Marie Fishwick-56

Name: Marie Fishwick
Age at time of Dissection: 56
Type of Dissection: Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 31 October 2012
Tell Us Your Story:

My name is Marie Fishwick and I was very busy 56 year old working upto 42 hours per week caring for others. I have a back ground of high blood pressure for around 20 years and although I always took my medication I didn’t always keep my checks ups (stupid I know) due to fear of knowing what my blood pressure was. I wish I had now.

On Wednesday 31st October 2012 I woke up at 7am to get ready for work then ten minutes later while still in bed I had sudden severe pain in my lower abdomen at the front, within minutes it went round the back the upwards to my chest. I knew it seemed serious but thought I would try painkillers and indigestion remedies first, after an hour I got myself to the hospital and explained what was happening. I was immediately taken through to a&e and checked for heart problems but nothing was found.

I have never been in as much pain, nothing they gave me stopped it and I couldn’t keep still. After xrays, blood tests and different pain relief I was eventually sent for a ct scan more than 6 hour’s after arriving at hospital. I had moved to the assessment ward by this stage where a sister in charge and a training specialist came to me and pulled the curtains round the bed. They told me I had a descending aortic dissection and it was serious, I knew quite a lot about the body and knew immediately what I had, I was alone and scarred as I had sent my family home to return later at visiting time. My daughter was pregnant with her first child and I hadn’t told her I was in hospital- how could I tell her. I rang a good friend to come immediately and explained I couldn’t tell my family but knew I had to.

At visiting I told my husband and mum and was taken on to coronary care unit, I was put complete bed rest with oxygen, monitors, catheter, drip and various other things and was told it could mean an operation. I could hear them on the phone all through the night talking to other hospitals about me and putting them on standby. The hospital I was in didn’t see many people with an aortic dissection. I survived the night and was told the first 72 hours were critical. I knew I had to try and keep calm due to my blood pressure going up, I survived the critical time limit and was given morphine all the time I was in but it was never enough to get rid of the pain.

After 16 days in hospital I went home with lots and lots of medication and I was petrified of dying, the amount of fear is unbearable and you feel so alone. I knew no one with the condition and knew of no backup on the Internet. I had the worst time over the next few months, couldn’t eat, sleep and lack of interest. I should have had a hospital appointment after six weeks but it turn into 16 weeks, I though I was losing the plot and went to the doctors for an increase in my antidepressants, he was very supportive. I cried and cried for months. Now I am nearing my second year a things have changed so much in my attitude towards my condition, yes I’ve got it but I need to live my life without fear and I do. I have found groups on Facebook with similar and much much worse, I consider myself lucky. Please try to let your fear go or it will eat you away


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  1. Dear Marie
    I’m a 10 year DAD (decending) no surgery and the extent is from the Arotic arch to the bifurcation about 22 inches. Lots of meds. BP runs high lately. Anti depresentents needed. Have other health issues so quite lucky to be alive. I do enjoy my grands. I’m 75 now while I’m not the man I was I do enjoy life and think it will be one of the other health problems that will get me the DAD has not gotten larger in the 10’years. Good luck.

  2. Jim

    Dear Marie, I suffered a Undiagnosed TAD (Thoracic Aortic Dissection) In The Ascending Above the ARoot to the beginning of the Arch In October 2009…. I literally call 9-1-1- Myself and survived Only because all that cards landed facing up…. I spent 31 days In My hospital and faced a 180 degree change in my life, I am thankful for a co worker who had also been a paramedic and Literally was there when they woke me after pulling the tubes out in recovery he’s been beside me over the last 5 years while Many others Are gone… I wanted you to Know there is a UK group smaller then this one but very much like it with More UK experiances,

  3. Marie Fishwick

    Thank you for your comments and wishes. Best wishes Paul and Jim

  4. sandra nolan

    I had complete aortic disection i am a carer was lifting a patient next morning thou i slipped a disc a month later i got pains in lungs on 9 dec i went in own coma and woke up after being in an induced coma after major 13 hour surgery i have been g
    oo d till now but i have blood clot problems left side it never rains but pours

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