Patricia Cornelius-67

Name: Patricia Cornelius
Age at time of Dissection: 67
Type of Dissection: Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 29 November 2010
Tell Us Your Story:

I was visiting my daughter in Marina which is near Monterey, California for Thanksgiving. On the Monday after Thanksgiving, I was getting ready to go back home. I was in the shower when I had this horrible pain in my back that went from shoulder blade to shoulder blade and down to my buttocks. I though it was pain from a shoulder injury. I first injured my shoulder in December, 2008. I recovered from that but re-injured it in September, 2010. My doctor prescribed ibuprophen and it healed in about a month. Again I re-injured it in November 2010 while I was visiting my sister.

I went to my daughter’s the middle of November to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her and her family. That’s where I had my attack. It happened around 10 am. She came home from work and took me to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, commonly known as CHOMP. They did an EKG, which was normal, an MRI, which showed nothing. Then they did a CT scan and found I had a Type B descending aortic dissection. I had no idea what that was except they all seemed very concerned.

I was given medication to reduce my blood pressure and heart rate and also an anti-anxiety medication. They did another CT scan on 12/3/2010 and found there was no change from the first one. they did an echo cardiogram of my heart and found no damage there which was a relief. I was in ICU for six days and then moved to a regular room for two more days. I was discharged on Monday, 12/6/2010 and stayed with my daughter for the rest of December, coming home on 1/2/2011.

I was given Coreg and Felodopine and was told that my blood pressure needed to be kept at 110/70 and my heart rate at 78. I saw Dr. Shahid Siddiqui, a cardiologist, in San Jose, California, where I live. He increased my medications and referred me to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California, where I saw Dr. Michael Fischbein. He was very helpful in letting me know that I could live my life as long as I kept my blood pressure down, ate a heart healthy, low sodium diet, make sure I didn’t lift anything more than ten pounds and exercised moderately.

The main problem I have is that this shoulder is very painful and I think that’s what’s causing my high blood pressure. I going to see Dr. Siddiqui tomorrow because he talked to Dr. Fischbein and they agreed that my medications need to be changed. Also, I’m going to an orthopedic physician on Monday so my shoulder issue can be addressed. Right now I feel that I’m living in fear that I won’t wake up in the morning and there’s no hope for me.

I think I’m depressed but this hasn’t been addressed except to my therapist. She suggested that I should be on anti-depressant medication. I’m so glad I found this website and hope I can gain some courage and live my life to the fullest.

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  1. Elaine Unland

    Patricia, I suffered a type B aortic dissection that sounds very much like yours on December 9, 2011 at age 60. I would very much like to hear about how you are doing now. In a month, I will have survived two years. I am being treated medically, as I suppose you are also. I’m still experiencing a lot of fear about the future, as my CTs show that the beginning site of the dissection at the aortic arch appears to be growing a few millimeters each year. Also,for the last year and a half, I am always feeling as if I’m on a ship, rocking back and forth–a kind of dizziness that is really debilitating. I take 50 mgs Toprol (beta blocker) and 10 Enalapril a day. Please let me know if you have symptoms of dizziness that I describe. I hope you are doing well. All best, Elaine

  2. Patricia Cornelius

    Elaine, As I stated previously, I saw Dr. Michael Fischbein at Stanford, Palo Alto, CA, in March, 2011. He told me he could fix my aorta. I was scheduled for surgery the end of April, 2011. It was a long, extensive surgery.My damaged aorta was replaced with a dacron aorta. I was in the hospital for almost 2 weeks. Then was transferred to a rehab facility and was there til the beginning of June 2011. I stayed with my daughter for a few months and then was able to go back home. Dr. Fischbein saved my life. He is my hero. I still have to keep my blood pressure down but I’m living a normal life. It’ll be 4 years this April. I’m grateful to all the people to helped me through this terrible ordeal. I’m grateful and thank God every day for my life. Take care, Pat

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