You submitted your questions to Iraq vet Marine Cpl. Jeff Landay and his mother, Michelle Landay. Here are there answers to your questions.
Bobby from Sylmar, Calif., asked: "Is there anything as private citizens we can do to help to get the message about your health to our government?"
Michelle Landay responded: Yes! Contact your congressman/woman and senator. Petition them and let them know you won't stand for our wounded being treated this way. Push for immediate action by the Department of Defense.
Dan from Walnut Creek, Calif., asked: "I am totally outraged and ashamed by what I saw on "World News Tonight." Our president has no problem spending trillions to invade a foreign country then kill and maim, yet he can't support the men and women he sent into harms way to carry out his bloody vendetta … and for what? How can I, as an average citizen, help you persuade the government to get the support and benefits you deserve?"
Michelle Landay responded: I can tell you Jeff is proud to have served in Iraq and proud of the job the corps is doing over there. You can help by petitioning your congressman/woman and senator for immediate action by the Department of Defense to meet the needs of our returning wounded.
Dr. Fusco from Berkeley, Calif., asked: "I have treated some of the current military personnel as well as veterans presenting with PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] symptoms. I am convinced that PTSD often occurs as a direct result of milder forms of TBI [traumatic brain injury]. Which would include being in the general vicinity of an IED [improvised explosive device] when it detonates. My question to you is, having sustained severe TBI, are you possibly experiencing symptoms of PTSD as well? This would include nightmares, insomnia, mood swings, rages, depression, eating disorders, sexual problems, etc. Thank you in advance for your kind response to my question."
Michelle Landay responded: I am unclear of the clinical difference between PTSD and TBI are. From our experience so far, many of the symptoms are the same. Jeff suffers from a lack of sleep, mood swings, "flash" anger and occasional nightmares. He deals with it through exercise and a healthy diet. He's also learning to "forgive" himself for being "less" than he was before the injury. It has helped him deal with his anxiety and anger.
Caryn from Kent, Wash., asked: "I have a son who has just turned 18 and is seriously considering joining the military. Being someone with personal experience -- as a veteran -- what would you say to this young man about his choice? Please feel free to be as candid and forthright as you wish. (whether that be positive or negative)"
Jeff Landay responded: Ask him what he wished to do in the military. If he wants to be one of the front-line grunts, Marines would be perfect for him. It would be difficult and stressful, but i would say be fantastic. Also, it teaches him great things for life after the military. How to watch out for brothers in hands and how to work through the most stressful situations.
Michelle Landay responded: I would ask him to weigh the pros and cons carefully. It is a life altering experience regardless of whether or not he may be injured. That being said, if it were not for young men (and women) like our sons, we would not be living with the privileges we have today. I want to thank your son for considering service in our military.
Marybeth from Gloucester, N.J., asked: "As a college student I am not able to help out our wounded soldiers financially. Are there any other ways I can help to make their lives easier? Are there any opportunities for work or volunteer work to help out soldiers? I am not in the medical field but I would love the opportunity to help in anyway because these men have done so much and deserve to be treated better than the conditions shown on World News."
Michelle Landay responded: Don't let them feel forgotten. If you live near a VA [Department of Veterans Affairs] hospital or military hospital, stop by and visit. Just a few minutes of your time a day means a lot to these guys. There may also be volunteer opportunities at the hospitals.
I couldn't be more grateful to the USMC [U.S. Marines] in standing behind, beside, and in front of their injured. They are doing everything in their power to assist their wounded in getting the care and treatment they need.
There is a nonprofit organization called the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund established by Marine wives who saw a need. This organization and the wonderful women who run it directly helps injured Marines and their families in their darkest hours. All funds go directly to the families in need. Without them, we would have lost our home a long time ago. Check them out online at http://www.semperfifund.org/.
Wade from Newport News, Va., asked: "Hi Cpl. Jeff Landay, my name is Wade Landes. I am a Junior at Menchville High School in Newport News, Va., and am in the AFJROTC program and plan on enlisting in the Marine Corps next year. I just saw your story on ABC News and thought it was amazing. You will always be in my prayers. How has the USMC treated you throughout all of your experiences there? How have they treated you after the accident? And i pray that you keep taking giant steps in recovery."
Jeff Landay responded: Honestly I am happy that I enlisted into the Marines because as they always have said [it's important to] take cares of all Marines! I have had great therapists to help me through my issues and they will still respect me as a Marine! It gets stressful from time to time but marine boot camp is goodl and that is half of the combat there and to build yourself up to fight through all situations.
Michelle Landay responded: The Marine Corps couldn't be more supportive of Jeff and our family during this time. They have showed great personal care and concern. Jeff's problems started with the medical retirement process and the Department of Defense, not the corps. Jeff is a very proud Marine. Thank you for your service and may God be with you on your journey. Thank you for your prayers.
Peter from Rochester, N.Y., said: "Hello Jeff, Thank you for serving our country. My question is do you have legal counsel assisting you with your claim? If not, I would be happy to discuss pro bono representation opportunities with you."
Michelle Landay responded: Jeff is currently being represented by JAG and PEBLOs. He is still dealing with medical retirement from the USMC, which means he is dealing with the Department of Defense. He cannot file a claim with the VA until he becomes medically retired. Thank you for your offer. We will be happy to consider your offer should it reach that point.
Brian from Kings Park, N.Y., said: "I work at the VAMC in N.Y. and was wondering if you put in a Claim for a Service Connection Disability through the Eligibility office in your local VAMC or maybe tried to put one in through the Regional Office. Also try with in the VAMC to see the OIF/OEF Patient Advocate for returning Iraq Veterans, they also may be helpful on who might be able to expedite your Claim(s). Good Luck, you deserve everything, EVERYTHING."
Michelle Landay responded: I'm not sure what the VAMC is. I will look it up online. Thank you for your suggestion. Also, thank you for your sentiments. Jeff, like every other injured service member we have encountered, is not looking for a "hand out." He's only asking for what he has earned.