NAVY - FLEET MARINE FORCE CORPSMAN
I joined the Navy on June 11th 2002, and retired on August 29, 2012. I went in to get money for college and to provide for my family since I had my first child on the way. I was a Fleet Marine Force (FMF) Corpsman, with the Marines for over 10 years, and was medically retired as an HM2 (E-5). I did two tours to Iraq in 2007 and 2009. I was required to carry full gear weighing about 60-70 pounds, as well as, a med bag weighing approximately 20-25 pounds while deployed and during any training exercises. Along with the weight of the gear, we were required to carry patients on litters. We would do 10-12 mile runs in full gear as well. During my 2007 deployment to Fallujah I started noticing my left leg was losing sensation, and by my 2009 deployment I couldn't feel my leg at all.
Shortly after I retired, I went to a neurosurgeon and he told me I had severely ruptured two discs in my lower back. I had two back surgeries within two years of retiring. I was told I would also need a new surgery about every five years. I am pending my third surgery later this year. I have foot drop in my left leg which has caused me to fall and further injure myself about 5-6 times a year. I was evaluated for a wheelchair by the VA, but their panel of "experts" told me I didn't fit their criteria because I didn't have the loss of two or more limbs, didn't have cancer, or a severe breathing problem such as COPD or congestive heart failure, etc. I'm so glad I reached out to you guys. Now hopefully I'll be able to be more mobile and be able to go places with my daughter again.