Name: Dean Miller
Email: donnamariemiller@verizon.net
Age at time of Dissection: 53
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 16 January 2011


Tell Us Your Story:

2011 started out a little unusual for me because I was exceptionally tired and just not feeling well.  I was working my usual 60 hours a week and going to the gym every day.  On Sunday January 16th at 1150pm I woke up feeling like I had swallowed a grapefruit, it was so strange. I thought I had indigestion or maybe food poisoning.  My wife quickly jumped to the assumption that something was wrong with my heart since I had just been told of a murmur in March, 2010.  We were in the car in 10 min and on our way to the ER. She said my condition seemed to be deteriorating on our ride to the hospital and she even feared that I might die on the way.

Lucky for us the nearest hospital, St. Mary’s had one of the most comprehensive heart programs and performs the most cardiovascular procedures in our area.  The team of cardiologists using computerized tomography never gave up on me and were spot on with my diagnosis. I had a massive Type A acute aortic dissected a
 neurysm. The surgeon said I needed open heart surgery and NOW.  I didn’t know whether to be angry or scared.  I kissed my wife and daughter and off I went.  About 10 hours later, I emerged with tubes in my neck, down my throat, in my chest, a catheter, oxygen, several IV’s, and a highly skilled nurse who sat in my room and monitored my every move for 48 hours. 


Once I was able to stand up, I realized my left leg was much weaker than my right leg and I was struggling to walk normal.  After a brain scan I was told that I had suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage, probably from the surgery.  Seven days later I left the hospital, still dragging my left leg, 25 lbs lighter and so fatigued that I could not wait to get home and lay back down.  I am having more good days than bad.

I understand that I still have a leaky valve and I have to admit I am scared of what the future holds for me. I know I will be seeing with my thoracic surgeon and cardiologist for many years to come.  I started cardio rehab last week and could only do one session so far, due to an elevated heart rate.

I had to get a chest xray and blood work to check for fluid on my lungs.  I am hoping for good news tomorrow so I can start rehab again. I am looking at the clock as I write this because it is almost 5 weeks exactly that my life changed. My status at this point, I am still weak, I have no appetite, I have a persistent dry cough, I can’t sleep well, the cold weather bothers me and it is hard to focus.  I am happy for this site and check it often for new stories.

I am interested in hearing from anyone who can relate to me or give me some advice or tell me what to expect because I am concerned about future complications.  I am wishing all survivors a long happy life.

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