Personal Stories: Doreen

Hi Brian, my name is Doreen.  I was 47 years old and in excellent health and condition.  I was not a smoker, not overweight, no family history of heart disease, no blood pressure irregularities, exercise regularly  and eat very well.   On December 21, 2003 , I experienced pressure in my chest and a heated feeling.  There was no other symptoms.

I waited awhile to see if it would subside.  It did not and I knew it was something I never experienced before.  I was a little scared because I was alone.  I felt it couldn't' be a heart attack-Not Me!  I am too young and in great health.  I decided to drive to the closest hospital. (10 minutes from my home)  They kept me overnight due to chest pain.  The EKG and chest x-ray was negative as was the blood work.

I started to get severe migraines, so they gave me some morphine for the pain.  I was released the next day and told I was either under stress or had a touch of gastrointestinal problems.  The whole next week I felt really tired and not myself. I work with autistic preschoolers (speech therapy).  My regular doctor thought I may have a virus and just wait it out.  On 12/31 I called and went to see my doctor-I was not right, I knew it.

He examined me and heard a murmur.  He sent me to another hospital for a cat scan and eco.  They found a dissection of my ascending aorta!  It was like a nightmare!  Me?!! They had to rush me my ambulance to NYU. (police escort because of New Year's Eve in NYC)   I had no idea I was going to be operated on until I got there. The team was waiting for me!  How scary!  I now am thankful for my 2nd chance, and would like to talk to others who experienced this problem. 

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