Name: Fay N
Age at time of Dissection: 31
Type of Dissection: Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 2 April 2013
Tell Us Your Story:

I‘m 32 years old, and i just found out a month ago that i have a descending aortic dissection, 5.8 cm in size. Here’s my story:

I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl on March 29, 2013. 4 days after i gave birth, i was home sitting down on the couch having lunch, when i suddenly felt the most agonizing, worst pain i have ever felt. It was as if i was stabbed in the back, or as if i was having a heart attack. i couldn’t speak out for a few seconds to let my mom know what was going on, then i started screaming that i was dying, and i couldn’t breath.

I was curled up on the floor because i couldn’t lie down on my back because the pain got so much worse. By the time the ambulance arrived, i had been screaming for about 30 minutes. They had to take me to the hospital sitting down because it was impossible for me to lie on my back. They gave me the oxygen mask so i could breath better.

We got to the hospital, everyone was clueless, they gave me some pain meds, and decided it was a severe muscle spasm. i went back home, and i was still in very bad pain; i woke my husband up in the middle of the night and told him that i needed to go to the hospital, so we went to a different ER, they refused to admit me because they didn’t know what was wrong. Then we decided to go to another ER, they gave me a shot of pain killers and sent me home.
I was still in pain for days, i couldn’t sleep at night, and couldn’t lie down on my back because of the shortness of breath, on my side because of the C-section. It was hell!

A doctor came home to check on me, and decided to give me Valium because he also thought it was a muscle spasm, but it was the only medication that made me feel a bit better.

I lived with this pain for about a month, back, chest, lower back , etc.. During this year and a half, i always felt tired, anxious, a little bit depressed. I felt that there was something wrong, but i never thought to look further.

I used to wake up in the middle of the night to the stabbing pain between my shoulder blades, sometimes in my upper abdomen, but i always thought it was stress. Until last month, i went for my yearly check up, and my gyno told me to get an abdominal echo to make sure that i didn’t have gallbladder stones (which it turns out i have 2), and this is when we found out!

I’m still trying to accept this fact. I thank God that I’m still alive, because a lot of things could’ve gone wrong during this year and a half, especially that the first 2 years after a dissection are the most critical.
My doctor tells me I’m lucky, specially that i was already on beta blockers all this time because of my tachycardia.

He also told me that i shouldn’t get pregnant again, anyways, even if he did allow me, i wouldn’t take the risk, because I’m almost sure that pregnancy was one of the risk factors. It makes me sad that i won’t have another child, but then again, i thank God i have a beautiful girl.

Now i can say that my level of anxiety went up a little bit, i worry that something might happen to me. A doctor in the US told me that i should have an operation soon, while my doctors back home say that i should wait because the risk of an operation is higher than medical management. i want to get another medical opinion from Europe to make up my mind.

This is my story, i would like to end by saying that definitely my family’s help and support, specially my husband and my sister, are giving me strength and positively to overcome this. I need to stay healthy and do whatever i can to be here for them and for my baby girl.