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My Drone Saved My Life *WARNING* Graphic Images

My Drone Saved My Life

My drone saved my life. I know I never make personal blog posts but this post has a good message.

What has 4 motors, 12 sharp blades that spin at 45,000 RPM…your race drone.

This past weekend at the MultiGP Texhoma Quads qualifier race and an incident happened that put me in the hospital for 4 days.

A little background on what happened.  Around 6/14 I started taking a prescription med Lipitor to help keep my cholesterol levels in check.  Then Thursday night of 6/28 I started noticing all these little red dots appearing all over my body.  Next day it got even worse.  I didn’t think much of it.  Probably just some weird rash from the Lipitor so I stopped taking the meds.  That morning I bit both sides of my cheeks while eating a bagel.  Usually no big deal but these bites turned into huge bloody blisters inside my mouth that didn’t stop bleeding for 3 days.  Strange, but wasn’t going to stop me from going to fly.

Next day at the race, I had red spots all over my body and was swallowing blood all day.  Also my quad was acting a little funny.  The two practice rounds went fine.  Quad flew fine, nothing out of the ordinary.  Then the first heat, I tried to take off and my quad just flipped off the ProLaunch.  I thought I had a wrong prop on or something.  Tried turtle mode and it did the same thing.  After the race, I checked the quad and everything was ok.  Did a hover test and it was fine.  Next 4 heats quad flew just fine.

On the last heat 5, I didn’t change anything from heat 4 except a new battery.  I put my quad on the ProLaunch, took a few steps back and gave it about 10% throttle to make sure everything was ok.  It happened so fast so I don’t remember all the details.  I remember seeing the quad lift, yaw like crazy, spun around and full throttle into my arm.  I know absolutely for sure I didn’t give it full throttle because there were other people setting up their quads.  The quad nailed me pretty good.  Felt like blocking a body kick the impact was that hard so I know it was at full throttle.  It ripped my arm pretty good.

Plugged the quad back in, did a hover test and it was fine.  Put it back on the Pro Launch and did a quick arm 20 feet away, all was good.  Noticed the cut on my arm was gnarly.  Two superficial cuts and one pretty deep gash.  Didn’t wanna keep everyone waiting so I wiped up the blood with some napkins and continued with the race.  I didn’t do too well in that heat.  My mind was too occupied with my bleeding arm.  Hit a gate and ejected the battery.

After the race the first aid crew at Texhoma Quads helped patch me up.  I was bleeding pretty good.  They finally poured some WoundSeal on the cut and it seemed to stop the bleeding enough to put some gauze and tape on it.

When I got home and showered, the cut on my arm was bleeding pretty good and wouldn’t stop.  I also noticed the red dots on my body were getting pretty bad so I decided to go to the ER clinic.  Two birds one stone…

Thrombocytopenia What?

At the clinic they did a blood test and found my blood platelet count was 4!  Normal is in the 200-400 range.  So essentially I didn’t have any platelets in my blood.  Platelets are what stops your body from bleeding.  If you get a cut and don’t have platelets you will just keep bleeding.

I didn’t even mention the cuts on my arm but they saw the blood oozing.  They glued it together with some Steristrips.

drone saved life

So all those red dots all over my body is called Petechiae.  Essentially because I didn’t have many platelets, my capillaries were hemorrhaging under the skin.

They diagnosed my condition as Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP).  Idiopathic is a term they use in medicine that pretty much means they don’t know the cause.  Thrombocytopenic means not enough platelets in the blood.  Purpura is a condition of red or purple spots under the skin caused by bleeding under the skin.

Turns out ITP is an autoimmune disease that tells your body to kill off platelets.  They started me on some a corticosteroid to stop the attack on my own body.  Since my platelet count was so low I was transferred to the hospital.

At the hospital they did all sorts of tests, head CT, chest x-ray, brain MRI, ultrasound scan of my stomach, liver, spleen, echocardiogram and even a bone marrow biopsy.  Good news is it’s all clear, no cancer!  Bad news they don’t know why my body is killing platelets.  They started immune globulin infusion to help boost my immune system and platelet infusion to bring the levels up.

I have never heard of any of this stuff before Saturday, now I’m an expert!

By Sunday my count dropped to 3!  So really, if the quad didn’t hit arm, I may have never gone to the ER for the start of the meds,  my levels could have dropped to zero.  A small hemorrhage in my brain would have killed me.

drone saved lifeAnyway, long story short, I spent the next 4 days in the hospital getting poked and pumped full of drugs and platelets.

The worst thing is the “idiopathic” part.  They don’t know what’s causing it so they can’t fix it.  It’s killing the OCD part of me.  Feeling so helpless and not knowing.  The standard way of fixing these kind of things is to keep trying different meds/procedures and hope something works.  The hematologist is talking about pumping me with some nasty drugs with tons of side effects or removing my spleen.  WTF

Even though the doctor doesn’t think so, I’m really hoping that it was the Lipitor that caused this mess.  Before I started the Lipitor my platelet count was normal, 213.  Two weeks later it’s 3.

Logically it makes sense.  There’s still tons of tests to do but I think I’ll wait a little before removing my spleen or starting low level chemo.

The pic on the right is me finally getting to see my monkey after three days in the hospital.

Quadcopter Safety

Our local MultiGP chapter is thinking about implementing a new safety rule.  A 10 foot square box at the staging area where you aren’t allowed to arm your quad until everyone is out of the box.

It may sound like a hassle but accidents happen.  I’m glad that my quad hit me and not someone else.  Can you imagine how you’d feel if your quad went full throttle into someone’s face?

Let me know your thought in the comments below.  Do you think MultiGP should implement this rule?  Or have you had any freak accidents like this that caused yourself or someone else to be injured.  Let me know I’m not the only unlucky person flying FPV!

2018-08-13T11:14:40+00:00 News|44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Adam 07/09/2018 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Mike, I am so glad they caught it mate. Wish you all the best and hope they figure out the cause .

  2. Ben 07/09/2018 at 11:43 am - Reply

    What a crazy story!!! The very next day at the Fort Worth Quad Racing Qualifier we painted a 10ftx10ft square around the starting platform and no one was allowed to arm their quads if there was someone in the box. Unfortunately, as much as we try to prevent them, these freak outs do happen and it’s something we will keep in consideration at all our events from here on out. I’m glad you found out something was wrong before it became too critical. I hope that you figure this out and get back to your normal health! Much love brother. Hope to see you at the FWQR spring series final!

    • Mike Tseng 07/09/2018 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      that’s awesome man. hopefully my mishap will help prevent future accidents.

  3. MojoPapi FPV 07/09/2018 at 11:45 am - Reply

    Glad you’re ok.

  4. KumoKraft 07/09/2018 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Yes that’s great rule, my quad wigged out on the launch pad with no input from the radio, it just flipped out and stopped, so I put my foot on it and unplugged, stuff can get damaged and malfunction so anything can happen, glad you’re ok and that really sucks about the meds, seems like meds can do more damage than good. They are good for emergencies and mitigating symptoms but it can turn into a rabbit hole of meds to mitigate the side effects of meds to mitigate side effects of those meds lol. It’s a personal decision but IMO the less Meds the better. Most important to find the root cause but I shake my head when they don’t even now the root cause and they want you to take more meds?! It makes me angy but anyways I’m glad you’re ok.

    • Mike Tseng 07/09/2018 at 1:46 pm - Reply

      yeah we build these weapons that can get damaged and act crazy. it only takes one accident to change your life. i hate taking meds but sometimes you have no choice. you end up taking meds to fix the issues the meds cause. a lot of these meds we take aren’t even originally made for what they are suppose to cure. they find that sometimes it works to fix other problems but then you have to deal with the side effects. endless cycle…

  5. Tony Dallalio 07/09/2018 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Wow Mike I’m glad you’re OK. Thrombocytopenia Purpera is a strange one. My mom had it and went through all the stuff you’re going through and for no reason all of a sudden her platelets were back so hopefully you’ll be the same. Thoughts and prayers are with you man.
    Tony

    • Mike Tseng 07/09/2018 at 1:39 pm - Reply

      yeah that’s a strange condition. hopefully it was just the lipitor and not chronic. glad your mom is back to normal

  6. Ron Cox 07/09/2018 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Ive never experienced this at a race, but have seen others who’s quads went wack! Personally, I think a 8 foot net by ten feet should be put up to protect the pilots. Medically, I am hoping you can figure out and manage your condition. Difficult when they say “sorry don’t know what it is!” All the best to you and yours Mike!
    Aloha! Ron

  7. holyb0nz 07/09/2018 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Glad you got immediate care for your condition!

    • Mike Tseng 07/09/2018 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      me too!

  8. Joel 07/09/2018 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    I was wondering how a bad cut could turn into a bruised up mess. One more night and I fear the out come. Quick search of the web shows that everyone improved after stopping Lipitor. Glad to see your on the mend.

    • Mike Tseng 07/09/2018 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      yeah really hope so. that’s some crazy stuff

  9. [email protected] 07/09/2018 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Mike, I’m so glad your are ok now… You are a fine young man..

    • Mike Tseng 07/09/2018 at 2:46 pm - Reply

      thanks Cliff. still a long way to go. just got bloodwork today and i’m at 15. need to be at least 10 times that but at least it’s not going down

  10. Larry 07/09/2018 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    The box sounds like a great idea in combo with a pilot station. I found out I was diabetic in a similar means. It’s good to know more than less so props for taking the initiative on knowing/understanding your illness as no one else will do it for you (or is as capable). They’ve never figured out why or what brought my diabetes on or how my body started to kill of insulin producing cells in my body but hopefully your OCD gets over that hump! Cheers and to health!

  11. Regan Vowels 07/09/2018 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Scary stuff Mike, I’m glad you’re okay

  12. PK Steffen 07/09/2018 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    Glad they caught it and glad you’re okay!! My daughter has Type 1 diabetes, so I know more than I ever wished about autoimmune diseases. Sucks. Hang in there and get better soon so you can keep contributing so beautifully to the community.

    • Mike Tseng 07/09/2018 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      man that sux! it’s one thing for me to be sick but would be worse if my daughter had to suffer something. hope they got it all under control for her. you don’t realize how precious health is until you lose it

  13. Eric 07/09/2018 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Oh man Mike. So sorry you have to deal with something like this, just super unlucky because we all know what you would rather be doing. Thanks so much for the cautionary tale and for also sharing “the rest of the story” with us.
    Oh, btw, last November I cut the shit out of my right index finger picking up my Tokio X while settling down my Tx (yes the arming switch hit something on my table and the quad went full throttle trying to right itself) then last months I had a cut on the roof of my mouth that got infected and required urgent care and antibiotics to heal, then last week I crashed my mountain bike and tore my right elbow up super bad, huge scab and I haven’t been able to bend my arm for a week! So basically I’ve suffered 10% as much as you and it suuuucks!
    Hold that baby tight and keep your great attitude and let time do it’s thing. Prayers going out to you bro.

    • Mike Tseng 07/09/2018 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      thanks Eric! these crazy accidents happen when we let our guards down. glad you are healing up good and able to fly!

  14. Clark Drago 07/09/2018 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    I’m glad they were able to help you!

  15. Steven Cheldelin 07/09/2018 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    Best wishes and above all think positive!

  16. SaGô 07/09/2018 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    being in the medical field, i understand the frustrations of idiopathy. personally, i hate taking meds, and the other meds to counteract the side effects, which leads to more side effects. yeah, endless cycle. BigPharma wants that cuz that equals $$$$! sad, but true. before your doc put u on lipitor, hope he/she recommended other lifestyle changes first? hope so! hope the root cause is found, and you can truly be on the mend. platelet of 3?! man, i can’t imagine… nice to see u with little monkey!

    • Mike Tseng 07/10/2018 at 10:09 am - Reply

      crazy thing is i asked this doc if there’s anything i could do before going on lipitor. he said no, i needed it. he’s no longer my doc. found a new doc who’s first line of defense is diet/lifestyle then meds. sucks it’s all about money for them. there’s no money in a cure so they just patch up issues so we will stay on meds

  17. Ken Stovall 07/09/2018 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    Hey Mike, im glad your feeling better man, wow what a trip that was…..lesson learned….these little flying machines can turn into flying beast !!

  18. dhoopes11 07/09/2018 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    wish you nothing but the best, hope the docs figure out whats causing all this mess. keep on keeping on bro!! see ya soon at the races!

    • Mike Tseng 07/10/2018 at 10:10 am - Reply

      thanks Dillon! hope to see you soon

  19. [email protected] 07/11/2018 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Damn dude, Glad you ok now bro. Your wife must be freaking out.

  20. Christian Ojala 07/11/2018 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Damn bro I hope your getting better! Keep us updated so we know ur all good man! Hope you get better so you can keep pumping out some awesome products and to be able to fly again! I kinda agree with the rules as I was spotting for a pilot about a month ago and someone’s quad lost control and went full throttle at me and the pilot…. almost took off my head as it was all a blur all happening at once but luckily I dodged it and just got hit by one of the arms instead of the entire quad. So I definitely feel you on that because that didn’t feel too good. I’m gonna try to pick something up in your store hopefully that will help with your medical bill because I know that’s not gonna be cheap! Hope all goes well with you man!

    • Mike Tseng 07/11/2018 at 3:31 pm - Reply

      man that’s scary. glad you were hurt too badly.

      THANK YOU! My medical bill is around $65k so far. Good thing I have crappy insurance and will owe about $7k, ha!

  21. Charles Shay 07/12/2018 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    My mother had ITP and they pumped her full of Prednisone which caused other issues and didn’t end up helping. Then they removed her spleen, and again that didn’t help. They even tried a new experimental chemotherapy which didn’t help. Finally they said there was nothing else they could do and she lived the remainder of her life with low platelet levels. That Prednisone is bad stuff though, hopefully you are not taking it.

    • Mike Tseng 07/12/2018 at 2:54 pm - Reply

      damn sorry to hear that. they pumped me with Dexamethasone which is a corticosteroid like Prednisone. both nasty stuff and makes you feel like shit. doc wants to start me on Rituximab which is that chemo type treatment tomorrow. i told them no way i’m getting on that stuff this early. gonna wait awhile before going to that. Rituximab has some nasty side effects.

  22. Ken Stovall 07/12/2018 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Mike are you feeling any better?

    • Mike Tseng 07/12/2018 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      yes, thanks for asking. the crazy meds they pumped me with are finally leaving my body. some nasty stuff!

  23. Jim 07/12/2018 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Glad to hear you’re recovering!!!

  24. William 07/12/2018 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Hey Mike glad you are doing better… Hang in there pal.

  25. Damon Johnson 07/13/2018 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    Glad to here you are okay. Get well soon!

  26. Matthew 07/19/2018 at 2:00 am - Reply

    Hang in there brother, it will all work itself out.

    • Mike Tseng 07/19/2018 at 8:29 am - Reply

      thanks!

  27. Joe Ortega 07/22/2018 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Hey Mike, I’ve been a huge fan of your site and dedication to build videos. So sorry to read about your accident and it just goes to show, errors can happen with the most experienced pilots! I hope the doctors figure out the root cause of your deletion of platelets and immune system and are able to address it permanently. You have an enormous fan base and we are all pulling for you for a fast recovery. God bless you!

    • Mike Tseng 07/22/2018 at 4:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Joe, thanks for the thoughts! Though they never figured out the cause, I’m slowly recovering and my platelets are going up! i’ll be back to posting and designing frames soon 🙂

  28. Michelle Albert 07/25/2018 at 5:44 am - Reply

    My son shared your post, he competes…is passionate about flying, building, creating videos to share. This has to be Really scary for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story and encouraging safety for others.
    Sweet picture of you and your baby. Glad you are advocating for yourself in the Healthcare world. You are in our prayers.

    • Mike Tseng 07/25/2018 at 10:31 am - Reply

      thank you!

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