Lisa L-49

Name: Lisa L
Age at time of Dissection: 49
Type of Dissection: Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 5 February 2012
Tell Us Your Story:

2012 Super bowl Sunday I woke up early (around 5:30) and turned the TV and enjoyed a cup of coffee. About an hour later, I had this pain in the shoulders. I thought it was gas because it was a sharp pain, so I took some Gas X and tried to lay down and get comfortable. Didn’t help. I tried walking and walking and walking, pain was still there. I talked to my daughter-in-law about 10:00 and mentioned my pain. I guess about 10:30, I found myself curled up in a ball with a pillow on my chest because I was about to lose if from the pain.

My daughter-in-law texted me and asked how I was, well, I caved and said something is WRONG. We decided to go to the ER. So now I sitting in the ER and since I presented with “back pain”, I was not a priority. I paced back and forth and after about an hour and a half, I was called back. Still not a priority. They took blood and started asking me questions. At this point, the pain was so bad I could not speak and I could barely breath. FINALLY pain meds! It eased up some.

Next thing I know, someone is in my room and moving my bed. I had to ask where I was going and why. The ER doc came in and said I needed to have a CT scan just to make sure I was ok because some of the blood tests came back elevated.

After the CT scan, I was back in my room in the ER. I sent my kids home earlier so they didn’t have to just “sit” there all day. Well, I really lost “time” after the CT scan because of the meds and the pain. I’m guessing a 1/2 hour later, my room was FULL of staff. I was being pulled and poked and IV’s, etc. I kept asking WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? The ER doctor finally said your aorta is dissecting. (My mom had an aortic aneurysm and had open heart in 1992), so I knew that this was NOT good! I asked the ER doctor if I was going to die and she wouldn’t answer me. All she kept saying was that I had to calm down because of my blood pressure. I asked her the same question again and she walked out.

While all these people were working on me, I sat up and said I need to call my family because apparently I might die. The ER doc called my kids for me and they came right away. I really don’t remember much for a couple of days. I spent 5 days in ICU (Cardiac Care). No surgery, just control with BP meds. Low dose since I don’t have “high” blood pressure. So that’s the only medication I am on. Metroprolol Sodium 25mg per day.

That’s my first story.

2 weeks later, I was at home and my BP spiked out of control and I had severe pain in my lower back. I was not having it so back to ER I went. I got a CT scan and aortic dissection was the same, however, I now had bladder issues. I was ambulanced that night to a heart hospital for observation and to see what to do with the bladder (I seriously think the ER doc, who was so sweet, was scared and thought I should be at the Heart Hospital). So sweet. My bladder was not draining all the way so I had bladder / kidney infection. Spent 4 days in the heart hospital.

So, that’s my story. I went back to work at the end of March 2012. I am trying to keep my stress low and maintain balance in my life (I have to just say, I can’t do it all).

Well, I pray everyday that the dissection doesn’t progress, but as we all know, that is unpredictable and the chances of that happening are pretty high.

I thank the Lord everyday I wake up!!!

Now I am working on turning 50 and the possibility of permanent disability from work to relieve stress.

Thanks for listening.


Lloyd Jones-51


Rod Abidd-49


  1. Amber Berg

    Thank you for sharing. As time goes on the fear and worry subsides. Living through a dissection is a huge deal and really helped me put my life and priorities in perspective. I too am having my dissection controlled by meds. It will be 21 months on August 29th since mine (not that I’m counting). Take care of yourself and as time goes on you will return back to “normal”. I have had a few Cardiologists advise me that if you make it through the first year, the chance of another dissection goes down…there’s always a chance, it’s just less likely. I wish you all the best, please let me know if you need or want to talk at anytime. My email address is above. I know this site and the people on it have helped me a lot when I’m having “one of those days”.

  2. Lisa L.


    Thank you so much for the comment. I truly appreciate it and found your words for inspiring. It’s funny because I count also (June 5th will be 4 months since the dissection).

    I feel good but I too have put my life in order, mainly my priorities. I now do NOT make work my number 1 priority; I still go in and do a good job, but as I feel myself getting stressed, I go for a walk or if it’s that bad, I go home. I am now not “freaked out” taking sick days, even if it’s for a mental break.

    Health and happiness to you and I would love to stay in touch. Especially since you have the same thing I do and have not had any therapy, just meds. Again, thank you!!!!!!!!

    Phoenix, Arizona

  3. Jill Schreiber

    I too love this site! I had open heart surgery to repair my Ascending Dissection, and then four months later, I had a Descending Dissection as well as an Abominal Aortic Anerysum. I was a very sick woman! I am also a survivor! I too will be 50 this year! I never thought I would be looking forward to that monumental birthday, but I AM!! I think all dissection patients experience the same ups and downs, and it’s wonderful we can share our thoughts on this site. Feel free to email me if you’d like! I really like to stay in touch with other survivors! Hope your summer is going well!
    Oacoma, South Dakota

  4. Lisa L.

    Hi Jill.
    Thanks so much for the email. I was going to email you directly, but I don’t see your email address.

    Sounds like you when through a lot more than me. I do fear of another dissection and most days I can push it so far down, but other days, when I just don’t “feel right”, I worry. My parents are no longer with me, and sometimes I just want to talk with my mother. On the plus side, since this happened, my mom visits me in my dreams occassionally, along with my older sister (who passed in 96).

    I truly think people “forget” what happened to me. I don’t show any signs by the way I look, I’ve been back to work (only took 6 weeks off). I do have my moments, and find myself calling in sick more often than I have ever before. I just try to not stress about it.

    I wanted to ask you, I am now having major symptoms of perimenopause or menopause (I had a partial hysterectomy), so I am guessing this is what it is. I have hot flashes many, many times a day, I’m foggy, and tired and so moody! Ugh.

    I am going to be going to a doctor for bioidentical hormone therapy, because I don’t think I can handle this much longer. I know, sounds pathetic after surviving a dissection!! 🙂

    Well, I now I have much more to talk about, and I would love to hear from you again. I don’t believe anyone who hasn’t been through a dissection can really relate to what we are going through and feeling!

    Hope to hear from you soon.

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