Hey everyone,

This is my first time posting on this site, wish I had known about it a couple years ago. I love reading through the chats. A little history about myself, I had UC From age 2 to age 17 when I developed colon cancer and had to have the surgery. No radiation or chemo was necessary, I just had to get my colon removed. I had to deal with the bag for about six months, which as a 17 year old senior in high school was the longest six months of my life. I then had the takedown surgery and got my J-Pouch. I have been healthy ever since and getting healthier. I workout daily and I am in the best shape of my life now. My dream growing up was always to be in the military. I was completely unaware of the fact that my condition would eliminate me from any opportunities in the military until applying for an ROTC scholarship when I was told I could not join. This completey devastated me. My younger brother joined the NROTC program two years ago as a Marine option, while I am now a senior Accounting major in college. Watching everything he has been doing makes me extremely proud, but also very jealous at the same time. He has met many high ranking officers in the last couple years, and I have read several articles where individuals who have dealt with UC have been able to find ways around the disqualification and enroll in the military. I would do just about anything to get into the military, but I know I shouldn't get my hopes up. I am positing to see if anyone on here has any similar success stories when it comes to getting into the military with a J-Pouch. Hope to hear back soon.

Original Post
Have you talked with a recruiter to see what options are available that might allow for medical waivers? Perhaps education and training in areas of demand would open some doors (like foreign language, medical degree, etc.). Of course, this might mean a change in your major.

Also, there are a lot of civilian jobs within the DOD too. I worked for the VA for many years as a nurse. Not the same as being a Marine or on combat duty, I know...

Jan Smiler
Ben....see post in this discussion by Kilocuna....his post is below

I talked to a recruiter and explained everything I have had done. They said there's A LOT they have to do but depending what the MEPS Doctor says it'll be possible to enlist.

about 80% I'll be denied for medical reasons but if that happens I can request a medical waiver. But that has a high chance of being denied as well since it has to be approved by many people up the chain of command.

I'm going to try my best to get enlisted. I want this to happen.

Again if anyone else has information that can help please let me know! Thanks!
Might seem like a stretch but maybe a little media support could help out. I think that the more people that know about your quest, the more support you will get. I've always felt anyone willing to make the sacrifices to serve in the military should be afforded the opportunity to do so. Chapeau to you.
At a local "IBD Update" in our area this spring the keynote speaker was an air force pilot who talked about how his UC was "cured" by surgical removal of his colon. (I've found that my UC hasn't been cured but that's not the topic.)

He found out he had UC after being in the military for a long time. He was in it to be his career. When he got so ill with it that he could no longer function he had his colon removed and went to an end ileo, no j-pouch. It sounded like they let him remain in the air force until he could leave with the number of years he needed to receive his pension. He went to extra ordinary measures to remain in the military. He trained excessively including running daily. He was able to fly a few more times but that was all. So even though he was in top shape and easily passed all physical tests they didn't allow him to serve. He didn't harbor any ill feelings towards anyone and was grateful that he was able to stay in long enough to retire.

I'm an accountant so think you've picked a good career. There are good accounting jobs with the government, besides the IRS, like with the GAO.

Have you thought about other positions, like with the FBI fighting white collar crime? Maybe you could become a CIA analyst. My nephew has a Human Resources civilian job with the Army and just spent 4 years in Germany. He had a wonderful time traveling all over Europe while there.

It is good to hear you have done so well and are a j-pouch success! I'm grateful that you want to serve our country. Good luck in whatever you decide to do with your future!!!
Just want to leave an update for everyone who responded:

I went in today and talked with a Marine Corps recruiter about my possible enlistment. The "unwaiverable" form does include ulcerative colitis and chrons, but it does not say a history of either would disqualify me. And since I had the surgery, I do not have ulcerative colitis anymore. I am hoping I can get around this. As for having cancer, I am disqualified if the cancer took place anytime within the last 5 years, and after November I will be past my 5 years mark! I am meeting again tomorrow with the recruiter and we will be sending off my medical history charts to MEPS and I am praying they will pass me and allow me to enlist. Thank you for all the support to those of you who have responded!

Good luck!

Back around 2000 (long before current health care insurance underwriting requirements) I suucessfully petitioned the medical board of my provider to allow me to have a discounted insurance rate (same as my healthy family members), arguing that colectomy "cured" my UC. Granted, since then I've been diagnosed with multiple related diseases, but that is besides the point.

I think with active military duty the issue is that once you are in, they buy the whole package, warts and all. They are naturally shy with potential financial drains on the system, and any promlems that might make you less likely to be able to perform your duties.

Jan Smiler

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