Asthma Again ! Feel free to chime in

SILENT-J

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Hello,

I would love to share my story here to receive insight and just for future people that may go through the same thing I am currently going through. Here is my story:

When I initially joined the Air Force I had to get a waiver because of childhood asthma. I got the waiver and finally went to basic training. A little background about me:

26 A1C been in for a little over 2 years. Air traffic Controller (5 level rated). Had child hood asthma around the age of 8-9. Played sports throughout high school without any problems.

Back to basic. Ran and passed the PT test throughout basic with ease! I got held over for 3-4 months because of low iron issues. It was found out that I have some weird trait where my body just runs on low iron but I am not anemic. Interesting none the less. When going to get cleared for this the doctor heard a wheeze in my breath so wanted to also check for asthma considering my history. I was given steroids to take as well because the doctor thought that it may have been an illness.. bronchitis or something else. Steroids helped a little bit and I was scheduled for a methocholine challenge test later as well. I passed this test and was finally off to Tech School! Yay!

No problems during tech school. Got to my first passed a pt test. The 2nd one rolls around and I max out situps and pushups but fail the run by 2 seconds. Two weeks prior to this test I was traveling back home and had an instance where it was hard to breathe for a night at my mothers. Slept in her basement while visiting and maybe it triggered something.

I made my way to flight med after my PT test to see what the deal was and to try to pin the failure on the fact that I couldn't breathe throughout the run. They gave me a spirometer test and I was inhaling at a capacity of 70 when the doc said it should be around 80 or so. I was prescribed allegra and Flonase to see if maybe the reason was due to allergies. A week later I tested and it was the same so I was referred to a pulmonologist.

Got back from the pulmonologist last Friday and they did a couple of tests and deemed the following

Diagnosis: Mild Intermittent Asthma
Prognosis: Good
He prescribed me Breo (once a day) and a rescue inhaler as needed.

Brought these results back to Flight Med today where the Breo was substituted for Advair 100/50. The doc asked about my past history with asthma which was already noted prior to joining. He also stated that my chain of command is on my side including my commander which is really an awesome feeling. I have read other threads where the recommendations could really play a great deal in the decisions being made. The flight doc does not want to submit the actual Med Package until my follow up with the pulmonologist to see if my asthma will be controlled etc.

I would love to stay in the Air Force and control planes so I plan to do all I can in my power to have this work in my favor, health permitting of course. I was told that there are different scenarios that could play out. I could be on a permanent no walk or no run waiver if I was retained. Another venue would be a AFSC change possibly. Another option of course is being removed from Active Duty. I was informed that there have been many cases and he is doubtful that I would be removed from the Air Force but really who knows when it comes to these things.

My big questions were what I have to do to stay in my job and in the Air Force of course. I was told that I should ask the pulmonologist to really define and be clear with his prognosis stating that my condition will improve or is not a limiting factor (if true of course).

Thanks for reading! Here are some questions I have personally:

What are my chances of being retained?

I am guessing that my chances of going to a base will be limited now and I will stay state side?

What about deployments, how will that be effected?

What would be some other things that I should ask from my off base pulmonologist doctor that would help me?

What do you see happening with this case, what are my chances of staying in (ATC) or AF in general?

Is there anything else I should know? (For example, certain meds qualify for disability etc)

Thank you for reading my long story. Maybe it will help someone in the future! All opinions and comments are very much appreciated!
 

jahlon

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The answers to all your questions are going to be conditional on how well you recover.

Your chances of being retained will be based on the prognosis as provided by your pulmonologist.

Your base options may be limited depending on the diagnosis/prognosis, but you wont' be limited state-side. A fair portion of the overseas bases have full medical clinics, and your condition would be treatable.

Deployments might be affected depending on the diagnosis.

I wouldn't ask your pulmonologist for anything other than what you already planned on.

Now for the news you probably don't want to hear. If you can't pass a PT test this early in your career, compounding by the fact that your asthma is a pre-existing condition, you need to be ready for the bad news that the Air Force may choose to separate you. This is mainly due to the fact that your condition is EPTS (Existed Prior to Service). If you were to remain on active duty, after 8 years (the eight year rule) even though the condition existed prior to your service, it would be rated as service aggravated.

The big question is, do you think you can get back to a point where you can pass the run?
 

chaplaincharlie

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In the resource section of this website you will find a copy of the Air Force's Medical Standards Directory. The MSD speaks to retention decisions by diagnosis and AFSC grouping.
 

mr pig

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The answers to all your questions are going to be conditional on how well you recover.

Your chances of being retained will be based on the prognosis as provided by your pulmonologist.

Your base options may be limited depending on the diagnosis/prognosis, but you wont' be limited state-side. A fair portion of the overseas bases have full medical clinics, and your condition would be treatable.

Deployments might be affected depending on the diagnosis.

I wouldn't ask your pulmonologist for anything other than what you already planned on.

Now for the news you probably don't want to hear. If you can't pass a PT test this early in your career, compounding by the fact that your asthma is a pre-existing condition, you need to be ready for the bad news that the Air Force may choose to separate you. This is mainly due to the fact that your condition is EPTS (Existed Prior to Service). If you were to remain on active duty, after 8 years (the eight year rule) even though the condition existed prior to your service, it would be rated as service aggravated.

The big question is, do you think you can get back to a point where you can pass the run?
A condition can be aggravated by being in the Military-but I've never heard of this 8 year rule. I have a preexisting condition for anxiety but my Dr has said it's been service aggravated. Wouldn't it depend on what the Dr would say?
 

jahlon

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EPTS and genetic conditions are normally notDoD Disability or VA Disability unless they are service-aggravated. If a service member served in the military on active duty for 8 years or more, however, then their EPTS or genetic conditions are automatically considered service-aggravated, and thus eligible for disability compensation, unless it can be proven otherwise.

Basically, if the service member served 8 years or more, then the EPTS or genetic condition is considered service-connected and fully ratable as long as it is diagnosed while the service member is still on active duty. It is eligible for all Military Disability Benefits, as long as, of course, it also makes the service member Unfit for Duty for DoD Disability. It’s a bit of a gift for giving so much of their life to the service.

If the condition is not diagnosed until after the service member's discharge, however, then it is not considered service-aggravated, and thus not eligible for VA Disability. This is the general policy, but we have seen some exceptions made, so it may be worth a shot to submit a VA Disability Claim for it anyway. Just don't be surprised when it's denied, which will happen far more often than not.

This 8-year service-connection rule does not include the other conditions noted on our Conditions That Are Not Ratable page.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/service-connected.html#eight
 

mr pig

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EPTS and genetic conditions are normally notDoD Disability or VA Disability unless they are service-aggravated. If a service member served in the military on active duty for 8 years or more, however, then their EPTS or genetic conditions are automatically considered service-aggravated, and thus eligible for disability compensation, unless it can be proven otherwise.

Basically, if the service member served 8 years or more, then the EPTS or genetic condition is considered service-connected and fully ratable as long as it is diagnosed while the service member is still on active duty. It is eligible for all Military Disability Benefits, as long as, of course, it also makes the service member Unfit for Duty for DoD Disability. It’s a bit of a gift for giving so much of their life to the service.

If the condition is not diagnosed until after the service member's discharge, however, then it is not considered service-aggravated, and thus not eligible for VA Disability. This is the general policy, but we have seen some exceptions made, so it may be worth a shot to submit a VA Disability Claim for it anyway. Just don't be surprised when it's denied, which will happen far more often than not.

This 8-year service-connection rule does not include the other conditions noted on our Conditions That Are Not Ratable page.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/service-connected.html#eight
That makes sense now. Thank you for explaining that. cheers!
 

SILENT-J

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
The answers to all your questions are going to be conditional on how well you recover.

Your chances of being retained will be based on the prognosis as provided by your pulmonologist.

Your base options may be limited depending on the diagnosis/prognosis, but you wont' be limited state-side. A fair portion of the overseas bases have full medical clinics, and your condition would be treatable.

Deployments might be affected depending on the diagnosis.

I wouldn't ask your pulmonologist for anything other than what you already planned on.

Now for the news you probably don't want to hear. If you can't pass a PT test this early in your career, compounding by the fact that your asthma is a pre-existing condition, you need to be ready for the bad news that the Air Force may choose to separate you. This is mainly due to the fact that your condition is EPTS (Existed Prior to Service). If you were to remain on active duty, after 8 years (the eight year rule) even though the condition existed prior to your service, it would be rated as service aggravated.

The big question is, do you think you can get back to a point where you can pass the run?
I figured that much! It would depend on the prognosis of the pulmonologist. I have also heard about eh base thing but its nice to hear it from this board and people who have experienced it rather than some guesses.

Just a question. Would the pulmonologists finding that the asthma was service aggravated help any in terms of disability if that route was taken?

I might be able to get back to where I was. The medicine that was prescribed is actually helping so it will be interesting to see where I am next test.
 

SILENT-J

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
In the resource section of this website you will find a copy of the Air Force's Medical Standards Directory. The MSD speaks to retention decisions by diagnosis and AFSC grouping.
Thanks Charlie for this! After reading this regulation I found that I may fit into the G3 section. It shows X all across with some asterisks. What exactly does this mean?

 

SILENT-J

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Oh and thank you everyone for your inputs and replies it is much appreciated!

I was updated today to start an MFR (a letter of recommendation for retention) that will be routed to my commander. I was also instructed to review the MED BOARD AFI and be familiar with it.

In other news my TDY was cancelled :( but there will be more opportunities in the future. Keeping my head up!
 

jahlon

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As heads up the MEB AFI is pretty daunting, make sure to ask any questions you need to.
 

mxridr

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I'm ATC or atleast for the next month until I retire but from what I have seen with individuals with asthma in ATC is they just get a waiver. I one person I know just was put in for a MEB and when it went to AFPC to decide if it warrants a full MEB or not they just sent him back to duty with a waiver.
 

SILENT-J

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
I'm ATC or atleast for the next month until I retire but from what I have seen with individuals with asthma in ATC is they just get a waiver. I one person I know just was put in for a MEB and when it went to AFPC to decide if it warrants a full MEB or not they just sent him back to duty with a waiver.
Awesome to hear this! Im guessing a waiver for specific things like the run and other things? I do know that every case is different but this is great news to hear from someone in the same career field. Thanks again. I will update this once I get more news. Should be about a month or so until my next apt with the pulmonologist where I will request a more in depth prognosis. Thank you everyone.
 

indiechixor

New Member
Registered Member
Have they asked for a methacholine challenge? I'm pretty much where you are right now, except they found an Inhaler issued to me back in 2008 (allergy induced) and that started my process. The dude reviewing my records referred me to an off-base doctor for this test, it's really the only way of determining what level of asthma you have.
 

SILENT-J

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Have they asked for a methacholine challenge? I'm pretty much where you are right now, except they found an Inhaler issued to me back in 2008 (allergy induced) and that started my process. The dude reviewing my records referred me to an off-base doctor for this test, it's really the only way of determining what level of asthma you have.
I did this before leaving basic training. They held me over for this reason and I passed it back then. They haven't spoken of it again. I will find out more news next week when I go to my followup appointment with the off base doc and the flight doc will finally submit by med board. So I am curious to see what will happen once its submitted. I heard it touches several hands before I hear anything. I did get my commanders recommendation for retention letter so I am going to give this to the flight doc before the process starts after my followup.
 

SILENT-J

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Another update. I failed my last PT test but the failure was waivered by my commander due to Asthma. I am now on a profile that limits my running and etc. I was awaiting a waiver so that I may return to my job and talk to air planes. News came back last week that my waiver was denied and that I am disqualified from Air Traffic. They are now trying to reclass me. At least I have my Tower Ratings and CTO card from the FAA which can get me a job on the outside. I also already got my CCAF in this career field. I came in guaranteed ATC so I am curious to see what jobs they will offer me. If it is not a job that I like I may look into apply for early separation. Any thoughts? I find it strange that this waiver was denied seeing as I received a waiver for asthma to join the Air Force. I also got held over after BMT for 4 months because of it and I was administered the methocoline test. I passed that and received another waiver. Now this 3rd waiver was denied. Thank you again everyone for following my thread.
 
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