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1. Extreme fatigue - most likely due to the fact you just had a major surgery and survived what over 80% of people didn't. Take the time to rest. Don't fight it. Your body needs to recover. Give it a couple months.
2. Depression - For most people, being confined to a bed and feeling like you are going to die at any moment when your life has been anything but confined, it is natural and normal to feel depressed. Professional help has been suggested and encouraged. A lot of people feel better after a few months. Talk to your doctor or connect with another survivor and see how you can work it out. Just know, you WILL get depressed.
3. Memory Loss - "Pump-Head" - You will hear this term repeated by many seasoned survivors. When you have open heart surgery, it is protocol to hook you up to a "heart-lung machine" to keep you alive. The majority, if not all survivors, will suffer from continuing memory loss. It can be frustrating. It can add to your depression. A helpful suggestion is to write things down in one journal then there's no need to "try to remember" which Post-It Note you wrote it on!
4. Continuing Fatigue - Blood pressure medication such as beta-blockers can often cause fatigue. It's part of the side effects.
Adapting to your new life after a dissection or open heart surgery is not easy. But it can be done and YOU can do this! KNOWING this will hopefully help you understand what you are going through the first 6 months out of the hospital. Always remember, you are your strongest advocate and part of your medical team now. As such, be sure to discuss all of these issues with your doctors. Write down your questions AND their answers.
First of all, if you've survived an Aortic Rupture and/or Aortic Dissection, CONGRATULATIONS!!! You have crossed the chasm of the shadow of death. You have beaten the odds. You are now part of a family of survivors who all have their own history, their own stories of recovery, and their own journeys of challenges and triumphs. Your new condition may be medically managed or maybe you have to have emergency surgery to save your life.
Have you had these questions?
- How fragile am I?
- Are my days numbered?
- Are there other people out there with this condition?
- What do I do now?
- How did this happen to me?
- What exactly happened to me?
To answer your questions:
- You are as fragile as you can be RIGHT NOW. Today is the most fragile you will ever feel. Everyday you will feel stronger and stronger. There are survivors who have lived 20 or 30+ years past Aortic Rupture and/or Aortic Dissection.
- Every situation, every dissection, and every survivor history is different and unique. Knowing that there are survivors who have lived past multiple decades should give you hope that you have many good years ahead of you. However, there WILL be life changes! There WILL be a paradigm shift in daily activities. And as much as we all embrace our comfort and stability, there WILL be new and unexpected changes in your life!
- The best activities for the first few months is to rest, nap, heal, take your medicine, drink plenty of water, get to rehab such as Physical Therapy and/or Cardio Therapy, and visit your cardiologist and/or vascular surgeon on a regular basis. You WILL feel tired. You WILL feel weak. You WILL feel dizzy. And when you laugh, you will feel like you are going to black out!
- Our website has provided several links for you to research the causes and treatments of these conditions. In addition, there are many survivors who are ready to support you and help you understand how and what happened to you.
- Please click Contact Us link above and let us know who you are and how you are doing. Someone will contact you within 24 hours!