Personal Stories: Henry Church

Hi Brian,

I live in Zimbabwe and constantly travel the continent of Africa. I had been in some pretty rural and backward areas just days before my Type B Dissection, which occurred within 15 minutes of Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, IN. What a blessing for me, and most likely a "life saver."

I was in ICU for 4 days and a regular room for 3 more, then discharged.

I have had 2 CT scans and have another on the 19th of this month. The dilation of the aorta was between 3.5 - 4 cm. I know that is within the safety guidelines but don't know how serious. I have not had any pain since leaving the hospital but am still not very energetic and tire rather quickly, especially in my legs. Not sure why.

This is totally new to me. I didn't even know what it was until it hit, suddenly like a bolt from the blue.

How soon should I expect my energy level to increase? I am eating salt and pretty much cholesterol free. I am keeping my bp down. Have lost about 15 lbs. Have been granted a 3 month medical leave by my employer, but would hope to resume most of my work after this is over. Is it ever over?? What are the chances of renewed travel? Anyone have any experience??

Update Dec 12th, 2004:

Greetings Brian and other Aortic Dissection survivors.  I had an extensive
descending dissection on the 31st of March, while I happened to be in
Indianapolis on business.  I live in the back woods of Africa.  I thank the
same Good Lord for putting me where I was at the time, and getting me to
Methodist Hospital where I met Dr. John Fehrenbacher.  Dr. John does about
70 or so resections each year.  I spent time recovering from the trauma of
the dissection then went in for a full resection.  I had a 5.5 aneurysm and
knew I could not continue my work in peace without taking care of it.  The
surgery was extensive, as you know.  12 hrs. later I had a new aorta.  That
was on the 19th of July.  On the 17th of November we left for Africa and I
am in Zimbabwe as I write this.  I have no ill effects other than post
surgery tightness, etc..  My energy level is good though not quite up to
what it was before.  I am just very thankful to be alive, thanks to the
grace of God and the skills of Dr. Fehrenbacher.


Henry Church, Warsaw, Indiana

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