Battling the Storm Within

Saturday, October 14, 2017

What is Occipital Neuralgia? How Is It Related To Fibromyalgia?

One of the worst things about fibromyalgia, besides the chronic pain and fatigue, has to be the way that people who suffer from fibromyalgia are at risk of so many other conditions like autoimmune diseases and especially, chronic headaches.

It’s estimated that up to forty percent of people with fibromyalgia suffer from migraines or some other form of a persistent headache. But like fibromyalgia, it’s hard to get to the bottom of what’s causing your headaches. And like fibromyalgia, migraines are often misdiagnosed. In fact, some people who suffer from persistent headaches aren’t actually suffering from migraines, but from a related condition called occipital neuralgia. So, what is occipital neuralgia? How is it related to fibromyalgia? And what can you do to treat it?


How the VA Fueled the National Opioid Crisis and Is Killing Thousands of Veterans


Late one summer night in 2014, Kevin Keller broke into his best friend’s home. Keller was a U.S. Navy vet wracked with constant pain, and because his right arm had been crippled by a stroke, he had to use his left hand to scrawl a note of apology to his buddy:

 “Marty, Sorry I broke into your house and took your gun to end the pain! FU VA!!! Can’t take it anymore.” He then drove to his nearby Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in Wytheville, Virginia, and pounded on the locked doors of the medical office, probably out of frustration or as a final protest, since the facility had been closed for hours.


Shero Women Veteran Hero - Custom Necklaces released at 2017 MIWVEC on Sat Nov 18 2017

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So excited about our New line of MIWVE “Shero” Women Veteran Hero custom one of a kind handmade cooper and silver necklaces uniquely designed by Artist Annie Anglim of Anglim Art & Design in Fenton, MI. The jewelry will be available for purchase at the 2nd 2017 MIWVE Conference on Saturday November 18, 2017 “If you are brave enough to serve, you are brave enough to heal”

Veterans Affairs Department Doubles Down On Medical Marijuana Opposition

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs really wants the military veterans it is charged with serving to know that it isn’t going to do anything to help them access medical marijuana.

While longstanding VA policy has been to disallow government physicians from helping veterans qualify for state medical cannabis programs, a new update to the department’s website sends the message even more clearly — even though it misstates what the law actually is.

“Veterans should know that federal law classifies marijuana – including all derivative products – as a Schedule One controlled substance. This makes it illegal in the eyes of the federal government,” the department’s VA and Medical Marijuana webpage was updated to read this week.

 “The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is required to follow all federal laws including those regarding marijuana. As long as the Food and Drug Administration classifies marijuana as Schedule One VA health care providers may not recommend it or assist Veterans to obtain it.”


military heroes you’ve probably never heard of — and yes, they’re all women

5 military heroes you’ve probably never heard of — and yes, they’re all women
History serves as a testament that, despite being barred from enlisting and being marginalized in the line of duty, women have continued to fight for their rights to serve their country.

A century has passed since women in the United States have been allowed to join the military in an official capacity, though many had served in unofficial roles historically. As far back as the Revolutionary War, they’ve provided much needed support during times of war as civilians and volunteers, some even disguising themselves as men in order to join the line of battle.


Chief of VA health system steps down

WASHINGTON — The leader of the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system unexpectedly stepped down from her position effective Saturday, leaving three top VA positions unfilled by permanent undersecretaries.

Dr. Poonam Alaigh, the acting undersecretary for health since May, sent a message to VA employees last week informing them she was resigning for family reasons.


Hiring new staff remains a problem for VA's suicide prevention efforts

WASHINGTON — Ending veterans suicide will require more mental health professionals, more research into prevention options, and more public awareness from all of America, the secretary of Veterans Affairs warned lawmakers on Wednesday.

“Every day I think about the number of Americans who are dying because we aren’t addressing the problem well enough,” David Shulkin said during a suicide prevention hearing before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

First black woman to lead West Point cadets 'humbled' by opportunity

Cadet Simone Askew -- the first African-American woman to be First Captain of West  Point's Corps of Cadets -- cheers on members of the Class of 2021 at a checkpoint.

CNN)When Simone Askew was in fifth grade, she saw military cadets march in formation across the field at an Army vs. Navy football game.

At that time she didn't have a concept of what military academies were. But she was very attracted to what she saw that day from the stands. "I told my mom I wanted to lead (that formation) one day," she said.

Now 20-year-old Cadet Askew is doing exactly what she said she would. She is the first African-American woman to lead West Point's 4,400 member Corps of Cadets as its First Captain/Brigade Commander. In this role, she's the senior leader in her class, responsible for communicating between cadets and the administration and setting a class agenda.


VA selects providers for low cost dental insurance program

VA news release

VA announced today that it has selected Delta Dental of California and MetLife to once again offer private dental insurance plans as part of the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP).

The program was extended until Dec. 31, 2021, by the VA Dental Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2016.

“It is important to provide this care to eligible Veterans, especially those who need lower-cost insurance,” said VA secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “VADIP underscores our commitment to support America’s Veterans and their family members.”

Read more....

VA Photo ID Cards for All Veterans Coming in November

Photo: VA.GOV

All honorably discharged veterans of every era will be able to get a photo identification card from the Department of Veterans Affairs starting in November due to a law passed in 2015.

The law, known as the Veterans Identification Card Act 2015, orders the VA to issue a hard-copy photo ID to any honorably discharged veteran who applies. The card must contain the veteran's name, photo and a non-Social Security identification number, the law states.


Advocates warn war injuries could lead to Alzheimer’s disease

WASHINGTON — Veterans face a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than civilians who never served in the military, presenting a major medical challenge to the country’s responsibilities for veterans’ health care, advocates said in a new report Monday.

The analysis — compiled by the new group Veterans Against Alzheimer’s — note that post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and even more minor neurotrauma associated with military service all significantly increase the risk of developing the fatal disease.


Years after silently combating sexual trauma, female veterans seek help


Sheila Procella of Plano, Texas, is a veteran of both the U.S. Air Force and the Texas Air National Guard. She was diagnosed with military sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 2014, nearly three decades after her service. Photo by Laura Buckman/Kaiser Health News

Sheila Procella joined the Air Force in 1974 to “see the Earth,” she said. She enlisted at the tail end of the Vietnam War, shortly after graduating from high school. Although she never left her home state of Texas during eight years of service, her office job proved to be its own battlefield.


VA proposed rule would override state licensing restrictions to expand access to telehealth

David Shulkin and Donald Trump

The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a proposed rule that would allow VA providers to treat patients in any state via telehealth, regardless of where they are licensed to practice.

The proposed rule would override state licensing restrictions that the agency says are limiting its telehealth program and allow VA physicians to treat patients anywhere in the country using the VA's telehealth technology.


The VA Can’t Provide Cannabis to Veterans With PTSD, so This Group Gives It Out for Free

Once a month, staff members at the Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance (SCVA) fill more than 100 brown paper bags with high-quality medical cannabis and pass them out for free at a local community center. For the military veterans who receive it—many of whom struggle with PTSD—the medical cannabis acts as a lifeline to health.

The SCVA, which operates out of an old office in a Santa Cruz neighborhood, has been serving local men and women since 2011, when the organization was founded by military veterans Aaron Newsom and Jason Sweatt.

Watch Video/

How the military handles sexual assault cases behind closed doors

As part of a sexual harassment and assault case, Air Force investigators recovered hundreds of text messages that Col. Ronald S. Jobo, left, sent to a female subordinate in 2015. (Mickey Welsh / The Advertiser and Obtained by The Washington Post/Mickey Welsh / The Advertiser and Obtained by The Washington Post)

Read more..

What is Hypervigilance and How it is Connected to Fibromyalgia

Hypervigilance is a state of being constantly tense, on guard, and exceptionally aware of your environment.

A small but growing body of research suggests that hypervigilance is a feature of fibromyalgia and may contribute to the common symptom of sensory overload.

The idea is that our brains become overly aware of things, which can include painful stimuli, noises, bright lights, and general activity.




Sen. Amy Klobuchar is co-sponsor of a bill that recently passed in the Senate to create a VA center of excellence to study and treat adverse health conditions that impact vets exposed to open air burn pits that the military used to dispose of waste.

Klobuchar is co-sponsor of a bill that recently passed in the Senate to create a VA center of excellence to study and treat adverse health conditions that impact vets exposed to open air burn pits that the military used to dispose of waste.


Don't abandon our female veterans to staggering risk of suicide

Don't abandon our female veterans to staggering risk of suicide

Earlier this month, the Department of Veterans Affairs released an updated version of its “Veteran Suicide Statistics by State” report, the most comprehensive examination of veteran suicide in American history which analyzed over 55 million records from 1979 to 2014 from all 50 states and four territories.


Top VA health official steps down as major reforms loom

WASHINGTON — The acting under secretary for health at the Department of Veterans Affairs abruptly stepped aside on Monday, leaving the agency with yet another leadership void as VA officials prepare ambitious reforms for veterans medical benefits.

Poonam Alaigh, who had served in the post since February, said in a letter to staff that she is resigning from the job for family reasons. When she started at VA in 2015, she had publicly told staff she planned on serving with the agency for only two years.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

These candid photos of American women in the military defy propaganda, and expectations

It was the dawning of a new era, Reagan’s America, and the U.S. Army wanted a new breed of soldiers capable of handling the challenges of a Cold War that was heating up. The resulting “Be All You Can Be” recruitment campaign launched in 1981, selling a high-tech, fast-paced world of limitless potential, adventure, and self-determination. Be brave. Be strong. Be a man.

Efforts to appeal to the other half of the nation’s citizenry were a little less slick. Although women were allowed to begin joining the Army through the Women’s Army Corps during WWII, official recruitment ads mirrored feminized home-front propaganda of the day. Blue-eyed blondes wearing


After combating sexual trauma in silence, female veterans find help

Sheila Procella joined the Air Force in 1974 to “see the Earth,” she said. She enlisted at the tail end of the Vietnam War, shortly after graduating from high school. Although she never left her home state of Texas during eight years of service, her office job proved to be its own battlefield.

“Some of us actually went to war, some of us had war right here in the states, going to work every day knowing we are going to be harassed,” said Procella, now 62 and living in Plano.


Veterans increasingly filing disability claims due to MRE exposure

WASHINGTON — More than 100 veterans have in recent months filed non-combat related disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs due to years of overexposure to meals, ready-to-eat, and that number is expected to rise, sources confirmed today.

Some 20 military veterans announced their intentions to protest at the headquarters of the VA later this week, in an effort to shine a light on what they believe has been a vastly-overlooked ailment for veterans who have transitioned to the civilian world.


‘Something has to change:’ Facing high denial rates for VA claims, 3 Gulf War vets intervene

ROANOKE, Va. — From his small home office more than 200 miles from Washington, Ronald Brown has a direct line to top Department of Veterans Affairs officials, including a member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, VA Secretary David Shulkin.

In the time between bouts of illness and his many doctors’ appointments, Brown – a veteran of Operation Desert Storm – can be found here, working at a laptop filled with scientific studies, written testimonies to Congress and veterans’ claims for VA benefits. He’s focused, sometimes working on multiple claims at the same time, pausing only to pat the two English bulldogs who lie at his feet or search through binders of documents on his overloaded bookcase.


Rep. Andy Barr introduces bill to help military sex assault victims

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Congressman Andy Barr introduced legislation Friday that would give victims of military sexual assault more options for treatment.
Representative Andy Barr
The Military Sexual Assault Victim Empowerment Act, otherwise known as the Military SAVE Act is aimed at giving victims for options for treatment.

Congressman Barr, along with other state leaders announced the measure during a news conference Friday morning in Frankfort.

It would allow victims of military sexual trauma to seek treatment outside the VA system in some regions of the country.


Senate Passes Burn Pit Bill To Increase Cooperation Between VA, DOD

Burn PIt

A new bill passed the Senate Monday aimed at helping VA better identify and address the looming health crisis facing veterans exposed to burn pits overseas.

The bill has bipartisan support and could help the more than 100,000 veterans exposed to burn pits during the most recent wars in the Middle East.

Scientific evidence exists showing the dioxins and other poisons emanating from the burn pits causes cancer and other health problems. VA and the DOD continue to malign new scientific research while continually evading reality – – that reality is dioxin and TCDD cause a host of problems similar or identical to what Vietnam veterans are facing today.


Women Vets Have More Than Double the Suicide Rate of Civilian Women

The suicide rate among women who have served in the U.S. military is more than twice as high as that of adult civilian women, according to new figures released by the Department for Veteran Affairs.

The figures, published Friday, analyzed suicide data from the 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, for the 55 million people who departed the U.S. military between 1970 and 2014.


Federal agencies partner for military and veteran pain management research

Image of veterans at a yoga class

Through an interagency partnership, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announce a multi-component research project focusing on nondrug approaches for pain management addressing the needs of service members and veterans. Twelve research projects, totaling approximately $81 million over six years (pending available funds), will focus on developing, implementing, and testing cost-effective, large-scale, real-world research on nondrug approaches for pain management and related conditions in military and veteran health care delivery organizations. The National Institutes of Health will be the lead HHS agency in this partnership.


Military Sexual Trauma in Female Veterans is Associated With Chronic Pain Conditions.

Little is known about the impact of MST on chronic pain conditions among female Veterans. The primary objective of this study was to compare the prevalence of chronic pain conditions among U.S. female veterans with a history of military sexual trauma (MST) to those without a history of MST. We anticipated that female Veterans with a history of MST would have higher associations with chronic pain conditions than the female Veterans without a history of MST

Read more....

Life After Deployment- Soldier on

In Soldier On: Life After Deployment, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Sue Sipprelle, three women confront and surmount the challenges of readjusting to civilian life after their post-9/11 military service.

The women veterans in Soldier On, and women like them, are making history. They are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. veteran population. The complete integration of women into the armed services, as well as their full access to veterans' benefits and the veteran community, is a challenging work in process for America. Soldier On is part of that ongoing conversation and effort.

Since its March 2017 release, Soldier On: Life After Deployment has been


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Open Now for Important Announcements & Updates - Please Share!

Registration is Now Open!! 
2017 Michigan Women Veterans
Empowerment Conference
Theme: Vision, Passion, Growth
Be Inspired, Empowered and Sharpened!
Vision: What do you see? Sharpen your vision by harnessing your inner power to bring it to fruition. Passion: Live life passionately and fervently while striving to achieve anything you desire in life. Growth: Maturing, growing, developing and gradually increasing in your present stage of development. 

Women and Women Veterans Attendee's Only!
Women veterans will receive a "Special Gift" for attending and participating. Seating is limited, Registration is Free!

The Michigan Veterans Foundation
Supports Women Veterans
There are over 47,000 women veterans in Michigan and the Michigan Veterans Foundation has embraced the women veteran population by providing a HQ office space for the MVF-MWVEC, the venue for the conference, meetings and the foundational support to build a strong women veterans and military members family community.

We have gone to the next level for the 2nd 2017 MIWVEC, the 6 powerful and dynamic speakers will inspire, ignite and empower women to achieve greatness. The vendors will provide the resources designed specifically for the women veteran population.

Our gracious 2017 MIWVEC sponsors are the Eisenhower Center & Humana, which will be present to support women veterans and the military service members community. 

Women Veterans will be honored, engaged and strengthened in our sister-in-service bond. Our hopes is that women veterans will feel celebrated, honored and know that their significant sacrifice to our country is truly appreciated. 

Registration is Free and
Seating is limited!

                CONFERENCE AGENDA
8:00 – 9:00 – Registration
9:00 – 9:15 – Welcome & Acknowledgements by Sgt. Stephanie J. Shannon & Mr. Tyrone Chatman
* Opening Prayer – Chaplain Jennifer Smith- woman veteran
* Mistress of Ceremony, Honorable Judge Denise Langford Morris
* Posting of Colors - MVF Armor Guards
* Patriotic Song by Janice Simon - Women vet.
9:20 – 9:40 1st Speaker – Simone Lightfoot Woman Veteran – "Veterans Entering Politics"
9:40 – 10:00 – 2nd Speaker – Denise Ervin "Creating Your Own Vision Board"
10:00 – 10:15 – Break – Vendors
10:15 – 10:35 – 3rd Speaker - Stacy Betts "Business & Entrepreneurship"
10: 35 – 10:55 – 4th Speaker – Judge Shannon A. Holmes - Woman veteran – "Mastering Leadership"
11:00 – 12:30 – Lunch - Renaissance High Cougar Battalion Exhibition Squad/ Networking/Vendors
12:30 – 12:50 – 5th Speaker – Haith Johnson – "Inner beauty & Wholeness"
12:50 – 1:10 – 6th Speaker – Dr Opal Murphy- Hicks – "Relationships & Trust Issues"
1:10 – 1:30 pm - Closing
Like Us on Facebook!

JOIN the New Michigan Veterans Foundation - Women Veterans Empowerment Coalition

MVF-MWVEC has a new HQ Office
 located at MVF "The Pentagon"

The Coalition was created out the need to establish a strong foundation and networking base within the community that empowers women veterans and military family members.

Our Core Values: Honor-Courage

This networking group works together to support and address the needs of women veterans and military family members at the grass roots level. Joint projects and partnerships are encouraged in order to achieve the goal of strengthening women veterans and military family members as a whole.

Meetings are Open to 
Women Veterans & Military Family members ONLY and will be 
Every 3rd Tuesday of the Month
 @ 5:30 pm
(unless otherwise notified)

Meeting Location:

"The Pentagon" MVF
4626 Grand River Ave Detroit MI.
(Near the Detroit VA Hospital)
(313) 831-5500

Next Meetings:

Tuesday September 19, 2017 @ 5:30 pm, Tuesday October 17, 2017 @ 5:30 pm.

No meeting in November due to
2017 MIWVE Conference.

No meeting in December 2017
 Holiday Party T.B.A.
2017 Michigan Women Veterans Empowerment Garden

"Dedicated to women veterans and in loving memory of the 22 veterans that we lose to suicide daily.

Our Love, Peace and Healing garden was planted in the summer of 2017 and has bloomed and been harvested.

74 Organic fruits and vegetables were cultivated over a 3 month time period. Harvested vegetables were donated to veterans and military family members within the community.

"Dirt Therapy" as we call it, is designed to help veterans and military family members connect to nature and plants in order to produce good mental health, inner healing and overall well being.

2018 "Dirt Therapy" Garden
will be planted in Genesee County and in Detroit - MVF so stay tuned. 

For more information visit
our website: