Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection
Where to start ?! I am a female 10 year survivor of a thoracic dissection. I am 61 now. I was just told a few weeks ago that I have an abdominal aneurysm that is being followed. I was not happy to hear that as obviously my cardiologist had decided that I did not need to know ! My troubles evidently started at birth....I was born with a very audible heart murmur. This was commented on every time my heart was listened to. This evidently was precursor of what was to come. Also my dad had open-heart surgery in the 60's and had a mitral valve replaced. I always said they could do anything to me but I did not want heart surgery. Right !
In 2002 my troubles really esculated. On Mother's Day we (my new husband and my mother ) were in the car arriving at a restaurant when I had the most excruciating pain in my head. My husband looking in the rear-view mirror at me saw the level of my discomfort and asked if I wanted to go to the Blue H. I said yes ! We then proceeded to go to the local hospital where every test under the sun was administered to me. They came up with nothing. I went to my primary physician the next day and he too wasn't at all sure what was wrong ! By that time the pain had migrated into my upper back and was constant. For 2 weeks I lived with this and will be forever greatful for the care my hubby gave me. I basically just stayed in bed ! My husband had a routine appt. with his primary and thank goodness I go in with him......the doctor took one look at me and said I needed the appt. more than my hubby. After an examination he said he wanted me to go to the hospital to find out exactly what was going on. Note here: this was a different hospital than where I had been 2 weeks prior. After some extensive testing they decided that I had an aortic dissection. I was then transferred to a larger affiliated facility for surgery.
I have been told that after arriving there and being prepped I had 6 hours of surgery. I coded 3 times and was pronounced dead. My surgeon however was not willing to give up and basically said "Hit her again !" Obviously it worked ! After 3 days I woke up in the Cardiac ICU. My recovery was slow but fairly routine. My biggest issue was because of the extensive oxygen deprivation I have major memory , balance problems, and black outs. All of this has continued for the last 10 years. More later........
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