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Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Military/Armed Forces with IBD Support Group


 
02-12-2014, 12:45 AM   #1
Jennifer
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Military/Armed Forces with IBD Support Group

About this Support Group

This support group is for members who have been diagnosed with IBD (Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis, Microscopic Colitis etc) and who are currently in the military/armed forces or if you were in the military or if you plan on joining the military. Members who have friends or family with IBD who served in the military, planned to join the military or who are currently serving are also welcome to join this group.

Discussions may include but are not limited to:

- How to join the armed forces/military if you have IBD or is it possible?
- What happens when you're diagnosed during service?
- Will I be discharged because of my illness?
- Will I be able to get treatment during my service (doctor visits, tests, medication etc)?
- How do you cope during your time of service when you have IBD?

Members

4peace's Avatar 4peace, AshRyzE, Delilahdog, devin.moyer, durwardian's Avatar durwardian, ericksdaniel's Avatar ericksdaniel, GI Jane's Avatar GI Jane, GroundedAngel, irinabj, Jennifer's Avatar Jennifer, Jpow's Avatar Jpow, LtHuff's Avatar LtHuff, MarcREMEVM, mmcnemar's Avatar mmcnemar, MrMattWebb's Avatar MrMattWebb, Murray Peters's Avatar Murray Peters, osbel, pslieber, ROE, SamIAm, Sea_Star's Avatar Sea_Star, sehart717, sonofpete, zacofalltrades's Avatar zacofalltrades
02-14-2014, 06:08 AM   #2
dave13
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I hope the discharge from the military because of IBD is an honorable one and the soldier will be entitled to any benefits.Is it treated like any other situation that would cause an honorable discharge?I'm sorry I am asking more questions instead of supplying information.If IBD makes you 'less deployable',are there support positions where experience and training could be utilized? I am not in the military but I support our men and women(and dogs)that choose this path.
02-14-2014, 10:15 AM   #3
devin.moyer
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
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It would be a medical discharge so it wouldn't be anything negative towards me. I would get many benefits, but depending on the percentage they give me, that will determine if I get medical benefits for the rest of my life. My current job is a support position, even though my last deployment I was with an infantry company and still went on missions, and since I'm on immunosuppressives, going overseas will put me at a much higher risk over there, from my understanding that is the reason I will be non-deployable
02-14-2014, 12:51 PM   #4
dave13
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It's good to know you will receive your benefits.They can decide what % you get? I'm glad it isn't considered a negative against you when you are discharged.I wonder how many people in all the branches are in a situation similar to yours? This may sound naive,but why can't you stay stateside and finish the stint you signed up for? If there is someone already trained with certain skills than why recruit and train someone new? Keep the faith and thanks for your service.
02-14-2014, 02:17 PM   #5
devin.moyer
 
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I'm not sure what they will decide. Looking at it from their point of view though, if I can't deploy than what good am I to them? It makes sense, just really frustrating at the same time
02-14-2014, 02:30 PM   #6
DustyKat
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In Australia you can’t joined any arm of the forces if you have Crohn’s.
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Mum of 2 kids with Crohn's.
02-14-2014, 05:18 PM   #7
devin.moyer
 
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That's the same way it is here in the states. I'm just hoping since I was in when they diagnosed me i can stay...wishful thinking I know but
02-16-2014, 09:55 AM   #8
devin.moyer
 
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Quick update. I have a connection whose father in law is the head PA for the army. According to him, there is about a 50/50 chance of getting medically discharged. In AR 40-501, it states Crohn's disease as well as UC are grounds for a medboard unless it's responding well to treatment. Which leads me to believe if it responds well to treatment, I can stay in. I need some help. I am on medicine for it, but what can I do on my level to control it using my diet, etc? I appreciate all the help I can get
02-16-2014, 11:44 AM   #9
durwardian
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It really depends on what your occupation is. In my line of work, it could cost lives if we were not all 100% all of the time. It would be important not to "suck it up" and try, because you can get others hurt or killed if you are having issues that I personally know too well. There are way too many circumstances in the armed forces where a simple bowel problem can be a big problem. Nobody is going to stop shooting at you so you can take a break. So no, do not risk my life, or my soldiers with "maybe" meds will keep this under control. No to taking any risks. No to being deployed in any jobs that require you to be physically and mentally 100%.
I got out, but had my job changed after talking to my commander. Then finished my duty in an office, with a bathroom... so, be smart, it's not about you as an individual in the military, it's teamwork. Don't endanger others, don't drag the team down.
02-16-2014, 02:07 PM   #10
devin.moyer
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Right, I understand that, but I'm an intel analyst. It's not physically demanding, I'm in an office/toc when deployed so I really don't think I'd be risking other peoples lives. I would be on a non deployable profile, but in my line of work, we don't necessarily have to be deployed to still be an asset to the military
02-16-2014, 02:09 PM   #11
durwardian
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Good deal then, sounds like no reason for concern.
02-16-2014, 02:15 PM   #12
durwardian
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Please keep good records of treatment. I'm still being treated by the VA and it is a constant struggle with them cutting my medications. I am fighting for help or therapy of any kind. It is a bad place to be stuck.
02-16-2014, 10:55 PM   #13
devin.moyer
 
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Yeah, a lot of people have told me the same thing. I'm feel like I'm more stressed not knowing what's gonna happen as opposed to them telling me I'm gonna get discharged. I want to stay in, but at this point I just want to know their decision, and I feel clueless about how this whole process is gonna happen or how long it will take before they make a decision. But I see your location is Hawaii. Are u still in the military and stationed there? Because just before I got diagnosed, I reenlisted for Hawaii so it would be useful to get advice on that topic as well. Also, would you happen to know, let's say they decide I can stay in, but it takes them a while, will they give away my slot for Hawaii and renegotiate my reenlistment? Or will they hold my slot as long as it takes for them to make a decision? So much I'm confused about...
02-16-2014, 11:07 PM   #14
durwardian
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Yes, lots of questions I've been out for a long time with no clue how they work assignments. In my day you were lucky if they kept any promises, nothing but lies to lure us into signing up for things.
The military has little interest in being ethical or fair. So I wouldn't expect much cooperation, and expect to get sent into combat even when they promise you not to.
02-16-2014, 11:12 PM   #15
devin.moyer
 
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Well I joined the army to deploy. Having a non deployable profile would upset me. Sure it has the perk of not having to leave my family, and I could still be an asset sitting in an office with the right systems (can't go into too much detail), but it's not the same as a deployment. My fear right now is with the army down sizing, they will jump at the opportunity to get me out, even though I feel I deserve to stay in. Do you think getting letters of recommendation would help? Cause many NCOs and officers that I have contacted that I no longer work with said they will write me one if it'll help
02-16-2014, 11:14 PM   #16
durwardian
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Certainly can't hurt. How about switching to civil service?
02-16-2014, 11:16 PM   #17
devin.moyer
 
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I'm not sure what you mean by that, what is it?
02-16-2014, 11:23 PM   #18
durwardian
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Like the post office, places where your military service counts
02-16-2014, 11:29 PM   #19
devin.moyer
 
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Ahhh ok yeah I understand. I have thought about that if they discharge me. I know a lot of people who have gotten out and gone into the state police, FBI, things like that so that's another option. And with the training I've gotten I've thought about trying to get a contracting job teaching one of those systems, only down side to that is contracting doesn't count toward federal service. So I have a bunch of options that I'm qualified for if they do discharge me but it still does t sound ideal
02-16-2014, 11:59 PM   #20
durwardian
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Well, stay in touch and let me know. Retention is a problem here in Hawaii due to the high cost of living and low wages
02-17-2014, 12:00 AM   #21
devin.moyer
 
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Will do. Thanks for the advice
04-02-2014, 07:43 PM   #22
fozheart
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If you do get discharged, make sure you put in right away for disability. (Not sure if that is what they call it.) The Army should be responsible for your care, since you were in when you got Crohns. My last year in the Army, I was out with a severe case of mono, at which time some funky blood markers started showing up- some type of auto- immune disease. They did a lot of testing and sent me to Walter Reed, but there was not a clear diagnosis. Lo and behold, less than 2 months after getting out, I was diagnosed with Lupus. I put in for compensation from the VA, but it did not go through, and like a dummy, I did not try again. Just make sure you get the care you need, whether you stay in or get out. Good luck!
05-06-2014, 03:19 AM   #23
mmcnemar
 
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How long have you been in? I was just diagnosed with Crohn's and I've been in 19 years. I also work at the hospital on base. I talked to the Doctor that heads the local med board and he told me if I can get into remission with Remicade (I'm starting soon) then it would most likely be a "return to duty" med board. If I cannot get in remission it will be a medical retirement.
11-12-2014, 09:37 AM   #24
Sea_Star
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I spoke to a recruiter a couple weeks ago....permanently disq :/ Had I joined after HS before developing this, I would have been in! My mom who treats active duty on a base, has a patient with UC and he's staying in, so yeah it does depend on the case I guess. Even active military with cancer are sometimes kept in!

Also, I didn't get to say this yesterday, but thank YOU all for your service, past, present, and future. Hope you all had a reflective, nice Veterans Day. God Bless always!
11-12-2014, 02:14 PM   #25
SamIAm
 
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Sorry to hear that, Sea_Star. It's like that for a lot of conditions - if you develop it before you join, you're out of luck. If you develop it while you're in, the military generally does its best to get you 'cured' or in remission and then goes from there. I'm one of the "lucky" ones who is active duty (almost 22 years now) and got kept in with cancer AND my recently developed IBD. Luckily my cancer was treatable (discovered days before my last trip to Afghanistan and just over 2 years clear now) and I could continue to do my job. Others aren't so lucky, but the people I've known were still taken care of during their treatment. One long time friend was in treatment for a few years and the AF promoted him to Lt Col in hospice before he passed. So yeah, the military tends to take care of its own when it can, but takes a completely different view of joining with the same conditions. I really am sorry to hear when someone really wants to serve his or her country and isn't allowed to. Any way you could get a civilian or contractor job? I know it's not the same, but still a pretty good job with the potential to reply, if that's what you're interested in.
11-12-2014, 10:50 PM   #26
sonofpete
 
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devin.moyer ny update to your situation?
11-16-2014, 10:39 AM   #27
devin.moyer
 
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So I was medically retired. I was hoping that if I went into remission they would let me stay in but, that did not happen. I started remicade in march of 2014 just after I was diagnosed and didn't have any flare ups or issues since, I also had surgery to get 10 inches of my small intestine removed at vanderbilt, and the doctor there said I was in a surgical remission and they still med boarded me
11-23-2014, 07:19 PM   #28
Sea_Star
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Sorry to hear that, Sea_Star. It's like that for a lot of conditions - if you develop it before you join, you're out of luck. If you develop it while you're in, the military generally does its best to get you 'cured' or in remission and then goes from there. I'm one of the "lucky" ones who is active duty (almost 22 years now) and got kept in with cancer AND my recently developed IBD. Luckily my cancer was treatable (discovered days before my last trip to Afghanistan and just over 2 years clear now) and I could continue to do my job. Others aren't so lucky, but the people I've known were still taken care of during their treatment. One long time friend was in treatment for a few years and the AF promoted him to Lt Col in hospice before he passed. So yeah, the military tends to take care of its own when it can, but takes a completely different view of joining with the same conditions. I really am sorry to hear when someone really wants to serve his or her country and isn't allowed to. Any way you could get a civilian or contractor job? I know it's not the same, but still a pretty good job with the potential to reply, if that's what you're interested in.
! Congrats for being in remission/clear of cancer now!! That's fantastic, and it's great to hear the military has had your back and your friends no matter what. I'm so sorry to hear of your friend's passing, but it's good to know he was taken care of with honor and respect!

Haha YES, omGsh that's (one) of my dream positions right now! I'm thinking of going to an analyst bootcamp But even if I'm counting paperclips, it's mission important, so I've been glued to USAJOBS and keeping my eyes open for contractor work! Thank you
12-24-2014, 10:47 AM   #29
Murray Peters
 
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A Veteran's Affairs Board appeal for Agent Orange exposure leading to Crohn's disease is listed for those to whom this condition applies (like myself). Several of the same arguments could be used for Crohn's discovered during military service.

Citation Nr: 0929398
Decision Date: 08/06/09 Archive Date: 08/14/09


DOCKET NO. 04-29 794

On appeal from the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Chicago,
Illinois


THE ISSUE

Entitlement to service connection for Crohn's disease, to include consideration on the basis of alleged exposure to Agent Orange

The claims file should be reviewed by an examiner whom the RO/AMC deems appropriate to render an opinion regarding the etiology of the Veteran's Crohn's disease. The examiner should be asked to render the following opinion without regard to whether actual exposure has been verified, as the parties have instructed the Board to obtain an opinion regarding Crohn's disease and the "alleged" exposure to herbicides.

The examiner is requested to review all pertinent records associated with the claims file and address the following in the examination report:

Please render an opinion as to the likelihood (likely, unlikely, at least as likely as not) that Veteran's Crohn's disease was caused by exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange in active service…

The term "at least as likely as not" does not mean within the realm of medical possibility, but rather that the medical evidence both for and against a conclusion is so evenly divided that it is as medically sound to find in favor of the conclusion as it is to find against it.

A clear rationale for all opinions would be helpful and a discussion of the facts and medical principles involved would be of considerable assistance to adjudicators. Since it is important "that each disability be viewed in relation to its history [,]" 38 C.F.R. § 4.1 (2008), copies of all pertinent records in the appellant's claims file, or in the alternative, the claims file, must be made available to the examiner for review.

3. When the development requested has been completed, the case should be reviewed by the RO/AMC on the basis of additional evidence. Specifically the RO/AMC should fully adjudicate the claim for Crohn's disease on a direct basis both as due to alleged herbicide exposure in service (See Stefl v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 120 (2007) (holding that the availability of presumptive service connection for some conditions based on exposure to Agent Orange does not preclude direct service connection for other conditions based on exposure to Agent Orange)) …
01-25-2015, 05:58 AM   #30
MrMattWebb
 
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Active army, 3 years, and just started the medical evaluation process. Ill post my experience here for anyone interested. Im pretty sure Ill get the boot due to humira.
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