Category: Twenties

HR Yost-29

Name: HR Yost
Age at time of Dissection: 29
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 2 February 2007
Tell Us Your Story:

Less than twenty-four hours after delivering my first child, I became a medical miracle. So, here’s the short version!

I suffered a seizure, a couple strokes, and a couple heart attacks. Blood clots pierced through my kidneys, lower right lung, right leg and one ended at the carotid artery, plus I flat-lined (died) a couple times. These were symptoms of the bigger problem-an ascending aorta dissection. I was told that four doctors passed on operating; luckily my doctor left his daughter’s 10th birthday party to operate. He gave me a 1-2% chance of survival given the severity of the situation and all my complications—apparently a collapsed lung, a semi dead leg, and one destroyed kidney constitute complications.

I made it through the first marathon heart surgery even though I was put on bypass and went into cardiac arrest, twice. My family was told that the next twelve hours were critical. But, my heart was bleeding out and I was taken back into the operating room in only a third of the given time. The chance for survival dropped. What’s less than 1%?

Everyone worried that if I did survive, I may show signs of brain damage. Apparently, I had gone 18-22 minutes with little or no oxygen. Then, of course, I could lose my leg or its function. However, I survived the second surgery. The worst part for my family was being told that I was still unresponsive and should have revived hours ago. A coma almost seems prosaic at this time.

It took approximately five days, and another leg surgery, before I really woke up and was aware enough of my surroundings. I woke up with my hands tied to the bed, a swan in my neck, a ventilator down my throat, tubes in my chest, and at one point I was told I was hooked up to almost two dozen machines during my “time out”. Eventually, I lost the ventilator and chest tubes; I exchanged them for an oxygen mask and breast pump. I could barely move my arms and the nurses in the CVICU had a heck of a time helping me with the pump—especially trying not to displace the swan in my neck, oxygen mask and all the other tubes running in or out of my body. It took only one day before my doctor told me that I would never be able to breast feed. I would be on blood pressure medication for the rest of my life.

I left the CVICU in about two weeks and the hospital only days after for home care. I was wary of any more time in the hospital; I had a young son who needed to know his mommy. The doctor took pity on me and released me early. It was a tough time for me. I had two craters in my right leg from the fasciotomy, and a chest wound that needed dressing as well. I was home with a car I couldn’t drive, a son I couldn’t hold, and a rear end I couldn’t wipe.

My recuperation lasted almost six months and involved: due to infection, a third leg surgery attaching a WoundVac (a vacuum that sucks the wound closed; it’s as grisly as it sounds) another heart surgery to prevent congestive heart failure, and months of occupational and physical therapy.

Though partially paralyzed, I’m still kickin’. I never really went through any depression. I realized almost immediately that the Lord had a plan for me. In the CVICU, I could not remember the year and had trouble with my short term memory, but I could remember Joshua 1:9 “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I did not have to be terrified; I had the Lord. I even remembered, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not harm you…” I had hope.

To be honest, I didn’t ask the preverbal “why me” when I learned that I would never run again or that there would be no more children. I didn’t even ask it when the medical bills rolled in. Instead I asked, “Why not me”? I’d gladly choose to do it again if one person can come to the saving grace of God. If my story can inspire one person, then it has all been worth it.

Amy Kionis-29

Name: Amy Kionis
Age at time of Dissection: 29
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 29 September 2005
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While 37 weeks pregnant with my second daughter, I suffered an aortic rupture. this came on suddenly and was rushed to two different hospitals where the second hospital successfully delivered my daughter and did open heart surgery.

I was given a carbomedics bi-leaflet valve in place of the part of the aorta that ruptured. On Easter Sunday 2010, I suffered another dissection. This one in the abdominal aorta. It currently measures 3.6 and no doctor around me will repair it until it reaches 5cm.

I am in pain everyday and visit the local Er frequently because of the pain. Currently no one knows why I’m in pain all the time and it’s very frustrating. I never thought that I would be a victim of two aortic dissections.

Olivia Moughon-20

Name: Olivia Moughon
Age at time of Dissection: 20
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 22 February 2010
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While I was still in high school I began having abdominal pain with nausea. Sometimes the pain was in my back, shoulder and chest. My parents took me to our family practice doctor who referred me to a gastroenterologist. I had x-rays, endoscopy, scans and nothing showed up. I saw several doctors, 3 gastroenterolgists, a surgeon. The doctors questioned us and thought I was faking this since they couldn’t find anything. After a while the pain lessened and I thought maybe it had gone away or at least whatever it was had healed itself. When I was 20 the pain came back and gradually got worse.

In January of 2010 I went on a ski trip with a group from our church. I had been feeling OK that day but suddenly I began having some of the worst pain I had ever experienced. I thought I was going to die the pain was so intense. I was taken to a small hospital near the ski resort and checked. The doctor thought I was possibly having a gallbladder attack but nothing showed up. When I got home my parents took me to the emergency room. They did a CT scan (without contrast), x-rays, and lab work but said everything was normal.

We found out later that the CT scan showed my heart was greatly enlarged and the radiologist recommended an echocardiogram. We were never given this information or told to follow-up with anyone. We were told everything was normal but that it still could be my gallbladder. My mother who is a nurse talked to a surgeon at her work and he agreed to see me. After he examined me he said that even though the tests were negative the pain probably was from my gallbladder. He took my gallbladder out laparoscopically in January of 2010.

I had the surgery without any problems but the pain continued afterwords. When I went in for my 2 week follow-up post surgery I told him my pain was no better. He put me on some anti-inflammatory. After another week or two the pain was no better. I went back to see the surgeon and he ordered a CT scan with contrast of the abdomen.

It took a week or two before the scan was done. The scan showed an abdominal aortic dissection. The surgeon called my mother and told her to get me to the emergency room immediately. I was scanned again but this time chest and abdomen. This scan revealed a large 8-9cm ascending aortic aneursym. I had surgery the next day to repair the aneursym and replace my aortic valve which was severly damaged. My descending aorta is dissected to the pelvis.

This causes a lot of pain. I have just completed genetic testing and I am positive for a variant of the Marfan gene. No one else in our family has had an aortic dissection or aneurysm that we know of. Even though I have ongoing problems I feel very blessed to be alive. My aneurysm was found just in time. I am on medication for my heart rate, blood pressure and pain. I have had to put off completing college but hope to be back in school in January of 2012.

Thanks for stopping by to view our stories. Please help me keep the site going by shopping at’s very much appreciated. Brian Tinsley founder of (please book mark the link once you get to for future purchases!)

Daniel Watson-29

Name: Daniel Watson
Age at time of Dissection: 29
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 26 November 2005
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On January 20, 2005, I was at home when I stood up and felt a pop in my chest. I thought it was weird so I sat down and stood up again. This time when I stood up, the pain was more intense and it was followed by an intense pain shooting down my back and up my neck, locking my jaw, and making my vision in my left eye go white. I had no history of any medical problems at all but feeling this, I knew something was wrong, big time wrong. I had a gut feeling that I needed to get help fast. I knew I was in no shape to drive so I walked to my parents house which is several hundred yards behind ours. When they saw me, they immediately drove me to the hospital.

Upon arriving at the hospital, I was taken back immediately. Tests were done and x-rays were taken but the doctor I was seeing was convinced I was just stressed and wanted to send me home. I was also later told they thought I may have been there looking looking for dope. Fortunately they gave my Dilaudid for the pain and I soon after began to vomit. That ruled out the chances of me being a dope fiend. After the blood tests came back he then noticed I was bleeding but he was unsure of where. The x-rays showed nothing and the doctor didn’t want to do a ct scan because he thought it was unnecessary. After the nurse pushed the issue, they finally ordered a scan. She told me she thought something was wrong by me describing the back pain and the vision issues. The scan was done and when the doctor returned with the results, he looked like he saw a ghost. All he said was that I was bleeding in my Aorta and I needed surgery. We asked when we would need to schedule the s
surgery, he said there was a team on the way to get me, don’t move at all, and they would be giving me meds to keep my bp as low as possible. We asked about a helicopter and he replied they didn’t have time to wait for one. He said that was all he could tell up and the team at the next hospital would tell us more. He than closed the curtain and walked out. I heard him on the phone talking to the surgeon at Union Memorial and he said,”We have him stable, if he makes it to you, you have to operate immediately.” The ambulance soon arrived and I was on my way. My wife who was 5 months pregnant at the time had to follow.

Upon arriving at Union Memorial, I was greeted by my surgeon, Dr. Dibos who said I would be taken back to surgery then. Still unaware of the severity of my situation, I said I had family on the way and I would like to wait for them. He said I had no time and had to go now. As they began to wheel me in, my wife and parents arrived. He gave me a minute with them while he explained the situation. He said I had an 8.4cm dissecting aortic aneurysm with a 1.3″ tear in the inner wall of my aorta. He said it may have been caused by a leaking bicuspid aortic valve that had gone undetected until now. He began to go into a description of the surgery and at this point I was no good. I said goodbye to my wife, unborn daughter, and parents, not knowing if I would ever see them again. By this time the pain meds had fully worn off and I was in terrible pain from the blood building up in my lower back between the walls of my aorta. All I wanted was to get into the OR and be put under so the pain would go away. From this point, all I remember was entering the OR and someone saying they were going to give me something to make me feel better about being there and I was out. My next memory was several days later.

I was given a St Jude Aortic valve with several inches of synthetic aorta. I was told that due to the size of my aneurysm, and its close proximity to the bicuspid valve, a natural tissue valve was not an issue since the valve was stretched to badly.

Since the surgery My life has completely changed. I now have 2 children, ages 2 and 5. My wife definitely keeps my going. After the feelings of surviving a situation like this wore off, I have fought depression off and on for the past 6 years. I wish I could say it has been easy but it hasn’t. I would take the physical pains of recovery over the mental struggles anytime. Being 29 and having had no prior symptoms or illness, I felt like I went to sleep and woke up and was told I can never do any of the things in life I love doing. Almost all of this is due to the Coumadin. I feel that dealing with the depression that some people face after going through something like this is just as important as the physical recovery. Not everyday is a bad day but when it hits, it hits hard. Now I definitely appreciate my family and friends more and it gave me a entirely new outlook on life. Priories have definitely changed. I now feel now more than ever that life is one big experience and you only get one shot, or maybe two if you are lucky. I intend to have an awesome experience while I am here and not put off fun times for later in life because nobody is guaranteed that time. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.



Thanks for stopping by to view our stories. Please help me keep the site going by shopping at’s very much appreciated. Brian Tinsley founder of (please book mark the link once you get to for future purchases!)

David Beaton-27

Age at time of Dissection: 27
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection:  4 July 2007
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Please excuse the complete disregard 4 the English language  I am a horror-able speller and an even worse typer and this would take me an eternity w/out spell check and worrying about punctuation and capitols  so for that i do apologize  well any who i guess here we go   my symptoms started years before with blind spots flashes and lose of sight in 1 eye all together for a brief period also i would get chest pains and headaches if i over exerted  myself i was born with a bicuspid aorta instead of a tricuspid that was never diagnosed.

The night before my dissection we were celebrating my fathers birthday and i might have been partying a little hardy which I’ve been known 2 do now and then  at some point in the night i was hanging in my room with sum people and passed out when i awoke around six a.m i hoped on my computer and started playing a game around seven i stood up to stretch and that’s when the famous dissection  popping and burning started with an immediate headache lower back pain and a funny feeling in my legs so being a bit dense i just laid down and tried 2 sleep it off  after about 2 to 3 min. i realized something was really wrong my headache had gone away but the feeling in my legs had intensified like bolts of lightning were shooting threw them  by the time the paramedics showed up i had collapsed and was unable to move my legs  the hospital.

That they brought me to was the one i had visited three times within months complaining of chest pain and was sent home w/ Xannex and told it was just anxiety thankfully if you look half dead and covered in sweat they take you serious at some point after the mri  my memory stops and kicks back in 2 weeks later what I missed was being med flighted to m.g.h them opting to do the vascular surgery.

First to save any hope of me having some kinda feeling and movement below my waist and also a heart surgery to implant my mechanical heart valve a month and a half later after 5 days in rehab is woke with chest pains and before i knew it i was back at m.g.h being told my valve was leaking and i would need another heart surgery  immediately  so anyway here i am after 2 10 hour heart surgery s and an 11 hour vascular surgery four and a half months in the hospital and three years of up an downs and fear and uncertainty  at the time this is being written is the worse I’ve felt since the whole shmeal maybe I’m just slow and the gravity of the situation finally hit me well thanks for letting me share i wish you all the best and hope all the sexy people with mechanical heart valves many more years of annoying ticking in your ears!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for stopping by to view our stories. Please help me keep the site going by shopping at’s very much appreciated. Brian Tinsley founder of (please book mark the link once you get to for future purchases!)

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