Personal Stories: Loretta Young Dear Brian, I’m sure that you can relate to the relief I felt, when I was referred to your website! My only problem is, I was so overwhelmed and frightened, I kept putting off contacting you! Your website is awesome, and today I’ve pushed myself to really get involved in this, but don’t even know how to begin; again, I feel so overwhelmed by everything about this condition. My name is Loretta Young, and I just turned 70, last April. On September 29, 2007, I just felt incredibly sleepy, so snoozed on my bed with my cats all day. It was a Saturday, and some close friends of mine had called me in the afternoon, to tell me that they were in town, and invited me to go out to dinner with them. I agreed, then got out of bed, after another 1 1/2 hour nap, took a shower and got dressed to go out. When they arrived, I was in the process of putting on my mascara. Suddenly, I got this piercing pain in the back of my head, and it was like someone was pulling a zipper down, in my head, and the pain went into my right shoulder. I commented to my friend who had come up to let me know that they were there, “Hmmm, I am having the most unusual pain in my head, and I just don’t feel right!” My friend is a nurse (we were roommates in nursing school), and she advised me to just rest for a few seconds and see if it got worse. It got decidedly worse! She dialed 911, and I was whisked to the E.R. of the nearest hospital. I felt so weird, and the E.M.T.s were obviously concerned about my condition. To make matters worse, since 1992, I’ve had serious breathing problems, due to a paralyzed diaphragm (who knows how that happened!), and was forced to retire in 2001, because even with my portable Oxygen with me, I would have breathing episodes and have to be sent home. My friends located my daughter, who immediately notified my son, who lives in Lodi, CA, who flew right down. After rushing me in for various C.T. scans, and they saw the nightmare they presented, they told my daughter that I would have to be taken into surgery, to see if any repair could be done, She was told that I most likely wouldn’t survive the surgery, and with my breathing problems, would probably be on a breathing tube for the rest of my life, if I did survive. Just as they were nearly to the O.R. door, another Cardio-Vascular surgeon stopped everyone and asked to speak to my daughter, in private.
He told her that he seriously doubted that I could survive the surgery, and his suggestion was to treat it medically. He told her that his dad had suffered the same thing, and by treating it medically, he survived 11 1/2 years, and died of something else! That sounded great to my daughter, so they both came over to me, to share the information. Believe me, that was a real relief! I was in ICU for a long time, then “Special Care,” and on Oct.16, I was released from the hospital and sent to a Convalescent Home until I was released to come home on November 5, 2007 My daughter, grandson (6 yrs. old) and I live together now, in a nice, roomy one-level townhouse. We are very happy together, except that my grandson is highly allergic to most animals, especially cats, and I had to let my precious little cat family be placed in other homes. I suffer intensely from this grief; we were family for almost 15 years. I comfort myself by knowing that they will all be with me again (never to part), when we get to Heaven. What a year this has been, and I truly need help, and possibly more aggressive treatment for my condition. I was referred to a Thoracic/Cardiac surgeon, and he was so blown away by the reports of my condition, he was is shock. He couldn’t believe that I was still alive. He had me undergo another series of C.T. scans, and nearly fainted when he saw them. I was diagnosed with Type I Aortic Dissection, from my shoulder, next to my heart, my abdomen and in the groin. I had four aneurysms. When we got the results of the latest C.T. scans, the aorta had healed up, and there weren’t any evidence of aneurysms! He wants to see me in a year for more scans, but in the meantime, it’s not easy or pleasant living with the symptoms, all the discomfort and feeling so weak, tiring so easily and sleeping nearly ’round-the-clock! I gave you this rather long “Thumb-nail sketch of what I’ve been, and still am going through. I really am grateful for this website, and plan to make a lot of use from it. I just don’t know where to begin. I thought I would send you this much, so that you would have an idea as to where I’m at in this process, and maybe you can lead me to various people who can possibly improve my situation. I feel that I’m way too much medicated, and that disturbs me, and there a lots of things I need to learn. My Sincere Thanks, Loretta Young