Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection
On May 5, 2011 I was (literally) running to catch a plane with my husband en route to a dream cruise to the UK (transatlantic). Halfway to the departure gate (of course it was the last gate) I had a sudden, unbelievable, ripping pain down my back that dropped me to my knees. I insisted my husband continue to the gate and hold the door for me - wasn't going to miss my trip. I sat in the concourse holding my chest and trying to breathe - no idea what was wrong. Apparently I was making noise too and one (of the many) person stopped to ask if I was alright. After ten minutes I got up and walked the remaining 10 gates and boarded my plane. Long story short was that paramedics were called when the plane landed but I persevered and boarded the transatlantic cruise. Got great medical care on board for what I believed was an injured disk. When we arrived in the UK I walked endlessly seeing the sights. Flew home after the trip and resumed my active schedule.
For several years (20?) I had been having PAT episodes which had steadily worsened with age. After the trip that summer they were especially bad and I saw a new emergency room dr. who immediately diagnosed them and sent me to a cardiologist. After wrangling with the insurance company I had a repair of the diagnosed electrical problem - easy peasy and no more PAT. Two weeks later in a follow-up CT scan my dissection and aneurysm were found. Scared everybody. I had endoscopic repair and an "extra long" graft installed 9/29/11. I survived the surgery pretty well but have not recovered to date.
There were difficulties controlling my blood pressure after surgery and a number of the drugs proved to be intolerable and ineffective. My surgeon abruptly left his practice a month after my surgery and I have been floundering. A kind nurse practitioner set me up with a new internist and he immediately got my blood pressure under control. Subsequent CTs show that my repairs are intact but I have yet to regain strength, stamina or energy. I've been told by surgical staff that I will "just have to get used to it".
Before the surgery one of my great pleasures in life were my extensive gardens (5!). Between my inability to properly garden and our horrible drought this year, my gardens have languished. Last week I agreed to have my largest garden mowed to the ground. Devastating. And that prompted my internet search for answers about my condition - and I found this group! Hoping to learn from everyone's experience and find a new normal.
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