Anthrax Vaccine Ankylosing Spondylitis and Crohn's Disease Navy MEB Advice/Help

seabee

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#1
All,
I have read this site for hours a day for about 2 years. This is my first time posting because I have never had anything to contribute because I have not been through this process and have no experience with these matters. Now it's my time to post.

I have been active duty Navy 4 years today. I was always healthy (190 lbs) 'til a deployment to Iraq in 2008. During my deployment I was given an Anthrax vaccine.(Only the first of the series.) The next day I was very ill and was unable to keep food or water down in my system. I was assisted by a First Class Petty Officer to the BAS for treatment. I was given saline/benadryl solution through an IV to rehydrate and stop the vomiting. I went to bed shortly after and had no problems for a few days. Two days later, I was sitting indoors and started having nose bleeds with thick blood coming out. another two days later I started having really bad tooth pain. I ended up having an infection in my mouth that had to be lanced open and drained out. I was in so much pain. My primary care provider had decided that it was best to not receive the remaining shots of the anthrax series due to the fact that I was having heath problems after the initial vaccination. (Lt. O'Daniel USN) I soon returned to the states.

I had returned to America in April 2008. I had started having back pain quite frequently and frequent bowel movements and had started losing weight. In August 2008 I woke one day and my left eye was very red and photosensitive. I was diagnosed with iritis. I was givien steroid drops for my eyes to use for over a month. Because of the determination of iritis and having back pain I was referred to the rheumatology clinic for an evaluation. A blood test determined that I was HLA-B27 positive. I was there diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis and referred to the GI clinic for the IBD symptoms. The GI clinic ended up diagnosing me with crohn's disease. My father had this illness as well but I had never shown any signs of it.

I was put on steroids and an injectable immunosuppresant called humira. The steroids messed me up for a while but the humira was a life saver. I followed up for about 8 months with all of my appointments and was determined to be in remission. I had another c-scope done and there were no more ulcers and inflammation had gone down. I was cleared to go to Japan. I deployed to Japan for 10 months in August 2009 at 150 lbs. I MANAGED through my symptoms and didn't say much because I wanted to stay active duty.

I returned back to the US once again in late May 2010. My health was doing better. (I'm 183 lbs.) I still suffer much back pain and stiffness. And I still get the crohn's symptoms. (a lot of loose stool).

My primary care manage has decided that it was time to initiate a MEB. I knew this day was coming for a long time but was able to avoid it for over 2 years. I just wanted to support my family. I know that the board will not come back with a fit for duty finding. I know I will be medically separated for my illnesses.

I believe the Rhuematologist is writing his statement to refer to the board now. I have already been notified that in the near future I will be going LIMDU status and having my MEB.

My question is how do I win this process? I feel I am David and the Navy is Goliath. I have been gathering pictures and news articles dealing with anthrax and HLA-B27. However, I still feel I cannot prove anything. What do I do? All I want is to keep my Tricare and commissary rights. (And of course my medicines associated with my illnesses) If I get less than 30% I'll fight tooth and nail, if I receive it I'll process out quietly.

Jason and Mike Parker I know you might have some insight on this.
 

maparker

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#2
I do have some insights for you but will take some time to find some stuff. If you don't hear back by Friday, please ping me again.

Mike
 

Jason Perry

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#3
seabee,

Good to have you here. You didn't post many specific questions, so I will just offer a few observations at this point.

First, though medically very important to understand the history and cause of your illness, remember, what is of primary importance in getting properly evaluated is having an accurate MEB detailing your disabilities and making sure you have good evidence of which of your disabilities significantly impact your duty performance. What I am saying is that the fact of anthrax vaccine being a cause is of little importance to the outcome of your case compared to having good evidence of unfitness and how your condition meets the rating criteria.

Second, a common issue in all arthritis-type cases (inflamatory or otherwise) is proper evaluation of range of motion. It can be a challenge to get them to measure your joints using a goniometer in some cases, but even when this is done, a larger failing is not evaluating your condition during a flare or taking into account the impact of pain, fatigue, incoordination, or repetitive movement, among other factors, when evaluating ROM.

Finally, AS/ or any type of inflamatory arthritis is often not accurately rated according DC 5002. There are consistent problems with rating on the active process, but even more so, there is often a resistance/failure to rate on residuals.

These are just some initial thoughts. If you have other questions, or some come up along the way, feel free to post. I hope all goes well for you.
 

seabee

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#4
Thank you for replying. I went to work today and was given an Abbreviated Medical Review Board Report at the medical office I then filled out paperwork to go LIMDU. I was told they are skipping the MEB and going straight to the PEB, The Diagnosis was Crohn's Disease ICD-9 CM code 555.9 and Ankylosing Spondylitis code 770.0.

Circumstances: Patient has worsening symptoms of his Crohn's. He will not be able to continue on active duty due this condition.

Treatment Plan: Continue IM humira and other therapy recommended by rheumatology.

Limitations from full duty: Separation from active duty recommended.

I was informed that this will significantly speed the processing of everything. I'm feeling a little doubtful for the 30% through the Navy. At least both illnesses are listed on the MEBR and that increases my chances of getting a better percentage. I know the VA will rate me well.

I'm on new medicine for anxiety and depression, otherwise I'm sure I would have gone nuts worrying about this. I just feel a little numbed and a small amount of relief knowing that the process is finally started.

If you have any ideas of who I should be talking to right now that would be great too!!
BTW, I think I read somewhere I have 5-10% loss in mobility in neck and back/hips in each direction.
 

Jason Perry

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#5
I don't want to make you nervous...this may all be miscommunication or a misunderstanding. But you have to have an MEB. It is vital that they accurately evaluate all of your conditions. Expressing limitation of Range of Motion by percentage is not acceptable. It must be measured with a goniometer and the measurement must be stated in degrees (basically, because that is how the ratings are determined, as measured by degrees).
 

seabee

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#6
Ah, you are right it was 5 - 10 degrees.

I didn't think they could skip the MEB either. But I'm thinking they will do it the day when I check into Pensacola.I'm hoping everything will last 'til the summer session of school begins next year. (The final separation date.)
 

ceseabee

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Ah, you are right it was 5 - 10 degrees.

I didn't think they could skip the MEB either. But I'm thinking they will do it the day when I check into Pensacola.I'm hoping everything will last 'til the summer session of school begins next year. (The final separation date.)
I know this is from 7 years ago and I’m hoping you still pay attention to this, but did you get things worked out? I am in the fight of my life right now from this anthrax crap.
 

chaplaincharlie

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#8
Perhaps starting a new thread would be helpful. You would need to line out the details of your fight in order to get appropriate responses. Often old poster are inactive.