January 21, 2016, I woke up around 5 am with the worst pain in my upper back. I couldn't go back to sleep. I tried ice and ibuprofen. Nothing worked. The pain was getting unbearable. I called 9-1-1.
When I was with the paramedics and in the ER, I was screaming in pain, “Please help me!!!” They couldn’t give me any painkillers because they didn’t know what was wrong with me yet. My blood pressure was over 200/100!!! After x-rays and CT scan, a doctor told me that I had a tear in my aorta. I didn’t know what an aorta was, but it sounded serious. IT WAS!!!
I was transferred to another hospital that could handle my condition. Couple days later they found two more aortic tears now three in total. I was getting worse. I was bleeding internally which if not fixed would kill me. I still remember the surgeon standing over my bed telling me that I needed surgery and that my family needed to get to the hospital ASAP. I thought, “Why? So, I could say goodbye to them? Get my affairs in order?”
The surgeon told me that there was a 30% chance that I lose my left arm and 10% chance lose my legs because where the tears were in my aorta.
Unfortunately, they had given me blood thinners to lower my BP. They couldn’t do the surgery on blood thinners because my blood wouldn’t clot. Now a balancing act, between needing surgery now and waiting for the “thinners” to get through my system.
The first surgery was stopped because there was blood in my spinal fluid which could cause paralysis. I had to wait another 12 to 24 hours for surgery. Hopefully the “thinners” would be out of my system by then and I wouldn’t die before they could do surgery.
The wait was scary but helped by the great love and support from my friends and family. I had over 300 posts on my Facebook page praying for me and wishing me well.
The second surgery was successful. I now had extra hardware in me. Five stents in my aorta. Still had my left arm and legs.
Three months later, I had a third surgery. This time I had an allergic reaction to the “dye” used to see the tears. I woke up from surgery with my arms tied to the bed and a tube down my throat. Not a pleasant experience to have the tube removed. Later the surgeon would tell me that he was afraid that he had lost me because of the allergic reaction.
Now four years later, I have lost 35 lbs. since my surgery. Walk 5 to 10 miles a day. Eat a lot better.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY?!?!
I nearly died because didn’t take care of my health. More specifically control my hypertension (High Blood Pressure). I used to brag that I hadn’t been to the doctor in years. Realize now that wasn’t a good thing to brag about.
Hypertension is called the silent killer. You only know something is wrong when something bad happens like a stroke, heart attack, tears in your aorta…