I am an aortic aneurysm survivor. I have struggled with chronic pain and various conditions related to an undiagnosed form of connective tissue disorder, which also included an aortic aneurysm that has been monitored since I was eight. When I was 14 years old, I started having mysterious back pain that the doctors could not explain. Over the next 8 months, I was in and out the ER.
In August 2010, I went in for a routine echocardiogram to check my aneurysm. Later that night, the head of cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins told my parents and I that I needed an aortic valve sparing root replacement as soon as possible. Three weeks later, on September 3, 2010, I had open heart surgery to repair my aorta. Due to complications from the surgery, I spent two weeks in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), which included my 15th birthday. A week after my original surgery, I underwent another surgery to implant a pacemaker to treat post surgical heart block.
Since then, I have endured seven more surgeries and hundreds of procedures and scans. I am currently a graduate student at Grand Canyon University earning my master’s degree in counseling. I have survived against some tough odds and I will continue to fight like a girl!
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.