Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection

I was getting ready to walk out my front door and drive to work when my little dog decided that he needed to go out for a second time that morning, this is something he never does (and has not done it again). I took him outside and waited for him to do his biz,we then went back upstairs into our apartment. When I reached to remove his leash i suddenly felt a very sharp burning pain in my back that shot to my legs.I have never felt a pain like this in my life. I was able to make it from my sofa where my little dog was standing to get his leash removed to my desk and sit in the chair. The pain in my back had gotten worse and I was unable to feel or move my legs at all I called my employer and informed him that I was having something very bad going on and would not in to work .My next call was to my friend who was at my house in less than 2 minutes and she saw what was happening and called an ambulance. I was placed on a back board and transported to the hospital where after a few questions and some tests I was life flighted to another hospital, being told only that I was very ill and needed to go there. I was later told that i have a Type B. Abdominal Aortic Dissection and an Aneurysm on my Aorta. After a second Mri and Ct scan it was decided that i did not at this time need surgery. I was in the Hospital for 10 days to get my blood pressure under control. After returning home i have been relaxing as much as possible with having to take care of my dog and do paperwork to get the medical bills paid and walking. I am unable to return to work at this point and have no idea when that will be able to happen. Went to my first follow up appointment with the Dr. yesterday and he said that I am doing great the meds are working as they should and the only thing he wants me to change is to walk more and eat more healthy foods. I am only 46 years old and this has been an eye opening experience for me.

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Comment by Logan Mason on July 19, 2012 at 5:59

Tomorrow is 3 months since I had a spinal cord stroke and My A/D was discovered. It has  changed my life a great deal and has made me enjoy the little things more. I returned to work a week ago and am having second thoughts as to whether this was a wise choice. Dr. says that the stroke caused nerve damage in my back and I am haqving  issues with walking and the pain seems to have gotten worse. Hoping for the best but  not going to push myself back into the hospital or worse, plan to give the working a couple more weeks then decide if  I can  keep doing it. On the bright side I am still waking up and functioning every morning so I am winning the battle.

Comment by Logan Mason on June 5, 2012 at 0:30

 Thank you for your comment and advice Cheryl Kerber.

I am a little over 45 days into this and am finding it hard to adjust my lifestyle, I am a person that is used to working more than anything else. What I am finding that the simple things I normally do make me so tired. I have constant pain in my legs that wakes me up during the night but my Dr. says that my legs are fine, he says that I have nerve damage in my lower back that is causing the pain. I am suppose to return to Portland (OHSU) hospital in 6 months for a follow up MRI. and am hoping that I will be allowed to go back to work then.

  Like I said Cheryl I am a work oriented person and for me to think to call into work when this happened was not unusual at all, in fact because of that call a coworker was notified and sent to my house and she took my little dog to her home until I got back from the hospital

I have been talking to my wonderful girlfriend and we are both in agreement that I need to find another Dr. that knows more about this condition because some of the things he has told me make no sense at all. I am also going to request copies of my full medical records from both hospitals that I was in during this. My main question about all of this is: with keeping my blood pressure under control and following what Dr. is telling me and loosing the extra pounds that i have, how long am I going to be down and out of the work force? 

Comment by Cheryl Kerber on June 4, 2012 at 3:30

It definetly is an eye opener and life changer!  Congrats on being a survivor - and kudos to the hospital for not just passing you off without running a CT Scan.  I had to laugh just a bit as your first call was to your employer as I know the pain you must have felt would have been excruciating to say the least, but here you were thinking of someone else as you were experiencing what could have taken your life that very moment in time.

I too had an abdominal aortic dissection while on vacation with my family when I was 38.  I couldn't move and just sat there until it finally passed - and then we went horseback riding.  I didn't know what it was until a year later and then everything progressed from there. 

They will most likely monitor you --- like a catscan every 6 months? to make sure the aneurysm doesn't grow, or at least grows slowly.  As for exericise - make sure you check with them in regards to your specific area of dissection - for me, I couldn't train for any marathons and I couldn't do extreme weight lifting(anything that would cause me to hold my breath or bare down), couldn't shovel or push mow.

Don't be surprised if you have any side effects from the heart meds --- if you ever feel odd - check on this site as we've been there, are there, and continue to live as AD survivors and there is alot that can go along with that - physically and mentally.  The later being the more challenging of course.

I wish you the best - I'm currently 46 myself - I have had the dissected area replaced this past July as my aneurysm did grow (they don't even have a cause for why it happened in the first place) but monitoring your AD/Aneurysm is important so make sure your doctor has a plan.  Find out the details as to how big it is now and the location of it - specifics can make a difference.

And the vascular surgeon I saw when we first found my AD gave me some advice and as an AD survivor, it is a must, - if you feel anything odd - you go directly to the ER and you let them know what you have - you don't wait til you can contact your regular doctor - you let them know you have an AD as the standard heart tests they would give you - you would pass as it isn't a heart attack.  Timing is always of importance when it comes to AD/aneurysms.

One more thing - adorable dog!  And aren't they smart - they know things before we do - totally a lifesaver!

All my best,

Cheryl Kerber

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