14 May 1995
On May 4, 1995, I was getting ready for work, when I experienced a sharp chest pain. This was in the A.M. (Approximately one year prior, while at home, I had experienced a prolonged acute chest pain and called 911. After an overnight stay at the hospital, I was released with no apparent cause other than gastritis or esophageal inflammation.) I decided to stay at home until I felt better. Within approximately 1 hour, I began vomiting and lost vision in both eyes. I fumbled for the phone, called my wife who had a neighbor respond and soon thereafter the "squad".
Upon arrival at the ER ( in Omaha, Ne.) I underwent a battery of tests that concluded with the discovery of an aortic aneurysm. I was loaded onto a Lear, at the recommendation of my Cardiologist, transported to Houston, Tx to the Methodist Center and operated on by Dr. J. Casillas and his fine team. This was at 0230 on 05May. On 12May95, I returned via commercial airliner to my home and family; alive and well with a mechanical aortic valve, 2.5 inches of Dacron aorta, some carotid repair, and a healthy respect for the disease.
I am forty years old, male, professional, and have a family of four. I never ever pictured myself in a situation where I would be "bionic"" at such an early age but am grateful to be alive. I was a smoker for 18 years.
I would be pleased to converse further on my experiences.
Update 5 May 2000
Well; today is my 5 year anniversary. I do thank god and the skills of the cardiologist and my vascular surgeon for everything. Five years is suppose to be a red letter day; to me it is. A lot has changed in my life, some for better and some for the worse. I wanna thank all of you and I want to offer assistance where I can. . . For all of you that are facing or a family member is facing this deadly disease, please assure them, and I am sure Bill will too, that there is hope.
Update 24 Sep 2001
Since the first of this year, I began working out regularly. Through diet and exercise, I've lost, as of today, 30 lbs and 10 % body fat and I have more strength than I have had since before the surgery.
On September 11, I sent a message to the SECNAV requesting reactivation of my commission ( I had been medically retired after the aneurysm surgery). In my e-mail I stated that I was in the best physical shape that I had been since college. I received a nice letter today, that talked about the Navy adventure and where we were today. The Navy responded this way:
"Every inquiry is important to us. And vital to keeping our Navy strong. This time it's you we wish to thank for your interest in the Navy. And your country. The information you sent us indicates that your present age exceeds the maximum for entry into your desired program. However if you have prior military experience, you may still qualify for consideration.
Signed by L.L. Musto, Captain, United States Navy.
Think about this: If you have previous military experience you may still qualify for the Navy program you are interested in. ....... Call this recruiter.........etc. A long quote and I won't read between the lines but it made me feel good to get a response like that.
In away it kind of ironic, because several days before that I took my BDU's out of the closet to see how they fit, then tried on the white Chokers. I am thinking about going to the recruiter in my Navy whites. It would be great if I would be considered. I was an NBC, Nuclear Biological Chemical warfare officer, up until 1995.
I'll let ya know......
And everyone else. "God Bless America"!!!
And God Bless the Wisdom of Age
Update: 17 Mar 2002
I received the results of my CAT scan in October following my last update. The results showed an iliac aneurysm on the left branch. On November 5th I flew to Houston to Dr. Coselli.
His diagnosis was not only and iliac aneurysm but a general abdominal dilation. On the 12th of November, I went into surgery, 2 days in hospital hell, ICU, and stayed in the hospital for a total of 10 days. Dr. Coselli installed a graft from the descending aorta down to the kidneys and repaired the iliac artery. The incision begins under my left scapula, traverses the rib cage and terminates approximately 3 inches below my naval.
There were other patients there having aneurysm repairs as well. One died from complications due to diabetes and one died from a heart attack.
In early December, I went for post operative follow-up with Dr. Guyton at Emory. Of course I had a CT as well and was advised that I have an enlarged transverse arch which will probably require surgery within the next five years.
I hope all reading this will keep in mind how traumatic an aneurysm and its complications can be. I can't thank my kids and wife enough for all their support. Now, I am hoping to get back to work. Uncle Sam is hoping so as well.
Update: 29 May 2006
Last Monday, I had my most recent CTA. The aneurysm on the transverse arch is now 6.5 cm. I received a call in the evening telling me to go to ER. (Terrible experience). Due to the CT with contrast the day before, apparently, the veins collapsed and while in Triage, I was stuck nine times. I have bruises all over my arms.
Since I was asymptomatic, the attending physician released me and referred me to a cardiovascular surgeon for followup.
I spoke with my cardiologist in MD who wants to be kept in the loop, but said with Dr. Coselli, I have the best. True, he is the best.
I am scheduled to see him tomorrow. We are supposed to conference with Dr. Coselli. I am sure that Dr. Coselli will want me to come back to Houston for repair. I hope that I might be able to find another way to slow the growth. ( I have not recovered financially from the Triad, lay-off, surgery and stock market in 2001).
I am expecting that surgery will be necessary and in a way, I look forward to getting this done at 51 instead of later. On the other hand, I do not look forward to ICU and CCU.
I am trying to get affairs in order since I have at least one week to ween myself from the Coumadin therapy. Since this will be my third disection aneurysm repair, I think I might be knowledgable about connective tissue disorders and am willing and able to help others on the site.
I sent Dr. Tilson an e-mail for additional advice and recommendations.
PS. my daughter graduates from Emory next year, scored a 34 on the MCAT. My son just completed Plebe year at the Naval Academy.
Update: 10 August 2006
I had my most recent CT done at the Methodist Center in Oak Ridge, Tn. I received a phone call from Dr. Wilson, I thought Tilson, and was told to report to the ER.
They measured the aneurysm at a bit over 6 cm on the transverse arch and before you could know it, I had seven lines in me and was in triage. Of course since these folks were not familiar with my history, although I took my entire medical file, I thought they were going to sharpen the knife on the strop.
Well, the doctors in the ER contacted the Chief of Cardiovascular surgery in Methodist Hospital and since I was asymptomatic and, quite frankly, I knew what I as talking about, they decided to release me from patient jail.
Dr. Coselli called me after getting the CT and measured the aneurysm at 5.71 cm, nothing to be concerned about, but suggests continued annual monitoring and maintenance medication as has been done for the last, oh my, 11 years now.
So for now, I have delayed an additional surgery on the transverse arch, for which in evaluating, I suspect, Dr. Coselli wants to hold off as long as possible. This is disturbing if I think about it, since I would rather have it done while I am reasonalbly (51) middle-age.
Now, go figure. I had arthroscopic on my right knee and saw my othopedic surgeron today for follow-up. (In 1993, I guess I and my wife wanted to live on green acres in Nebraska. I turned over a tractor and fractured my femur.) Well, my Ortho surgeon today told me that my knee was "trash". He removed the damaged medial and lateral meniscus two weeks ago. It seems I may need to have a knee replacement in 3-6 months. I told Dr. Posman, after I showed him my my medical history, that I believe it is my mantra to train and employ phsicians. The knee would be my tenth surgery.
Update on family. My daughter has applied to BMC, Vanderbuilt, GW for primaries and MCG and others as secondaries. (MCAT score of 33, certified EMT supervisor at Emory).
My son just finished his first year at the Naval Academy and completed his summer cruise. He was supposed to fly to Jordan and pick up his ship to sail to Bahrain, but it was re-routed to Lebanon to evacuate citizens.
Update:25 September 2008
Sadly this post is a final update for David. David passed away October 24, 2007. His daughter Marlina Lovett wanted his aneurysm family to know.
© Copyright 1995 David Lovett
All Rights Reserved - Fair Use acknowledged