Karin Bertozzi-46

Name: Karin Bertozzi
Email: kbbertozzi@gmail.com
Age at time of Dissection: 46
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 16 October 2014
Tell Us Your Story: October 16th

A day of new meaning for me. One year ago today after teaching two great classes, I fainted in a local market while getting lunch. In a matter of minutes, everything in my life changed. I was rushed via ambulance 2.2 miles to Suburban Hospital (part of the Johns Hopkins network of hospitals and directly across the street from NIH).

It was very quickly discovered that I was suffering from an ascending aortic aneurysm with dissection. 12 hours later I emerged from surgery with a new and improved section to my aorta, a repaired valve and lots of uncertainty surrounding my prognosis. 18 long ICU days later I was sent home with over 16 major meds in my bag and a double chamber pacemaker implanted under the muscles of my left chest. 10 weeks later I was released to cardiac rehab. After 12 long months of physical therapy, emotional therapy and spiritual questioning, I have maybe? found myself “close to being” on the other side of this (for now)

It is said the average adult heart beats 35 million times in one year. I can honestly say I have felt every one this year. Strong and faint, happy and sad. Beats that are irregular, beats that are strong and syncopated. I have felt beats that have been filled with life and beats that have felt lifeless. I have felt fast beats and slow beats. Beats filled with confidence and many filled with fear.

I swear the sound of my heart beating fills a room, especially at night when the house is quiet.

Somebody asked me if I was going to do something special to mark this “aorta-versary”. I am happy to report today has been a very normal day. The weather was perfect (much like a year ago). My normal day unfolded – school carpool, a quick stop at the grocery store, rehab, Mass, 7-11 for a Slurpee, high school volley ball game, and out for dinner. There is something to be said for normal.

Celebrate the normal. Health is a gift. Every heartbeat should be felt.

Thanks to all who have gotten me through this year. I can’t say that enough.

So grateful, every day.


Keith Hudgens-57


Keith Hudgens-57


  1. slavica

    Dear Karin,
    I am a mother of a girl (35 now), who has had operation of thoraco-abdominal aorta dissection and left renal path, 5 years ago. She is the sensitive and busy Lady, living far from me, but, close in my heart.
    Sometimes I think, standing by her each moment.
    So, I understand you. You said so vividly your story. Think that you are very dear and brave person.
    The life is going on. To love and appreciate the life is our task. I believe – the way for each man.
    Wish you the best and love you,

  2. Mike

    That was beautifully articulated, thank you.

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