Regina Kurn-48

Personal Stories: Regina Kurn

Hi! It’s getting late, but I am so excited to have found this site tonight. I had sort of given up tying to find anyone who had experienced some of the same things as myself with an ascending Aortic Dissection I am now a 48yr old woman. My heart literally “blew up” as I refer to it on March 15, 2003. I am now 1 year and two months out from that day, but some of this never seems to have an end. I was a smoker with high blood pressure that had been treated for a couple of years, but otherwise in great shape and feeling good. I had just changed occupations which was huge, had bunion surgery on my left foot exactly one month prior. I live in a fairly rural area as far as health care is concerned.

As a matter of fact I do not have a general practitioner as there is a shortage in this area of Colorado where I live. Anyway, I had not been feeling well for about two days, just sort of flush. Set out in the morning with a friend to drive an hour away in New Mexico for a day of shopping. I had a strange sensation upon waking that made me think of “Hypertension” but I went anyway. We shopped for about two hours then stopped for lunch before heading home. After a couple of minutes I grabbed my chest. It felt as though someone very strong was pounding my chest continually with a brick wall. We we’re right across the street from a small “Urgent Care” facility. I actually walked to the car but knew I was in some big trouble. Shortly after entering I told someone I had to lie down. From this moment things moved at a frantic pace from what I can remember.

I remember when asked to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10, yelling, 10!, 10!,10!,10! I am not a chicken as I had previously in my life had surgery on my nose, given birth twice one was a C-Section in which the anesthesia did not kick in. Spent a month in the hospital after being air vaced for a month long stay in Denver so as not to have the second child too soon. Any way, point being I thought I knew pain. I did not!! This was unbearable. I was too much for this facility, so they called for an ambulance to take me to a bigger hospital a few minutes away. Thankfully even in this small town I had a great physician who knew what was going on.

I remember nothing else for days, I am not quite sure how many to be exact. I was air vaced from Farmington, NM. to the Heart Hospital in Albuqure,NM. My Dr, Paul Levy saved my life. My Aorta had dissected all the way from the Ascending through, as far as it can go. The repair was only done on the upper part. I still have the dissection in the lower section. My stay in the hospital was three weeks because of many complications. It took some time to figure out I was allergic to Heparin, and had some clotting issues.

Thankfully I do remember hearing the voices of my two teen age sons and a brother, or I’m sure I would not have had the will to fight. Oh, the depression! It is very hard to get your act together when you can do nothing for yourself. Luckily upon returning home my very large support staff of endless good friends, neighbors and community we’re very instrumental to my recovery. I am a single mother with two wonderful boy’s who have had to grow up very fast in the last year, a supportive x-husband along with his wife all of whom I could not have gotten this far with out! I was so weak. About two months after my surgery, I had a blood transfusion.

I was a couple of quarts low and felt much better after this and slowly started the healing process. One of the most healing things was massage. After having your chest ripped open, poked and prodded, told that you might loose your feet etc. etc. It’s good to have a good cry. My masseuse and now friend took me from a fetal position to being able to return to work. I found this to be a very important part of my recovery.

I was out of work for four months. It is very hard to adjust to new limitations as I was very active and independent. My biggest problem now is chest pain. I just returned from Albuquerque from having a catheter to look to see if they could spot any reason for the chest pain. They had to go in through my left arm as it is too dangerous to go through the groin with my existing dissection.

Anyway they say anyone would be happy to have my arteries and found no blockage of any sort! I do have a stressful job and know that the chest pain that I experience gets worse when I get tiered or stressed, but I seem to have some chest tightness and pain almost every day. This has sent me to the ER a few times. Sometimes the EKG is irregular and sometimes not. Thanks for hearing my story, I would like to hear from someone with similar symptoms.

Regina Kurn

Contact Regina

Thanks for stopping by to view our stories. Please help me keep the site going by shopping at’s very much appreciated. Brian Tinsley founder of (please book mark the link once you get to for future purchases!)


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  1. Regina Kurn

    Hi Brian and all,

    Just wanted to update everyone hoping to maybe give some hope to new survivors. Today is exactly eight years to the day since my Ascending Aortic Dissection. I never thought during the first three years that I would still be alive today.
    Unfortunately my COPD(oxygen therapy at night) along with the heart failure and existing 3.8 Thoracic Aneurysm ( holding per/CT in 02/2010) , pacmaker/defib(05/2006), Ablation surgery (02/2009) all make exercise virtually impossible. This is partly due to the high altitude but I am looking forward to a move to sea level ASAP. Not easy after living here for over 30yrs and 2 boys in College in state. (+terrible time to sell a home).
    It is crazy to think what a long road it’s been from 03/15/03 ( about three months before John Ritter died and I believe a year + before the inception of this sight. I really had limited information until finding this sight . So glad to be able to be alive to see my boys grow. I am looking forward to having more energy when I get to sea level and hoping for a few good years to walk on the beach and enjoy as much of life as possible. It is quality not quantity! I have decided to forego the CT due last month as I have had @13 in 8 years and believe it’s a toss up to know if my Aneurysm has grown or possibly suffer the consequences of the radiation from furthur CT’s at this time. Have also had some kidney trouble with the contrast. It is a constant struggle to weigh all these things. I am not willing to put my kidneys at risk in addition to everything else. I want to thank Brian for taking the time to run this sight and I am glad it is here for all of us (althoughI am dissapointed to see the religious links listed along with the medical links. It’s your sight , so obviously you can do with it as you see fit ,I wish the two could be seperated for those of us who are only interested in the medical information. When I origionaly joined this sight I was not aware of the prosthestising to come. I just don’t get why you think this sight as origionally presented is the proper place for your religious soapbox? I am apreciative of the medical information! You have done an excellent job keeping us informed and I know you are busy as well as struggeling with your own health issues.
    Thanks for the work you have done.
    Good health & happiness to everyone in 2011
    Regina Kurn

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    Brian Tinsley

    I appreciate your commets. I have removed ALL my links to anything that is religous and that might offend non-religeous people. I will keep this site AD related and my personal journey living my life with my AD. I am coming up on 8 years on 8/22/2011. I understand that it might offend some readers, granted, you would have to click on those links to go to those sites. However, this is a reader designed site and it’s main function is to provide information relating to AD topics. So, in summary, I am glad for your status and that you are doing well. I appreciate the feedback, I am always trying to improve the site and make it better. Best Regards, Brian Tinsley founder.

  3. Regina Kurn

    Thanks for your feedback. I think you have overlooked a few things under “tags” on your sight such as, “christ”, “FEAR GOD”, “don’t quit faith”,”miracles networking”,”phillipians 4:6-7″, yes one does need to click on those tags, and I never did until after your reply saying you had removed all religious links. I was just curious since I have always noticed but had in the past decided to ignore the FEAR GOD in large type. I again am thankful for the time you spend to help others and am glad that you have your faith that is important to you if it helps you and makes you happy. I hope you will decide to keep the two subjects seperate in the future. Again thanks for all your hard work.
    Wishing you continued good health and a long quality life!
    Regina Kurn

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    Brian Tinsley

    Hi Regina,
    I removed them from the Tag Section, they are no longer there. I took the liberty to remove it for you and hope that things work out for you and that this site helps.
    Thanks again for your support,

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