Good news to boost morale of those fighting the fight!

Discussion in 'Veterans Highway' started by 2001LC, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. 2001LC

    2001LC

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    I happen to read a few threads today in VH of mud, and much of it was about the disgraceful treatment of vets from the VA healthcare system.

    I tend to only post in Tech section, hardly every even look at any other section of mud. But thought I'd share some good news to boost moral of those fighting the fight.

    I'll be getting reimbursement from the VA healthCare System, for outside (fee base) medical services. This was no small thing to get approved.

    Short version:

    In 2008 the Denver CO VA ENT department diagnosed me with vocal cord cancer. Due to what the VA Doctors called difficult anatomy. No surgeon in the VA was willing to give me surgery for the removal of a tumor. So the VA in essence did not have the medical procedure in house that would normally be given with vocal cord cancer of my nature.

    The VA instead offered me Radiation & Chemo. The VA sent me to the Anschutz Medical faculty Head & Neck radiation center, which is outside of the VA Healthcare system. Which means it is a fee-base treatment!

    Radiation in head & neck area is nasty stuff, just to much going on with glands and such. Which at best case would permanently disable me.

    Well I was blessed to find a laryngologist in Boston MA, Dr Steven Zeitels that specializes in difficult anatomy surgery such as mine. For which the Den VA tumor board promptly turned down my request for a fee-base to him. You've got to ask why!

    So I packed-up a 1/2 dozen or so of my best credit cards, and headed to Boston. I was so blessed at the time having unbelievable good credit. So I charged it, the American way right.

    Surgery in Boston went unbelievable well, I couldn't be happier.

    After which I started down A long road with the VA for reimbursement of my cost for medical treatment of cancer.

    I never could get a lawyer believe me I tried, it was just to spectlized. But I did keep fighting. In my 7th year I won a judgement against the VA in final appeal before a Washington DC Federal judge. Judge ordered the VA to reimburse me for medical expenses, for just two days around my 2008 cancer treatment.

    Now after two years of trying to collect on the judgement, in my 9th year of the fight. I feel I'm very close to getting some funds. The amount won't even pay my interest expenses for the outside treatment I charged to credit cards. But it's a moral victory for what is right if nothing else.

    Man I learned a ton going through this!
     
    bwell, 1969FJ, Big Ed and 3 others like this.
  2. Solace in Solitude

    Solace in Solitude SILVER Star

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    Good for you, for never giving up the fight!!

    Congratulations for beating cancer and beating VA down!!
     
  3. 2001LC

    2001LC

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    Thanks.

    Unfortunately to many in the system aren't good advocates for their own health.
     
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  4. 2001LC

    2001LC

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    One of the most important things I've learned. Not only with my experience with the VA healthcare system, private practice and other family members in life and death health crises.

    You must be and advocate for your own health!
     
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  5. Solace in Solitude

    Solace in Solitude SILVER Star

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    Yep... I learned that when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005
     
  6. 2001LC

    2001LC

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    Did you go with VA for that cancer treatment?
     
  7. Solace in Solitude

    Solace in Solitude SILVER Star

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    No, my wife had great insurance as our primary and we also had Tricare for Life as our secondary.

    Edit: The only times I interacted with VA was when I took my father and father-in-law to Audie Murphy, in San Antonio, back in the mid 70’s... and my required VA evaluation when I retired from the Air Force in ‘88.
     
  8. 2001LC

    2001LC

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    I see. What type of treatment did you receive?
     
  9. rkymtnflyfisher

    rkymtnflyfisher SILVER Star

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    That is the biggest, best piece of advise I would give anyone about seeking treatment at a VA medical center.
     
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  10. Solace in Solitude

    Solace in Solitude SILVER Star

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    Robotic Laproscopic Prostatectomy.
     
  11. Solace in Solitude

    Solace in Solitude SILVER Star

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    Carry it further...

    “That is the biggest, best piece of advise I would give anyone about seeking treatment” anywhere.

    You can’t rely on anyone more than you can rely on yourself.

    I was told my cancer was inoperable... the best treatment was Lupron Depot (to kill my testosterone and shrink my prostate), followed by Brachytherapy (radioactive seed implants).

    I agreed to a 4 month Lupron Depot shot and did my due diligence (a ton of reading, numerous interviews of people who had experience (both, medical and patient)).

    I was diagnosed 12/18/2005 and before it was time for the next 4 month injection, I had found one of the pioneer robotic surgeons who assured me he could successfully remove my prostrate, with negative margins (cancer confined to the gland) and nerves spared (no lasting ED and no lasting incontinence).

    I had the surgery on 3/22/2006 and fully recovered from ED and incontinence within 8 weeks, post-surgery.

    I have NEVER fully recovered from the effects of that single Lupron Depo injection. I went thru all the effects of full blown menopause (hot flashes, night sweats, chills, crying jags, depression, etc.). I still deal with recurring depression... I have had little measurable testosterone since and, as a result, I (again) deal with recurring depression, my muscle tone is naught, I bruise and bleed very easily, I tire easily and am subject to developing osteoporosis.

    I have recurring PSA tests and have never had an indication of recurrence or metastasis.

    But, the concern never wanes...

    I spent 5 years mentoring new diagnosees, from all over the world... I told them everything I had learned, answered all their questions and tried to alleviate all their fears.

    I told them that a specialist generally thinks their treatment is the best route to take... a radiology oncologist thinks some form of radiation is best... an oncologist things chemotherapy is best... a surgeon thinks surgery is best, etc.

    In my case, I was diagnosed by a lazy urologist, who liked giving $3200 Lupron injections and sending the patient on to a radiation oncologist... if it took long enough to shrink the prostrate, the lazy urologist could possibly invoice 3-4 $3200 injections.

    My primary advice, to my mentorees, was always that “it’s your health, you’re vested, don’t just buy everything you’re told... do your own due diligence... the best decision you can make is the one YOU are most comfortable with.”

    More than you really wanted to know. ;)
     
  12. rkymtnflyfisher

    rkymtnflyfisher SILVER Star

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    Health care is big business nowadays, they only try to sell what they can make money from, cookie cutter factory health “care”.
     
  13. 2001LC

    2001LC

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    Denver VA is a learning Hospital for CU med. So it takes extra special diligence. But really the private sector isn't any different in some cases worst.

    I would agree somewhat. It's more about standard of care. In socialized medicine the tech is very old. My Dr in Boston said to me 9 years ago. "The medical technology gap between those that can afford and those that can't is growing ever wider"
    WOW, cutting edge stuff. Congratulation on beating it! Great job finding a cure.
    You did your homework for sure.

    I was just really blessed in that I decided to take less invasive route first. Figured I save the big gunns (Rad & Chemo) for last.

    Interesting (or sadly) my best friend had developed head and neck cancer at same time as I, a single tomur.

    I emailed him my list on concerns and pleaded with him to not start with Rad & Chemo. His son a Dr and with some top referrals, he elected Rad & Chemo. He really didn't want to be brother by treatment, even choose closest center to his home for convenience, rather that seaking best care.

    His cancer returned. Each time it did I say you really need to try alternative first. He stuck with his Doctors advise, actually end up with my oncologist eventually, which was head of oncology at CU medical.

    The 1st Radiation treatment paralyzed his left vocal cord three years later. So he could no longer eat.

    Cancer kept coming back, each time rad & chemo did more damage.

    I buried him two years ago, so sad.


    Bank took his 5 million dollar home, long after his kids sold his stuff on CL while he lie dying in bed. SO SAD!
     
  14. Big Ed

    Big Ed

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    Thanks for sharing. You're not the only one that keeps fighting, it took me twelve years to get my disability rating where my doctors thought it should be all along. I just kept seeking treatment, and kept filing/appealing.

    When I was in Iraq someone sent me a laminated paper with a frog inside a birds mouth, and reaching out strangling the bird. It said "Never give up!".
     
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  15. 2001LC

    2001LC

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    12 years! That's got to be a record. Good job!
     
  16. Big Ed

    Big Ed

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    This is it.
    1CC07643-6073-455B-AB0D-20B3694FC87B.jpeg
     
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