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Old 12-09-2009, 02:28 PM   #41
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George and Rosetta,

Judy and I hope the best with our prayers for you George. You're a good person so that to me gets you some extra coupons! God bless and our very best for you and Rosetta. Keep us in the loop and hopefully you both will be at the 2010 rallys coming up.
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Old 12-09-2009, 04:24 PM   #42
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George, any of us that were in Vietnam were exposed to agent orange. VA has finally admitted that. Good luck to you and hope you get a speedy recovery.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:54 AM   #43
Pete Hanson
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We will be praying for a quick recovery George.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:26 PM   #44
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We are adding our prayers...
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:51 AM   #45
Jay Bird
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You are right. On that day tehre is always something extra. If not you know the deal.
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:58 AM   #46
Jay Bird
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Thanks again to all for your support. I will get with the VA next week to file my claim. Travel plans for the upcoming year are still ongoing. We may have to make some adjustments but we will be out there somewhere sitting around the campfire with many of you.
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:24 AM   #47
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Our prayers are with you. Love your positive attitude.
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:53 AM   #48
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George, do yourself a favor and go see a Service Officer through the many organizations, such as American Legion, VFW etc, for the VA claim. Its almost a requirement to get it done. Plus they are great with the paperwork and sending it where it belongs. I know this as I am now going through the same thing with the VA. Things don't happen fast as you well know, but be diligent, and don't take no for an answer.

If you would like anymore info, I would be glad to give you some help on the matter. Just send me a email, and we will go from there.

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Old 12-11-2009, 08:50 AM   #49
Jay Bird
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Thanks for the info. I had spoken with our DAV officer and he is going to take care of the paperwork for me. He also gave me instruction on how to get all the info from my private docs into the VA records.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:52 PM   #50
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Hope everything goes well and we will keep you in our prayers.
Dennis & Linda Ward
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:03 AM   #51
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George: Our prayers are with you,as well. Sorry, I didnt respond sooner, but I just got out of the hospital. I also recommend the man to man group, as someone mentioned. You can learn alot from others who have gone thru prostate cancer. There are many treatment options to consider. You have many friends, who are here to help.

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Old 12-12-2009, 11:26 AM   #52
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George yes the DVA will help you out there the ones that helped me and like Champ said its a long process but hang in there you have all of our prayers with you
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:23 PM   #53
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We will be praying for you too. Remember Attitude plays a big part in this. Do what the doctor tells you and I am sure you will do fine.
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:23 AM   #54
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George, Cathy and I send prayers your way for a quick and complete recovery. Cathy is a breast cancer survivor so we know what you are going through. Stay tough, hang in there and you WILL beat this. Phil
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:40 AM   #55
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We send our thoughts and prayers too. I didn't get to meet you personally but have seen your post on the MOC and feel as if I know you.
Take care and do what the doctor tells you. A positive attitude is good with medicine.
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:15 PM   #56
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I haven't visited this site for sometime, thus my late response. I too have been where you are going. You will do just fine, just be sure to follow thru on your VA Claim. It might take 4 or 5 months for them to process the claim, but the VA will roll your disability check back to the month they received your claim. In other words, you will get a lump sum payment for those months. The VA will probably classify you at 100% for the first year. After the first year, expect to be reevaluated and anticipate a reduction in the disability percentage.

For those who are interested here is some information about Agent Orange:

quote:Information About Agent Orange For Blackhorse Veterans

The term “Agent Orange” has become an all-inclusive moniker for a group of herbicides used by the military in Vietnam. Of those used, Agent Orange (so-named for the orange striped drums in which it was shipped) was the most common. Some of the other herbicides used for differing vegetation and environmental conditions were slightly different in their chemical makeup. However, their purposes and effects were similar.

The reason for using Agent Orange was twofold. The primary intention was to defoliate areas thereby denying the enemy ground cover. The secondary purpose, rarely discussed publicly, was the military’s hope that the use of these powerful herbicides would destroy local crops and foodstuffs that supported the enemy.

There is no proof that the use of these chemicals was intended to make the enemy sick or to harm those of us operating in the same areas. However, when used in Vietnam it was widely known the herbicides contained dioxin. The dioxin was an unwanted and unavoidable by-product of the manufacturing process of the primary ingredient of the herbicides—trichlorophenoxyacedic acid or just simply 2,4,5-T.

A Lingering Residual of War

Even in miniscule measurements of parts per million, dioxin is one of the most toxic substances known to man. It is also a chemical that is largely resistant to destruction. Once in the environment, or the human body, dioxin will remain there for years, or a lifetime. Continuing scientific research has yet to fully reveal the adverse effects of dioxin on the environment and humans.

Agent Orange was used in all four combat tactical zones of Vietnam. From the Demilitarized Zone in the north to the Mekong Delta in the south, it was sprayed over large tracts of land by aircraft and applied around base perimeters. The III Corps area in which the 11th Armored Cavalry operated, was the most heavily defoliated area in the entire theater of operations.

Many veterans believe that if they were not sprayed with Agent Orange, or did not handle it, they are not at risk from its adverse health effects. They are wrong. Agent Orange was so heavily used in Vietnam that it became part of the overall environment in which we lived and fought. The fresh bananas, mangos, pineapples, and milk that were produced for us in country were as contaminated with dioxin as the rice providing sustenance to the enemy. The defoliated areas in which we operated were and still are contaminated with dioxin.

If you were in Vietnam you were undeniably exposed to the dioxin in Agent Orange. Exposure would have been through direct contact with it in the environment or through ingestion of it in fresh food – or both. For this reason, the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has historically conceded that all who served in Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange and its toxic dioxin contaminant.

An Invisible Health Risk and Potential Killer

Some of our troopers came home with shell fragments in their bodies. All of us came home with dioxin in ours. It is an invisible and potential killer that we cannot ignore. Science has not determined which of us will be harmed by our exposure to dioxin. Many Vietnam veterans will live out a normal life free of the diseases now associated with Agent Orange. Some have already suffered because of their exposure to the herbicides used in Vietnam. Others will do so in the future.

There is nothing we can do to undo our exposure to dioxin while in Vietnam. While it may feel good to do so, debating the politics concerning the use of Agent Orange or condemning those who authorized its use, will do nothing to help you today. Quite simply, for those of us who were exposed, the issue of Agent Orange is now a medical one.

Many veterans incorrectly say they have “Agent Orange,” as if it were a medically acknowledged disease in its own right. It is not. Exposure to Agent Orange carries with it the risk that you will develop certain diseases. Believing that you have the mythical “Agent Orange” disease may make you less alert to the changes in your body that should serve as warnings about the onset of real conditions.

Each of us needs to be concerned about our exposure to Agent Orange. However, we should neither panic nor concede that because of it “nothing can be done” to help us. Our exposure must be factored into our health care plans.

Medical Help and Information

The VA was slow to respond to veterans’ anxiety about Agent Orange and reports of diseases they believed to be related to their exposure. Congressional mandates and changes in internal policies have led the VA to address these concerns. Over the years, the VA has increasingly expanded and enhanced its services for Agent Orange related disabilities.

In 1978 the VA established the Agent Orange Registry Examination Program. This voluntary program provides the veteran with a free medical examination and collects data for scientific study. It is estimated that as many as 2.6 million of us served in Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange. As of December 1999, less than 300,000 Vietnam veterans had participated in the program.

So many of the diseases that kill us can now be cured if detected early. A free Agent Orange examination may save your life – or it may just give you peace of mind if nothing is found. Nonetheless, it remains a well-known fact that guys just don’t like to go to doctors

It’s a hassle;” “it takes too much time;” “it might be embarrassing;” or “I’m not really afraid of needles, I just don’t like them” are not acceptable excuses for not going. Every one of us was courageous enough to go to Vietnam – we ought to be equally brave about participating in the Agent Orange Registry Examination Program. In addition to establishing a baseline of your health, participating in the program puts you on a VA mailing list to receive periodic updates about findings related to Agent Orange and VA programs.

Since 1981, the VA has technically been obligated to provide priority medical care for veterans with any health problems that may have resulted from Agent Orange exposure. As a practical matter, such priority care was almost non-existent for years because the VA denied the existence of any Agent Orange related health problems. Such is not the case today. There are specific diseases that have now been scientifically associated with Agent Orange exposure. There are others being studied by the National Academy of Sciences and it may be found that some of them are also linked to herbicide exposure.

The Presumed Diseases Related to Exposure

The following is a list of the diseases accepted by the VA and for which veterans may receive priority health care and monthly compensation. The list may seem like a medical dictionary run amuck or an alphabet soup on steroids. However, in the hands of your doctor, it can alert him or her to your exposure. Moreover, it should make your physician more vigilant since you have a greater than average risk of developing one of these diseases. In other words, sharing this list with your doctor is the first thing you do after having your Agent Orange examination.

§ Chloracne – It is a specific skin condition resembling common forms of acne. To be considered related to Agent Orange exposure, this condition must be present within one year of your departure from Vietnam.
§ Hodgkin’s Disease – Is a malignant lymphoma characterized by increasing enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen and accompanied by progressive anemia.
§ Multiple Myeloma – This is a cancer of the plasma cells found in the bone marrow. Consistent with this disease are plasma cell tumors in various bones of the body.
§ Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – This rare disease is a group of malignant tumors that affect the lymph glands and lymphatic tissues.
§ Porphyria Cutanea Tarda – A disorder in which the skin thins and blisters in areas exposed to the sun. To be considered related to Agent Orange exposure, this condition must be present within one year of your departure from Vietnam.
§ Respiratory Cancers – Includes carcinomas of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus.
§ Soft-tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi”s sarcoma, or mesothelioma) – This is a group of different types of malignant tumors in the body’s soft tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues. The VA has determined that this group of tumors include the following: adult fibrasarcoma; dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans; malignant fibrous histicytoma, liposarcoma; leiomyosarcoma; epithelioid leiomyosarcoma; rhabdomyosarcoma; ectomesenchymoma; angiosarcoma (hemangiosarcoma and lymphangiosarcoma); systemic angioendotheliomatosis; malignant glomus tumor; malignant hemangiopericytoma; synovial sarcoma; malignant giant cell tumor of tendon sheath; malignant schwannoma, including malignant schwannoma with rhabdomyoblastic differentiation (malignant Triton tumor), glandular and epithelioid malignant schwannomas; malignant mesenchymoma; malignant granular cell tumor; alveolar soft part sarcoma; epithelioid sarcoma; and clear cell sarcoma of tendons and aponeuroses.
§ Acute and Subacute Peripheral Neuropathy – This is a disease of the nervous system that causes numbness, sensations of tingling, and muscle weakness by its effect on the neural conducting tissue other than the brain and spinal cord. Acute and subacute means the peripheral neuropathy appeared within weeks or months of exposure to herbicide and resolved within two years of its onset.
§ Prostate Cancer – This is one of the most common cancers among men. Vietnam veterans are now in the age group in which this type of cancer has a higher incidence. Early detection can result in cures that keep the cancer from spreading. Undetected it can be fatal
§ Type II Diabetes – A chronic metabolic disease that inhibits the body’s ability to produce or properly use insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches, and other foods into energy. Again, Vietnam veterans are in the age group in which this disease begins to appear. Untreated it can be fatal; even with treatment, it is one of the leading causes of death.
§ Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) – In early 2003, the VA recognized this disease as being associated with exposure to Agent Orange. It is the most common of the four types of Leukemia. Scientific study continues on other diseases possibly related to Agent Orange.

The VA will also provide monetary allowances, vocational training and rehabilitation, and VA financed health care benefits to the birth children of Vietnam veterans who have been diagnosed with spina bifida. This condition is a congenital defect of the spine.

Claiming VA Compensation

As noted earlier, if you served in Vietnam the VA concedes that you were exposed to herbicides. Likewise, because of that exposure, the conditions listed above are presumed to be service connected. If you have been diagnosed with any of the conditions listed above, even if the condition is in remission, file a claim for VA compensation. You may be awarded benefits ranging from a few dollars to several thousand dollars a month – depending on the severity of your condition. You will also be entitled to priority medical care for your condition.

Even if you have a condition that is not on the VA’s list of Agent Orange related diseases, but you suspect it might be related to your exposure, file a claim with the VA. You never know, at some future time it may be decided that your condition is related to your exposure. If so, you will have established a record that may be valuable to you or your family.

The Author: Richard E. (Rick) O'Dell is a former director of the Virginia Department of Veterans’ Affairs; a past national officer of a major veterans organization; a Blackhorse veteran of Vietnam where he served with the 919th Engineer Company as a CEV gunner; and co-author of two books on veterans' rights and benefits: The Viet Vet Survival Guide (Ballantine Books, 1985) and Veterans Benefits, The Complete Guide (HarperCollins, 1994). After more than twenty-five years of professional service to the veteran community, Rick is retired and living in Southwest Virginia.
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:36 PM   #57
Jay Bird
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Thanks for providing the info on Agent Orange and your advice to all reading this post. I have participated Agent Orange Registry Examination Program. I recently went to the VA to update my file. I will continue to pursue my claim with the VA as soon as I get my last records from my urologist (I hope next week). I will be going to Chapel Hill, NC for another look and then on with the procedure(s). Thanks again
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:08 PM   #58
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Thanks for the update George, we've been wondering about you. You're in our thoughts and prayers
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Old 01-07-2010, 03:09 PM   #59
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George, you continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.
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Old 01-07-2010, 03:36 PM   #60
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I served in country in Vietnam and have had cancer, and various other things and have had no idea that some of them may have been connected to Agent Orange. Went through radical surgery in August 09. I always felt that I never was close enough to the sprayed areas or the actual agent to be exposed. I just may get checked for sure.
Joe, thanks for the informative post above.
Jay, our prayers are still with you.
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