Personal Stories: Tony Penland

My name is Tony Penland I am 35 years old, on September 11th of this year{08} I was taken to Duke University Hospital, thinking maybe I was having a heart attack. I had passed out 2 times in our bathroom here at home and my wife called 911 as soon as possible. Now I don't really remember much after the ride to the hospital only hearing my wife and mother and sisters talking in the emergency room.

I woke up in the ICU department 4 days later having no idea what had happened. My surgeon came in with my family and told me what had taken place. I had an aortic dissection surgery. He told me that in the aorta there are 3 leaflets that come off of it, well I was born with only 2, so over time the back flow and pressure build up caused the dissection. It was still a few days later until I realized exactly how serious this procedure really is. During the week in the hospital the diabetic doctors that were working with me came in and thanked me for letting them work on my case, because there was no reason for her to be standing there talking to me.

Well that's when it sat in that I was blessed by the hand of god. I don't think I have to describe the emotions that I felt, I'm sure you guys understand what I'm talking about. I am extremely thankful to my surgeon Dr. Jeffery Gaca and his team, there are no words to describe how i fell about these people, I owe this man more than he could ever know.

I know that there are so many life changes that I have to make, I have to find a whole new line of work to be in, and the meds I will be on for the rest of my life, but compared to the alternative I think I can handle it. I am so thank full to find this site, it is like another blessing in my life. Look forward to talking with all of you in the future. Thanks for letting me tell my story.

Tony Penland

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