Name: Linda Ainslie
Age at time of Dissection: 56
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 17 February 2000
Tell Us Your Story:

I am a wife, mother and grandmother of three. I am a teacher, but, like many people today, was between jobs. While I was looking for work, I spent as much one-on-one time as possible with my two grandsons, 10- month-old Parker and 8-year old Ashton, and 2-yar-old granddaughter, Kennedy. I had planned to take care of Parker and Ashton that day and then visit my mother later. December 2 is my mothers birthday.

I remember waking up before sunrise, feeling pretty normal–maybe on the gloomy side. I chalked that up to the blizzard raging outside.

As soon as I stood up, my sense of well being changed.
I collapsed back into bed. It felt like something inside me was being ripped apart. I have never felt pain like that before. It was excruciating. Despite the pain I was able to dial 911. The ambulance arrived in minutes.

A lot of the day is a blur to me. I was in so much pain and so much was going on. Still I remember being rushed to the local hospital and undergoing a series of tests. I needed to be transported to a larger hospital, where I could undergo specialized surgery to repair the damage to my aorta wall. I was flown by helicopter to a larger hospital. When I arrived, I was immediately prepared for surgery.
I underwent a 6 1/2 hour surgery that day. The next thing I remember is waking up in a different state at a strange hospital. This was caused by high blood pressure.

It has been a long healing process for me. I was very active before the surgery, and it took quite a while to get my strength back, and I became a little depressed, I was so afraid of dying.
I now take high blood pressure very serious. I am jogging 15 to 20 miles a week. I take my medications as prescribed and follow a diet that limits salt and foods that could cause my blood pressure to spike. To reduce stress, I practice yoga and Tai Chi.

I believe that on December 2, 2009 I was given a second chance to live life at its best. I will never go back to old habits, eating well and exercise are just a actual part of m life now.
I thank God for each day I am given.