Category: Ascending Page 2 of 16

Robert Bidrowski-60

Name: Robert Bidrowski
Age at time of Dissection: 60
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 29 April 2016
Tell Us Your Story:

I had just gotten off a flight from St. Louis to Omaha, NE at 11:30 pm. I lit up a cigarette as soon as I got outside the terminal. This became my last cigarette. As I was walking to my car I had what I can only describe as an explosion in my back and then a buzzing in my head and feet. I stopped and thought “what the heck was that. It probably wasn’t good.” I threw the cigarette down, decided I was OK and continued to my car. I had a 50 mile drive to my home and decided I would be OK once I got on the road.

So I started driving on the Interstate. I started feeling really weak, had some vision problems and felt numbness in my arm. I got off the Interstate at basically the point of no return. Something told me that if I continued I was going to die.

At this point I should have called 911, probably should have called 911 at the airport. But I decided to drive myself to the hospital. I arrived at the hospital, now not feeling well at all. Parked, walked in through the security door and said I think I’m having a heart attack. I was immediately attended to by the great ER staff and soon I was having a CT scan. Apparently I had some really different blood pressures (really low on one arm and normal on the other arm.)

The ER doctor talked to me after the CT scan and showed me what was happening. An ascending aortic dissection. He said I needed surgery now and the surgeon was on her way. I remember telling the ER doctor that I had a bowling tournament that weekend in Missouri and I remember him telling me “Yeah, your probably not going to make that.”

I remember meeting the surgeon, Dr. HelenMari Merritt. The next thing I remember was waking up with a breathing tube, lots of tubes and all kinds of medical apparatus. My girlfriend was there, my sons were there. Apparently, I had been in surgery for about 8 hours. I got a dacron graft and a valve repair. I was in the hospital for about 2 weeks, came home and started the recovery. When I got out of the hospital I thought I’ll be back to work in two weeks. It actually took 4 months.

I owe so much to Dr. Merritt and the staff at Nebraska Medicine. I owe so much to my girlfriend, Kathy, and my two sons, Erik and Mark and other family as well as friends. I also need to thank my cardiac therapy specialists at Bryan Lifepointe in Lincoln, NE.

So now I’m working on the blood pressure but it is proving difficult to control. I’ve got another followup in February with a CT scan, appointment with Dr. Merritt and another appointment with a vascular specialist. What I’ve been told is that I have a dissection in the descending aorta that may need some treatment or not.

I’ve made some lifestyle changes. No smoking and trying to eat better. I’m trying to keep my stress down but work is again making that difficult. I continued my cardiac therapy by joining the health club. I’ve added some strength exercises as well. Anyway, that’s my story up till now. I’ve been told I was lucky, fortunate, it was touch and go, etc. So I will try to do what the doctors tell me is best and hopefully be here for many more years.

Scott Terry-42

Name: Scott Terry
Age at time of Dissection: 42
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 20 January 2016
Tell Us Your Story:

It started off as a normal Wednesday morning. I had just arrived at work and was on my way back to my desk from getting a coffee when I felt an unusual pain in my chest, unlike anything I had ever felt before. I initially thought it could be indigestion which I tried to clear with water. After that didn’t work I told a colleague that I needed an ambulance.

Thankfully I worked five minutes away from the nearest hospital – Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, UK. In emergency I had the usual ECG and blood tests for a heart attack. While the blood tests ruled out a heart attack the ECG showed a slight abnormality. I also had significantly different blood pressure readings in both arms. I ended up staying in hospital for a couple of days while doctors determined what the problem was. During that time I was allowed to walk around, have showers etc.

On the Friday morning my dissection was discovered after a CT angiogram. After that I was on complete bed rest. I was transferred by ambulance to the Trent Cardiac Centre at City Hospital in Nottingham as they deal with the Type A dissections. To cut a long story short I had aortic root surgery on the following Wednesday, 1 week after my dissection. I now also have a St Jude mechanical aortic valve and will be on warfarin for the rest of my life, along with my other heart meds.

After being discharged from hospital one week after my operation, I was readmitted after a couple of days due to a severe infection in my arm where the cannula was inserted. Following that I was readmitted a further two times – once I collapsed while having blood taken for my INR (it turns out I had flu). This meant another week in hospital. The second time my INR was dangerously low, which was another week in hospital.
It is now almost one year on and life is pretty much back to normal – a new normal. My lovely wife, wonderful 10 year old twin boys and I have now relocated back to Australia, the Sunshine Coast, and I am in the middle of having my first annual check-up.

The amazing thing about my story is that we had moved to the UK (from Melbourne, Australia) 18 months earlier to spend time with my family. We were actually planning to relocate back to Australia on the day of my dissection but had changed our minds about two months earlier, deciding to extend our stay.

Paul Coomer-53

Name: Paul Coomer
Age at time of Dissection: 53
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 13 October 2013
Tell Us Your Story:

Ihad a rear end accident which an hour after I realised I thought was a heart attack but was in fact an aortic -dissection type A ,I drove myself to the hospital on the Gold Coast in excruciating pain ,this was diagnosed thankfully very quickly and I was operated on within 5 hours by Dr Gilbert Ford a life saver I was in intensive care for 2 days then in Hospital for just over 2 weeks ,and 3 months off work ,then a further 3 months part time a long recovery ,I am now living a normal life with check ups once a year ,but I survived something that I have been told on many occasions is very lucky

Gayle Cook-56

Name: Gayle Cook
Age at time of Dissection: 56
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 9 February 2015
Tell Us Your Story:

My name is Gayle Cook and I LIVE in Albert Lea MN. On 2/9/2015, as I was getting ready for work, I began having severe chest pain. I work at the local hospital in ER Registration so finished getting ready for work and drove myself there, however, instead of clocking in for work, I was admitted to the ER. Six hours later after a CT scan revealed I had an aortic dissection, I was flown to Rochester MN.

I think I was aware of the severity of my situation, however, I was consumed with thoughts of my granddaughter, Kinley, who was flying to Chicago to have a REX shunt placed to bypass the obstruction (clot) in her portal vein. Her half brother, Carter, passed away from the same condition nine years ago when he was two. He underwent a liver transplant and, unfortunately, his heart failed two days after surgery. I am happy to say that Kinley survived her surgery and is doing quite well.

Unfortunately, as a result of the portal hypertension, she developed pulmonary hypertension that we are treating with meds. As for me, I was kept in the SCU over night in preparation for open heart surgery in the morning. Upon surgery, it was noted that I had an intramural hematoma which progressed to a type A dissection into the root with dissection into the left main coronary artery.

Well, you know the outcome of my surgery; I survived, but am still trying to wrap my head around what happened to me and the way I am now and it’s been ten months?! I have so much to say and ask but want to keep this short. Just wanted to introduce myself and reach out to someone who can relate to what I’ve been through. Thank YOU!

William Koch-45

Name: William Koch
Age at time of Dissection: 45
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 6 November 2016
Tell Us Your Story: As told by wife Cricket:

It was a normal Sunday. Watched football and then chores. We are in the process of remodeling our bedroom and Bill needed to get nails from our son’s house who lives about a mile away. He told me he would be right back. I continued the “demo” and my cell phone rang. At first it sounded like Bill was having a stroke as he said, “I….I….I….pulled over.” I immediately knew something was wrong. He told me where he was at and I grabbed my keys calling 911 at the same time heading out the door.

(Later I was told that I was actually Bill’s 2nd call. His first was to 911 who didn’t answer)

I reached Bill right as the ambulance arrived. He was rushed by ambulance to ER about 2pm of a suspected heart attack. Preliminary EKG was normal but still had chest pain and trouble breathing. Dr.’s kept asking what he ate for lunch and dinner the night before eluding to heartburn. They said they would keep him overnight for observation. I sent the kids home (boy 19, girl 15). As morphine wore off, pain increased and I insisted on a CT scan.
CT scan ordered. CT scan showed Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm causing an aortic dissection (rip). Cardiothoracic surgeon and team were immediately called. Surgeon explained seriousness of diagnosis and gave him a 35-40% chance of survival. Dr said mortality rate very high. Thank God his aorta (just) ripped because if it had ruptured he wouldn’t be here with us.

I called the kids to come back at 11:30pm to see their dad before surgery.
Bill went in to surgery shortly after midnight. Surgery done at about 5am. Dr said an anuerysm had been on his ascending aorta at least a couple years but it wasn’t found until it started to rip. They removed and replaced 7cm of his aorta.

Bill has 0 risk factors: non-smoker, low blood pressure, low cholesterol, 45 years old, athletic, not overweight, etc. Dr.’s attribute all of that to his survival but surgeon 100% sure genetic and insisted on having the children scanned and tested on a regular basis.

Bill has been home from the hospital a little over a week now. (He went to ER on Sunday and came home Friday) He is healing but gets short of breath just putting his socks on. Right now, we are just taking it one day at a time.

Rosalie Wetherell-49

Name: Rosalie Wetherell
Age at time of Dissection: 49
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 2 February 2009
Tell Us Your Story:

Hi, I’m Rosalie, AKA, Roe. I’m a Stafford type B ascending survivor. My dissection goes back a whooping 7 and a 1/2 years. It happened on Super bowl Sunday. I had spent the day alone because I had felt to lousy to go to a party with my husband. I was crazy restless and had, had extreme gas building up under my rib cage for the past 6 days. I had been throwing up every thing I tried to eat or drink. That night I finally fell asleep on the couch when an insane tearing woke me up. I knew some thing epic had just happened.

To shorten my story, 3 days later was when a young Dr. had the where with all to order a CT scan. and saw the very small part of a tear. He ordered a second scan on my chest and found the tear went up another 58 cm. They found room for me in an ICU unit in a hospital 30 miles away from my very small home town.

I don’t remember a whole lot about the ride over. I remember doctors swarming around me. Being rolled up and down hallways, in and out of elevators. The sound of nurses telling me to be still. I was in and out of my senses for what seemed a very long time.

Two days later I was being filled in on my situation. I had been admitted with a blood pressure of 260/190. and a heart rate of 136 and climbing. My prognosis was grim at best Here is where my story gets interesting. Three years earlier on Nov.2 cnd of 2006 my dad had been life flight to the very same hospital with darn near the exact same condition. My father was 83 years old when he suffered his AD. His dissection was located at his aortic arch. It was a complete blow out. The arch was actually severed in 3 pieces. He survived this impossible condition for 11 days.

I found out via an Aunt at my dad’s funeral that 1 of his brothers died during surgery at an attempt to fix an AD in 1996, my uncle was 83.

My team of doctors decided against surgery for my case. I was in ICU for 12 days and sent home with a sack of blood pressure medication. At the time of my release my blood pressure was at 138/127, my heart rate was 72, and I was some thing of an oddity. The nurses aid who was wheeling out to checkout area made this very odd statement, “I’ve never checked any one out of here before, I usually take them to the basement.”

On that note, here I am 7 and a 1/2 years later. I’m taking care of myself by staying on my medication and living an incredibly laid back life style. I have to say this one thing. (maybe this is why after all these years I’m reaching out to people who know exactly what it’s like to live with condition.) I’m not sure where or when this amazing turn of events will take me, but I know this for sure, my dissection changed my life for the best. I’ve been reunited with Christ, my family, met some brave,courageous people and found that my own life has meaning and boundless forward motion. I truly believe a positive out look is more than half the battle. I thank you for all the information you have provided. There was a lot of new things I have at my disposal if I decide to look into some different treatment options.

Stay alert and be ever on the look out. God bless you, Rosalie M. Wetherell.

Gracie Stanwyck-47

Name: Gracie Stanwyck
Age at time of Dissection: 47
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 17 April 2013
Tell Us Your Story:


My name is Gracie, and I am a survivor of an ascending aorta dissection. I had been home from work with a very bad headache, as well as something that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. I was very restless and had a feeling of doom before my husband showed up at home unexpectedly.

He had just asked if there was anything he could get me to help me feel better when it happened. My heart jerked twice before I lost my eyesight as well as any feeling in my right leg and arm. My husband immediately called 911.

I live in a very small community, so getting an ambulance to my house only took 5 minutes. I was taken to our local hospital and then flew by helicopter to Boise, Idaho, which took 57 minutes. A team was already waiting for me to arrive.

The surgeon that saved my life will always be my hero. I now have an abdominal dissection that I have to live with, and continue to have scans to make sure there are no changes.

It is very hard to live with the knowledge that I have a very fragile aorta, but the good news is that I survived.

Hridesh Chandra Pandey-70

Name: Hridesh Chandra Pandey
Age at time of Dissection: 70
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 17 September 2016
Tell Us Your Story:

My father was taken for Aortic valve replacement at the time of operation the doctor found that ascending Aorta intraoperatively noticed to be Aneurysmally dilated 7 cm up toproximal port of arch of aorta.chest closed. Sir the doctor has refused to operate …pls help us out..we have hardly a year and a month.

Nat Honey -14

Name: Nat Honey
Age at time of Dissection: 14
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 4 August 2016
Tell Us Your Story:

My 14 year old daughter died from a ruptured thoracic aorta 2 weeks ago. She had always been relatively healthy, sporty and fit. She had chest pains and nausea suddenly on 4th August, on a regular evening when hanging out at home. I decided quickly to take her to the emergency department at the hospital. An incredible Irish ER doctor, through tenacity and experience was eventually able to identify the problem. She was rushed into emergency surgery.

8 hours later they had replaced her aortic valve and a large part of her ascending aorta. We anxiously waited for her to wake. She was ok. 10 days in hospital, then sent home. We were given specialist appointments to follow up – she had been almost certainly diagnosed with Marfans. Her aorta was badly dissected all the way down to her abdomen, and badly dilated in the thoracic region. We were given a date for more open heart surgery – 2 weeks after she’d left hospital. It would involve a vascular surgeon also.

Massive surgery. She never made it to the surgery – booked for the 9th September. Instead that was the day of her funeral. She died suddenly one day from a massive rupture, it was exactly what I was afraid of. Her case is now the subject of a colonial investigation. Her father, siblings and I are now grieving the loss of our beautiful girl, gone within 4 weeks of her first symptoms. Devastating.

Steve Gerbson-63

Name: Steve Gerbson
Age at time of Dissection: 63
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 3 December 2013
Tell Us Your Story:

Steve Gerbson, right, has his Lavaman race number marked on him at the Hilton Waikoloa Village by a volunteer on Saturday.

Steve Gerbson produces an inspiring story at Lavaman Waikoloa

By John DeGroote West Hawaii Today

Steve Gerbson knows he is lucky to be alive. He acknowledges that every time he recounts the catastrophic medical event that changed his life.

In 2013, Gerbson suffered an ascending aortic dissection, a relatively rare occurrence when the inner layer of the aorta — the large blood vessel branching off the heart — tears. Blood surges through the tear, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to separate.

“The pain was unbelievable,” Gerbson said. “It felt like a ping pong ball exploded in my chest. My wife asked me if she should take me to the emergency room, and I said no — call 911.”

By trade, Gerbson is a live-television producer and filmmaker in Los Angeles. If this was going to happen, he couldn’t have written a better script. The incident occurred in Santa Fe, New Mexico during a drive with his wife, Olivia, to find furniture for their new house. If it would have happened in LA traffic, Gerbson might not have been as lucky as he was. He recalls the EMTs showing up in just minutes, right before he passed out.

According to the New Mexico Heart Institute, 40 percent of people who have an ascending aortic dissection do not make it to the hospital. Only one in three who make it to the hospital survive, so the incident was far from over. However, he wouldn’t remember much of it. It happened on a Monday and Gerbson woke up on Thursday.

He underwent a nine-hour surgery at the Heart Hospital in Albuquerque. He spent three weeks in the hospital recovering, and went through dialysis because of kidney issues. The path to being whole again seemed like a triathlon of a trek.

“I literally could not pick my finger up off my mattress,” Gerbson said. “It took me a while to even get out of bed and I was fairly depressed. You start looking at your mortality. None of it made sense to me.”

Gerbson has always been athletic, playing football in college and high school and building a lengthy marathon resume that includes Boston, LA and New York.

He knew coming back from this was going to be a different beast, but with his wife’s urging, he started chipping away.

“I got back in the pool, would swim 100 yards and be exhausted,” Gerbson said. “But I was working my way back and feeling better.”

In 2014, another hurdle emerged. Gerbson was told that a previously diagnosed abdominal aortic aneurysm was growing. He needed to be operated on — again.

The initial plan would have put Gerbson back in the hospital for two weeks, with an additional two months of recovery. Then an alternative surfaced.

Enter, Dr. Steve Henao, an endovascular surgeon with the New Mexico Heart Institute. He proposed using stents instead of surgery. It was a relatively new type of procedure, but it meant no huge incisions, and more importantly, minimal recovery time. Just a few hours for the surgery and back in the pool in a week.

The LA doctors advised Gerbson against the surgery, but he did his due diligence and researched Henao. He found an article talking about how the New Mexico Heart Institute doctor saved an 84-year-old retired U.S. Army lieutenant without a pulse from an emergency abdominal aortic rupture without invasive major surgery.

That — coupled with the approval of his loved ones — was enough for Gerbson to pull the trigger on the cutting edge operation.

“I’m a filmmaker — I believe in people’s credits,” laughed Gerbson. “I’ve made a living with high-tech stuff in live-television, so it seemed appropriate. And I didn’t want to get opened up again — that was for sure. I said let’s go for it.”

He hasn’t looked back.

Gerbson has some scars — some he will show you, others he won’t. His nose gets runny and he gets cold easily, but finally he feels whole again. That has brought him to the Big Island for Lavaman Waikoloa this weekend.

“I had always heard about Lavaman and it seems like the perfect distance for me right now,” said Gerbson, who owns a timeshare on the Big Island and has been coming annually for almost a decade.

“I’ve reached the point where I don’t really recognize the person looking back at me in the mirror,” the 65-year-old added. “I want to prove to myself I can do it.”

There are obvious risks involved, but Gerbson received the blessings from his doctors last year to start training. Even more importantly, he got the approval from his wife.

“I wasn’t surprised. It’s in his nature to challenge himself,” Olivia Ayela said. “With the doctors being OK with him doing it, I was fine with it. I just tell him not to worry about his time — just have a good time.”

Steve Gerbson acknowledges not worrying about his time might be an issue, but he knows he’s not here to set any records. Instead, he hopes his comeback story — which will be documented by a film crew — will help someone in a similar situation.

“You put things in perspective and examine who you are and what you have gone through after something like this,” Gerbson said. “I hope my story can offer another patient some sort of solace or encouragement that if they have a catastrophic medical event, life isn’t over. You can become whole again — I’m as whole as I ever was.”

Jessica Phan-39

Name: ReapReap3939 Phan
Age at time of Dissection: 39
Type of Dissection: Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 4 July 2016
Tell Us Your Story:

Hello my name is Reap, on July 4th 2000 I experience pain in the middle of my chest that race threw my back. The pain was excruciating for a minute there I thought it was just chest pain. I told my kids to call 911 because I thought I was having chest pain.

They took me to One hospital and they did a ekg send me for cat scan. When they have the results of the Cat scan they then told me I had aortic dissection and that they were going to transfer me to another hospital that’s more advance. I was in the MICU for 6 days. They stabilize my blood pressure. Through out all of this I learn that I had an aortic dissection tybe B.

I have been follow by vascular and they told me that I don’t need surgery right now and to manage it with blood pressure medication. The funny thing is I never have any history of high blood pressure.

My question is, its been almost a month and my blood pressure is good so far. But since the dissection I still experience back pain, low energy, dizziness and out of breath at times. I went to see my vascular doctor he says its my meds.

My body need to get use to it but I feel concern. I’m 39 years old and ever since the dissection I feel really old. I’m I ever going to get my strength back? Should I be worried about my back pain? Should I be worried period?

Bob Smith-27

Name: Bob Smith
Age at time of Dissection: 27
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 1 June 2016
Tell Us Your Story: Hello,
Here is a blog with my experience. Thought I’d share. Thanks for your work!

Natasha Crawford-37

Name: natasha crawford
Age at time of Dissection: 37
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 15 February 2015
Tell Us Your Story:

My daughter and I was at the gas station getting gas and I had an major pain in my chest. It felt like someone was stabbing me and I couldn’t catch my breath all at the same time. My daughter asked me did I want her to call 911 and I just shook my head.

When I got to the hospital I couldn’t take the x-ray because I was in too much pain. I was giving pain medication and I don’t remember anything after that. I woke up two days later in icu. When I seen the doctor that is when I was told that I had a aortic dissection.

They put two mechanical values and that I am also paralyzed from the stomach down. I am still confused and it has been a year already so I am trying to find some information on what was going on.

I have a question:
I had a aortic dissection last year and ended up paralyzed from the stomach down, and I just wanted to know if anyone that has been through the same thing been able to walk again? Please reply.

Jennifer Sanchez-87 (told by daughter)

Name: Jennifer Sanchez
Age at time of Dissection: 87
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 26 March 2016
Tell Us Your Story:

My Mother, aged 87, was pulling weeds in her garden and came in to sit in her recliner because of chest pain. My husband found her unresponsive and called 911. We have since been told it was an ascending aortic dissection, (involving the complete arch)and that without surgery (never performed) her chances were 10% less each hour.

My Sister came from Arkansas,thinking she was coming to a funeral, and my Brother drove in from Wisconsin, trying desperately to get here to New Mexico and hold Mom’s hand before she died.

It is now May 27, Mom is living back in her apartment, is of clear mind,
and everyone has gone home. Today she thought she might vacuum her place herself. ( I forbid that )
She is our miracle patient, and has the Doctors dumbfounded.

Glenys Dell-Daughter’s submission

Name: glenys dell
Age at time of Dissection: 87
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 19 April 2016
Tell Us Your Story:

My mother was diagnosed with a Type A aortic Dissection three weeks ago , the decision was not to operate due to her age and co morbitities. They said that she probably wont make it past two weeks. Her Blood Pressure has always been on the high side and now with just a GTN patch it is sitting at 150/90.

She is very pale and even just walking to the toilet she is breathless, her circulation in her feet is poor at times her feet and toes have a purple tinge to them. She is in good spirits and due to her Alzheimers she is unaware of how unwell she is. My Question is how do the doctors know her prognosis.

We had the intensive care specialist , the vascular specialist , and pallative care specialist tell us that Mum would not be around in 2 weeks. I cannot see anything happening anytime soon , which is good but I just wish they wouldn’t make these judgement. What would be the chances of Mum beating this condition?

Jenny Dupuis-58 Husband’s

Name: Jenny Dupuis
Age at time of Dissection: 58
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 20 November 2015
Tell Us Your Story:

This is about my husband,Roy! He was rushed to the hospital and taken to surgery immediately!,for having a STROKE FIRST!!! Then after that surgery the doctors saw “something” and needed another surgery but this time open chest/heart.!!

I was in shock!! He had his gall bladder out a week before all this!!! He was paralyzed on the left side because of the stroke! But with PT and OT he is walking!!! No cane,walker,or any device! He does “tire”easily. I’m just over the moon he is alive with me still!! We just celebrated our 32 Anniversary on April 7,1984.! WE WENT OUT TO EAT, his was a grilled seafood platter and I had boiled craw-fish!.

I had left the house to run 2 errands, and when I walked in,there Roy was!! He had never moved but was alert and knew something was very wrong. After I saw he couldn’t move his his left side,is when I called 911!! Thank God we made it to the hospital as soon as we did!!

He was in and out of surgeries for over 12 hours!! He’s on a no salt diet or he can have a little dash! His blood pressure has to be on the low side. His tear goes down aways!!

Please contact me about anything else we can do to get the use of his hand and foot back.
God Bless you!!
Jenny Dupuis
He stayed in the hospital for over 2 months!!

Don Stephens-63

Name: Don Stephens
Age at time of Dissection: 63
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 25 March 2013
Tell Us Your Story:

Ihad a type B aortic dissection and I was given a 5% chance of surviving increasing 5% each day over four days. I am currently on 9 tablets a day, undergo regular blood tests and CT scans however, I am alive.

I also suffer from PTSD which was caused by the Vietnam War and would like to know if a specialist can confirm that there is evidence to prove that there is a link between PTSD and aortic dissection

Steve Wilmot-54

Name: Steve Wilmot
Age at time of Dissection: 54
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 16 January 2016
Tell Us Your Story:

My incident started on a Saturday morning with what I thought was a heart attack. I tried unsuccessfully to shake it off. Several hours later I went to emergency and spent 9 hours in an examination room having several ECGs and blood work. At around 900 PM I was told to go home get some rest and l should be back to work soon. I spent 3 long days and nights at home in a lot of pain but trying to get things done around home. On Tuesday I decided to go into town to get a prescription for pain killers filled. After the cab dropped me off I could barely get around I was so weak and in pain. I managed to make it back to the house and started getting dinner ready for my work buddies who were coming back soon.

At around 600 PM my right leg went numb and I was unable to put any weight on it. At around 700pm I had one of my work buddies drop me at emergency for the second time. The doctor that saw me this time knew I had something seriously wrong with me. He thought it may be blood clots in my leg. I was loaded in an ambulance for the 3 hour ride from Slave lake Alberta to Edmonton. We first went to the Grey Nuns hospital were I saw a doctor who felt I had no blood clots in my leg thought I should be CT scanned to see if I had blood clots in my chest. This is when my condition came to light and I was quickly loaded into another ambulance and rushed to the U of A hospital.

Things are somewhat blurry after this but my clothes were gone and I was in pre OP surrounded by the people who were going to save my life. I remember the surgeon telling me that the surgery he was about to preform on me is one of the most complex they do and that there is up to a 15% chance I would not make it. Well thank God and the great team of doctors and nurses, especially my surgeon Dr Mullen I came through surgery.

Recovery has been tough since leaving the hospital but I count myself lucky to have an unbelievable family to take care of me. Without their support I would be lost. It is 4 weeks yesterday since my surgery and I am still struggling to understand what has happened. Recovery is a long bumpy road. I’m so happy I have the support I believe I will make it..

Jeff Wolstenhole-36

Name: Jeff Wolstenhole
Age at time of Dissection: 36
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 18 June 2014
Tell Us Your Story:

While driving for work, I felt a pop in my chest and then an immediate sharp pain in my back. My heart started to beat rapidly and I started sweating as I pulled over on side of expressway.

The pain in my back got so bad I was hunched over steering wheel as I called 911.

The ambulance raced me to emergency dept. where I was sent for CT scan; within an hr I was on the operating table.

Beneva Wells-38

Name: Beneva Wells
Age at time of Dissection: 38
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 21 October 2015
Tell Us Your Story:

I‘m an RN and started to have chest pain at work one night at 2:30am while talking to a coworker in the hallway. They sat me down took my BP it was 207/117 insisted I go to the ED. Long story short I described the pain to the ER doctor as it radiating to my back. She ordered a CTA and found it aortic dissection. Ive had high BP most of my life and recently been juggling meds to regulate it.

The surgery was really intense and an eye opener for me. I’ve been married for 19yrs to my high school sweetheart and he took care of me every step of the way in and out of the hospital. I have a beautiful 17yr of daughter about to graduate from high school soon.

I’m about to make some serious changes in my life as a result of my experience. My main issues have been the after effects after the surgery. My recovery hasn’t been been good. I have nerve damage from incisions(which i have 2 midline and axilla ) and I can feel my sternal wires as they pinch and pull on a day basis. I’m in constant pain or discomfort and had to see pain management doctors.

My surgeon has decided his part is done so he sees no reason for me to continue to see him unless there is a problem. Is it possible for sternal wires to be placed incorrectly? Is there anyone in my similar situation?

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