I am a 54 year old dissection survivor such as yourself. I am also
living proof that no good deed goes unpunished, I am a living organ
donor (3-16-2001, kidney) who suffered a triple type A dissection on
9-21-2003. I am certain that the meds are what make us feel so tired
and wasted after the least exertion although regurgitation in my
aortic valve is a definite contributor.
In my case I am just happy to be alive. The night it happened, I was
in the shower when I felt a vertical burning pain down the length of
my sternum. I thought it was a mild heart attack so I dried off,
walked into the hall, called down to my wife to ask no questions and
call the EMT's. I walked down stairs, took 2 ,aspirin and sat down to
wait. Luckily the EMT's arrived within 5 minuets, immediately
diagnosed it as a triple A, and transported me to Seton Hospital. The
hospital was my wife's request and I thank God for it because it was
possibly the only hospital with the experience required to save my
As it turned out I was the recipient of 5 miracles that night. The
first was the EMT's rapid diagnosis, the second was my wife's request
as to the hospital, third was that the doctor that was qualified to
diagnosis a dissection just happened to be present, fourth, the right
surgeon, who had performed 3 dissection surgeries that week was at a
nearby hospital, and 5, there was an angel on my shoulder or the good
Lord just did not want me at this time.
I was later informed by my surgeon that my odds of never making it to
the hospital were 92%. When we took the EMT's out to dinner 6 months
later they said that in their opinion I should have never made it to
the hospital. I received 18 pints of blood during the surgery, which
included 3 stents and an aortic valve which was split along with the
I now suffer from a 50% reduction in renal function, really wacky
blood pressure, significant regurgitation trough my aortic valve,
frequent shortness of breath and fatigue. My doctor says to never pick
up weights greater than 25 lbs. and take 3 naps a day. Since I am self
employed (in a specialty stone wall business) and take care of a 100%
disabled wife I found the doctors request interesting. In fact my wife
was in a wheelchair and had been for 18 months when this when this
occurred. In addition to this, we had just moved to a new home
and she had not met any of our new neighbors and didn't even have a
house key yet!
As bad as this all seems things worked out very well, our next door
neighbor came out when she heard the siren, and ended up spending 2
days with my wife at the hospital. She also saw that my wife had
groceries until my wife, Wanda's, family arrived from out of state.
Other neighbors also helped.
The amusing result of all my disaster is that I now enjoy people more
than ever before and enjoy life greatly. However, I would like to look
into the feasibility of replacing the aortic valve before it's to
late. I understand that a leaky valve can lead to like threatening
complications if not corrected.
By the way, my wife Wanda is a cancer survivor (bilateral
nephrectomies from renal cell carcinoma 9/96) and was on dialysis for
4.5 years until she received one of my kidneys in 2003.
By the grace of God we are both survivors.
Update on his wife's condition:
I am sorry that it took so long to reply to your request to use my
E-mail. Certainly you may do so! Your site has already helped me
by answering several questions. We were in Houston for several days
seeking a reason for my wife, Wanda's, inability to hold down food
for the past 2 months.
Although her problem doesn't involve dissection it does involve
problems with the medical community and diagnosis of medical
conditions. Wanda had been suffering both dysentery and vomiting
for more than 2 months when her neurologist hospitalized her for
tests. During her stay she was attended be 5 or 6 doctors, all
specialists who, in the end, could find nothing wrong. She was sent
home after 7 days knowing a lot about what was not wrong with
her...and no clue to what was wrong.
Two weeks after her release, we asked her doctor to refer her to a
gastroenterologist and that they look into her upper stomach. After
a simple procedure lasting less than 15 minutes a ulcer was located
that caused the problem.
The lesson that applies here, in my opinion, is that we must always
think for ourselves and always maintain control over our own
Again thanks for the site...it is a Godsend.
P.S.: Are there any meetings or get together planed for dissection
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