Sunday, October 7, 2012

Justin's Homecoming Reception


Saturday November 17th

Central Park
David Dreier Room
11200 Baseline Road 
Rancho Cucamonga Ca 91701
From 11:30am to 2:30 pm

Details of the day to follow, but for now please save the date! We would love for you to come and welcome Justin home and allow us to thank you all for everything you have done for us! The day is not planned quite yet, will mostly be a open house reception to come and say hello, we will be home for good this time!  Stay tuned as plans firm up, we will keep you updated..  We are so excited to really say, we are coming home for good!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 26th 2011 One Long Year

One year ago today, I received that phone call no mother ever wants to receive.  "Your son has been critically wounded in Afghanistan while on foot patrol resulting in...." You hear what they are saying but it is so hard to believe. The information of that day trickled in over the next 5 days.

Trying to comprehend what is being explained to you, preparing to pack to fly across the country for an undetermined amount of time, taking care of household items that need to be looked after, seeing that the dogs are going to be taken care of, getting time off from your jobs, relying on that phone to ring with any updates because it is not like you can drive to the hospital to be with your loved one. Such an emotional  whirlwind. Then there is flying all the way from LAX to Washington DC,  arriving tired and drained, picked up and driven to the hotel you will be living in for the next few months, check in and then be driven the hospital to finally see your son.

Seeing Justin for the first time, his beautiful face is the first thing I remember. Not a scratch on his face or arms. He cannot talk as he is on a ventilator so he is sedated and will remain that way for the next 19 days. During that time, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday was scheduled surgery for wash outs. This routine continues for months. Justin remains in ICU for months as well.

Time goes by and Justin gets strong enough to get off the vent and I think that is where we started the Blog. This feels like a good place to start to end the Blog. Once we get back home and share the final news that we are home I will post our final blog. The blog has given us a way to communicate with all of our family and friends and we thank you all for taking such an interest in reading it. We have tried to keep it light and up beat for the most part. When you experience a life changing event such as this, writing about it seems to help let everyone know what is going on, but most important helps with our emotional balance getting it out onto paper. This has been part of our healing and I tell everyone who is going through an emotionally tough time, to journal. Trust me it is healing.

Anyway, today is a day of celebration! Justin, Happy Alive Day!  You are (as you say,) invincible! So go out and live your life and enjoy each and every day. Thank you God for giving Justin back to us, we know you have plans for him and us. We will be ready. Thank you all again for all the love and support and prayers you have given to this family as well as all our wounded warriors. Please continue to pray for our military who are defending the very freedom you enjoy. God Bless you all! Happy August 26th

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July! Tomorrow we celebrate our freedom and independence. This is not something to take lightly as we reflect on those who are still in the fight to give us this freedom. My wish is for all of you to thank our military who are giving so much of themselves, away from home and loved ones. Ones who are in harms way please say prayers for their safety. I would love for our military hospitals to no longer be housing so many wounded warriors! So when you are enjoying your BBQ's tomorrow, please say thank you for our freedom.

Speaking of freedom, Justin has his newly adapted truck and will be driving us to my cousins Jon and Kandi Boda for the 4th of July! We are leaving today for a couple of days R&R. This is one more step closer to total independence! Therapy is going well, Justin works many hours a day walking the track, climbing stairs, climbing up and down an incline ramp. Then it is on to OT (occupational therapy)  where he lifts weights, practices getting in and out of his truck with his legs on, which he does not have to, playing whiffle ball etc. He leaves early in the morning and cruises in around lunch ready to hit the showers and eat a big lunch.

This past week we had a special visit from Tim Tuomey a former recon Marine who felt the need to give back to his brothers. Tim rode his bicycle from San Francisco Ca to Camp Lejune North Carolina raising money and awareness for the Semper Fi Fund.The Semper Fi Fund is a 501c3 that assists wounded Marines and Sailors with assistance after injury. They are an awesome organization that I cannot say enough about.   Tim raised $50,000!!! I am so proud of this man and we were blessed to finally meet him in person! Another special visitor who arrived with Tim was Betty Kilbride, she is an author and talk show host of All Fired Up Military Monday's where she supports the military through her talk show. I had been in phone contact, email and Facebook with these two for months and what a pleasure it was to finally meet them. Knowing there are good people who don't even know you take the time to come and meet you in person means so very much while going through the healing process. These two are friends for life that I know for sure!

Justin's room is almost finished and just in the nick of time! We are going home for a nice deserved leave and Justin will be able to check out his new man cave! While home, we have lots of places to check out like the VA, DMV etc preparing for the final homecoming down the road. We need to check out how quick he can get assistance with his prosthetics if the need arises, which it does all the time. Once he leaves Bethesda for  good, he will not have the drive by service he gets today. Literally he rolls into the lab and on the spot fix his legs! Talk about service!

Justin's medical boards are moving along quickly, too quickly for me! The parallel path between getting medically discharged and finishing physical therapy is an interesting concept. I keep telling Justin his therapy is not over until he is walking all over base with no canes and no chair! That is the goal. His med boards if they finish first can sit on a shelf until he is physically ready to go. The challenge will be holding him back! The taste of finally being home for good is a strong pull.

Well that about wraps up our month, when we get home I will post pictures of his man cave! Everyone has done such an awesome job we cannot thank you all enough. Happy 4th of July all, thank you for your continued love, support and prayers for our family! On behalf of the entire Crabbe Family, may God bless you all.  Until next update, keep a smile on your face and hug the ones you love.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sky Diving! Oh Yeah...

Hello to all!

Memorial Day Weekend was very memorable to us! As a family we went to Suffolk VA to watch Justin go sky diving! What a long way he has come in 9 months! We want to Thank Wounded Wear and Troop Swap for sponsoring this weekend! There is no greater feeling than to see a huge smile return to a wounded warrior!

Justin is now in his new legs after surgery. The art of prosthetics is to keep tweaking and making adjustments where necessary. He is walking really well in them using only 1 cane. He is also doing a lot of cardio and pull ups. When he comes back from therapy he is tuckered out.

Justin's truck is finished being adapted!  This was the first time he was able to drive his new truck.  He now has the opportunity to come and go as he pleases. A new sense of freedom and one step closer to independence.

We are in a good routine every day with therapy. Most of the Dr appointments have slowed down as he is healthier,  thank God! We are hoping to come home for a visit soon. Justin is anxious to see his new room. The Med Boards are moving right along. This is part of the process to medically discharge him from the Marine Corps.

We are hoping summer is just as mild a winter was this year! So far, the humidity is creeping up fast. That is one thing I cannot get used to. I can handle hot and dry, but hot and humid, whew a little much. Well not much else has been happening so I will say to all have a beautiful day and keep smiling! Until our next update, please continue to keep our troops in your prayers. Especially our deployed troops! Thank you all and on behalf of the Crabbe Family, God Bless you all and Thank you for all your love and support!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Supportive Community, we are blessed..

What a community we live in! The City of Rancho Cucamonga and the people who live here are absolutely AWESOME! I would like to devote this update to share how a community comes together to help one of their own.
First I would like to highlight our contractor Braughton Construction. When I first contacted John Braughton and explained what we needed done he said he would see what he could do. By our first meeting he had already set up the Wounded Warrior Special Project on his website. He then made numerous contacts to local contractors to see if they would be willing to assist in the project by donating time and or materials.. The list quickly grew to our surprise and seems like everyday a new name is being added to the list. Everyone is so willing to assist in this project and they all say they are pleased to be able to help a hero who defends their freedom. We are so appreciative for everyone to be so giving! Doing a remodel is HUGE. We cannot thank everyone enough for all the love and support and generosity. This once again is a tribute to the wonderful human spirit! For pictures of the progress go to the website at The pictures are amazing!

Secondly, I would like to highlight the City of Rancho Cucamonga and the Rancho Cucamonga Community and Arts Foundation for dedicating funding to a new project called the Wounded Military Fund. As a result of this 501 (c) 3, they are setting aside funding for wounded military including deceased to assist Rancho Cucamonga residents with finical assistance during the initial hardship caused by injury. The Mayor Dennis Michael himself called me personally to tell me the good news! This will be a huge benefit to our military families in their time of need, which personally I hope never gets utilized. For the whole story on this go to Rancho Cucamonga City website and click on Wounded Military Fund.

Another area around military support is our Military Family Community Group. This is a group of military families where we get together once a month to talk about our loved ones deployed, have guest speakers come in and get ourselves involved in other community events. We meet at Calvary Chapel at 10700 Town Center, Rancho Cucamonga. (just behind Target at Foothill and Haven)..the first Monday of the month. The next meeting date is Monday June 4th at 7:00pm. For more information please contact Linda S. Bryan (909) 481-0707. There are so many military families in Rancho Cucamonga and we would love to have you join our group. Personally I can tell you that this group of awesome people have been my lifesaver! They all understand where you are coming from and are always ready to jump in and help. Thank you to all my Military Family Community Group!

Well, in closing I will do a quick update on Justin with a more detailed one to follow soon. His surgery for his HO (bone growths) was a success. He is now being fitted for an new set of sockets to fit into his new legs.. The shape of his legs changed a bit and in order to get a snug fit, he needs to be re-casted for a accurate fit. His new legs are in and I cannot wait to see him on them! Justin continues daily with physical therapy and occupational therapy. He has been doing pull ups and bench pressing weights again! He is busy doing what he needs to do so he reaches his goal of coming home! That will be the most exciting day!

We are planning on going to Virginia over Memorial Day with the Wounded Warriors Event called "Jumping for a Purpose". This is where Justin will be able to go sky diving! We are all as excited as he is and are so looking forward to being there when he jumps! We will definitely post pictures of the event!

For now that is all I have to update on. Thank you all again for all your support from everyone. From Braughton Construction, all the contractors. The City of Rancho Cucamonga, Southern California Edison employees,  ESRI, all private donors.. I know I cannot even begin to name everyone as I do not have enough pages to list them all. Please know that we are so thankful to each and everyone one of you.  The Crabbe Family cannot thank you enough! God Bless you all, have a great week. Give everyone a nice warm smile.. It will make their day!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What's new?

What is new with Justin? Seems like everyday we encounter something new. Good news first! Justin had another echo cardiogram yesterday and his heart is doing wonderful! The inflammation around his heart has gone away! Praying that it stays away. The Dr is starting to take remove his hearts meds one at a time! This is excellent news. Hearing that news yesterday had me dancing out of the Dr's office!

The stitches are out of his left hand now as well and Justin is getting more mobility since the operation to remove that pin.. It was so small about the size of pencil lead, hard to believe that little bugger could cause so much pain.

Tomorrow is our Ortho appointment. This is where we are discussing those lovely HO's in his legs. Surgery most likely will have to take place to shave the bones down. Just a matter of timing. Timing for the bones to stop growing and when is the best time to not be walking for 4-6 weeks. When you think about it that way, planning needs to take place! Justin is planing on attending a Wounded Wear event over Memorial Day weekend to go Skydiving, so we want to have him healthy for that. We also are in the midst of his Medical Board evaluation and he needs to be available to go to theVA for his appointments so again, when is the right time? It really is nice to be able to plan his surgery around our schedule, then have the surgery schedule us!

Justin is doing well in PT. Still waiting for his other new pair of legs to come in. They are due in anytime. Really a shame that the need out ways the inventory, no I won't go there.
Another sport Justin is doing is Golf. Saturday will be his first day. Last week was the first week, but he had VA appointments. A special device has been made so he can grip the club. I cannot wait to see him swing those clubs again. The golf lessons include one on one instructors, wow we are blessed.

The remodel for Justin's room started on Monday. A great big THANK YOU to Braughton Construction for all the their efforts obtaining as many donations as possible for the project! On their website they have the Wounded Warrior Project tab! Check out their website to see the wonderful job they are doing. We are so appreciative for everyone's support. Honestly we don't know where we would be without all of you! God Bless you all!
Well that about does it for our current events. Stay tuned for more exciting news as we journey along Justin's road to getting home for good.
Hope you all have an incredible week and continue to smile! Smiling does wonders for both you and the person who receives it!
Thank you again from the Crabbe Family, we sincerely mean this with all of our hearts!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter All

With Easter comes spring, with spring new beginnings! Happy Easter everyone, looking forward to our new beginnings.

So what has been happening here in Bethesda the last few weeks. Justin went to Aspen Colorado for a theraputic ski trip! Had an absolute blast.Wishes the weather was a bit colder and a little more snow other than that he had a great time. He had two instructors throughout the week so he was well trained. Their hotel room overlooked the ski run. Nice!
Justin's been driving a lot, has another few behind the wheel classes and then he will be set to get his truck adapted so he really has freedom.  The truck arrived last week to my cousin's house in PA. He is storing it until we go and pick it up. Jon likes the truck and Justin may have to pay a ransom to get it back! There were so many expensive cars on the trailer that delivered the truck that Jon's neighbors all came out for the "car show" and took pictures of the slick cars. How fun is that?
Justin is getting used to his new legs and it waiting yet another new pair this week. He can then do a comparison test to see which ones work better for him, almost like taking a test drive in a new car. Only we test drive new legs. The checklist for comfort, weight, maneuverability, ease of use, looks, normal things you check for in legs.
Justin had surgery yesterday to remove the final pin from his left wrist. This will hopefully take care of the residual pain he has had. No more surgeries scheduled as of now until we see Ortho next week to check on the HO in his legs. Can't remember the name for HO but it is bone's continuing to grow which causes pain in the legs which in turn may need to be removed surgically.
Golf clinic starts next week, Justin can't wait to swing a club again. He will have a hand glove designed to be able to grip the club so he will be able to grip and swing the club. He is really looking forward to this as he loved to golf before. As I always say, we are learning our "new normal".
That is about all for now. Pictures will be forthcoming when Jennifer is here. She is the pro so I will leave it to her.
Keep a smile in your heart! Hugs to all.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's about time!

Talk about a slacker for a blogger, boy I take the record there! Sorry for the delays, time just slips away from me these days and yes I admit Jennifer is much better at this then I am..

Justin Update:

Since the last post of the Homecoming in Hawaii which was absolutely wonderful for everyone, Justin spent the remainder of his 30 days at home in  California. Time home was so nice, Boomer really stuck like glue to his master.. We met with the contractor working on plans to remodel the downstairs bedroom and make it accessible for Justin. Fun for Justin to be in control of his space.

Justin also bought his dream truck while home, he had already picked out the perfect truck prior to deployment and told the salesman "he would be back to buy this truck after deployment". It was nice to see the same salesman work with Justin on buying his truck. We are all so happy that he got what he wanted. Now it is being shipped to Maryland to undergo adaptations. This will allow Justin to drive independently.
He has been driving here to get the hang of the hand controls and help him decide what kind of control he feels most comfortable in.

We had a few more bumps in the road with Justin's health. He started having chest pains again so we had lots of tests to go through to make sure the pericarditis was not back. Good news is that he is improving and turned out to be a pulled muscle from lifting weights above his head while walking around the track. Believe me when I say that they work these guys like crazy in physical therapy. It is so exciting to see the progress.  Then we had a severe bought of the flu that sent him back to ER.. There goes all the weight I put on him!

Justin is doing really good in his new legs and knees, topping out at 5'11, he is taller than his mom. The knees and ankles have microprocessors in them and they are programmed to Justin's gait. These will take a bit of work to get used to but I am sure that in no time it will be old hat for him. I will be filming him next week and I will post for all to see.

The next upcoming event is Justin is going to Aspen Colorado for a ski trip! This is part of the therapy letting them experience all the sports they enjoy and learn how to do it again. He is so excited and looking forward to hitting the slopes again. This will be new for him as he always did snowboarding and this is mono skiing.. Still should be a blast.

At last a great big THANK YOU to everyone involved with the The Justin Crabbe Dinner, Dance, Auction on March 17th. This was a huge undertaking for a main team of 4 people! Many many thanks to Kathie Conaway, Eryn Ogren, Crystal Atwood, and Ann Marie Keener. The list goes on and on from lots of other people who got donations and such.. We appreciate this so much and I know all the hours upon hours of time it took to put together such a gala event. Everyone braved the huge winter storm and all had a fabulous time. I tried to talk to everyone and say Thank you so much form the Crabbe Family.. If I missed you, I just ran out of time! Thank everyone who traveled long distances to attend. Without all of you this would not have been possible.. I know I am always saying that Thank You does not seem to say enough, We love you all.
Well that about wraps up our last month or so here in Bethesda, I promise to update for often in the future. Happy Spring all and keep smiling it does wonders for the soul!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Aug. 26th 2011 A day we shall never forget!

6 months ago today, I received the phone call no one ever is ready for. The call informing me that my son, Corporal Justin Crabbe was critically wounded in the Afghanistan war. During those 6 months the out pouring of love, support, prayers and genorisity has been over whelming and the The Crabbe Family is so appreciative words are not enough. We did everything we could to live day to day with all the ups and downs, everyone else took care of every last need. We did not have to worry about anything but the health and well being of our son. With that said, we are here to say that we love all of you and cannot thank you enough. We have such a respect for everyone and we love you all!

Justin and I return to Bethesda Sunday March 4th. We have enjoyed our leave but are actually excited about returning to therapy! Justin will be advancing into his larger legs and knees... This is a very exciting time, look forward to future pictures! I will chronicle the great progress he makes. We plan on being in Maryland till the end of the year. Stay tuned on our progress.. We appreciate that everyone enjoys the blog and I look forward to updating everyone over the next few months..

Justin and I are going to try for leave to come home for the  March 17th Dinner, dance, auction... Everyone please say a prayer that his leave will be approved.   We all want for him to be able to attend!  The fact of the matter is Justin is still on active duty as a United States Marine following all the Marine rules even though he is a wounded warrior! He stills reports for duty everyday Mon-Fri. He has formation and must wear his  PT gear or uniform. He is still a Marine must follow all the rules of the military. As much as I would love to sneak him home without anyone knowing, I cannot do that without all the proper approvals so keep those prayers coming.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the dinner, dance, and auction at the Double Tree Hotel. Just a reminder all and reservations and money are due by  March 1st!

Next update hopefully will be new legs and knees! Have a great week, be safe, be happy and remain positive! Love and hugs to all, The Crabbe Family!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Back from the Islands

Justin and I are back from Hawaii! We had a wonderful trip. When we arrived at the airport the CO, Captain Richie, set up a homecoming and allowed all the boys to meet us at the airport. We were greeted by Echo Marines, wives, girlfriends, children, etc. Justin and Mike were so excited to see "their boys".  It was great for them to be reunited because they had not seen each other since being injured. After the airport homecoming we headed to our hotel. We had a beautiful two bedroom, two bathroom suite (Thanks to a wonderful family member who is a travel agent). It was absolutely beautiful with 4 balconies, we had ocean views and views of diamond head! We were living like kings and queens on the 40th floor!

Airport Homecoming

Saturday night was the Warrior Ball and the boys looked so handsome in their dress blues. During the  speech given by a General he talked about Justin, Mike, and Murphy and everyone gave them a standing ovation. It was definitely an emotional moment and of course I could not hold back the tears. The boys had a great time at the ball catching up with their buddies. There was lots of laughter, drinking, and a few tears! Overall the trip was great minus almost missing our flight to hawaii because of construction and elevators being broken at LAX. Thankfully coming home was less stressful and TSA helped us out tremendously.

While we were in Hawaii it was my 25th birthday so the boys took me out to dinner and we had a great time. I could not believe the generosity of people. The table next to us bought our first round of drinks (there was 5 of us total). Then when we tried to pay our bill our waitress asked us if we were celebrities because her other table paid for our entire bill. We couldn't believe it and thankfully we were able to catch the men to thank them before they left. While we wanted to thank them they just wanted to thank Justin and Mike for everything they had done. Then while we were finishing our dessert another table bought us another round of drinks and left our waitress $60 for additional drinks. We were blown away by everyone being so generous.

We are so thankful both Justin and Mike were healthy enough to fly and we had no complications or problems with the trip. Justin has two more weeks left of leave so he is enjoying being home. Today Justin became the proud owner of a new F-150! Thanks to the VA and the Semper Fi Fund who assisted him in buying his new truck. He will be taking the truck back to Maryland so all the adaptations/hand controls can be modified. (Its still up in the air if we will have it shipped or if dad will drive it back) When he gets back to Maryland he will begin his driving classes and then he can drive his truck around. Justin has been looking forward to getting this truck since before deployment.

Thank you again for the continued prayers, love, and support! We are so thankful Justin is doing so well and so far is heart is not having any problems. The medicine is really working so we are hoping to avoid the surgery all together. When he gets back to Maryland he will be seeing his cardiologist and having another Echocardiogram done to confirm the medicine is working. We are so happy to be back home as a family and enjoying the time together. Mom and Justin will be living in Maryland and dad and I will be living here in California. So we are enjoying these next two weeks of being together as a family.

Please continue to pray for all the troops still fighting for us. Especially our cousin Cody who will be deploying again in the next few months. Please keep him and his unit in your prayers as they prepare for deployment.

The boys out one night

Ball Photos! 

Our Hotel Room

Our amazing view

The full ocean view from Justin and Mikes balcony 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cleared for Hawaii!

The last few weeks have been busy but here is recap on how Justin is doing:

He decided to go with the conservative method and take the medication for his heart condition instead of having the surgery. The medicine is working and relieved all of his symptoms. The Cardiologist have ran multiple tests to confirm the medicine is helping with inflammation around his heart. They also wanted to rule out another condition they were suspicious about because it showed up on his EKG. Thankfully that test was done this week to stress out and his heart and it did not show up again. So they have ruled out that particular syndrome. He also had his pins removed in his left hand. He was thrilled to  finally get those out. 

Justin is continuing to impress his therapists by making tons of progress in therapy. Going to therapy with him this past week I could see how much progress he has made. He is getting so much stronger and walking better and better every day. This past week he was excited because he got carbon fiber legs (which are lighter and less bulky). He is hoping to get his "knees" in maybe another month/month and a half. Sometime in March he will probably have hopefully his finally surgery to have the HO bone in his leg removed. He wanted to wait until after Hawaii so he can walk while he is there. 

SO the great news is Justin and his friend Mike are both cleared for Hawaii! The three of us will be going next Thursday for six days. We are all looking forward to this trip. Justin and Mike can't wait to see all their guys. I will definitely blog about our trip and post lots of pictures when we return. I think Justin and Mike are ready to get out of Bethesda for a week. Thankfully though the winter has been very mild back there. We only had snow one day and it wasn't a lot. 

Thank you again for everything and the continued prayers. The heart problem had us all scared and worried. The prayers again have come through and once again Justin ended up with the best outcome! 

If you would like to send mail please send it to this address:

Corporal Justin Crabbe
Warrior Transition Battalion
Box 20098
8901 Wisconsin Ave
Bethesda MD 20889-5600

We still have mail going to the Navy Lodge and the post office is not happy with us because they have to keep sorting it out. Thank you again!

Justin doing exercises!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Oh my Heart!

Justin and dad made it back to Bethesda safely on January 9th. Mom was scheduled to head back on Saturday the 21st and I planned to stay home. Well I guess Justin's "heart was breaking" and he wanted us back sooner (hahaha totally kidding). We have to find humor in something, because if not we would cry! So here is the newest update on Justin and his heart:

Last Friday Justin began having some chest pain/discomfort, being Justin he brushed it off. Saturday the pain was still there so he finally mentioned it to my dad and said the pain was in his shoulder and chest (dad asked if he wanted to go get it checked, but he said he wanted to wait to see if it would get better). By Sunday the pain was getting worse he couldn't sleep and now he was really having shortness of breath and feeling like he couldn't take a deep breath. Justin finally called my mom and I to explain what was going on. I told him he needed to go get it checked out. He agreed to go to the ER after the Packers game (I think the sadness of them loosing really added to his heart ache). When he got to the ER his O2 saturation was at 92% with his heart rate back elevated around 120 and a lower blood pressure 90/60 range. They ran tests and decided to admit him to the ICU because he had fluid around his heart. On Monday we found out there was a possibility for surgery so mom and I decided to fly out the next day. We both arrived Tuesday night and Justin had been transferred out of the ICU to the Cardiology floor, where Justin was the youngest patient. I think the second youngest patient on that floor is probably 70/80 years old. Wednesday we spent all day talking to multiple Cardiologists and a Cardio-thoracic surgeon about different options.

To make a long story short: After days of doctors putting their heads together and presenting Justin's case to multiple doctors and doing extensive research we found some answers as of this afternoon. Justin has a condition that only 217 known cases have been documented. This was very helpful finding this research because the course of treatment has been up in the air the last few days. Justin has inflammation around his heart known as pericarditis (this is not a rare heart problem). The problem with Justin is that his heart is being restricted, but their are multiple pathologies involved in his condition. So in a nutshell the crossroad we are at is: to continue to treat Justin with medicine for 3-6 months hoping it will alleviate his symptoms and improve his heart function, or to remove the pericardium (sac around his heart) hoping it will cure the problem. The dilemma is nobody knows which is the correct answer. Removing the pericardium is the risk of open heart surgery (having to actually crack open the chest) and it may still not fix the problem. The risk of just staying on medication is the fluid around the heart may dry up and cause the pericardium to stick to the heart causing another major problem and possibly emergency open heart surgery. When Justin had the Cardiac tamponade in October they had to remove a small piece of the pericardium to drain the large amount of fluid compressing the heart. Removing that piece of the pericardium and Justin getting the pericarditis now caused his pericardium to become thick like leather. For some reason Justin's heart/pericardium is causing him more problems. Most people have a pericardial window and do not have additional problems.

Justin is currently scheduled for open heart surgery for the pericardium to be removed on Monday. After speaking to multiple doctors and finding out a few more answers today, Justin is going to more than likely hold off on the surgery for now and continue with the medicine. The medication is beginning to alleviate some of his symptoms. All the doctors support his decision. He will continue to be monitored with Echocardiograms. Justin is really looking forward to going to Hawaii in three weeks for his ball with his unit. This is a huge deal for him and the guys. The Cardiologists are on board and want him to go. They will do another test right before he leaves to give him the final clearance. They have no evidence to show that the surgery is needed right now and most agree the medication is a great choice. When Justin returns from Hawaii he will be re-evaluated to see if surgery is needed. The reassurance is if anything happens in Hawaii all the Cardiologists here in Bethesda know the Cardiologists in Hawaii and they can be in contact with them. Justin was more assured today to not have the surgery right now when the documented article of 217 people having his condition, the majority of people did not need surgery after using the medication as a treatment option.

I just have to say again how amazing this hospital is and these doctors are. They go above and beyond for their patients! I seriously cannot brag enough and wish to one day be half the clinician they are one day.

Now onto a lighter note: Justin has been working hard in therapy. He has been dribbling a soccer ball around the track and was walking with his resistance bands on.

Mail issues over Christmas! We are sorry that some of your Christmas cards got returned. The address is correct, we just had an error in the mail room. All patients experienced this and we are sorry that the error occurred. We sure appreciated all the Christmas cards and well wishes. We really enjoyed being home and being able to surprise our family members. Plus our dogs enjoyed us home!  

These next couple of weeks will determine how well the medication is working with Justin's heart and hopefully he will be cleared to go to Hawaii. Going to Hawaii means a lot to Justin to see his guys and his doctors 100% support this. They know how important it is because they too are military! Your continued prayers are always gracious because they is chance he will need the open heart surgery. Hopefully if he does the decision can be made before it turns into an emergency situation. Thankfully the doctors are following him closely to prevent this from happening.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!
The Crabbe Family!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy 2012, a New Year for New Beginnings!

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a Blessed New Year! The Crabbe Family very quietly flew home for the holidays! Justin just wanted to be home with his family and his dog Boomer. Justin also wanted to surprise his cousin Chris who has not seen him since before deployment.  He surprised Chris by walking into his office at work. Boy was that a surprise! Best Christmas EVER!

We hope we did not offend anyone by not telling anyone, we just wanted to spend some quality family time while Justin relaxed from all his therapy. We will plan a real homecoming when Justin is stronger and can handle it.

Being home was a true blessing for all of us, especially since Jenn will be staying home this time when we return to Maryland. We are sure going to miss her, but it is time for Jenn to focus on her life now! Once back in the swing of things in Maryland, I will take over the blog and bring you all the fun updates! I have big shoes to fill as Jenn does such a wonderful job! Sure am going to miss her and the good California weather!

We would like to Thank everyone who has donated to the Justin Crabbe Fund, vacation donation and for all the prayers, letters and support given to us. We are so appreciative to be able to be there every step of the way with Justin on his journey home. We firmly believe this has helped Justin in the healing process. So thank you , thank you, thank you.

Christmas Surprise

Justin surprising Chris at his work

Christmas day with the cousins: Kelli and Chris

Family Christmas on Dads side

Cody and Chris (cousins) with Justin

Swire Family and Justin

Linton Family and Justin

Keener Family

Watson Family