My Story

I am a life long technician and pilot. I was involved in aviation from the early age of 8 years old, flying with my father. I started making electronic kits and learning electronics when I was 9 – 10. I continued flying as much as I could, plus I was involved in electronics in one form or another. After graduating high school, I took a year off and flew as much as I could and explored my options. I ended up enlisting in the Air Force and went to school to be an Avionics Technician, which I already had exposure and some experience with.

After my tour in the Air Force, which had me in Southern California, where I met my wife and then we went to England where I was stationed at RAF Alconbury. After discharge I started working as an Avionics technician in General Aviation. I spent most of my career working in Avionics and specializing in Autopilots. I also had some exposure to building custom mobile telephones, from Uniden underdash and Pace full duplex units, this was before the advent of cell phones. I had another little detour, where I worked as a Satellite technician. I even went to the Uniden plant in Indianapolis, to be trained as a warranty approved repair technician for their Satellite systems.

The rest was all General Aviation and worked my way to the top of my industry, things were going good and the future looked bright. Then it all went downhill from there. I developed major medical problems in 1996 and was on full disability in 1997. Since then it’s been a cascade of problems, with everything seeming to complicate everything else. Then I was over prescribed Steroids (Prednisone) from my then doctor. I ended up in the hospital in intensive care and was all messed up. I’ve been paying the price everyday since. I won’t bore everyone with details but it’s been a challenge and I keep on going on! It helps me to be able to help others, that way I can still feel useful and not a burden. My mind still works good, it’s just my body that’s shot! LOL

Update Nov 6, 2015:

Surgery to remove infected sebaceous cyst from left breast and also remove lump (Gynecomastia) from right breast. This is not the last surgery I will have, I know of at least one more I need. I need to have my right shoulder replaced, as it has been broken for several years and is quite painful & annoying. Along with this I have a large complement of problems, including Kidney Stones since 1997! We stopped counting a long time ago, when we passed 100. What else the future holds for me, only time will tell. My back is broken also, but it can’t be fixed because my bones are too brittle from Osteoporosis, also contributed to by steroids!

Update August 19, 2016:

I had been getting weaker and weaker, plus totally out of breath, it was about all I could do make it to the bathroom. Even just sitting up took a tremendous amount of energy. I had to use my wheelchair as I didn’t have the strength to walk. They performed a Nuclear stress test and the ultrasound of my heart indicated a big problem with my Aortic valve, the one the call the “widow maker”, fortunately it was caught in time. They performed a TAVR, which is a trans-aortic valve replacement. Then a couple days later (8-21-17) they put in a pacemaker because the top half of my heart and the bottom half weren’t synchronized. They put in a standard pacemaker, without a defibrillator, they said I didn’t need the defibrillator. Post surgery I have been doing tremendously better, I can breath better and have more energy. It’s going to take awhile to fully recover, it didn’t happen overnight and it will take some time and effort to get back in shape, but I’m making steady progress.

Update December 2, 2016:

My kidney stone episodes have been increasing and a good size lump has grown in my left arm, where they transplanted part of my parathyroid gland during my last parathyroid surgery. Tests indicated, increasing PTH levels which verified the growing lump was my parathyroid gland going into overdrive again. They removed the diseased gland and now I have no parathyroid glands left, so no parathyroid function. The following couple months after surgery will be challenging, with my calcium levels being controlled by oral supplements of Calcium & Vitamin D3. Which means some challenging times while my body gets acclimated to no parathyroid function. With the extreme low calcium levels and related symptoms, the first couple months are quite difficult, as with low calcium it affects your muscles, brain function and a whole bunch more. My body is slowly compensating and I’m slowly starting to get back to somewhat normal again.

Me at enlistment in USAF Philadelphia, Penn. July, 1976

Me at enlistment in USAF Philadelphia, Pa. July, 1976

Mom & I -Christmas 1980

Mom & I -Christmas 1980

Me June 2015

Me June 2015

Me current 3-29-17

Me – Mar-29-2017

Now I still have my shoulder surgery to look forward to, whenever my body is stable enough for the surgery. Currently I’m having a problem with my Hemoglobin level being too low. It’s currently being treated by Iron tablets plus my doctor said “eat a burger”. So after my appointment my brother took us out to eat and I had a burger. My doctor wants to re-check my blood tests in about 6 weeks form my last appointment, so that would be around April 26th (my wife’s and I anniversary, 39 tears). If my hemoglobin level isn’t up to an acceptable level, he said I will have to start iron infusions. Oh boy! The fun continues!

I have been dealing with major medical problems since 1997 and as you can imagine it is quite expensive. On top of that, having disability as the only income, it is very difficult to make ends meet. If you would care to help out with the situation, it would be greatly appreciated. I don’t like asking for help, but sometimes you just don’t have a choice, in order to get by. Any Donation you would like to contribute would be highly appreciated!

Thank you!
Mike Crabill