Personal Stories: Jeff

On March 13, 2001 my aorta dissected. I fortunately sensed something was wrong and made my way to the hospital treatment center a mile and a half away. By the time I got there I couldn't move my legs. They transported me to the main hospital and performed emergency surgery. My prognosis was 50/50 to survive the surgery and 95% paralization. My aortic valve was replaced and my aortic arch has a dacron sleeve.

After I woke up from surgery, I could move my toes somewhat. There were all kinds of symptoms I experienced over the years from the blood flow being cut off to my spinal cord. Sharp pains in my feet and legs and other areas. Numbness like frostbite in my legs and feet. In the beginning they were new and more frequent. All these were not permanent. I still can get some of them but because I know they will go away it doesn't bother me that much. When I got out after surgery, I too couldn't read most sites because they were very negative and felt sorry for themselves. They made my stomach hurt just reliving it. No positive energy or information at all. That was a feeling I wasn't prepared to give into.

I live each day with the prospect of more surgery but so far I am good. I walk, work out and do most things people 10-15 years younger can't do. I exercise regularly when I can and just live. My doctors told me to be careful and enjoy my life. It is fairly easy for me to get wrapped up in living and to forget that I am supposed to be being careful. Careful has been engrained in my head but doesn't run my life. I have been living with this for over 7 years. I would estimate that I am approximately 85% of what I was before the surgery. I have moments that it gets the best of me but I don't give in to the fear.

When you get out it is scary. Everything scares you and is unknown whether it is something to be scared of. I would just check them out even if it was with a catscan, and then if it wasn't anything I would try to keep that in mind the next time. It may take awhile but eventually you become more one with your feelings and sensations.

I didn't remember any of it but my body did. Whenever something happened that my body would remember, it would freak out and scare the heck out of me. As you get used to it, those feelings will dissipate.

Good Luck. If you have any questions of me, lets see if you can ask.


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