When I address the subject of Cause & Effect I speak of many personal issues as well as taking an open-minded look at the situations and circumstances that affect us all in our daily lives.

This topic became a major one to me when I had to file an appeal for my most recent V.A. Claim. I have several medical issues that have really started to flare up as I get older. All of these medical issues are service connected but the military doesn’t want to compensate me for these illnesses and injuries. My latest appeal took (14 pages) a lot of research in order for me to justify why I should be compensated for my present condition, as if I’m the medical expert.

Now this may be foolish thinking on my behalf, but I think when we veterans and service members file claims that the Claims Experts should be the ones to do the in dept investigating into the “Causes & Effects” of our illnesses and injuries.

I am going to give you as the reader an example of just one of the many medical issues that I have and filed a claim for but was denied because they say there’s no Service Connected. Example: Torn Meniscus- In November of 2017 I was umpiring an adult softball game when I simply turned to first base to make a safe or out call. I have made this same “simple call” thousands of times over my years as an umpire without any problems or injuries. So, on this particular night when I turned to make the call I felt a sort of twinge in my left knee. As the night progressed my knee started swelling and the pain got worse and I had no idea what was going on. As the days passed my left knee got tremendously worse with swelling and intense pain. Me not being the Medical Expert diagnosed myself with gout because of a few other medical issues that had flared up in my recent past. Within three to six months before the knee injury, my big left toe had swollen up a few times as well as a mark similar to a mild burn on my left wrist. When I did my goggle research it lead me to think at that time I had gout. To make a longer story shorter, finally after a few family care doctor visits and a few trips to the emergency room and six to eight months later,  x-rays and an MRI  confirmed I had a Torn Meniscus of my left knee. When I filed the V.A. Claim, I added the torn meniscus to the other medical issues that I have and am not being compensated for. When the claim came back, they had denied me any compensation for left knee meniscus tear because they said it wasn’t service connected. So I had to start conducting my own google research in order to make the connection. Read the exact explanation I sent back with my appeal.

3. Torn Meniscus, left knee with osteoarthritis- Service Connection:
As stated in this video (link listed below) Meniscus Wear could very well be due to injuries and/or joint deterioration which develops over a period of time from past physical activities.


According to Ross A. Howser, MD, Danielle R. Steilen, MMS, PA-C, Timothy L. Speciale, DO, of CaringMedical.com, in the Joint Instability & Degenerative Arthritis Discussion also support the facts that the injuries & degenerative joint arthritis don’t happen suddenly but over a period of time. They also stated that these injuries if not treated eventually leads to joint and meniscus deterioration. 
Personally speaking this injury has me baffled as well. I was umpiring a slow-pitch softball game when I turned to make a very routine call at 1st base. I made the turned and settled myself and suddenly felt pain in my r/knee. As the night progressed my knee started hurting worse along with swelling. I went months without actually knowing what the diagnoses was.
As stated in the above article injuries like this can happen to people years after living a physical and athletic life.
My symptoms:
pain- (day & night) I have to sleep with a pillow every night to keep my r/leg elevated.
pain while walking- This pain can be very minimal at times and be extremely excruciating at other times. It’s worse when I walk on unpaved pavement.
problems climbing stairs- I have pain in my r/knee area sometimes from just lifting my leg.
pain- I have to keep my leg either bent to a comfortable degree or elevate it. Straightening it out while sitting is extremely painful.
pain- sometimes the pain is so excruciating that I am hopping around from spot to spot because nothing minimizes the pain but time. End of research for meniscus tear.
As of today I still don’t know what’ll become of my explanation in the last appeal, but my main issue here is “Cause & Effect.” I started refereeing basketball while serving on active duty in the fall of 1986. I eventually started officiating other sports as well. I played slow pitch softball for ten years and for four of those years I played for two different teams. I was a part of many many road marches while carry ruck sacks weighted at fifty to seventy pounds per road march, wearing combat boots. I am also a U.S. Army Paratrooper. And to put the cherry on top, I was diagnosed with Degenerative Joint Arthritis several years before at the Shreveport, LA’s V.A. Hospital in which I had to make the same service connection.
As stated earlier, I should not have had to be the one to find the “Cause & Effect” to these illnesses or injuries when the so-called Experts have access to the same medical records that they’ll go through in order for them to make a decision of service connection or not.
To sum this all up, because of (Cause) me being so active in different activities while serving on active duty I acquired Degenerative Joint Arthritis which caused (Effect) my left meniscus to eventually tear.
There are thousands of veterans experiencing the same nightmare because V.A. Personnel want us to get discouraged so we won’t carry through with the Appeals Process. And to be candid with you many veterans do give up never to file or appeal again. We need to stop this terrible lack of customer care from any Veterans Administration office or medical facility.
To my fellow veterans and service members, if you know in your hearts that your illnesses and/or injuries are service connected, file your claim and follow up with your appeal when they deny you. To all of you who are reading this blog, if you know any veterans or service members that fall into this category, please highly encourage them to file a claim for their medical issues and if need be follow it up immediately with an appeal.
Let’s join forces to be part of a major change for the better of our service members and veterans.