Name: Doreen Gardner
Age at time of Dissection: 33
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 19 November 2014
Tell Us Your Story:

I was at work November 19 just finished breakfast and felt a sharp pain along my left jaw line and pressure in my chest. I didn’t feel anything else but then my vision became tunneled and I was going to go home and go to bed. I work in a hospital and was told to go to the ER, so even though I didn’t want to I went had an x-ray and labs drew, the lab that shows if you have a blood clot came back positive, so I was sent for cat scan. I was back from CT a minute and the Dr. looked nervous. All I was thinking was please don’t be looking at my scan.

The dr headed to my area and asked if I was a Veteran when I replied “no” she said we are going to lifeline you to Methodist. I swear time stood still, I didn’t understand what was going on. I felt fine other then the discomfort in my jaw, I said “What do you mean what is wrong with me?” She said you have an aortic dissection and your bleeding is into your belly. The phone calls to my family were made and off to Methodist I went. I had emergency surgery of 12 hours my kidneys shutdown and a stint was placed to open them up. Thursday November 20th they weren’t sure I was going to wake up or live. My kidney function returned I believe Friday afternoon.

I was basically in a coma for 5 days and suffered a mild stroke. My short term memory was gone I didn’t understand why I was in the hospital and I looked at my scar and cried. During surgery they found more problems, an aneurysm was on the back of my heart and one in my abdomen, and another in my neck. I’ve had a cardiologist since I was 19 years old and not once was I educated on aneurisms and that they could kill me…so I was bitter. I’m barely healed from the first surgery and they are talking about another it was a lot to process. December 17th I go for follow up appointment, thy read the ct report that I’m on the bubble so I’ll get another scan in 6 month and see if its bigger and discuss surgery. I’m thinking OK I ‘m going back to work soon no surgery for awhile.

I was wrong I had a voice mail when I got home from the appointment saying they pulled the scan up and the aneurysm is much larger then they thought and I was no longer on the bubble I was going to need surgery first week of January. Surgery was scheduled January 8th 2015 (50 days) after emergency open heart and they are now going to cut from my left shoulder blade around my side towards my belly. I turned 34 16 days before that surgery and it went well but I have issues waking up after being under. The one in my abdomen is 3.5 and will be scanned to keep an eye on it. The one in my neck they really have no idea what to do with it, it’s very close to a bone in my neck which makes it not operable. It’s 6mm so I will be doing research on what can happen. I have a 13 year old who I need to live for.