Name: Renee Cooper
Age at time of Dissection: 36
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 18 January 2012
Tell Us Your Story:

What I thought started out as a normal day ended with Dr.John Jay saving my life. I have lived with high blood pressure since my early twenties but I never took it serious because I thought I’m young I can control my stress without meds and I my body would usually warn me when my blood pressure was off the charts by having major headaches which usually landed me in ER. As I tried to climb the corporate ladder, I worked 14/15 hours days, little sleep and very bad eating habits. I thought to myself that once I make it I would take better care of me. I was wrong,…. Jan 18,2012 started out as normal day. I actually woke up went to work…..had breakfast which is something I never do. Toward the end of the day I felt weird and I mentioned to a co-worker I needed to go to the doctor later in the week for a possible sinus infection. I finished my day and drove home feeling very sweaty and weird inside.

I get home to realize my pup had pooped in his crate which upset me, I take the crate outside to clean it out and I bend over only to eerie nice a pain that felt as if something was ripping in my chest. That day my dad happen to be waiting at my apartment to visit. I came inside and told him I had the worse chest pain, I suddenly felt faint and he suggested we go back outside to get fresh air. As we walked down the steps I felt as if I wanted to faint. Theming was so intense I told him I was having a heart attack and fainted. He called 911 and the ambulance arrived. I was awake and apologized if this was heartburn due to the pizza I had for lunch. Once I arrived at the hospital I vomited several times and could not stand to have my upper Left side of my back touched. It took several attest to get a CT Scan but once they got it my father was told I need emergency surgery due to three tears to my aorta. I remember crying for a brief second and my Dad saying I would be just fine. My sister had passed away at 36 on April 16 2011 and I had been dealing with a difficult boss for the past year so my stress level was 200% times 1000!!!!! I remembering being air lifted to Methodist main hospital in Dallas. I heard my sister say she was with me and I instantly felt calm.

The next five days are a blur but Dr. John Jay was wonderful he gave my dad the facts and made no promises my chance of survival was 5% but he was going to do his best….I woke up 5 days later thinking I was in a car accident. My life has forever been changed. I spent 8 weeks in cardiac rehab and 12 days in the hospital. 3 month recovery, I have a paralyzed diaphragm as a result of my operation and chronic back pain but I’m alive, I never dreamed this could happen I only thought about stokes or brain aneurysms when I thought high blood pressure and foolishly thinking I’m young and invincible. I know take 6 pills daily for the rest of my life. Methodist responded quickly and air lifted me to their main campus where John Jay saved me. My main tears were repaired but I have two that will be monitored for life. My scar is a reminder of how I need to be healthy. I’m a survivor…… I get set and depressed at how easily I get tired but I’m a fighter.