again, recommend you count your blessings and stop condemning people you know so little about!
Posted: 9 Jul 99: "Disability and Support Group for Women"
I'm an Air Force retired veteran. I am an RN and served as an aeromedical technician. My VA claim is still in review. I can use some pointers anyone may have to get the most I deserve out of my claim. I've recently lost the medical review board because I had heart surgery and I was given a medical retirement on 30 Apr 99. I'm very upset at my forced retirement. I loved my Air Force job and all the travel I was able to do. At 36 years old I acquired heart disease (not known to the Air Force). I had a double by-pass last year. My condition was corrected and I couldn't even been considered for a non-flying job. I've also been sexually assaulted and I'm now in a womens PTSD group at the VA. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I encourage everyone to push to get a women's group started at your VA. Joanne, My email address is Parrotheaded@webtv.net.
Posted: 8 Jul 99: "C&P Claim"
I have read and studied all of your stories very carefully and I sympathize with all of you. I am a 26 year old female who served as a security policeman in the Air Force for 2 and a half years. I was a healthy female when I enlisted...never had any medical conditions. During my first year I started having numerous GYN problems. I had recurrent bartholyn cysts for 5 consecutive months. I then went a year without a period and was bothered by excruciating abdominal pain. I kept going to the GYN who told me there was nothing wrong with me, and sent me to mental health. Finally at work one night I collapsed and was rushed to the ER by ambulance. A GP finally diagnosed me with endometriosis. I had my first of 6 laporoscopic surgeries at age 21. The original GYN refused to do the surgery as he kept saying there was nothing wrong so I had the operation at an army hospital. I was diagnosed stage 3 endo with polycystic ovaries and annovulation. I went back to work and was started on depo provera and lupron. 6 months later I was back in the same position. PAIN. I was sent to Wilford Hall in Texas for a work up and told once again there was nothing wrong. I was eventually boarded out on TDRL. I had 4 surgeries in 18 months and was finally separated with severance pay. I had one more lap after that. My husband (who was also in the AF) got out and moved us to FL. We tried with no success to have kids. I was put on Clomid but the wait to diagnose me was so long that my fertility was ruined. My husband is now in the Coast Guard and we are in Connecticut. On September 8th of 1998 I underwent a total hysterectomy with removal of uterus and ovaries, we have no children. I filed my claim with the VA on December 16th 1998 and was awarded compensation last week.I was rated 80% service connected for loss of creative organs due to the endo and adhesions and also for depression. I feel totally vindicated. I fought so long to get someone the military to listen to me when I was sick. I suffered for a long time with this debilitating illness. I only wish I could confront all those doctors who told me it was all in my head. All the time I was out on TDRL I wanted so bad to go back in the AF. I went to all my boards and I fought to stay in. Even though it seemed they did not give a crap about me. I was loyal and wanted to be a solider. I think now I gave the AF all I could...I gave them all of me, including my ability to have children. I will never forget one doctors words to me."If the military wanted you to have kids they would have assigned you one." Since I am new at this VA thing if anyone can give me some info on what to expect from here on out I would appreciate it. I want to be ahead of the game with no more surprises. Thank you for your time.
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Posted: 8 Jul 99: "Become Productive Civilians"
When I was on active duty for 20 years we were required to be physically fit for duty. Why are so many people leaving the front gait and heading strait to a VA medical center. If you were healthy enough for active duty why the rush to become medically disabled? I have been retired almost 10 years and I am still in good . I could still pass a PFT. It appears that we have a bunch of sick bay commandos in our mist. Get a life ladies and become productive civilians.
Posted: 22 Jun 99:
I am a civilian clerk who works with and for the only Veterans Affairs Officer in my state. We do not have federal positions. I am truly touched and have some understanding of what many of the female vets have written. My boss a 50% service-connected disabled Viet-Nam Era Veteran has "been through the meat-grinder" as she calls it. There was a 6-month period when she was 100% SCD when she was paralyzed from the neck down. (jeep accident). I have watched and heard her do a lot to help Veterans; male as well as female. Some of her clients are out-of-state. If anyone is interested I could approach her about problems some of you have or have had and have not received satisfactory help. She does understand; more than you might know. She can represent members of VFW, AL, MOPH, Red Cross, VVA and so forth. However, because of the rules and regs (state? or federal?) she cannot represent and work on behalf of members of the DAV.
My most heart-felt and sincerest thoughts go with you,
P.S. I, too, have fibromyalgia (car accidents?) (aka the DD r Durned Disease). Guaifenesin protocol has helped several people I know; me, too. Avoid aspirin and other salicylates. Me, I don't drink phosphoric acid found in colas and other soft drinks. I belong to an online FM support group.
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Posted: 22 Jun 99: ": TMJ/Left Knee/Sinusitus"
I was discharged in 1986 with a 10% disability for my left knee. At this time I put in a claim with the DAV and some of my claims have been solved and others are still going which means that some of my claims have been in process for 13 years without a solution. In 1986 when my claim was filed, the DAV did lousy work and I was denied any service-connection even though I was put out of the service for my left knee (at Landstuhl Army Hospital in Germany the military accidently cut the nerve in my left knee and I fought for 10% and received it). To this day I still have a lot of problems with my left knee and everytime I go to the VA for an appointment I am told I am imagining the pain. Also, when I have a C & P exam the doctor is so old he doesn't even listen to what you tell him - he is in a rush and you get no where. They have never looked at my knee in a C & P exam even though they fill out the paperwork. It's my word against the doctor's and they believe the doctor did the exam. I wish I could give them the pain and then I could give them the same answer I get. I also had to fight for TMJ as they corrected my overbite and when they cut the wires my jaw shifted because it wasn't healed all the way. I am now in a Stage 4 which means there is nothing they can do for me except bilateral injections or do bilateral joint replacements in my jaw (my joints are a blob of scar tissue and don't go into the joints.) I have trouble with my joints and am have received an upgrade to 30% but I feel I should receive more compensation for this. During this time I was also sexually assaulted in Wilford Hall by a physician. I told the Staff Duty Officer of the Day what happened and was not believed. Upon discharge in 1986 I saw an article in the San Antonio Express News where this doctor was being charged with sexually abusing a minor child and I contacted the base legal office and gave names, dates, individuals and other pertinent information that was not published. I filed for this and in 1993 the VA Office closed the claim and I never got to present my evidence which I have everything in black and white and it can be verified. I was lucky I paid $6.25 for copies of my hospital inpatient records because I have contacted my Congressman and he has helped me try to get this claim settled dated back to 1986 since this was when it was originally filed and nothing had been done on it. I just had a C&P evaluation for PTSD on March 22nd of this year. I also received in July 1997 service connection for sinusitus which was created by cutting of my sinuses at Wilford Hall when they did a Lefort I Procedure. They awarded me 10% back to February 1997 and 0% back to 1986. I have a claim that I need to reopen on this issue as I have medical expenses when I was refused treatment because of no service- connection. To this date I still have migranes and ear problems and I would like them looked at but the VA says this is connected with the TMJ. I need help from somewhere to try to get the claims going again as the San Antonio DAV office discriminates against female veterans (I called to try to get help to reopen the claim on the medical expenses and waited several days and still received no phone call back, called again and I asked to speak to someone who could help me and was told that someone would call back, which they didn't so I called back again and told them if they couldn't help me to please let me know and I would contact someone in the Houston DAV office.) I was contacted by the person in charge of the office and told not to call there or show up at there office since I had threatened one of their employees (all I asked is if they could help me and if they couldn't I would go to the Houston DAV) and this was taken as a threat. So now if I want anything done I have to contact Houston and I have made a decision that even though I am a lifetime member of the DAV I want nothing to do with such a discriminating organization. I even tell people who want to join that they don't want to belong to a discriminating organization and not to waste their money. They should join another organization. I also believe they should close down the DAV office in San Antonio since they discriminate. Now any claims I have with the VA I will handle them myself. I have told the Veterans Administration the DAV isn't to receive any copies of correspondence as my power of attorney has been revolked in writing that they are no longer my representatives. I will never recommend the DAV to anyone. To this date I have only a 40% connection with the additional 10% for sinusitus giving me a 46% connection which is rounded down to 40%. In order to get my claims solved I needed to go to my Congressman since the VA just put my claims in a pile and woundn't do anything. He saw my paperwork sit for 2 years and do nothing but go around in circles and finally told them he wanted a decision. That is when I got my decision in July 1997.
Posted: 2 Jun 99: "Fibromyalgia"
I am a 20%disabled woman veteran who is trying to receive compensation for fybromyalgia. While on active duty I suffered numerous stress fractures of both the left and right shins (tibias). Our unit was required to run 3 miles every 2 days on gravel. Upon discharge in 1988, I was awarded compensation in the amount of 10% for (stress fracture right tibia with complaints of pain in the knees, ankles and feet). For three years I was treated by the VA medical center for the pain in both legs. I was given Motrin during that time to releive the pain. In 1990, I was diagnosised with firbromyalgia. By that time constant pain had accelerated throughout my body. I was told there was no cure for this and that most of the time the symptoms were all in a persons mind and that mostly women contracted it. In 1997 after doing further research into the syndrom, I found that it can be directly related to an injury or trauma. I reapplied for an increase in compensation with the VA in April 1997 due to the fact that through the years the pain has limited my daily activities and occupations. The Compensation board came back with an increase of an additional 10% making my overall compensation at 20%. However, the compensation board is still categorizing the ailmens as, (stress fracture right tibia with complaints of pain in the knees, ankles and feet). I went from being a full time active Marine to now pushing a library cart around the VA medical center part time. I have been given, Motrin, Ambian, Zopidiem (Elevil), Amtryptaline through the years and now I am on Indomethacin and Nazadone.
I am looking for information on how to get the compensation board to recognize that due to the stress fractures, my condition has now been recognized by the VA doctors as fibromyalgia and should be rated as such. Does anyone have a copy or knows what the categories are that the board uses to determine what one is considered under for compensation. Does anyone know how to get the board to pay attention.
Posted: 2 Jun 99:
I am a vet and if it wasn't for the DAV helping me with my C&P CASE, I probably would still be waiting for results. And lucky for me I had a positive experience with the VA here in Sioux Falls, SD. So, if you're not a member of the DAV, it only cost $125.00 for a life time membership, first pymt is $10.00 and the rest is spread out over years, IT'S WORTH IT. Find out where the local chapter is in your area and talk to a NSO. .........DON'T GIVE UP
Posted: 22 May 99:
I served over 8yrs active duty Air Force and have been in the Air National Guard for the past 3 yrs. I am currently facing being discharged from the Guard for bilateral chronic shoulder condition. This was service-connected in 1995 and I got 0%. I also have DGD in my spine and finally, after 4 yrs f VA paperwars, got 10% retroactive to Mar 1995. I am still fighting for the compensation for my shoulders, now facing a discharge for a service connected disability <that the guard called "non duty related"> is even more stressful. I can't use my arms for too long before I experience shaking, loss of endurance, and chronic pain. I am only 29 yrs old with a backround of electronics/mechanics and weather forecasting with the military/guard combined. All I want is to be compensated for the time I no longer can work. I gained civilian employment and reinjured my shoulders in 1997. I am basically unemployable and recognized to be semi-qualified for 15% of the workforce by unemployment. I have been utilizing the DAV and have experienced results as I stated before, but I have a feeling my road may be another 4 yrs. I enjoy reading all of your letters and quotes of encouragement.... anyone who can help or may be a neighbor to Wisconsin, you can email me at KC0401RNBW@aol.com. KEEP FIGHTING... WE'RE ALL TOGETHER!
Posted: 13 May 99:
I need help in getting the right medical treatment for my back. I have service-connected disability rated at 10% and now I'm starting to have other problems related to my service-connected disability. I've not been able to get the right examination that I believe I need in order for them to make the right diagnoses. The evidence that I have from an outside doctor, they won't use, and its everything they said they needed in order to up my disability. Please help me, stumped in North Carolina.
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Posted: 13 May 99: "The Way the VA is Handling my PTSD Claim"
I was in the Air Force in 1977, sexually harassed by my Sgt. everyday, tortured verbally and threatened, and finally raped by my OB/GYN doctor, an officer in the air force hospital. I am working hard to get myself together and it isn't easy. The VA isn't very helpful and the fact that I am a female makes it all that much harder to be heard. I am still struggling with my pride at serving in the Air Force and my shame for taking an early out. I have an honorable discharge, but they made me say I would go AWOL, that was the only way it would stop... So finally I did say it but I feel so ashamed. I feel like I cut and ran... I ran to save my life... I was discharged with 10% disability for a back injury. They took that away in 1980... I was so afraid of the government, I stayed silent and dying for 20 years. Finally I got 40% for my back....... and they didn't take my PTSD claim serious at all. The VA doctor is not on the patient's side, they're on the government's side... I can't handle many more C&P reviews.... but I have another one tomorrow....God bless all that served these United States. Lets help make it safer for our younger sisters in the service.
Posted: 3 May 99:
It took me almost 5 years and a DAV representative to go from 20% to 50% and a firm determination not to let the same doctor do my comp and pension exam. I encourage you if you keep getting the same doctor for comp and pension refuse and ask for another. I did and finally was given a practicing orthopod who looked at my x-rays, felt my joints and had the rheumatologist look at my hands. The DAV officer also had my records read from front to back and I had to have 4 more comp and pension exams because of mistakes made on the original consults. I thanked the DAV by becoming a life long member. Any one who was at Fort Sam Houston from 1974 - 1978 please E-mail me at GMM347@AOL.com and I will answer as soon as I can. I am retired medically and have some extra time.
Posted: 3 May 99:
I'm in the military and getting ready to retire. I am glad that I am getting out now. At one time I really loved the military and even did a tour at recruiting trying to get other people to come in. Now that my time is close to an end I can honestly say that I am very happy to get out. Since I have been in I have been through a number of different types of harassment to include sexual harassment and even raped while I was out to sea. Each time I tried to take care of the situation I was told there was nothing I could do about it. Lots of luck to you females that try and get yourself together. I have been diagnosed as having the PTSD disorder, also had a partial hysterectomy done and have other medical problems that I am in the process of seeing what type of disability for. God bless you all.
Posted: 3 May 99:
Health care for women at the Boston VA is a nightmare. They are not equipped to accommodate women. When I was admitted, I was the only woman in a ward full of men (of course), and they had no bathrooms or showers for women, just community facilities. They said when I wanted to shower or use the toilet, to put up a sign announcing that a woman was in there! Sounds like an invitation to rape! Fortunately, the men were gentlemen about it. When I got my period unexpectedly, they had no sanitary supplies. A woman doctor finally went and bought a box of tampons for me out of the goodness of her heart. After I was released, I was told to come back to the walk-in clinic a month later to get the results of my tests, to determine if I had cancer. The doctor who saw me was shocked to see a woman, and he said, "I don't know what you're doing here, but this clinic is only for veterans." Then he couldn't find my test results and just shrugged it off. When I applied for disability, they closed my file before asking for any documentation, then disapproved it because there was no documentation in the file! I sent for copies of all my military and VA medical records, and everything that would have supported my claim had been removed. So much for a system that "takes care of its own!"
Posted: 30 Apr 99:
I am a disabled USAF Veteran. I was infected with the hepatitis C virus while serving ing the Air Force in 1980. It took 18 years to find out that I had the virus due to another illness. The VA has given me a disability rating of 20%. Somehow that just doesn't seem fair. This illness has changed my entire life and I don't know if I will ever get better or if it'll get worse enough to warrant a liver transplant. I am just beginning a new therapy that will hopefully put the virus in remission. If not....... My country, my consequences.... Debra J. Baptista. E-mail: Djdeb2@aol.com
Posted: 22 Apr 99:
As I read all of the e-mails from ladies who have medical problems, it occurred to me the limitations with the VA medical system. I am currently rated at 50% I have two outstanding applies, that the VA states may be looked at 2 years from now, even though I turned them in in 1995. I live in a remote area of Oregon, where no VA center is available, so I am on 'Fee Basis'. Most people think great, you get medical care from whatever physician you like and can have anything completed. Wrong! First I have to call the 'Fee Basis office' which is staffed by MEN and explain in great detail every little pap smear or pelvic exam, just for them to say, "Didn't you have one of those last year?" When is comes to women's issues, they have no real training and end up making ladies feel uncomfortable about calling in for any exams. Another thing, is almost every time I call because a bill isn't paid, they say "Oh, Bob or Harry or whoever left and we can't prove you called in advance." What kind of service is this. I work with a Male Vet and he never has this problem. I want to know what I can do to fight this. If you have any suggestions, e-mail me.
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Posted: 4 Mar 99: "The VA Claim Process"
Posted: 10 Feb 99: "I Can Relate"
Posted: 19 Nov 98:
I am a retired E-8, USN, writing on behalf of my daughter, presently in Hawaii. She is going to be discharged from the Corps based on some medical problems with her knees. The type of discharge is to be an admin, with no medical basis. Essentially, although I have not yet seen her medical record to read exactly the full diagnosis, she formerly was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter Syndrome, as a young girl (pre-teen). This was a "growing pain" type of problem and disappears after adolescence. Now she is diagnosed with "Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome." There are several varieties of treatment, consisting of Pys Ther, braces and reduction in exercise. The separation letter considers PFPS as a non-disability, although the Corps will not perform arthoscopy to confirm their diagnosis. Although the discharge is inevitable, I am concerned that the military will run roughshod over our little E-3, and she may not be eligible for VA or any follow-up care if so. Is there a POC at the VA that I can talk or correspond with, to ensure that she does not get blind-sided?
One of the points that upset me about the sep letter is the fact that the doctor states that "all medical treatments available for this problem have been exhausted." That is in fact not true as the doctor have refused the artho, and ceased the phys therapy.
I can be contacted at NewellTN@navair.navy.mi or at email@example.com . She will probably be discharged prior to Christmas. Obviously, there is a sense of urgency here. I am also trying alternative routes, but this is a good starting point.
Posted: 19 Nov 98:
I have osteoporosis. I now walk with a cane . I am ex-USAF. They did a hysterectomy on me when I was 22. I am 45 yrs old now. I am on a type of treatment where I take this medicine for 2 wks out of every three month period.I have only taken it once. My VA doctor wanted me on Fossamax But we were turned dow n for it. I have had 4 lumps removed over the yrs. from my breast. Four yrs ago I lost the lower portion of my left breast. My last mammogram showed that there is a small lump forming where they removed the lower portion of my breast. I don't know if I could be any help to other women vets but I am willing to volunteer what's left of me if anything Would keep another women from going through all of this. Please contact me if I can be of help.
I would like to speak to someone, about filing on PTSD as soon as possible I have lived with it too long. Can someone help me?
Posted: 19 Nov 98: "DAV"
One organization I think all veteran's should be aware of is Disabled American Veterans, or the DAV. Their national service officers can assist any veteran with filing claims, finding out about benefits, preparing appeals, and acting as legal representation. It won't cost you a cent, and can be a real lifesaver. You can find them on-line at www.dav.org or in the government pages of the phone book. If you're eligible for membership in the DAV, I heartily encourage you to support this worthy organization by becoming a member. Good Luck and God Bless.
Posted: 16 Nov 98:
I am 50% disabled with multiple sclerosis. Diagnosed in 1985, I have fought this disease ever since. I managed to stay in 20 years and retire in 94. I've had good and bad days, but mostly good. The VA hospital at Bay Pines in St Pete Florida has been good. Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC is the finest! They have wonderful MS research facilities there. I recommend anyone who may need information about MS treatment to contact WRAMC.
Posted: 11 Nov 98:
Hi I am 20% disabled and I am going through VA vocational rehab. I had to go through some testing but I am currently enrolled in college with the VA paying for me to go. I did not find out about this till I was out of the military for awhile and there is a time limit on this. I think everybody who is interested should check with there local VA to find out more on this program. It is helping me achieve a dream of mine.
NOTE: You may contact the submittor through the webmaster.
Posted: 9 Nov 98:
I am currently rated at 100% for PTSD and major depression directly related to sexual assault in the military. I was in the service in 1966-67 and was assaulted. I did not file my claim until 1990 but won my claim even though I did not have proof of the assaults in my military file. So if you want to chat with another woman veteran or want help, I will do the best I can. Lynda K. Dokken, E-mail: Patches2@mcn.net
Posted: 28 Sep 98:
I am a 24 year old disabled veteran woman with a 10% disability rating for retopatellar pain syndrome in both knees. I am confused about which medical services I am covered for and what kind of co-payment will be charged for these services. I do not have health insurance and would like to know if my yearly exams, are covered by VA and what I do if I get sick. I do not have a regular doctor at this time. The VA doesn't explain benefits enough and makes it difficult to get any answers. I usually have a whole routine that I have to explain that I'm the vet and not a dependant of one, my disability was blamed solely on the military but it took me 2 years to get some compensation and now I still can't get serious answers.
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Posted: 24 Sep 98: "disability benefits"
Hello, I am currently active duty Navy, waiting on my medical board results. I had surgery on my left knee in late October 1997. I went to orthopedics and the doctor told me I will be med boarded out of the Navy because I cannot run without my knee giving out and increase pain and swelling. I had a question about the percentages for that injury. Also, I was diagnosed with scoliosis which increases pain and numbness and tingling in my left leg. Also my first duty station I had a concussion and ever since I have been having migraines. I also have pain in my left heel if I stand too long. When I came in the military I was currently wearing glasses, and my sight has decreased drastically. So would I get a percentage for that? Also, I have been diagnosed with pelvic adhesive disease and infertile. So would I receive a percentage? I have no idea where to start when I get out. Would someone please guide me in the right direction. I would greatly appreciate it!
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Posted: 14 Sep 98: "Va Compensation -- it is all new to me -- help"
I have been out of the Army now for 2 years. During the time (12 years) in the Army I was diagnosed with Spondylosis, Spondylolisthesis, and bilateral pars defect, which are all located within my lower back. I submitted claim for VA compensation in April 1998. I have a scheduled medical exam for September 17, 1998. Can any one tell me what to expect during this exam and also is there any chance that I could get compensation from the VA for this condition and about how much. This is all new to me and so far I have done the steps thus far by myself. Please E-Mail me before September 17, at Lori40@goplay.com
Posted: 31 Aug 98:
A big HELLO to all the veterans that visit this site. My name is Cheryl, and I help all Veterans and Dependants with their VA claims. I am also a Disabled Veteran. I have been rated at 40% for "Intevertebral Disk Syndrome". When I re-opened my claim in 1994, I was being represented by the American Legion. Nothing against the Legion (I'm also a member), I turned over my power of attorney to the DAV. Well, we appealed my claim and won. I was so excited that I joined the DAV and even went to Chapter Service Officer training. After doing that for 2 years, I became a Department Service Officer (therefore the screen name Disabled American Veteran Department Service Officer) for more extensive and detailed training. I even over heard one of Florida's National Service Officer's saying that I was one of the top 5 Department Service Officer's in the state. I am offering my services to ALL Veterans and Dependants. Please feel free to E-mail me, and I will respond within 24 hours, if not sooner. Thank you all, for we are "Veterans helping Veterans". E-mail: DavDSO@aol.com
Posted: 31 Aug 98:
I wrote to you a couple of months ago, about being assaulted by a physician at Norton AFB, CA in May 1977. I was notified today that I have been awarded my claim at 30%. Tell other women veterans not to give up. Miracles in dealing with the VA, still happen.
Posted: 31 Aug 98: "The VA"
I too waited like a good girl to get my case adjudicated....22 years I waited and suffered pain and sickness, and raised three children, but I never gave up and finally last Nov. they paid me for the 22 years I waited...and they cost me 22 years of medical care...I could have been going to the VA as 30% but because I was not rated, the VA hospital would not see me..now I have service connected psteoporosis and osteopenis..I will never give up...all that I have wrong with me they will pay for..I wrote all the senators and congress people, I wrote Gore, Clinton, Brown. I called, I screamed...every time I got a Mr. letter I called again. I decided this is my life's work...they drove me crazy with "we'll look in to it" now it is my turn...I will not take it any more. Now I'm having trouble getting medicine for the psteoporosis...saw Dr. at Memphis VA hospital and had test that said psteoporosis...went down one floor and asked if could get medicine had results in hand for Dr. to read....Dr. refused to give meds until schl. appt. that is in Oct 98. Do they just do this to drive us crazy or to test us....now must suffer until they see fit to see me...thanks Vickie
Posted: 28 Jul 98:
I need assistance with the VA...I had mastectomies because of diabetes that is service connected. Because this doesn't happen to men with Diabetes the VA doesn't recognize it. I don't know who can help do you? E-mail: Beantobean@aol.com
Posted: 23 Jul 98: "Violence in the Military"
I read your page on domestic violence in the military. However, there are other acts of violence in the military which most people fail to address. That of violence against other (non spouse or co-habitating) women. We women veterans were also abused, harassed, and in many cases, raped. Those who did these acts got little more than a slap on the wrist if that. Now when we women vets file for PTSD, which we do have, we're told over and over, your records aren't here, no proof, etc. We're denied our claims because we lack proof. And who destroyed that proof? It was not the women but the military itself. I could cite you case after case of this but you get the drift. How about putting a bug in the DoDs' collective ears to find or direct us where to find our needed records. The VA is a joke when it comes to this issue so please don't send me there for help. I have a claim pending, but again lack actual proof.
Norton Air Force Base is closed (where my incident occurred) and I can't find where the records have been transferred to and have heard they probably have been destroyed. I've written letter after letter to this address and that one. I've called every place that I've been told is a possible site but have come up with nothing. My claims rep at the VA doesn't have a clue where to look either. If you know someplace else I can write or call, please let me know. Thank you in advance for any and all help you can give me.
Note: You may contact the submitter through the webmaster.
Posted: 30 Jun 98:
God, I do not know where to begin. A very good friend "Vietnam Vet" sent me this URL. He knew what I had been going through since May of 1991. I was one of many called back during the Desert Storm War. I have been feeling I was the only one with these symptoms, and was informed by my VA counselor that there was not enough evidence to link my symptoms with the vaccines that we received prior to arriving at our duty stations. Now that I know that I am not alone, I will share my experience, in the hopes that someone out their will e-mail me with information that will assist me in my journey to find out what is causing so many of us veterans to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and similar diseases. Mostly Neuro in nature.
I received the pre-deployment vaccines. Unfortunately, the portion of my medical records that were made up at William Beaumont Medical Center in El Paso Texas, are no where to be found. So, obviously did not exist. "Right" We were called back to active duty to replace those in the medical field who were shipped out to serve in the theatre at the Persian Gulf War. During the time at WM. Beaumont, the 91Charlies were assigned to work in different departments at the hospital. In between training classes and other assigned duties, I cared for several veterans who were Med-evacuated to the hospital for unexplained illnesses. Since, at that time the Military swore that no Mustard gas or other agents were used, there was no decontamination performed prior to our contact with these soldiers who had these unexplained rashes, PTSD, nausea, etc. We stripped the soldiers and bagged and tagged their clothing and went on with patient care. MY medical history is or was what I thought to be uneventful, but growing larger and larger since my return home, pain is a small word in comparison to what I have experienced in the past 8 years. I was beginning to think that I was loosing my mind along with my strength, my endurance, and stamina. After reading the many letters and notes sent by soldiers who are experiencing similar symptoms, I feel somewhat not alone. I reopened my VA claim several months ago, but for reasons other than fibromyalgia. Received cervical and lumbar injuries in the military and these conditions had started becoming worse. During the process, had to notate all the treatment that I had received since the original claim. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, mainly because they had nothing else to point the finger at, as a cause for the severe pain I was experiencing. Blood tests were normal, MRI's showed progression of the osteo that had settled in the areas of my injuries, Tests for multiple sclerosis returned negative, My many trips to the emergency room due to loss of feeling in one or the other leg, and extreme pain were getting too frequent, numbness and tingling of extremities, unprovoked, burning (feels like bones are on fire sometimes), EMG's results are nothing to get shook up about. Mental: Well, upon return, everyone I was close to thought I was different. Personality change, compulsiveness, depression, almost manic, depressive at times, nervousness. Now, when I play bingo and reach to dob a number, I notice tremors and sometimes my dobber does not go where my mind tells it too. I feel at times that the trembling is only seen by me. But, friends say they see it at times. I reach out to touch or type and my hands are shaking. This has all continued to escalate since my return from the Desert Storm recall. To share a bit of history. I entered into the Army because I love my country. I had a talent that could be well used in the military. I was a nurse, civilian trained. My desire was to become flight nurse. Was the "ole lady" in basic at Ft. Jackson "WWII barracks" who got to know the sand bag detail very well. Was in excellent health and gung-ho as hell,had to earn every bit of respect received. AIT at FT. SAM, Settled in at Ft. Carson, Colorado. No health problems, except when a USARRED chest was dropped while I hung on to the other end. Whiplash and lumbar strain. Figured I would recover fully, Physical Therapy etc. Did just fine all the way. ETS'd and stayed in Colorado. Was recalled December 1990 for Desert Storm. Went through the re-entry program with everyone else. Came home in April 1991. Soon began to change, now in 1998 I am "A sinking ship" my condition worsens every month. My love of country has not changed, but as far as the government, well, they would lock me up if I voiced what I believe to be true of them. Your sight has enlightened me, and has increased the drive in me to find out what the heck all of us were exposed to during our service that has made us all so ill. Hell, I can't even hang curtains anymore. Not for lack of desire. In response to the many inserts I read, regarding fibromyalgia and other unexplained illnesses after Desert Storm: Don't give up. When they say denied, keep fighting, soldiers don't give up. Anyone sharing my experience please view my site at http://www.concentric.net/~Pyarrish and you may e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ICQ me. My number is 12442463 and my handle is deerslayer. Welcome all responders. God Bless America.
Posted: 29 Jun 98: "12 Years Later"
I was in the Army for 3 years and suffered from endometriosis I was on medication for it for 2 years while I was on active duty. When I was finally discharged the VA took me of the medication which caused the problem to get worse. In 1986 after buckling with pain so severe my husband started a crusade to get something done. A local doctor said that since I was taken off the medicine so abruptly it cause the organs to grow together and multiple cysts he recommended a total hysterectomy. After I had the surgery I went to get an upgrade and a local DAV officer told me I could not get anything and to top the icing on the cake it was put in my records at the VA Hospital that all it was a uterine displacement. Finally almost 12 years later I came across a women DAV who filled out the paperwork and got everything upgraded to 50%. But I have lost 12 years of pay and medical treatment of this because of the first male DAV officer. If you would like to email me, you can do so through the webmaster of this site.
Posted: 29 Jun 98: "Need Help Finding Documents"
Thank God, I finally got on-line and found your page. Even up until Tailhook and Aberdeen, I thought I was the only one to have ever had that kind of trauma while on active duty. Until I saw that program on 20/20, I still thought it was a very small problem. The V.A. said on the program that it would accept "soft evidence", expedite our claims, and have females hear our cases, NOT. Can anyone out there help me understand them? The DAV is my representative. I'm doing the work though.
I was an E-4 (Sgt) at an Air Force Base in May 1977 when my incident occurred. It was by a Lt. Col. physician in his office during duty hours. I never knew what was wrong with me, except I knew I couldn't bear to have relations with my husband. I'd never heard of PTSD. Now I'm divorced and still dealing with that S.O.B. in my flashbacks. The base is now closed and not even the V.A. can tell me where the base records were sent. I've written to the addresses listed on the V. A. form but still haven't found them. I've called the numbers listed on the answers that various people or agencies have sent me. Does anybody out there have any other clues of where to look for the info? I have my medical records which indicate I went to the clinic for "Anxiety Reaction". I'm looking for a copy of the polygraph that I took and passed or the records of the counseling I received. (Neither of which is, of course, in my medical records.)
Does anyone have any other ideas of where to look for them or who to contact? I guess the worst parts of this incident were: 1) It wasn't the first complaint against him for something like that; 2) that I was put out on a medical discharge (not retired): and 3) HE got promoted to full Col. and retired 30 days early since I "Just don't understand medical procedures". Please contact me, if you can help. Thanks.
Note: You may contact the submitter through the webmaster.
Posted: 27 May 98: "Thyroid Cancer"
I was diagnosed six years ago of having Thyroid Cancer. The type of cancer happens to be caused by radiation exposure or so the medical profession said. I do not know of anywhere I could have been exposed to radiation, unless it was during active duty training. I have been in the National Guard for the past 13 years. I have not been on active duty for any reasons other than training. I was wondering if anyone who may have been at Fort Jackson, SC, Fort Lewis, WA or Fort Gordon, GA may have had the same problems? I am not trying to blame the Military. I was just wondering if there could be a connection.
NOTE: You may contact the author through the webmaster
Posted: 15 May 98: "Questions about Fibromyalgia & VA Disability"
I am an E-7 in the Army with 1 1/2 years to go before retirement. My concern is that my Fibroymalgia is getting really severe and I want to know if anyone out there knows what the percent for this disease in the Army. E-mail: YANKB@aol.com
Posted: 12 May 98: "Looking for some help to honor a friend."
Hello my name is Jerry. I am a 55 year old married (30 great years) man. A few years ago I answered a penpal ad from a lady that wanted a mature friend to communicate with. She had lost her mate and we shared a common interest in the game of bowling, so I responded. My friend Micki is in her mid 70's. Over time Micki shared her stories of life. She was (and will always be) a career Marine Officer. She still speaks with so much pride when she talks of the Corp. She still actively participates in reunions and functions relating to the Corp and the military in general. She's a model for the words Country, Corp and Pride. I'll never forget the chill I felt when I learned her birthday is on July 4th. She's been so active in life, still working and bowling.
Yesterday, 4/25/98, I learned that while attending her bowling banquet she fell and unfortunately broke both ankles. One was so bad it required surgery with plates and pins to fix. She will be down for quite a while and faces a long road to recovery. As I printed a card to send her I thought wouldn't it be great if she had a big family that could flood her with cards and notes to encourage her and keep her busy. Then the light bulb lit as I realized she does, it's the "Corp." This ex Army medic wants your help to lift the spirits of my special friend Micki. Micki has been communicating with me from her niece's computer. She will not be mobile for some time so we are limited to old-fashioned mail. Please send a card or a personal note to: Micki or Mary L. Billi, C/O Brothers of Mercy Rehabilitation Center, 10570 Bergtold Rd., Clarence, NY 14031-2198.
Jerry Cook, E-mail: Jercook@frontiernet.net
P.S. Micki wrote me and asked to see if there were any friends that served at Marine Corp Base Depot, Norfilk Virginia between May 1944 and November 1995.
Posted: 23 Apr 98: "In Response to the 5 Mar 98 post on FIBROMYALGIA"
I am submitting this information in response to the person who requested information concerning research on fibromyalgia and vets. I wealth of information can be found by searching the web. Here is one good resource: http://www.nih.gov/niams/health/fibroofs.htm Also a book entitled: Fibromyalgia & Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome by Devin Starlanyl and Mary Ellen Copeland contains a great deal of very useful information and resources. The writer can also call 1-800-283-7800 and request information on the local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. They in turn will have more information on FM. I hope this information is helpful.
Posted: 22 Apr 98: "Service-connection for Gyn Problems"
I am wondering if anyone might help me. I am currently rated as 10% service connected disabled for removal of one ovary+tube and plus I also receive a K award. I noticed in reviewing the VA ratings info. and noticed that the disability amount varies from 10-30% depending on whether the symptoms are treatable or not. After going round and round with the VAMC for 9 years, I would argue not treatable. Does anyone have experience in this area, i.e. service connection for this condition? Thanks in advance. Maddie, e-mail: email@example.com
Posted: 22 Apr 98: "Problem with the Real World but VA Helps"
I am a 23 year old Veteran who served as an ET in the Navy. I went to a Navy Hospital where I was stationed and reported of a knee injury. They performed surgery that only made things worse. Since then I have been going to the VA and have received good help for my problem. I am 20% disabled because of the surgery and because of that I am unable to get a job. Many people who are hiring do not like a person who is disabled and can't stand for long periods of time. The only good thing about the entire thing that I have found since my release in 12/96 is the VA. After serving 4 and a half years in the service, I am unable to do the job that I was trained in the Navy so the VA is paying for my college to get retrained. It's call Vocational Rehab. It is a great program for those with 20% or more who can't work in the field that they were trained in in the service. Also now I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon to find out just what is wrong with my knee. At times I wish that the civilian people knew what it was like to be in the service and to be disabled. I don't think that there really is anything "special" about being a disabled veteran. Everyone told me that being one would make life easier but it's not. At least not that I have found. I am grateful for the opportunity that the VA is giving me. In four years I will be a Paralegal and hopefully have a better life. Most of all I will owe it all to the VA.
Posted: 10 Apr 98:
This is in response to the woman veteran who also works for VA. I honestly feel that many VA employees have a veteran's best interests at heart, but I also honestly feel that the majority of VA employees do their job because it's a job, not because they want to provide a service to vets. I know, because I'm a woman, a disabled veteran, and a former VA employee who left employment by choice, with maxed evaluations and awards. I think you are a good person, and it's good to know that you are on the side of the veteran. However, I have recently been working as an intermittent without any sort of health care benefits. I live approximately 500 miles from the nearest VA hospital. I had flu-like symptoms and was preapproved to be seen in an outpatient clinic for that; it turned out to be a sinus infection and chronic sinusitis. A few weeks later I suffered some sort of event to my service-connected extremity, and was in exquisite pain, and could not weight-bear without a cane. Getting preapproval from my regional medical review committee was such a hassle that by the time I had an actual appointment date and time for a physician to evaluate the problem, it was two weeks after the fact and he is left guessing. Not only that, but the sinus infection did not clear and required another course of antibiotics, inhalers, etc. VA denied approval of this visit and I now have to pay all costs, including $150 for prescriptions, and I have no insurance. But you know what really, really, REALLY makes me mad? A MAN I talked to at VA laughingly said to me on the phone words to the effect, "Yep, if you don't get preapproval first, you'll have to pay for it, gal." What is this? GAL??? It's no better than being in the Army!!
Posted: 7 Mar 98:
I was in the Army and served 3-1/2 years--3 of them at Ft Hood, TX. I was released in 1974 and denied having any problems at the exit interview. After nearly 20 years of low-paying jobs, being in and out of school, drinking, drugs, and screwed-up relationships I landed in a VA psyche ward for 'atypical depression'. I called it a nervous breakdown and I never thought of myself as disabled--only as a [screw]up whose death couldn't come soon enough. During my stay a benefits counselor suggested I apply for service-connected disability since I remembered seeing a psychiatrist during my active duty. So I entered the system and persisted for 3-1/2 with my claim until I was finally awarded 100% for a 'nervous disorder' and 'unemployability'. I believe that the 100% came from the fact that my service officer (DAV) had applied for a pension for me so that I would have something to live on in addition to Social Security. In order to receive a pension a person has to be found 'permanently and totally disabled' by reason of an illness not service-connected. Since my claim was in progress I was awarded the pension in the interim. I believe the pension finding helped to keep my final award high. And it paid off big time. In addition to the high rating I also received back pay for those 3-1/2 years at 100%! I realize that I have been far luckier than most vets in dealing with the VA but the only thing I would encourage you to do is to stay on top of your claim and if your service officer says he (rarely she) can't get something done than find someone else who can and don't be afraid of doing some of the legwork yourself--it's your right and it may be the only way of getting things done. My disability request was at first denied because St Louis couldn't find any records of my visits to the psychiatrist so I wrote myself to St Louis and to the hospital and the mental health clinics at Ft Hood. While the entire record never showed up I did uncover an intake interview done at Ft Hood that carried a recommendation at the bottom that I see a shrink. This was enough for the VA to grant me service-connected status. I was denied PTSD, even though they said I had most of the major features, because I lacked a 'significant single trauma' that they could attribute it to--I guess three years of threats, humiliation, shoves, trips, and being chased on a regular basis wasn't enough for them. Anyway, if you or anyone else want to talk to me about this I'd be happy to hear from you. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Webmaster, please post the address). And remember, living well is the best revenge!!! See you under the rainbow!!
Posted: 7 Mar 98: "I am a Disabled vet --never told this story before"
I was discharged on Veteran's Day, 1987 while in a civilian psychiatric hospital. I have never told anyone the exact nature of what I endured in the military and never thought I would. I am tiring of the constant flashbacks and the negative feelings that the memories create. I will tell my story in brief. I became a JAG officer in 1985 after a difficult application process. I had always been a successful attorney and never had any problems in any jobs before that. I had a wonderful first year and a half and then my new supervisor came on board. He abused me in ways that I cannot describe. His verbal abuse still rings in my ears. He kept a journal on me and my comings and goings. He was obsessed with my sex life. When I became pregnant unexpectedly, he freaked and demanded that I resign immediately--or he would force me out. Within a week, after getting a duty excuse for hyperemesis (extreme vomiting of pregnancy and dehydration) he gave me a letter of reprimand for not coming to work. I called what was then "Social Actions"--the supposed watchdog of sexual harassment and told them half the story. They called HIM and the Base commander!!! There was no confidentiality. He would make me stay after work and would really get off on horribly demeaning things while at the same time doing other things. He is out of the service now. Even over ten years later I still wonder where he is and what he is doing. I am rating at 70% and I can tell you that it is so upsetting that this person was a major contributor in shattering my hopes, dreams and desire to serve my country for many years. I can try to forgive--it is the forgetting that is destroying me inside. I go to a psychiatrist and they haven't offered much hope--I haven't told them the whole story. I am not psychotic, but have had major depressive episodes. Has anyone been able to put all of this behind them? It is nice how these people continue on to retire while we are forced out in shame and depression (I tried to take my life one day after he told me "no one wants you") His response--expedite my request for early release for pregnancy while I was in the hospital--I never got to go back to my desk to get my things. The bums rush. Sorry I have been so rambling--can't believe after all these years it hasn't gotten any better.
Posted: 5 Mar 98: "FIBROMYALGIA, STENOSIS AND SPONDILOSIS OF SPINE, RADICUALOPATHY, CODSTEOCHONDRIT"
I have all these problems from the military, plus ulcers and now on meds for depression I did not know what PTSD. I have had a bad time in my career due to harassment at work. Being a woman in the US Army was difficult but if I was told I couldn't do something "oh, your just a girl" I tried ten times harder and accomplished most things I tried to do. Although I've gotten my 100% disability I still can not get the medical community to help with my pain. With fibroyalgia I am in pain 24hr x 7days and not relief. What can be done? They had me on meds to help now they have changed to a lower pain medication because they don't want me to get addicted. Help please I am at whits end.
NOTE: You may contact the author through the webmaster
Posted: 12 Jan 98: "Can someone help?"
I am a veteran of the U.S. Army and Army National Guard. For over 10 years I lived in silence about my experience in the military. I have had substance abuse problems, depression, anxiety, nightmares, just to name a few. I finally called the VA in August of 97 and have finally been getting help to deal with the rape and sexual harassment that I experienced while in the military. I am different than some in that I have been able, by the grace of God, to hold a job and be strong enough to get through one day at a time. With a field of broken relationships, and confusion behind me, there are more times than not that I feel alone, with no one to understand what I fight inside my head on a daily basis. Even my significant other of 3 years is slowly fading away. Intimacy problems, trust, love, and so many other basic human needs are all difficult to conquer. My therapist has informed me that I have the right to make a claim, but I fear that it may be a waste of time because I am able to hold a job, I have a place to live and on the outside I appear as normal as anyone else. I believe I owe it to all the women who are veterans, and are going to be veterans one day to tell my story, however I fear that it may be in vain. I fear that I may suffer for the rest of my life alone. If there is anyone out there who is like me and who has successfully been given disability for PTSD, can you write me? If there is anyone out there who just would take the time to understand me, I would like to talk. What should I do? I feel very alone
NOTE: You may contact the author through the webmaster
Posted: 19 Dec 97:
Visit the Department of Veterans Affairs, Center for Women Veteran's web site at: www.va.gov/womenvet/index.htm. The site provides access to information and assistance for women veterans.
Posted: 19 Dec 97: "Research Volunteers Needed"
I am presently starting an organization (coalition) whose purpose is to educate veterans, particularly disabled veterans, on our political system. In the last week I have gotten 18 volunteers from 13 states who will be helping, with the use of their computers and alot of legwork, to gather information on backgrounds of all elected US Congressmen and Senators, and State Reps and Senators; their military experience; how they have voted on past veterans issues; which bills pertaining to veterans do they sponsor/support, etc. What we are hoping to accomplish is to become better informed, identify strengths and weaknesses, and where we should apply pressure. We have all been guilty of sitting around complaining about the gov't or the VA or the IRS, etc.. Now it's time to do something about it. If any of you are interested in joining us, there are no dues, just elbow grease and brainwork, please contact me at email@example.com.
Posted: 24 Nov 97: "Vocab Rehab Program"
After 2 back surgeries that left me with 6 screws and 2 titanium discs in my lower back, I was placed on the PDRL at 10% on 30 April 97. I immediately applied for this program because it was so loudly touted BY THE VA REP during the DTAP class as the best way to get training since I couldn't be a jarhead any more. What a crock! Today I found out that I am not even eligible for this program because I was an administrator and have a degree. You'd think they would at least provide training in a marketable software application. If I don't meet the prerequisites, fine---but why have me go through all this, anticipating some help---and then slam the door in my face? Has anyone gone else through this? Am I really not eligible? Linda
NOTE: Contact webmaster for e-mail address
Posted: 11 Nov 97: "Close to disabled"
I am a veteran of the Army MP Corp and quite possibly soon a
disabled vet of the Army National Guard. I am at a dilemma, I was
injured while on "active duty training for my latest
military career, I am awaiting a "ARMY doctor" to do a
medical review, I have had to battle the State every step of the
way as I have been using the VA Hospital locally as my primary
care provider due to the fact that I am also a full time student
at the university. I had to go to a outside civilian foot doctor
to get any treatment. I am concerned as to what to do. I am not
able to perform my duties in my current condition, I have always
been proud to be a member however I am tired of the run around,
To those of you who have been through it can you offer any advice as to how to get all of the collective junk to the right places? Records etc . ??? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: 10 Nov 97:
I'm a disabled woman veteran: 100% due to the loss of my right
leg (BKA) saver arthritis in my left leg and left shoulder. I
have been rated 100% for 3 years after fighting the VA for 2
year. They just couldn't understand that the loss of use of three
out of four of my appendages could make me unable to work or
support myself. I am now in a wheelchair. I just got my computer
(my wonderful husband thought it would bring me hours of fun and
entertainment and it already has. I would like to talk to other
women veterans. My address is Artwheels@aol.com.
I spent a total of 5 1/2 years in the army. The fist three were at Ft. McClellan, Al. My name the was Judie Carr. I was in the womans Army Corp. Band for a short time and them worked as an entertainment director. I got out of the service for a few years. Got married. Got unmarried. Went back in 1971 under the name of Judie Critchlow. In 1973 I broke both of my legs sky diving and after a year was medically discharged. I spent one year of that term at Oakland Army Depot. The other at Aberdine Proving Grounds, MD. I'd love to talk to others or anyone who might remember me. Thanks, Judie Carr Bruno
Posted: 4 Nov 97: "Disabled Veteran of the Year"
My name is Reuben Howell. I am composing this letter to inform everyone that my wife, Retired SFC Tamara L. Howell, has just made Disabled Veteran of the Year, for the entire United States! Now, I don't know if there is a special area somewhere on the Internet where things like this are posted but I just wanted to express how very proud I am of her achievement.
Posted: 15 Oct 97
I have been in the Army for 18 years and in that time I found
out 8 years ago I had fibromyalgia. Anyone out there that has it
knows it can be really painful at times. I also have recently
been operated on for my hiatel hernia and esophageal reflux
problem. All in all, between all of my foot problems, operations
for my esophagus, pain all of the time from fibromyalgia, etc.
has caused me to go into a severe depression. I am being treated
at the mental clinic at one of the military hospitals.
My question is, does anyone know what my percentage would be for all of these problems, and also, my being depressed, not wanting to do much of anything, what can the Army do for that?
NOTE: You may contact the author through the webmaster
Posted: 12 Sep 97: "Good Dealings with the VA"
I am a 19 year-old Navy vet, rated at 20% disabled. I went to my Counselor to ask about disability for foot problems. I had also, while [in] RM "A" School, had a lot of problems with what I thought was just bronchitis. My counselor told me to put in for disabilities for that, as well, and the chronic headaches I suffer from. I applied with my counselor on 3 Sep 96 and received my letter of declaration on my 19th birthday 3 Jan 97. I was awarded 10% each for bilateral foot problems, as well as asthma, the thing I wasn't going to apply for benefits on. I have had nothing but good dealings with my VA I have a nice female doctor (a first for me!!!), and I am being treated for migraines. Thanks to supportive friends and family, as well as my fiancé (a Third Class Petty Officer E-4), I have been doing well. I am supposed to have surgery on my feet, but, well, I was told that the surgery within the month that was 4-6 months ago. I am thinking about taking advantage of the Rape counseling that the VA offers, because I was raped both before, and during my time in the service.
Posted: 12 Sep 97: IRS Fight (IRS vs. VA)
I am a former Army Aviator (female, of course) with ten years service who got out in 1987 on a medical discharge. I have been involved in a fight with the IRS since 1994 regarding the fact that they had taxed my disability severance pay to the tune of $12,375. The VA considered this non-taxable and is pulling back the entire lump sum amount, which means I am now paying out $12,375 more than the lump sum amount. The 1991 Court Decision in St. Clair vs US Government declared it illegal for lump sum disability severance pay from the military to be taxed, but, the IRS made the unilateral decision to honor only those cases within the last three years (i.e. 1989-1991). This is one of the famous "double standards" our wonderful government practices. They can audit you for up to ten years, and you may submit amended forms up to ten years IF YOU OWE THEM MONEY, but, if they owe you money, they will only accept amended forms for up to three years. I have fought this using every channel I know. My Congressman has pursued it over a year, and finally turned it over to Mr. Archer, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. So far, no response from Mr. Archer! I have contacted the ACLU and they think there may be grounds for a Class Action Suit against the government (IRS) if I can find other vets with the same problem... if any of you out there can document your cases...please contact me at email@example.com.
Posted: 19 Aug 97: Need Assistance
I am a Wac who is suffering from memory lapses for specifics. I have a calendar marked 1972 through 1976, in the back of my diary for that time period. Most of the dates are marked up until the time of my hospitalization in late 73 and I am trying to figure out when I was on leave the first time. My MOS was 91D20 with a prerequisite of 91B. I don't remember if Basic at that time was 2 or 3 months and I don't remember if I went home right after Basic or if I went to AIT right afterward or if my 91B was my AIT. Is there a time period where I would have been required to go on leave. 91B was 10 weeks and 91D was 3 months. I don't know whether regs have changed since then and FT. Mac has changed. I am sorry for the confusion, however this information would certainly help me figure out time periods regards my claim.
NOTE: You may contact the author through the webmaster
Posted: 7 Aug 97: Disabled Woman Veteran in Vermont
I am an Army veteran, I've been out for two years and have been declared 30% disabled. I am currently attending the University of Vermont under Vocational Rehab, majoring in dietetics. The VA in Vermont has been very helpful to me and I haven't experienced any of the problems I see on this page, I'm pretty sure that one reason is that Vermont is so small. I have friends in Texas and other bigger states that have been ignored and treated rudely by the VA Hospitals. I was medically discharged after a year of going from doctor to doctor and profile to profile. It was really hard for me because I had always been the one who could keep up with and surpass most of the men in my unit. I felt like I was whining and it didn't help that the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with me, I had a civilian nurse say to me "Maybe you should work out more" At the time I was working out twice a day. I was so furious I couldn't even utter a sarcastic remark (an unusual occurrence for me). When they finally discharged me I was so happy because I could get on with my life and I would no longer be looked at as weak because I was on profile for something that my being strong had caused. Now that I've been out for 2 years I find that I really miss it. I never thought separation anxiety would happen to me but it has. If I could hack it I would join National Guard but I would never be able to pass a PT test with my back all screwed up like it is now. I was wondering if any other woman veterans out there still miss the Military and what you do to get over it, I find myself renting "Renaissance Man" way too often. Please e-mail me if you have any advice. Webmaster please include my e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted 26 Jul 97: In response to the 3 Dec 96 Post
Dear Veteran Veteran...,
Replying to your posting...Submitted 3 Dec 96: "I am a woman who is also a veteran and an employee of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. I understand the frustrations you experience in dealing with the......."[refer to 3 Dec 96 post for remaining text].
Your posting is much appreciated, and by far, you are appear
to be the nicest person I've ever acquainted with -- in relation
to the VA..., not excluding the entire staff that works in a
I can expect no such kindness at my regional VA. What Veterans' Benefits Counselor...? Are you kidding? No disrespect to you and your encouraging words. I only can speak of my experiences...
Thanks for motivating us all...
Posted 26 Jul 97:
The VA is required by their own laws to provide all vets with the help they need to document their in service stressors as well as assist with whatever the vets needs are regarding their case. In fact, this rarely occurs unless the vet is knowledgeable about this and requests and requests their (VA) help in their case. There is a hidden agenda, and if a vet doesn't accept this and move onward, the vet may give up if the job of proving their case seems insurmountable. Even at first blush, it is a long journey into what, who, when, where and how the vet's in service injury or stressor will or can stand alone as the sole cause of the current disability. Even some vet organizations are not as savvy as they must be, if you are to win your case on its merits. So it remains an underground info system that is passed on from vet to vet. You meet someone in the VA hospital bed next to yours and they tell you a piece of info,you'd never heard before from anyone in authority or vet rep and then you meet another vet who tells you how this or that really happens and then you use the info and a couple of 5 or 6 years down the road after appeal after appeal, you finally have all that the VA needs to say yes, you were and are entitled to compensation. Now, you are totally exhausted, severely depressed from reliving the stressors, telling your story to every VA/first year psych med student/ intern mental health professional you've met, subjecting yourself to every psych evaluation exam you possibly could drag yourself to and a chronic mental health mess with adaptive personality disorder to comfort yourself while you've attempted to prove you had a compensatable case in the first place.. So, do you really want or believe that what happened to you in the Military is worth all this. If you do, then fight the good fight. Get your hands on all the material that is lawfully yours to have and know about and read every denial the VA gives you and list each issue with which they can not resolve in your favor. Then file an appeal. Get with it and provide the info they'll need to rule in your favor. Remember, if they say NO, your case is denied, you haven't given them (VA adjudication) enough info to say YES, compensation is granted. HAlsop@aol.com and don't waste my time. If you have proof and aren't a slacker or malingerer, I'll listen and try to point you in the right direction.
Posted: 22 Jul 97 By a Member of the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.
I am a member of the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans. Tell my sisters they are not alone. Many of us are working on your behalf to make the system work for you. If you are getting nowhere, contact Joan Furey, the Director of VA's Center for Women Veterans. The web site is at: http://www.va.gov/womenvet/CenWomVet.htm
Posted: 14 Jul 97: MINERVA CENTER WILL
PUBLISH BOOK BY DISABLED WOMAN VETERAN
The MINERVA Center, Inc., a non-profit educational foundation with headquarters in Pasadena, Maryland, announced that it has acquired publication rights to a book by Donna M. Dean, Ph.D. entitled Warriors Without Weapons: The Victimization of Military Women. The book will be published in October. For detailed information go to the Minerva Center section in this web site.
Posted: 9 Jul 97: Great VA Care
I am retired military with 10% disability. I travel to a VA hospital approximately 40 miles from my home. I get great health care from this facility. The staff is competent, displays wonderful patient sensitivity, and delivers good service. I've read lots of horror stories about VA facilities and health care. I just wanted to let you know that I am a very satisfied customer of the VA system.
Posted: 9 Jul 97:
I was in the Air Force, and never experienced the sexual
trauma that most of you have. I was 25 when I entered the
military. I got out in 1981, and am now finally on 100%
disability. I have had many doctors tell me that there was
nothing wrong with me, that it was all in my head. I managed to
quit working 11 years ago and do not regret it one minute. I
lived in great poverty for 9 years. I was a single parent, [with]
two children, but never took anything from anyone. I don't to
this day. I have also been to the VA hospital and left in tears.
I even would not go back for as long as a year. I have had some
of the civilians act like I did not belong there and treated me
like dirt. But let me tell you, I did not put up with that long.
I remember going to the emergency room one holiday, Monday, I ask
for a copy of what I was signing as I did not have my glasses on.
The person got rude with me...I was later waiting on some test
results and she even got ruder with me...I think I really lost it
at that point...I told her that I did not feel well and that is
Why I was there, and that I did not need any of their S---, and
would be happy to drive over the next day and we would settle
this matter in the front office. Her supervisor was standing
right beside her when she did this to me and said nothing. I sent
a letter about this matter. I have even got to a VA hospital one
time when I hit my ankle with a weed eater, when I got to the
emergency room, there was no one else waiting in the area. I over
heard two women discussing what I was getting disability for.
This was none of their business, and I was so mad, I walked out
of the emergency room. So if you didn't have doctors telling you
it was in your head, the civilians were treating you like they
were paying your bill and you were a welfare recipient. How about
the time when we went for GYN appointment and and had to sit in
the hall in those house coats holding our clothes, with men
patients all around us. I quit going to GYN appointments due to
being humiliated, however, I filed a complaint and told them that
I would not be back until something was done. The facilities are
much better now, however, I will not go back to the same make
doctor they have, as when he did the exam, I felt dirty and
cheap, and was treated like I was stupid. He asked if I was on
hormone therapy, I replied no, and he never even attempted or
I feel that I also have made a DIFFERENCE. I am unable to get medical insurance, and have to drive about 63 miles one way just to get to the VA hospital. There are time when I feel so bad, I would give anything not to have to do this drive. And I did not intend for this to be this long. I beat the disability game they played with me, and am a wiser person for it. Don't ever give up...you have to think like the government.
Feel Free to email me: email@example.com
Posted: 3 Jul 97: BIPOLAR, PTSD, HYSTERECTOMY DISABILITY
I was placed on the TDRL last year after I was diagnosed with
Bipolar, PTSD from being raped when I was a teenager and was
aggravated by service. My doctor at the naval hospital says I
can't work and I was awarded by the army 30% disability with 50%
of my pay. I have been battling with the VA for the past year for
an evaluation am finally being evaluated. Can anyone give me
advice and what to expect out of all this? They really haven't
addressed the PTSD. I know I am rambling but please try and bear
with me hear. I am constantly dealing with the bipolar and was
recently hospitalized and they did Electroconvulsive Therapy on
me (shock treatment) Scary!! Then when I finally am able to sleep
I have the terrible nightmares from being raped and then sexually
harassed for 16 years of service (part of the territory) but boy
I 'm paying for it now.
Anyone wanting a penpal or have any answers I would really appreciate the
feedback. (Contact webmaster for e-mail address)
Posted: 1 Jul 97:
One of your postings from Feb 97 [19 Feb 97, "VA Disability"] noted that the rating for a hysterectomy is 30%. If both ovaries are removed also, it is rated at 50% with the compensation for "loss or loss of use of a creative organ" currently an additional $74. I'm sure many women have been told that a hysterectomy was necessary because of cysts, or that the doctor was only going to do explorative surgery. This was my case, and I was only 23 years old at the time. In addition, another surgeon botched what should have been a simple bunionectomy. Six foot surgeries later, a permanent limp, pinched nerve in the back, and various other difficulties related to the foot surgery, as well as an unnecessary hysterectomy, have taught me not to trust doctors. Any other women who have had similar surgery, and would like to e-mail me, please feel free to do so. I strongly recommend that women disabled veterans become active in a local DAV chapter. We are a growing group, and the DAV needs our youth and gender to help carry it into the future.
Webmaster Note: You may contact the submittor through the webmaster
Posted: 16 Jun 97:
Trying to get help for PTSD----all dead-ends---any help out there??? Am in NC---been to VA and Vet Ctr--Pooh. Took part in Gov't-funded study in New Hampshire. Please do not reply with false promises and hopes---Been there, Done that.
NOTE: You may contact the author via the Webmaster.
Posted: 12 Jun 97: "Seeking Penpals"
Hello to all my fellow disabled women veterans, I have read
your stories, I have felt your pain and with all this constant
media coverage of sexual misconduct, rape, and harassment, an age
old practice is now out. I have been out for 2 1/2 years after a
12 year active duty Army career, and I am having a very hard time
transitioning to civilian life. There is a part of me that will
always be proud to have served my country and then there is a
part of me that feels so ashamed of that same service because of
those "extra duties". I have studied the VA
compensation system just as I had studied for the promotion board
and I have been successful. But no matter how well I am
compensated I marvel at the fact that the system even exists
because that reaffirms to me that they knew, before I raised my
hand at age17 that the abuse would happen. I have pet fish that
swims back and forth in the fishtank, and I'm sure if they could
talk they would say that they have a pet human that paces back
and forth in the house. We are in the same situation, they are
not safe outside the tank, just as I am not safe outside my home.
In my home I have control and because of this need to have
control I am not able to make friends. So I am writing this
letter in hopes of connecting with other female veterans. If you
are interested please contact the Webmaster for my
Posted: 2 Jun 97:
Looking for women who were misdiagnosed schizophrenia/ptsd. Was dx schizophrenia post 4 yrs active duty anc...confirmation recently was never schitzophrenia was ptsd...this happened to me post vietnam medically discharged in 1972.....
NOTE: You may contact the author via the Webmaster
Posted: 16 May 97:
I am interested in finding out if anyone has experience with service-connected disability claim related to sleep disorders (i.e., Narcolepsy). I am a Navy vet who served from 12/90 to 12/92, and I developed narcolepsy in boot camp. My claim received service connection, but only for another unrelated gynecological condition, and at 0% I also suffer from Bipolar Depression. I'm asking the VA for a reevaluation of my claim, particularly because I've been hospitalized 3 times for these problems. But I don't understand how to cut through the red tape. Any info would be appreciated. Thank you.
Michelle, e-mail: Technofreak@centuryinter.net
Posted: 6 May 97: "Disability for PTSD"
I am desperately looking for any disability claim that has been granted for PTSD that was given for being in a combat zone, i.e. Vietnam, but not in direct combat except for rocket and mortar attacks. I would like to see the case and see how they went about their claim. This would really help me for I am currently involved in a claim myself. You can e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, God Bless.
Posted 17 Mar 97:
Please, I'm in desperately in need of advice and support. I'm
a MSG/E8 and would have twenty years active service in August,
pending medical discharge. My medical board has returned,
awarding me 40% disability (30% for depression and panic disorder
and 10% for a back condition.
When notified of this award, I requested a formal hearing before the medical evaluation board with legal representation. My appointed lawyer contacted me (after I had left several messages on voice mail to please contact me) 2 days prior to my hearing. Her advice to me was that a formal hearing would not help my case. She seemed very knowledgeable about the board's reasoning for the awarded percentiles. She stated that, after listening to me, the 30% for depression and panic disorder was fair, as I could articulate my situation and had not been in the pysch ward enough to justify a higher percentile and the 10% for my back problems and the other problems was because of the previous surgeries, that pain was rated at 0%, and incontinence did not and would not keep me from performing my military duties. I rescinded my request for a formal hearing not willing to subject myself to the emotional distress of presenting my case to the board, particularly since my appointed attorney was more interested in supporting the med boards decisions, than listening to the circumstances which have brought me to this point.
I have been hospitalized in the psych unit at XX Naval Hospital twice. The first time for three weeks due to depression, caused by discrimination and harassment within my immediate chain of command. The second time because of attempted suicide, after my command had ordered me back to duty, against my doctor's recommendations. On my second day after reporting to duty, because my choices were to either follow doctors recommendations or disobey a direct order to report to duty, a Major General "happened" to find his way into the office in which I was performing my assigned duties of answering the telephone and taking messages, and while I was at the position of attention, began a tirade against me to include stating that "I was a drain on the army" and the "taxpayers" referring the my discharge proceedings and if "I was a civilian, with medical problems "I would have been gone in 60 days". When I attempted to explain to him that I was ordered to duty against doctors recommendations, and asked him to look at my documents, he indicated that he didn't have the time. When I attempted to explain that the discharge proceedings were also evaluating damage to my back, resulting in incontinence, sciatica, atrophy of my legs--because of two back surgeries--the second one was performed because the first surgeon had operated on the wrong vertebrae, he continued to threaten me, and at one point looked at me and asked "what's wrong with you, you look like you are going to cry". Later that evening, was when I attempted suicide.
I need some advice and help, feel like I have been used up and simply discarded. My shrink indicated to the medical board that my "industrial and social adaptability is severely hampered". The medical terminology for a basket case.
I filed a complaint with the CID in November and that complaint has not been investigated--no response. I have a feeling it is buried at National Guard Bureau, because of the rank of the individuals involved. No one has had to answer for the sexual discrimination and harassment complaints, or why my command disregarded doctors recommendations, nor the "General's actions". In fact, the day after my suicide attempt, the chief of personnel told my doctors that I had "sought the General out and accosted him". I had informed the CID that I would volunteer to a polygraph test to support my statements as I realized that on several issues it was my word against someone else's.
It seems, I'm losing everything--my career and have been forced into bankruptcy, I am 43 years old and losing everything I've worked for, I can no longer support my children and picture us living out of a car-someplace and I haven't done anything wrong--my performance has always been exemplary and have learned that it means nothing--that one or two people within your chain of command can destroy you. Please send advice. Thank you.
NOTE: You may contact the author via the Webmaster
Posted 25 Feb 97: "From a Gulf War Veteran"
I am an American Indian woman. I served at Bethesda Naval
Hospital, the 'President's hospital', as a critical care Hospital
Corpsman. Desert Shielder, Desert Stormer. I endured the ultimate
betrayals that women in the military could possibly imagine. Not
from the enemy on a distant land, but from within my own camp. I
know that most of the horror was because I am an American Indian,
and then secondly because I am a woman. Even as we prepare to
enter the next millennium, American Indians are not recognized as
human beings, and women are often regarded as a lower form of
As a disabled vet, the system continues to be a never ending source of failure, disappointment, and humiliation to me. I have even endured similar accounts in the civilian medical sector.
How can I get the message across that selective access is not equal access? Can anyone out there help me? I do not know where to go or what to do to obtain medical treatment. The pain worsens as my life light diminishes.
O dear God life is sacred.
(NOTE: You may e-mail the author via the webmaster)
Posted: 19 Feb 97: "VA Disability"
As has already been stated apply for VA disability when you get out even if you don't think of yourself as disabled. Some things that you get disability for is surprising. A hysterectomy for medical reasons (not elective) gets you 30% - it's called "loss of reproductive organ. Even if you don't get disability now documenting things with the VA immediately upon discharge makes later claims much easier. For instance, if you take meds for high blood pressure you may or may not get much in the way of current disability but if it gets worse later it will be much easier to prove. If a later condition develops which can be attributed to a condition that developed while in the military can also be covered. If that high blood pressure later results in kidney failure, the kidney problem may also be considered service connected!
Posted: 12 Feb 97: "Non-Glorious Injuries and Me"
I'm a former Marine E-3 (LCPL) that loved to play softball.
Seems our field wasn't groomed as well as the men's fields and I
found a gopher hole in far left center field while chasing a long
The doc in the dispensary gave me some ibuprofen and wrapped my knee. Told me to go home and come back in the morning after the swelling went down then they'd decided whether or not I'd have a cast put on. Got a cast the next morning..a day or two later the cast slipped and was chafing my ankle as the swelling had gone down more.. Doc sent me home without doing anything. I was so frustrated I soaked my leg in tub and took cast off my self. Months pass. Still having pain in back and wobbly knee .. Doctor tried to tell me I was depressed.. except for the pain I wasn't depressed.. back and forth till finally they almost killed me by prescribing valium to relax my muscles and calm me down.. I'm allergic to valium (which I didn't know). Doc finally gave up and sent me to board at Pendleton.
Board gave me a disability of 30%. Discharged me in May 75. Went to VA doctors..(funny thing is I was now working as a teletypist at the VA). Finally saw doctor around Sept/Oct; it takes a while to get an appointment ...sigh.. young ARMY MAJOR doing rounds at the VA says "I think you have a back problem that's aggravating your knee and your knee isn't quite right." Sends me all
over the hospital getting tests. Within a week, we are sitting down and he says I have 1, potentially more, disc's out in my back . Well I saw how the women were treated at the VA and decided to have my surgery done at private hospital. So in January they did a myelogram the day before surgery to see exactly how bad my back was and found 4 disc's out of whack. Next day I was up and about and my right leg was tingling..
I realized for the first time in months that I could feel my foot. And Now 21 years later am grateful for that Army DOC doing his rotation at the VA. Although I have a lil pain in the morning and after a long day I get around ok. and a year later I had my knee operated on .. now that I'm almost 42 I have a wee bit of pain and hope it won't get worse but it probably will.
Not sure if I will be able to get my disability reinstated if it gets worse as back in the 80's since I had had surgery and was relatively pain free I was dropped to 0 percent.
Has anyone else been in a situation where they were reduced to 0 per cent but later increased? I'm lucky as for now I have insurance and a good job(= ok money)
OH by the way I did catch that darn ball that caused all this fuss.
I made some great friends in the Corps. Heck except for the injuries I'd do it all again.
Posted: 11 Feb 97
I was a medical assistant in the Air Force 68-70,Vietnam era.
I was stationed at Travis AFB and worked mostly in the 2nd
Casualty unit, caring for casualties of the war. While serving I
started suffering from migraine headaches, stomach and bowel
problems. I was also sexually assaulted and had a child because
I have recently been evaluated at 70% disabled a combination of 50 for PTSD and 30 for migraines. I have awful nightmares and flashbacks often. Anyone who is having problems related to their service, please contact a DAV rep or someone who will listen. I tried first to the local VA office and they told me since I had kids I wouldn't be eligible for benefits and should get welfare. Funny huh. Anyways, I went through the Disabled American Veterans through the Veterans Hospital, and she helped me with paper work. I sure appreciate this lady, who had recently retired. I miss her a lot. Please don't give up. We are damaged by the years we sacrificed to serve our country. We do deserve help. (K.M.)
Posted 28 Jan 97:
I started in the harassment section, moved on to the retiree section, found several other sections interesting and was amazed there seems to be others out there that are and have been going through what I have. I guess I'm a bit grateful I'm not the only one that has faced so much of this. Post Traumatic Stress?? The symptoms are all there but mine was ignored. I'm trying desperately to get someone to see me over medical problems left over from before I retired. I've got numerous "minor" problems that seem to be from stress including heart, back, tumors, panic attacks, depression, etc., etc. The problem is I can't seem to get anyone to give me a clear answer. I'm unbelievably frustrated. I'd been through quite a bit and survived 20 years of service and even succeeded in raising a family and acquiring an MBA. Unfortunately, I'm apparently trapped by a negligent and uncaring Air Force medical facility. The result of which is that I'm unable to find employment and I'm facing bankruptcy. No one seems willing to hire someone in my situation. I'm determined to get back on track but it's been over a year since they floored me by telling me I had a tumor that might be cancerous but that since I'd already requested to retire and had just started my terminal leave - tough luck. I've been trying to get it cleared up ever since. The latest round has netted near daily promises that when they hear of an opening where I might be seen and possibly scheduled for surgery they'll let me know. That started 3 months ago. The VA was more observant. They actually did a real physical and found heart problems for which I'm receiving a 10% disability as well as noting numerous other items but I haven't been able to find any more information out as to what to do about it. The response from this hospital concerning the VA heart findings was to tell me oh well, we can't figure it out, "some people are just weird that way, deal with it". So, if there is ANYONE that can provide some help or advice toward how I can get some medical help I'd be very grateful.
NOTE: E-mail webmaster if you want to contact the submittor directly.
Posted 28 Jan 97: "It Has To Get Better"
I am a 60% disabled vet and I hope telling my story, will help
someone who is the victim of sexual or racial discrimination in
the military to come forward. We, as women in the military, know
from the initial training phase that being able to become part of
the team will make or break our career. If someone steps out of
line, says or does what we would retaliate against a civilian
for, we try very hard to push it aside if it is a military
member, in particular a member who is part of our immediate team.
I have seen and personally experienced acts that in the civilian
community would find the harasser looking for another job, if not
jail. We, as women in the military, have pushed these acts aside
and tried to down play the offense, blowing it off so to speak.
And I remember a time when I would look at women who complained
of sexual harassment/assault as liars, whiney butts, and a threat
to the camaraderie.
So, what changed for me? I became a victim. I was in a command that gave certain people entirely too much control over the lives of others. People who had proven themselves to be not capable of handling the job. God, I wish I could go back and stop the nightmare. I didn't want this man to assault me, I didn't ask for the pain, hurt, or anger he has evoked in me. But if you have been or are now being sexually abused or harassed, please speak out. Tell a chaplain, a doctor, anybody. Send an anonymous letter to you service EEO administrator. The VA Military Womens' Benefits coordinator in you area will also be a great source of information and support whether you are active or veteran. Believe me, the hardest step I ever had to take was the first one. And it was only after 2 suicide attempts, 3 hospital stays, and a breakdown of my ability to function. I knew nothing but the military, I couldn't imagine my life without it. But remembering that time, I know that if I had not left, I would be dead now. You don't have to face this alone. He (my attacker) was the poster child for professionalism at work. Married, good family structure, poor geographical bachelor. I was of questionable background. Who would believe me? I honestly thought I could lock this away and never deal with it again. But the attacks did come back and they did haunt me. So, I had no choice but to address them. And in healing a range of emotions have surfaced from fear to anger. I continue to heal and the investigation into my assault is ongoing.
But hear this if nothing else. A few years ago, I came home to die. With the help of the Veterans Administration and my belief in a higher power, I am a successful college student looking at a future as an attorney. I am a survivor. And if you end the nightmare for yourself, you too will be a survivor. It may feel like it, but you are not alone.
Posted: 27 Jan 97:
I am very glad to see this board for disabled women vets. Many
of us deal with PTSD and it is not easily recognized by the VA. I
am a gulf war vet and also dealt with sexual harassment,
discrimination, attempted sexual assault (my loaded 45 saved the
day) and a variety of nightmares I won't describe here.
There is a Women's Trauma Recovery Unit in Palo Alto California which is run by the VA and is part of the National Center for PTSD. I probably would not be alive today if it was not for the wonderful staff there, especially the women who were so knowledgeable and helpful. They deal with war zone trauma (from all wars) as well as sexual trauma including assault, harassment etc.
I was an officer and thought I would be immune from all the craziness involving sexual assault and harassment. It is worse in a war zone because all normal human respect for others goes out the window in a war zone. I am currently 100% service-connected for PTSD and resigned my commission in 1993. I am hoping to eventually get back to work, but at least now I know how to deal with my symptoms of PTSD and do not feel hopeless or crazy anymore.
There is hope and there is help available. Feel free to contact me at : email@example.com
Posted: 27 Jan 97:
I am a disabled veteran also, I'm 50% disabled by
the military not having the right equipment for me when I went
into the Army. My boots are size one they said. So they had to be
specially made. It took them 11 months to get my boots to me. So
in basic training I had to go to the brace shop and have the
boots padded for my feet every Saturday morning so they would fit
me. On the last Wednesday of basic training we went to the
obstacle course, when I went to the 8 foot jump I fell on my left
knee. I didn't feel any pain. I just kept falling down when I
walked, so my partner, the man that I had told, told me that I
must have really hurt my leg. But, I didn't feel anything. I just
kept on falling down. When we started marching back to camp I
still fell down. So we all stopped to see why I was doing that. I
sat down and the Sgt. took off my left boot and my leg had
swelled up like a basketball really quick. Then I was hurting
really bad. I was put in the hospital for 3 months and still have
trouble with my leg. I also hurt my right eye in the service. I
was stationed at Fort Gordon, Ga. for three years. I really like
the service but had to get out because of my leg.
I am the senior vice commander in the DAV. in Oneonta, N.Y. Also the adjutant, it keeps me busy. So if any of you ladies out there have a question, please write me, OK? God bless you. Sharon Wheeler, E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: 27 Jan 97:
I, too, am rated at 60% disabled. I thoroughly
understand the frustrations voiced here. I've been to the ER at
the local VA with my knee swelling so bad that they had to cut my
jeans off to examine it. What did they do? Send me to emergency
psych. It was all in my head. I've also been told that I would
have to wait until the "real" vets were taken care of.
It's degrading, to say the least. Finally, in 1995, 19 years
after the original injury, they replaced my right knee. Now, they
say, the muscles have atrophied too much to properly use the
knee. So, I'm stuck. And even now when I go in for exams, I feel
like I'm taking up some young pup's time. I am so grateful to
have a loving, supporting husband and family, plus a circle of
close friends that never let the despair get too bad. But I know
I could never have done it alone. That's what is so great about a
place like this, everybody understands. Thanks. Susan Fisher,
Posted: 16 Dec 96:
I am a military veteran (Army) and declared 60%
disabled. I am very bitter about the cause of part of my
disability (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome with depression,
secondary anxiety, panic attacks, and depersonalization
episodes). The remaining portion of my disabilities may not have
been necessary either if I had received proper medical care at
the time of the injuries. I would like to elaborate on the former
portion of my disability however, as it has to do with what is
going on in the Army at the moment.
Twelve years ago, while holding the rank of 1LT, I fell victim to the sick desires of a male superior (MAJ X) and direct supervisor. I went through close to a year of pure hell fighting off his sexual advances and not buckling under the constant threats to give in or he would ruin my career. I was a single parent (15 year old daughter), out of my element in a fairly new duty assignment, and ashamed to even discuss the situation with my family. To make matters even worse, I felt if I came forth with charges or at a minimum, a complaint - the whole world would be against me because of his favorable reputation.
Having been prior enlisted, I was always very troop conscious and had a reputation as being a very fair and understanding officer among the enlisted and NCO personnel. I still can not come to a resolve with the guilt that finally brought this situation to light. We had sent an increment of enlisted personnel to Fort Sam Houston for a short duty tour under the direction of the previously mentioned officer. Three days into the assignment, my headquarters received a call that one of our female enlisted (PFC) had been found unconscious in a drainage ditch outside the female barracks around 6am. She had been evaluated in the emergency room and found to have been raped and sodimized so badly, that it was said her vagina appeared to be like raw hamburger. When the preliminary investigation disclosed that the last person known to have seen her was this MAJ X, a female SFC at the headquarters blew up in my face with rage. She told me I should have been ashamed of myself for allowing his actions toward me for the many previous months and that my negligence disgusted her to the point of making her physically nauseous. I over looked her out burst as I was elated to finally find a witness to his actions against me. It was a long and very emotionally draining up hill battle to get past the immediate headquarters and into the 5th Army investigative channels. During the period of investigations, my daughter was continually threatened my anonymous phone calls, I was physically run off the road between duty and home five times in four months, and I was even shot at while getting out of my car, in my drive way, after returning home from duty. The PFC was declared permanently catatonic and shipped to a mental institution, never to speak again for the rest of her life. The female SP4 who had initially come forth and made the statement that the MAJ X was the last one seen in the company of the PFC (under the pretense of safely escorting her to her barracks following a party) mysteriously disappeared before formal investigation came into place. Every near and distant family member was contacted for information as to her whereabouts with no result. It was suspicioned she had been disposed of but was contended without a body, there was no evidence for charges.
After a lengthy investigation by the 5th Army prosecutor, 29 female enlisted personnel from the MAJ X's previous assignment (within the same command) anonymously came forth and provided statements of sexual assault and harassment against this officer on my behalf. After many months Washington D.C. approved a Court's Martial against him with the prosecutors contention that he was going for a minimum of 20 years in Leavenworth. During the period of time that the approval was being returned to 5th Army for commencement of action, the officer (MAJ X) elected to take an unsolicited resignation from service. Washington DC approved the request as they said the Court's Martial would take a minimum of six months to conclude considering the evidence and it would be a very expensive process. The MAJ X's final statement in front of witnesses before he was released was that he would get me, if it took him the rest of his life to do it. I have spent 12 years and still am looking over my shoulder. I was never offered any assistance (medical or otherwise) following the episode, except for being whisked out of my duty assignment and reassigned to a bogus location on paper to cover my trail. This was prior to the conclusion of the final investigation because St. Louis contended (based on information from the investigations) that my life was in danger.
During the early part of 1986, I began to experience episodes of what has now been classified as depersonalization. Later that same year I ended up in the psych unit of a military hospital for two weeks. I didn't even know where I was for two days after I was admitted. I couldn't then nor for 10 years following bring myself to discuss what was bothering me for fear of being found by or having to possibly face the MAJ X again. I still often wake up screaming from nightmares of him. I am terrified to out into crowds for fear he will be there, and I haven't had a successful intimate relationship since the occurrence. My mother died in late '94 never knowing the circumstances of my situation but very aware there had been a vast and frustrating change in me. Until the day she died, she tried to encourage and comfort me without knowing why. My daughter was not as tolerant with the end result that this situation produced. As a result I have not seen or spoken to her since the month after my mother passed.
I am thankful for the assistance I am finally getting from the Veteran's Hospital but more times than none, I feel the help has come too late. I am on my fifth medication at present and results are not evident. I fought desperately to take an early retirement in April of this year as I believed that I was no longer giving my best to the military. It was not until I was going through VA processing to determine the extent of other service connected disabilities that I broke down again and all of this was disclosed. I have been seen by a vast majority of service providers at the VA (as I retired with 20 contended service connected disabilities). All but three have been females, for which I will be eternally grateful. I now have four permanent service providers (all female) and they are wonderful. In conclusion I sincerely encourage any woman (still in service or a veteran) who has gone through anything similar to what I have experienced to seek help immediately. Please don't let fear or guilt stand in your way. All of the other things you have a possibility of loosing far out weigh these emotions.
Take care and God bless, A veteran Major
Submitted: 4 Dec 96:
I am a disabled woman veteran. I was discharged
from service due to an injury that was totally the fault of the
military. If it wasn't for my fellow vets, I would have given up
hope. Because I was a woman and easily frustrated by the circles
I was being spun in by the hospital, I got extremely upset and
began to cry when the doctor finally saw me. I was tired, in pain
and ready to quit. This doctor made me feel the desire even more.
He told me I was suffering depression and need to see a shrink,
that my head was messed up and I didn't need a medical doctor. I
left the hospital feeling worse than when I'd come in and more
upset and depressed than I had ever felt. I was a mess. I wanted
Fortunately, I had made friends with a vet who doesn't know what the word quit is. He told me what I needed to do and helped me to do what was right for me and my condition. I've been to 4 different VA Hospitals, two of which I left in tears of frustration and humiliation. I was "searched" by a man who put his hands on me in one hospital. I was too scared to do anything about it. Well, I got tough. I learned to do the things that had to be done and began to work on getting other women vets together and straightening out our hospitals. I write letters, I talk to people, I make it better for women to be fear-free when entering a "male dominated" hospital. I am currently on the Women Veteran's Committee at the hospital. I make a difference so that the women who comes through the doors behind me won't feel the pain and humiliation that I did. Without the help and guidance of other vets who care, I wouldn't be getting the help I need and the women behind me wouldn't either. We do make a difference! I've learned to stand up for my rights and not be pushed aside. I MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!! We women need to stand together and be recognized, not criticized. We need to take back our rights and be recognized for the service we deserve for being VETERANS! I am unable to hold a job due to my disability; but it doesn't stop me from doing whatever I can to help my fellow vets. I use everyday that I can to dedicate my life to helping my follow vets and though they are not as many as I'd like, I do what I can. Please, if you are disabled or need the help of the VA, DON'T GIVE UP!!!! MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!!! WOMEN ARE VETERANS, TOO!!!!!!!!
Submitted 3 Dec 96:
I am a woman who is also a veteran and an
employee of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. I understand the
frustrations you experience in dealing with the system and want
to encourage you to keep at it. Like all government agencies it
can be slow and bureaucratic. The best thing you can do is to
visit with a Veterans Benefits Counselor at your Regional Office
and go over your file if you experience difficulty. We are
willing and able. Many of us are veterans too! There are no less
than five women veterans in our office, and many of the men are
veterans. Everyone truly does try to work with you and help. And,
if you don't get the service you deserve, make sure you express
this to the individual's supervisor.
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