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Veteran difficulty with medical treatment
A local veteran battling crippling pain is fighting to find a way to continue his medical treatments here at home. Now, thanks to budget problems in Washington, getting treatment for that pain could be more difficult.
Carley Sartalamacchia comes from a military family.
He spent more than 20 years in the US Army... Making stops in Korea, Germany and the Gulf.
His time in the 92nd airborne... Along with other duties... Gave him scars and stripes.
But it was his service in the Gulf War that left him with the condition that plagues his every moment now.
Sartalamacchia said, "Bone pain. Bone, enormous, joints hurt constantly like I got a flu."
"You're too sick to move, but if you move you get sicker and so it becomes a circle,” he said.
Carley suffers from Gulf War syndrome. The cause of which is still unknown.
Sartalamacchia has tried to research what he may have been exposed to but so much information is still classified.
"I do remember the exact moment I threw up there... Just like I was looking at you today. I dove underneath a deuce and a half truck when a scud missile came in, because we didn't have enough bunker space at that time. When it exploded, i remember the burning. And then of course the chemical alarms went off,” said Sartalamacchia.
Doctors are treating him for severe rheumatoid arthritis, using cancer medication to help alleviate his pain.
Sartalamacchia said, "The drug does wonders. You take it once a month, and the cost is the issue."
Those treatments are expensive... Costing upwards of $13,000 each time.
And Sartalamacchia’s doctors constantly have to provide justification for those treatments.
With big cuts to military budgets, Tricare says they can no longer pay for them.
Sartalamacchia got this letter saying he will have to seek treatment at a military facility... His wife Janet has family living near a base in San Antonio where the treatment is available, but the monthly regimen makes traveling tough.
Janet Sartalamacchia said,"If it was every four months, we could just go down there and stay with them until it was over and he felt better and drive back but an every month thing... It's really hard."