Name: Jill Schreiber
Age at time of Dissection: 48
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 4 October 2010
Tell Us Your Story:
It was a Monday..I remember it well. I am an elementary teacher, and was in a co-worker’s office visiting. It was a little before 11am. I glanced at the clock and stated that my students would be coming soon. I went toward the door, and all of a sudden it hit me. I had the strangest and most painful sensation in my chest I had ever felt. I told my friend there was something terribly wrong and to call 911, I thought I was having a heart attack. I passed out at that point and fell to the floor. The next thing I remember I saw my husband’s face and paramedics.
I was taken to our small town hospital and treated as if I was having a heart attack. The pain continued…it was horrible. They couldn’t give pain meds until they could figure out what was happening! I knew that something terrible was wrong!! All of the standard heart attack tests where negative. They had no idea what was happening, but they too knew something was very wrong. Finally after 5 hours of tests and x-rays, it was decided to perform a CAT scan. THANK GOD! The ct scan showed the dissection! I was told this was a very serious critical condition, and that I should tell my family good bye.
I had a hour flight to the closest larger hospital, and it was highly possible that I would not survive the flight. I did….after an 8 hour emergency surgery, I spent 3 days in a medically induced coma, and then…..after 8 days in ICU..and two days on the regular floor, I was discharged. I had survived and I was blessed. However…my story doesn’t stop there. While recovering I developed a plural effusion, and had to be hospitalized several times to drain fluid off my lungs.,..it would be a long recovery. My plan was to return to teaching on February 1, 2011. However….on January 25th, I began experiencing stomach pain.I was once again flown an hour from home to the hospital that saved my life in October. I knew I would be in good hands. I had not expected what was about to happen. I was told after tests, that I was in renal failure…my organs were shutting down, my arteries were dissecting.
I was also beginning to show signs that my abdominal aorta was also dissecting. Within a week, the doctors felt they would lose me, or they could try a procedure that would replace all of my arteries and my entire aorta with a dacron graft. This procedure had not been done in it’s entirety in this facility, and they had tried to transfer me out. However…in my condition, we didn’t have a choice, they would have to attempt the surgery. My arteries and aorta were measured and grafts were ordered. The gratfs would have to be flown in. I now had to wait…..wait in a bed…wait for what lies ahead…wait for what God had planned.
I spent 6 days in the hospital waiting for my “new parts”. I was scheduled for surgery on Tuesday Feb. 1. I dissected on another Monday…strange it as is…Monday January 31, 2011. I was rushed into surgery, my surgeon and team happened to be in the hospital that night. They were preparing for my surgery which was scheduled the following morning, but now…it was happening now…I couldn’t wait. I survived. I spent 16 days in ICU and then was moved into a “step down” room for 2 months. I was discharged to my hometown hospital and placed in “swing bed” for another 2 weeks, and then finally discharged after a long hospital stay! I had gotten compartment syndrome in my right leg following surgery and lost the movement in my left leg from the knee down, but I walk with aid of a brace. I didn’t have any symptoms, not over weight, no high blood pressure, no family history.
I missed a year of work, but I am back to teaching full time and haven’t missed but only one day this school year~! I am truly blessed…however, I do have my ups and downs…I am a miracle. I am looking forward to my 50th birthday in September! I would love to correspond with others who may have my similar story. Please post my email…firstname.lastname@example.org