I was a 51 year old "bullet-proof" business owner who had finally had things in order but life took a turn in January 1995. Aneurysms, heart attacks, strokes and the like happened to other people. I was a part owner of a pharmacy and home health care business. I am now medically retired and am a Hospice Volunteer, Volunteer Hospital Chaplain, and TeleCare lay-minister with Faith Lutheran Church in Sun City, California. My physical duties are limited and I still tire easily but have found many ways I can still contribute to God, my community and fellowmen. I am happily married to my bride Kay of 22 years. Without God, Guardian Angels, dedicated doctors and medical staff and my wife, I don't think I would be alive today. Miracles do happen.
On January 15, 1995, I suffered a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm at my home and survived. The paramedics keep me alive until arrival at Rapid City Regional Hospital, where I underwent 7.5 hours of intensive surgery. During the surgery a blood clot the size of a football was removed from my abdominal cavity. My blood volume was replaced 8 times during surgery. The aneurysm was disected on multiple planes, and repaired with a "Y" graft. My surgeon was Dr. E.J.S. Picardi, and with the help of God guiding his skillful hands, I survived three "surgical deaths", 85 days in ICU and 2 mo. in rehabilitation. I was released to my home (now declared permanently disabled) to recover best as possible.
Complication ensued immediately after surgery. I learned later that I had a perforated colon at the same time. My lungs filled with fluid, I had an irregular heart beat, and was placed on a temporary pacemaker. My kidneys failed, I filled with fluid, and I was generally a mess. I was given less than a 2 percent chance of living. I had nine surgical procedures, including the original surgery, illiac surgery in each leg, a shunt placed in my left forearm for kidney dialysis (done every other day at times removing up to 12 -15 lbs. of water), removal of 10 inches of large colon near the rectum, incisional hernia repaired in the abdomen, etc., etc., and "floppy right foot" paralysis.
I am truly a medical wonder. I was not able to walk after initial surgery and had to learn to walk over again. Thanks to a wonderful rehabilitation team I've accomplished so much. My guardian angel rides on my shoulders and each day is a true gift.
It has been over a year and a half since the initial trauma and I feel the experience has taught me many things. I was a classical type "A" personality going 100 mile per hour, 16 hours a day. I now take time to smell the roses, watch the birds and wild animals, feel the sunshine, and bask in fresh air. I even go hunting and fishing. There is so much to share, and if I can answer your questions, or share personal experiences, please contact me.
Update: 20 Jan 2003
In November I went to a local Pain Clinic and had an epidural block. That cured the sciatica nerve pain - erased it. It was done by an anesthesiologist and he was right on the money. It didn't stop the foot pain. I went to a new doctor yesterday and I have to have a bilateral doppler sonogram so we'll see if I have any blood left down there. He did give me MS Contin and that is starting to work. It is taking ALL the lower leg/foot pain away. For the first time in 8 years I feel great!
(A much more detailed account of Roger's harrowing experience may be read in Dissecting Ruptured Aneurysm - A Diary)
Return to Contents
Return to Aneurysm & AVM Support