Karen Schubert-50

Name: Karen Schubert
Email: greeneyes3176@yahoo.com
Age at time of Dissection: 50
Type of Dissection: Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 10 June 2012
Tell Us Your Story:

Was just a normal day…I was preparing to go shopping with some friends and suddenly I was in the worst pain in my life. The pressure in my chest was unbelievable. I kept thinking it would pass. I fought going to the hospital for several hours. Finally I gave in to my friends begging and went to emergency. It took quite a while before the ER got me in. They performed a CT scan~apparently found nothing and sent me home with a prescription for pain pills and antibiotics for a kidney infection. After the pain medication wore off that I received at the ER I found I had to basically take 4 x’s the amount of pain meds prescribed to get about 15 minutes of relief.

After just a few days I went to Urgent Care and was prescribed more pain meds…went back again 2 days later and finally was sent for a sonagram. Doctor called me within a couple of hours and told me to get to emergency right away. Was checked in. Had 2 different blood pressures on each arm. Was given
anther CT scan (can’t remember what it is called but its the one with the color injection or something to that affect). The ER Doctor explained I had a descending aortic dissection and that it was extremely serious. Gave me some major meds in my IV and apparently I was taken to another Hospital in an ambulance, I do not remember one bit of that, and I woke up the next day in ICU where I spent a week.

They explained they could not do surgery because of where one of the tears is located. It’s at a bend. Now I’m on a ton of meds to keep my blood pressure down and have gone to see the doctor once. I am scheduled to go back next month for another CT. Which I am looking forward to because I am hoping to hear improvement. I was told I have blood that goes into areas (other organs such as my kidney’s) by means of the dissection. I have been told to quit smoking which I haven’t been able t do as of yet. And I get scared when I feel any type of pressure or slight pain near my heart. I would love to hear any feedback and/or info from others.


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  1. Amber Dulyanai

    Hi Karen
    My name is Amber Dulyanai, and my
    Storie is also here.
    Quit smoking! The seriousness of this
    is beyond explanation. Lower your sodium
    to 1500/2000 mg per day. Cut way down
    on all fats.
    I to was a smoker. It was always so hard
    to quit. I smoked a pack a day for 32
    years. I have been blessed enough to be
    one of the few who survive this disease.
    There are aortic dissections videos on
    Utube. I hope you get better. I’ll do
    What I can to answer questions.
    We can chat here, face book, or e-mail
    Me. I had an amazing Doctor.
    Have a realy great day!
    Amber Dulyanai

  2. Kirk Kissack

    Amber’s right about the smoking.. Im here too and Im also one of the lucky ones since I live 50 miles from a major hospital that can repair the dissection and they had to life flight me by helicopter. Others, even those fortunate enough to live closer to hospitals, have died before a diagnosis or before they could be rushed to surgery.

    After my ordeal, I was told Id HAVE to keep my BP at 120/80 or below and thats each n every day for the rest of my life. I became obsessive , bought an automatic BP monitor and began to check it twice a day. Earlier this year it dropped too much, to below 100 and I was nodding off but now Im Ok-I think in the 110-120/80 range. Im now on the Vitamin C Pauling therapy supplementation plan to remove arterial plaque as prior o the dissection I also had a quad bypass. Anything which will reduce the amt of plaque you have should also make your arteries more elastic and decrease your BP,,,,in theory. Hang in there and do whatever it takes,, I know the smoking cessation is critical..we’re talikng about your life here. I love my meat, Im old school meat n potatoes, but Ive had to moderate my diet and Ive had 1 piece of cheesecake since my ordeal and perhaps 1 steak a month. They all herald a plant based diet, but unless your a skilled chef and know what tastes good and will work with spices and flavorings, veggies 24/7 will leave you wanting..They did me but perhaps you’re better. Best of luck and God Bless


  3. Lisa

    Hi Karen. I am now at 7 months post Type B aortic dissection. I was a smoker too and quit the day that this happened. My mom suffered a Type A and had surgery (and survived). I have a Type B and no surgery; just meds. My BP is not that high so I am on a low dose BP med and cholesterol reducer. I still get tired and I’m having pain in my legs. I have my next CT scan October 2nd and I too look forward to it.

    Hang in there! Things get better. No one truly gets how you feel because on the outside you look healthy and normal.

    Feel free to email me if you would like to chat.

    Lisa Lugo

  4. Jim Sanquedolce

    Hi Karen, I survived an Ascending Aortic that was basicly not diagnosed, back in Late 2009… The amazing issue is 1) I lived alone with my dog, while I live within a couple blocks from my local ER, Everyone grasped what was happening and they shipped me to Yale New Haven which is a fifteen minute ride…. My surgerical team are either Named or were Trained BY the Yale folks over on the right side wall here…. anyway I was a smoker and regular sort of guy from a diet standard… what people have been posting is pretty much true, how is your Cholesterol? Blood Pressure? salt/sodium intake, Caffiene ? from realistic perspective its easy to say “lower your salt intake” 1st off just take the salt away from the table.. I got home and Mine went into the trash can, I substitute Fresh ground Black and Crushed Red Pepper, Mrs Dash has a bunch of salt free alternatives along with WATCHING the sodium intake in All your Processed Foods ( Welches’ Brand Grape Jelly 12 mg sodium, while Welches’ Jam is only 10mg sodium…Choose your battles..lol) There are lower sodium alternatives, even in Lunch meats… Google The “Dash or mediterainian diet” The American Heart Association as well as Canadian, Aussie, UK heart associations have low sodium Cookbooks , web pages , Nutritional pages, that will offer Loads of support and help..
    AHA http://www.heart.org click on the High Blood pressure LInks, cholesterol links and there are several Pages to read and IMportantly understand how it can affect you in you situation… LIke this Group, you have info that is pertinant and lots that has little or nothing directly to do with your situation, but if you need help, its here, and here too >>http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Nutrition-Center_UCM_001188_SubHomePage.jsp, feel free to ask..

  5. Rose

    This is such a great site, to be able to hear and talk with those of you who have gone through the same thing as I have. If I had only found all this chat after I had my dissection, I would have felt so much better. I still wonder at all the new aches and pains I get, if they are connected. It’s been 2 1/2yrs now and I go for another angio ct scan this week. Of course, I always hope for no change as that is the best. I still go for scans every 6mos. Keep sharing, it’s comforting for us all.

  6. karen

    Thank you all for your feedback! I wish I were as diligent as you all seem to be in your doctor follow-up and health habits. I haven’t returned to see my doctor but looks like I will soon if I want to continue receiving prescriptions. I basically haven’t changed any of my habits. The only problem I seem to have are random breathing difficulties. Thanks again…I hope and wish you all the best!

  7. Leishah

    I don’t know if it’s possible, but you can try other surgeons. Dr ramlawi at Houston Methodist and dr safi at Houston hermann memorial, all are in the medical center in Houston. This is where dr cooley & dr DeBakey invented artificial aortas.

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