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VietNam Veteran Recently Diagnosed


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Good Morning:

I recently made a long post introducing myself.  I thought I would also post here though.  

I joined the US Army in 1966.  Part way through basic training a Green Beret spoke to my company trying to recruit men to the Green Berets. He won me over, I volunteered.  I submitted to a battery of mental, physical, and pscological tests, and passed them with flying colors apparently.  After graduation from Basic, I went to Advanced Infantry Training, then to Fort Benning for jumpt school, and from there to Special Forces Training at Ft Bragg.  I was assigned to become a medic in the Special Forces, which necessitated approximately another year of training.  Following that a group of us volunteered for Vietnam by calling Mrs Alexander in the Pentagon, who handled all the Special Forces assignments.  We called her from a phone booth on Ft Bragg.  She was more than happy to accommodate us.  So after some addition pre-mission training off we went.  I was assigned to several areas in Vietnam, but one area was in III Corp, a camp call Katum, which the North Vietnamese were constantly bombarding, and trying to overrun.  The area was heavily sprayed with Agent Orange.  I'm told it was the second most heavily sprayed area in VN.  These days Lung Cancer is on the VA's presumptive list, so if you were in an area where Agent Orange was used they presume you got your lung cancer from Agent Orange.  You don't have to prove it.

I have decided though to use Medicare rather than the VA for my treatment. Nothing at all against the VA, I just think I can the best treatment from MD Anderson in Houston, so that's the route I have taken.  I do not currently have Medicare Part D, that's Medicares drug plan.  But I can get it effective Jan 1, 2024.  We're currently in the selection period now.  I can get drugs from the VA as long as they are on the VA formulary, or a committee approves something that is not on the formulary.  I don't pay the VA anything because I'm currently rated at 100% disability stemming from serveral gunshot wounds, PTSD, and tinnitis.  So the good news is the VA treats me well, but I may not be able to get all the drugs I need, despite a very cooperative primary care physician.  Plus, I live in San Antonio, but am going to MD Anderson in Houston.  I get my drugs in San Antonio, so that's a difficult logistical problem if I'm in Houston.  It's possible perhaps by setting up something to pick up drugs at the Houston VA, but it's much easier to use the Medicare Part D plan.

Medicare provides a tool where you can enter possible drugs to screen for particular plans that have those drugs.  I don't know what potential drugs I might need in the future, especially after surgery.  So if any of you have some experience with this if you could give me a few possible names that would be great.  Even if I never needed that particular drug it at least gives me a chance at a broader list of possible drugs with which to select a plan.  Thanks for any help.



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Welcome Jim,

Good to learn another veteran has joined us. I am a retired career soldier and have Medicare plus Tricare for Life. Like you, I'm a medically disabled soldier and I am eligible for medical care through the VA system.

Predicting future drugs after surgery is difficult. I had three back-to-back thoracic surgeries, the first removing my lung and the remaining two dealing with a fistula in my bronchus stump. I recall a short course of narcotic pain medication that was inexpensive and not very expensive. So I can't suggest any drug names to assist you.

Stay the course.


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