Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection
It's common when things happen so fast. I was the same way. I went for echo and was immediately whisked away to OR for emergency c-section(they kept me under until next day when they did AD surgery) The reason your having "flashbacks" is when it all happened your brain did not have the time to completely process everything that was going on. With it being such a tramatic experience your brain is also designed to protect itself, you will continue to do this at the pace your brain allows(to protect you) until you have processed everything not only mentally but emotionally. Do not hope for a quick resolution, 5yrs later I am still processing and piecing together, it just gets easier once you understand what is going on. You will get scared, I usually do some yoga breathing to help relax or call my best friend to talk. Hope this helps.
Like Kimberlee - it doesn't ever completely go away but the intensity of the "feeling" varies and I have good days and not so good. Usually my bad days I can trace back to a reason, but it is usually after I've gone through the whole gammet of feeling anxious, worried, pitied myself, and so on. I don't care for the ticking timebomb feeling, but I've been trying to look at it appreciatively in a sense that it kicks me in the butt to accomplish "stuff" that I find I push to the wayside or procrastinate for other meaningless tasks (like vacuuming every day --- I still do it every day, but how I look at it has changed).
Last month it got the best of me and I ended up in the ER, 3000 dollars later I don't have any answers as to what or why it had to happen. At the time I was frustrated and angry for the AD, but now in hind-sight, I have satisfied my deductible for the year and I can pursue some much needed physical therapy/chiropractor visits etc., due to reprecussions from my surgery 6 years ago that I've been wanting to do for 2 years now.
I'm not thrilled about the 3000 dollar expense, but it did open the door to what I need.
It is the same with the time-bomb feeling.
Since my surgery, I find I have some extreme high days and then crash for a couple days after. It's like my body runs on adrenaline for a whole day and I can accomplish a ton, but then for at least 2 days after, I find I'm more emotional, moody, and that is when my "time-bomb" feelings kick in. Those are my extreme days and they happen at some point every month, some times more than once, probably at least once a week.
Then there are the lesser days when lack of sleep, not eatting the best, not taking it easy or not taking time to do something I love because I get caught up in the busyness of life (keeping up with the house, grocery shopping, the kids and so forth).
One thing AD does is kick you off your feet and makes you slow down -- not because you want to, but because your body/mind needs to.
The time bomb feeling though incrediby daunting at times, can also help us to appreciate and enjoy our lives and those around us instead of just going about our lives day to day without noticing how much we really want to be here still.
I feel for what you are going through and I totally understand. When you are experiencing the overwhelming fear - can you question yourself as to why you might be feeling it -- whether due to over doing it, missing someone, experiencing some odd pain, the weather being gloomy or even sunny for that matter, the timing of your meds and the list goes on? You won't necessarily be able to put your finger on it right then, but maybe a couple days or a week later.
Words in songs, sadness or violence in movies, the news, too many gloomy days, not having been creative (whether drawing, writing, playing the piano and so forth) etc., all affects me more now than before my surgery.
It is hard to stop it when it hits -- it's almost like the meds I'm on squash the stress I might be feeling (which is what it is supposed to do by keeping my blood pressure down) but then I need to release it; usually by over doing it physically (like power house cleaning or cooking the whole day) or socially (I don't drink but having too many events in a row even though they are fun can do it).
It was ironic to me that you wrote this as I am coming off of a week and a half of my 2 girls being off for spring break and even though we didn't travel anywhere, we've done the shopping trips, the friends over, the sleep overs, the cousins over and I hardly sat and definitely didn't do anything "creative" for myself. Even though it wasn't anything negative -- I'm feeling the pay back today as all 4 of my kids went back to school.
So, I am fully aware that the negative time bomb feeling could strike at any moment as my house is too quiet - even though I have the tv on -- my brain starts to think too much and that is what leads me down the time bomb spiral -- that, and the silence makes me very aware of how my body is feeling (scar tissue can stab like a knife) and I have to just sit back and breathe for a second until I know it was just a temporary glitch and then I go on with my day.
I know this has been a long response - but I've also had 6 years of dealing with it, learning about it and from it.
Is there anything you have wanted to do or wanted to accomplish or try? Your AD can be a great motivator as we all know that no matter who we are, we have a limited amount of time here on earth whether a day or two, or a hundred years or so!
I know it can feel like the opposite - like "why even try as maybe I won't be here tomorrow?" but if you can notice that you have survived and are still here, whether it's for you to create something, or be here for someone else, or if it's just for you to enjoy your world for awhile through the eyes of someone who could have lost it in a second - the blooms (we don't have any yet - we actually have snow flakes - again!), or the birds or nature in general (mine have been chipmunks lately) or enjoying the smell of homemade bread or cookies, or the humor of a movie, or the smile on someone's face ---- believe it or not - you are very much more aware of all of it since your AD.
The ticking timebomb is a curse and a gift - all in one --- try talking to it and ask it why it's making you feel fear right then or tell it off or see if it's telling you if you need to take it easy for a bit or do something special for yourself, or if it's telling you to start painting or writing or call someone.
I find it very interesting and confusing that I can totally look at this objectively in response to someone else who is experiencing what I have and still do experience --- but when I'm in the "curse" version of the AD time bomb I tend to forget (even after 6 years) - this site has been a huge blessing for that though - as I can log in and read and find that I'm not alone.
Just remember - you are never alone.