WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Diamondback 2/2

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Not really A “combat” medicine thing but more of an over all “military” medical thing.

I have been going through some medical treatments for the last 6 months, for things that just kind of caught up to me. I have had back, knee (whole body at points) pain like ever other infantrymen and I always drove on not thinking much about it. Well I my last trip I start noticing things took a little longer to heal and most of all I experience a lot of numbness in my arms.

Went to the TMC and got checked out, I am sure I am the hardest patient they ever meet in those places. I hate going there! Anyway they tell me I have poor blood circulation in my arms and the back/ knee/ ankle pain is just inflammation and to have it all checked out when I get home. Grabbed some Motrin and went back to work, well things got worse while I was deployed and I am sure my gym habits had some effect. I was not taking time off and was going full speed trying to get in great shape blah blah blah.

I got back to Camp Shelby for redeployment and went through the SRC process, got to medical and was held up. Had to get Xray’s and MRI’s, so no biggy I will be a few days late getting home but I figured best to have things checked.

Initial diagnoses was degeneration of discs in my C spine & upper T spine, mild cord contact due to a disc bulge and possible nerve damage in the C spine causing my arms to be numb. My left knee has a torn meniscus and my right ankle has degeneration of the smaller bones, causing multiple stress fractures.

I was placed in MEDHOLD and assigned to a MTF (Warrior Transition Unit) in January and I have been receiving physical therapy and pain management treatments since. I transferred to BAMC from Fort Gordon in April and have been given another evaluation of these medical issues.

Current diagnoses are that I have cervical arthritis and degeneration with a few bulging discs, also some calcium or bone growth on the vertebra that may be pushing against the spinal cord when I move my neck in certain ways (causes what feels like an electric jolt). The numbness in my arms is caused by ulnar nerve dysfunction and has improved in my right arm, however is unchanged in my left arm. My akle has improved and I would say is 100%, my left knee gives perotical pain but is managable and while be evaluated they discuvered tears in my rotator cuff in my left shoulder.

So I am now at the point where I am being asked what I wish to do. Do I want to stay in the Army? Do I want to try surgeryes? Would I change my MOS? Whould I like to trastsion into a civi Army job?

I am still recieveing treatment and will be for at least another 90 days before I am evaluated again, at that point I will have needed to made my choices for my future.

I do love the Army, but I am 100% not a garisson soldier and tend to get my self in trouble around the flag pole. My plan prior to these issues was to go to SFAS and do the SF NG thing, but I am not so sure at this point. The three areas I was looking to transitsion into was either SF, PSYOP or LRS. However my doctor is recomeneding a desk job of some kind and living a less physicaly demanding life. That kind of makes me angry and want to just get out of the Army all together. I never joined to be a support soldier and all though I know they are as impotant as every other job, I am simply not intrasted in that type of work. I am just kind of at a loss right now.

My ETS is in April and I am thinking about just riding my time out, leave with my pride and move into the private sector. But I am really unsure if that will be the right thing for me, I really have no plans on slowing down and if I did go to the private side I would think I would be doing the same thing I have done for the Army.

So with all that mombo-jumbo being said, I am looking for some advice and maybe some idea’s on what to do. }:-)
 

Ajax

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Once you get cut on, you will keep getting cut on. We all break sooner or later, bubba, it's just a matter of when. I feel your pain on not wanting the desk job. You can keep pushing your body until it finally breaks for good, but is it worth it? The greatest PT in the world is being able to lift up your kids.

On the SFAS/LRS front, remember you would have to pass an Airborne physical just to try out.

There is no work on the private side equivalent to what you do in the Army, unless you're supply, finance, maintenance, etc.

I don't envy you...
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I agree that I need to stay away from the cutting and feel that if I was in jeopardy of losing ability to carry out a normal life, it would be a fast decision to ride a desk.

On the SFAS/LRS front, remember you would have to pass an Airborne physical just to try out.

The funny thing is that, they said I could RTD with a non limiting profile. 1’s and 2’s kind of thing, I am not sure how limited would be from Airborne school. But the issues of 2 years getting my ass whooped to become SF, puts some questions in my mind. Mentally I want to, but I am obviously putting my self and others in danger if I was allowed to do go that route.

PSYOP looks like the better route right now, if I am allowed to. But another idea I had was going in to a Small Arms Repair MOS and getting assigned to HSLD unit. But then Airborne school is the big (?).


I don't envy you...

You have a way with words brother!:doh:}:-);)
 

Ex3

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I don't have any career advice for you, but I'll echo Ajax and tell you to avoid surgery at all costs, especially on your back/spine.

I've done a little research into this and it shows that disk problems generally rectify themselves within a year. That you've been getting PT is great, hopefully you'll heal up sooner.

Having said that, you realize that you aren't going to be able to push yourself physically like you used to, right? Trust me, I know how much it sucks to be getting old, but it's better than the alternative.
 

HeloMedic1171

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PSYOP looks like the better route right now, if I am allowed to. But another idea I had was going in to a Small Arms Repair MOS and getting assigned to HSLD unit. But then Airborne school is the big (?).

k - Brother, I think you answered your own question here in regards to staying in the army. thing is though, I'm not PSYOPS, and I'm a leg. so for me to tell you what your ABN ass can and cannot do is conjecture and hypothesis at best. Ask FNULNU, CAR, Free, and any of the other HSLD folks/airborne folks here about that. I CAN tell you as a medical professional that consistent jumping is going to be bad for your back over time, so that's a call you'll have to make on your own. as for the Small Arms repair job - sounds like a plan to me. fix the guns and keep the boomsticks working for the good guys. if you get sick of it and head into civvy life, you have a really valuable skill you can use out there. PSYOPS, man, I know dick about it, again, ask FNULNU. she can tell you what they do and how they do it and what kind of stuff you can expect. my advice is this - do what makes you happy, but remember how happy your family makes you. if you're too broke to toss your kids around or hold your wife at night, you might want to re-think where you're going. and also, ask those that know about the options you're looking at, and find out what it is you'd be getting into. then you can make a more informed decision. take care, bro.
 

Trip_Wire

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J.A.B.

It seems to me that the 'hand writing' is on the wall!

Decide to find a 'support' MOS that you can live with or get out! I have no idea how much longevity years that you have now; however, if it's over six years or more you should consider staying in that support role until you get a retirement from the Regular, Reserve or NG.

If you can't find a support role that suits you in the military, 'get out,' of the military all together. Find a civilian job that you like and then work at making a career in that job.

A LE career IMO, is a great job, especially for frustrated 'Warriors.' IMO, The Border Patrol would be a great job for you! :2c:
 

x SF med

the Troll
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JAB -
Ajax gave you some good advice. BUT, you know how you feel more than anyone else - physically and mentally - get your physical self healed, work on your mental/emotional self and do a little spiritual soul searching to see what's most important to you. You love your job, but get frustrated with big green. You are a field soldier and your body is rebelling. You are a fairly new father and obviously love your daughter. Try to balance all of these pieces of your life. As your friend - I can give you support and encouragement, but I can't even begin to give you advice on what you feel, or desire. You are a hard charging Infantryman, a true Soldier, and you have lots of options.

Back problems suck - do everything you can to take care of them short of surgery if you want to stay in the field.
Arthritis - well, everybody who has spent time under the tick and under a canopy gets it - an occupational hazard
Torn meniscus/ rotator cuff - Arthro can take care of that - follow the Doc's advice and get PT
small bone degeneration - hard use causes that - maybe all you can do in that case is rub some dirt on it and drive on...

Do what you need to do, in all aspects - but remember, you are a father and you want to be able to hold your daughter, and be there for all of the big things in her life.

Do what feels right, do what makes you happy - but try like hell to get and stay healthy.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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My thoughts are kind of twisted right now, at my age and TIS I feel I have a lot more to offer. I am worried about leaving the Army and finding my self regretting it (grass always looks greener kind of thing) and I am worried about staying in and being the hateful little shit I have been the last few years.

I don’t feel I could be an admin guy and water purification is not a goal of mine. I had goals I set when I joined up (Airborne-Ranger “Ninja” }:-) ) and I have not met those goals, and I really doubt I will at this point. I love the Infantry, but hate the way the big Army uses it. I told my self after my first trip across the big puddle, that I would go SOF/ 75th RR. If I was going to war I wanted nothing but hard chargers bringing the death around me. Had no interest in ranking up or “standard Army carrier” just wanted to be allowed to do what needs to be done. I let that dream slip away with beer and the instructing gig I did.

Started looking at SOF support and less demanding jobs around the smart guys, but came to realization that I would not be happy with that. Talked to the wife and got her approval to go to SFAS, so I hit the gym my last deployment like a mad man… All the rest has been posted above. It’s fucking depressing to be honest.

I am fucking mad as hell at my self for not taking better care of my body and for not going SOF when I was a lot more able to. I pissed that I am being asked (told) to be a desk jockey and I am frustrated that I am not finding something I can be happy with. This brings me to the “if I get out will I have these same issues about getting out of the Army all together”.

I think about contracting over seas, but to me that is a short term answer to a long term problem and I will be away from my family. I can handle the deployments and the training, but just staying over seas would not work.

I really feel that my happiness will come from accomplishing my goals and leaving the Army when I am fully ready to. I feel that as long as I am not a danger to others that I can and should just drive on until I can’t. I feel that my “quality of life” is better by doing what makes me happy. I can’t see living here at home working for USAA while my brothers are out protecting my sorry ass. I love my daughter more then anything, but I don’t want her burdened with an unhappy father full of regrets (depressed, angry and drunk most of the time). <~~~ I am just being a pussy, I know! }:-)

Soul searching it is… ;)
 

DA SWO

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Keep yourself healthy, I didn't and paid the price.

That said, PSYOP isn't a bad gig, talk to the unit in TX (Dallas?), you would be suprised at the stuff they do.

Armorer for a HSLD unit might provide the satisfaction you want. I'd say try a support gig for a year or so to see if you like it, if not walk away knowing it wasn't for you.

Some of my best assignments were the ones I tried to avoid.

Good luck.
 
0

08steeda

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I feel for you as I am one of those with back/neck and nerve damage. Don't know if it was from jumping or the 2 Minor Helo Crashes (I say minor because most of us walked away from both incidents).

But I am in such pain that there are days that go buy and I really HURT! I am not talking about sore or a stiff muscle. I am talking mind/body numbing pain. I have been able to keep it at bay (most of the time) since I found a combination that works for me (PT, Deep Tissue Massage and Chiropractic). At least it is at a manageable level most of the time.

I was told the surgeries to correct the nerve damage and disc's had a 40% of NOT improving my conditions! So I have chosen to avoid the surgeries.

The reason I am telling you this is I have been where you are right now. I was accepted into the Army WOC program and was all set to go! But the pain and damage (although i passed the physicals) was becoming to intrusive and getting worse.
I made the tough choice of getting out all together.

I miss my days in uniform and wonder to this day if I would have completed the WOC program and completed flight school. I wanted to fly Apache's really bad!

But in the long run I have a great life and career. Plus I now have a stable family life with 2 great kids! I would not trade it for the world! But it did take me a long time to get to this point. It was not easy!!!

So you have to decide what is more important for your life and that of your daughter! You also have to realize that our bodies can only do so much and at some point you realize you are not going to improve physically. That is just life and aging!!!

It is a really tough time to get out and begin a new career. The job market sucks! So maybe a support role is a good option for you. I know they are not as high speed as you would like but it would help you to secure your military retirement and depending on the support MOS you might find a skill that would allow you to have a stable career if and when you ever do get out of the Army.

Good luck Bro! You are in my prayers!!!
 

AWP

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How dinged up do you want to be in 2, 5, 10, 20 years?

Even if you pass an airborne physical and jump school how long do you want to punish your body like that?

These are just questions, nothing more, just to consider your options and their cost.

If you can get a TS go Intel. I think Commo would drive you mad to be honest.

But really, how bad is your body now and how bad could it be if you were still in a tactical/ airborne unit?

I think armorers for a SF Group are at the Group level (unless the MTOE changed) so you are looking at driving to AL or UT for drill IF they have slots.

You can delay a back injury to a certain extent, but you WILL have to pay for it at some point.

Just food for thought, I wish you the best. Let me know if you need an ear.
 
A

arizonaguide

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Bro! for what it's worth I can give a big "Thumbs UP" for the private sector side of things, and it doesn't have to be in a HSLD field to make a contribution.
Of course I agree with Trip about LEO, and especially Border Patrol or Sheriff's Department.

JAB, you have always come across as an NCO that is a strong team player and cares about your people.
As much as ANYONE I have ever known. Sort of a natural "people person" similar to what I do as a tour guide.
Well, how about instructing in the LEO arena, or the private sector.

In that way you are still making a huge contribution, perhaps even MORE of a contribution to keeping people ALIVE. It is JUST as important to the effort as anything. And you would still be contributiong to the HSLD effort in a direct way! The armorer thing would be great too, but you are a TEAM oriented people person Bro!
Consider that you could TEACH other (MANY) people to stay alive with your training!!!

I also still believe in Bell Industries Bro! There is a huge market in helping people prepare to defend themselves from crime...and it's perhaps MORE important these days than ever.
A huge market that would reward you for HELPING people with your training to stay ALIVE.
Where else can you find THAT...a job where you actually help people, AND actually make a living at it?
Range instruction/CCW/Self Defense Bro!
You are a natural people person (teacher!). Or perhaps the same thing for LEO instruction.

There is an "insurgency" in our own country Bro, that's responsible for more death/destruction than anything overseas right now.
You know this as well as I do, living in Texas. Join in the effort to teach people how to fight that shit, Bro!
It's just as important as the HSLD effort.

Now (the older brother/grandmother part)...Dude..you gotta let yourself heal up!
Get on the freakin RIGHT diet (negative on the tequilla, etc) and get your metabolism back to fighting level. Okay, "grandma" advice now finished.

I'm thinking of some other shit too Bro, Ideas for myself that are similar. (dude, think "female" CCW and anti-rape classes!) ;) VERY important!

But seriously, I'm in the same boat, only I'm screwed from AGE (bogus MEPS doctors, etc) rather than Injury...but same result.
But my past experience with the private sector saved my ass, and let me retire "young".
There's good shit out there bro, and it pops up when you least expect it.
But, you have to make your OWN luck by getting as healthy as is POSSIBLE, and including a positive attitude, which I KNOW you have.
 

jtprgr375

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Dude you really want to get broken off and make things worse, than go spec ops. I don't have any kids so I can't relate to the best PT is holding your kids thing. It sounds similar to what is going on with me. Hope ya feel better bro.
 
7

7point62

Guest
I can't add any better advice than what you've gotten on this thread, except to say that I wish you the best, bro. I know things will work out for you. I loved being infantry and would have had it no other way. It's in the blood. Salud.
 

FNULNU

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Here's my two cents:

Join a Civil Affairs unit. I visited my old CA unit this year and they actually had some very cool, traditional FID/UW missions going on and they were well funded. They said if I wanted to come back I could go to pretty much any school I wanted and the training budget was there for it. They also had DLI slots (Monterey is a friggin' blast). That said, it is not mandatory to do any of these. You can work on getting healthy and when you're ready go to some fun shit, or you can decide to stay a plain old CA cat and no one will have a problem with that either.

There is a pretty diverse mix of folks in CA from the ones that join to take advantage of the USASOC open-ended training budget and ability to get high speed schools, to the ones that joined CA because they're honestly just interested in foreign cultures and that sort of thing. In it's traditional FID/UW capacity CA is a big part of the SOF mission. You may like it and if you get yourself back up to speed, they will support you in going to SFAS, or any other HSLD school you want.

:2c:
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I want to thank all of you for the advice, I just got the word today that I have until mid October to show clear signs of improvement or it’s off to the MEB. My PCM has said that he would drop my profile codes to a 2 from a current 3, if I can control my pain level and show physical improvement. So I am going to bust my ass and see what comes out of it. I started back in the gym for an hour to an hour and a half a day and running twice a day. I have put on a bout 45 lbs over the last 8.5 months and needless to say I need get that back under to control ASAP…

I am planning a 7 day “walk about” at Big Bend at the end of September, I am going to leave all the electronics behind and just hit the mountain ranges and do some soul searching on what I really want. I hope that this will help me clear my thoughts and come up with a good choice on my next path of life.
 
0

08steeda

Guest
Best of wishes for you Bro! Keep positive! Even if it does not go the way you want, in the long run it almost always works out for the best!!! You just gotta have patience and faith!!!
 

Mephistopheles

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the path

I was just lying in my rack, rubbing my aching 43 y.o. shoulder (that has been operated on 3 times) reading about your dilemma...don't know if you've found your path yet, but...
If there is something you want to do, and you want it bad enough, you have to be willing to accept the pain and suffering that comes with the territory. I have poor circulation, numbness in my hands and feet, aches, pains, multiple surgeries, compressed discs, arthritis....you name it. Plus, I wasn't smart enough to document it correctly because, like an idiot, I practiced "team room medicine" on myself. I would have to jack dexamethasone into my shoulder weekly just to get through training. It all cost me in the long run though...
Even though I'm retired, my contracting job still requires that I can PT, carry a ruck, etc... As "old guys" we don't get cut any slack, nor would I expect anyone to cut me any slack. I still have to be able to pick my buddy up, in full kit, and get him to the chopper. Aching back or not...
Luckily, there are some pretty good supplements out there that can help your body recover some of its lost vigor. Without going too far into detail, and endorsing any particular product, all I can say is that for a busted up old dude, I feel pretty good. Do a little research, eat well, drink lots of water, find some supplements that, if for nothing more than the placebo effect, make you feel better and get you to the gym, and fulfill those goals...
Sometimes you just gotta suck it up, ruck up, and move out. Don't let a few aches and pains slow you down, modern science has developed some wonderful chemicals that can help. There are "rejuvination" clinics that can get you anything you need...legally, with a prescription.
Sometimes you have to replace what nature and old age rob from you.
:2c:
 

(805)DEP

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You know you're in a seriously weak state/state of jury(in-jury((in deliberation)) when you are getting advices from a guy named Mephistopheles! Talk to your father and plunge into some dark water and start swimming. A 4am buoy swim works well.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I was just lying in my rack, rubbing my aching 43 y.o. shoulder (that has been operated on 3 times) reading about your dilemma...don't know if you've found your path yet, but...
If there is something you want to do, and you want it bad enough, you have to be willing to accept the pain and suffering that comes with the territory. I have poor circulation, numbness in my hands and feet, aches, pains, multiple surgeries, compressed discs, arthritis....you name it. Plus, I wasn't smart enough to document it correctly because, like an idiot, I practiced "team room medicine" on myself. I would have to jack dexamethasone into my shoulder weekly just to get through training. It all cost me in the long run though...
Even though I'm retired, my contracting job still requires that I can PT, carry a ruck, etc... As "old guys" we don't get cut any slack, nor would I expect anyone to cut me any slack. I still have to be able to pick my buddy up, in full kit, and get him to the chopper. Aching back or not...
Luckily, there are some pretty good supplements out there that can help your body recover some of its lost vigor. Without going too far into detail, and endorsing any particular product, all I can say is that for a busted up old dude, I feel pretty good. Do a little research, eat well, drink lots of water, find some supplements that, if for nothing more than the placebo effect, make you feel better and get you to the gym, and fulfill those goals...
Sometimes you just gotta suck it up, ruck up, and move out. Don't let a few aches and pains slow you down, modern science has developed some wonderful chemicals that can help. There are "rejuvination" clinics that can get you anything you need...legally, with a prescription.
Sometimes you have to replace what nature and old age rob from you.
:2c:

Hey thanks for the input bro, I will check into the Rejuvination clinics. As I sit right now I am still planning on hitting Big Bend and then I am hoping to RTD and make one more trip. I want to see A-stan before they shut it down, then I will go from there...

Again thanks to all for the advice!

You know you're in a seriously weak state/state of jury(in-jury((in deliberation)) when you are getting advices from a guy named Mephistopheles! Talk to your father and plunge into some dark water and start swimming. A 4am buoy swim works well.


I guess you were trying to be funny?:uhh:
 
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