Greetings to all, and thank you for taking the time to read my fundrasing ad.
My name is Lt Aaron M. Pederson, FA, USARNG (ret). I have many years of service under my belt; all of which were honorable in nature. I was a former enlisted guy gone officer. In April, 2010 I was receiving my training in Field Artillery as an officer. During a night-training event in downpour rains in the Wichita Mountains near Ft. Sill, I took a bad tumble down the side of one of the mountains. I got up, brushed myself off, felt a little stiffness in my back, but knew like a good little liuetenant I'd best press on and get the job done.
The following morning I woke up, and I could hardly move out of bed due to my back pain. Throughout my time at Ft. Sill I went to the doctor numerous times. I finally told the provider I had shooting pains in my right leg. He ordered an MRI. Eventually my MRI showed two herniated discs. Because I was a National Guard Officer, my orders DID end, and I DID go home in September, 2010 with orders from the doctor to lay low.
Over the following two years my condition continued to degrade. My injury at Ft. Sill set off a chain of degeneration of my disks at L4/L5 and L5/S1. My family practice doctor as well as a non-operative spine specialist and I tried every conservative treatment under the sun.
During this time period I knew things were going to get worse (I felt things worsening daily), and so I decided I had better plan on a contingency in the event I needed to medcially retire from my civilian job with the local Sheriff's Office and the MN Army Guard. I went in for my compensation and physical evaluation with the VA in Minneapolis. I spoke candidly with the doctor about what had happened, presented him with my Line of Duty injury report describing what happened at Ft. Sill, my medical records from Ft. Sill and my civilian medial records from my primary care physician in Mankato, MN. I also provided a DVD with my MRI images contained on it. I was very frank, and I told him that I had been told to lay low. I told him I'd had two major flare-ups since coming home off my orders. One was in September, 2010 and the other in February, 2011. The February 2011 flare-up was the straw that broke the camel's back. I had basically reached the point of no return after that flare-up. I began walking on a cane, and I was prescribed oxycodone for pain control.
In the spring of 2011 I received my decision from the VA. Denied. The examiner, in his opinion, stated that my current condition had been due to my flare-ups rather than my initial injury at Ft. Sill. Somewhere along the line he failed to take into consideration that I had no prior spine history and that I had been complaining of leg pain at Ft. Sill which is a big indicator of nerve root impingement. I appealed my decision, and it came back denied too. I've been in a fight with the VA since then to open my case again on the premis of more medical information.
I eventually underwent a 360 degree anterior/posterior lumbar fusion last spring and spent a week in the hospital. I had a world-leading physician from the Twin Cities Spine Center perform my surgery. Unfortunately, not even the best surgeons can predict the outcome of an operation. The surgery was a flop, and my fusion failed. Since May of 2013 I've been in worse pain than prior to surgery. I still often walk with a cane, I take morphine daily to try to control the pain, and I cannot work because of my pain and ensuing depression, anxiety and severe physical limitations.
I took a shot this spring at applying or Social Security Disability benefits as well. Once again, denied. They essentially said, "You can still use your hands." OK, but that doesn't take into account my altered mental status because of the narcotics I'm on daily, the fact that I can't sit OR stand for a very long time (the only way I can sit is in a home-made comfy spot made of pillows), and the biggest factor - I don't sleep well at all. My sleep pattern is so eratic becasue of my pain. I may have a good night sleep one night followed by three nights of terrible sleep where I don't get to sleep until 4 AM despite having gone to bed at 10 PM the night before.
My wonderful, beautiful family has been helping me up until this point, but my mother is also fighting colon cancer. They're about tapped out themselves. I'm literally down to $21 to my name as of today, and I'm asking for those of you who can to help me. Even if it's just a dollar, five dollars or whatever; it all helps. I'm sad because I served my nation with pride. When I took my oath as an officer it was as if I was saying, "Yeah. Yeah, "I'll be that guy who leads men into combat for our nation. I'll do that." But now when I need my government I'm not getting the help I need.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your contribution. I have two children who do not live with me, and it's very difficult knowing I'll soon become homeless, without a vehicle and unable to see them. My goal is to collect funds to continue living and eating until I can reach resolutions with the VA and SSDI. My last request is that you share this ad with your friends and family. Again, thank you so very much for your help!
Lt. Aaron M. Pederson, FA, MNARNG (ret)