23+ years and MEB started for Psoriasis, I have some ??

paulaf73

Registered Member
#1
I have 23 years plus in, AD Major, and I will have a line number for Lt Col this summer (I am not sure if that plays into this or not), my guess is no. I have had Psoriasis for about 9 years, and I've been getting by on light treatment and steroid ointments.

I was assigned to Maxwell last year, and the clinic had to refer me to UAB which about a 4 hour round trip. Unfortunately I'm only able to make it out there maybe once a week for light therapy so my skin has gotten worse (legs primarily). The UAB doctor recently recommended Otezla. Unfortunately Tricare/maxwell pharmacy told me I need to use Humira before Otezla. I'm working through that problem now, but in the interim my PCM told me he was initiating a MEB because of my situation. I'm not sure if I agree with that or not, but I'm unsure how the process works.

First, I want to stay on AD. No issues with PT or deploying, I've been deployed n the last few years a few times. My CC wants me to stay in, etc.

I have alot of questions, but the important ones are below,

What are my chances of staying and making it through MEB, based on the info above. I have not started Humira, I'm still trying to take Otezla but the pharmacy and Tricare want me to use Humira. Good, bad, done deal on staying in, being found fit for duty?

How does the MEB medical retirement work versus a traditional retirement with the VA rating? I have a few other medical issues and I know the MEB only focuses only on one or two. Do the others get wrapped up during the VA disability process or do I do that after I retire? I hope it's all done while I'm on AD. I just want to make sure I don't get hosed during this process if I am found to be unfit for duty.

How long does the MEB process take if I'm found fit for duty, or found unfit for duty?

The last one is for those who have psoriasis, I have heard good things about Humira, but I have also heard about some negative side effects (cancer, tumors, etc(. I haven't heard much about Otezla. Any information on these drugs would really be helpful and I'd appreciate it.
 

kiska

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#2
Welcome to the site. I am curious why psoriasis would be considered unfitting? It doesn't interfere with your duties. Plus, I would find a homeopathic doctor and see what they suggest. Dumping drugs into your body isn't always the right answer, it's just what drug companies want. Personally, I would fight it.
 

maparker

Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#3
In the past, I have seen the AF PEBs state drugs like Humira are incompatible with the rigors of military service. I am retired Army and my PEB found me fit despite using Enbrel.

Mike
 

paulaf73

Registered Member
#4
Mike, thanks. I hope it works out the same for me, what do you think of Enbrel? How fast will I know the ruling of fit or unfit and how does it work for my retirement / disability pay?
 

paulaf73

Registered Member
#5
Welcome to the site. I am curious why psoriasis would be considered unfitting? It doesn't interfere with your duties. Plus, I would find a homeopathic doctor and see what they suggest. Dumping drugs into your body isn't always the right answer, it's just what drug companies want. Personally, I would fight it.
Kiska, it's because the Humira and Otezla are considered incompatible with the rigors of military service which is bs in my opinion, I've had this condition for almost ten years. Luckily I'm over 20 years.
 

maparker

Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#6
Enbrel was a life changer in treating my psoriatic arthritis/reactive arthritis especially when it came to greatly reducing joint pain and systemic inflammation.

Given you have 20+ years active years active duty and your condition does not appear to be combat related, a disability retirement and length of service retirement will likely yield the same result, particularly if you are CRDP eligible. If you treat your psoriasis with a systemic drug like Humira or Enbrel it will equate to at least a 60% rating which will make you eligible for CRDP.

Mike
 

scoutCC

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#7
Isn't Humira mainly a deal breaker because it makes you non-deployable? I believe due to the difficulty of getting it in theatre and the need for monitoring. I think a fit finding may be argued in the context of a LT Col having a job with a non-deploying unit. The mere fact you're non deployable doesn't mean an auto unfit, just means the docs can't sign off on the medical retention, has to be decided by higher. An infantryman PFC probably not, but being on the list for LT Col is definitely different in how the military utilizes you.
 

kiska

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#8
Tha
Kiska, it's because the Humira and Otezla are considered incompatible with the rigors of military service which is bs in my opinion, I've had this condition for almost ten years. Luckily I'm over 20 years.
Thank you for sharing the rational. I have learned numerous things from this site. Knowledge is always good.
 

paulaf73

Registered Member
#9
Isn't Humira mainly a deal breaker because it makes you non-deployable? I believe due to the difficulty of getting it in theatre and the need for monitoring. I think a fit finding may be argued in the context of a LT Col having a job with a non-deploying unit. The mere fact you're non deployable doesn't mean an auto unfit, just means the docs can't sign off on the medical retention, has to be decided by higher. An infantryman PFC probably not, but being on the list for LT Col is definitely different in how the military utilizes you.
Scout, Thanks for the info. I have no idea I need to talk to my PCM some more about it. I don't think it makes me non deployable, I think it does for some locations due to remoteness, etc. I personally have no issue deploying, and never have and I want to stay in. I wish I knew someone in the Air Force over 20 (in or retired) with a similar issue. I'm also currently an instructor and we rarely deploy, and no issues with pt.

Where is the MEB held, locally or down at AFPC?
 

denmom117

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#10
Scout, Thanks for the info. I have no idea I need to talk to my PCM some more about it. I don't think it makes me non deployable, I think it does for some locations due to remoteness, etc. I personally have no issue deploying, and never have and I want to stay in. I wish I knew someone in the Air Force over 20 (in or retired) with a similar issue. I'm also currently an instructor and we rarely deploy, and no issues with pt.

Where is the MEB held, locally or down at AFPC?
Formal Board is at Randolph AFB.
 

paulaf73

Registered Member
#11
I'm following up with an update, I know it's been a long time.

Last Spring I decided to wait to begin Humira. The RILO went fine, I got a profile with a Code C and was allowed to stay on AD. Fast forward to now.

Oct 15 - I was tired of driving 4 hours round trip weekly for one light therapy session and began using Humira. It works pretty good, a few small areas but overall a drastic improvement. I submitted my paperwork to retire Jan 16 with a date of 1 Sep.

I just finished my general medical appt with a VA contracted medical facility and I have one appt left with the actual VA. However, I had some concerns with the way they documented my psoriasis in the the clinic, and I'll readdress at the VA. They documented the condition, and medication (Humira) but I think the total area affected they said was 20%

My questions for any folks with psoriasis knowledge are

Is the evaluation supposed to use the area affected as a whole or only the area that's affected after the Humira medication. The only psoriasis I have now is on the bottom half of my legs as opposed to legs, back, scalp, etc.

On 1 Sep it won't be a full year that I've been using Humira, only 11 months but constantly (every 2 weeks) Should my rating be 30% or 60%?

Appreciate any advice.

Thanks.