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Survivor Series Featuring Kesha Jones

On March 16th, 2022, I thought my life was over. I was at work doing an activity with my class (I’ve been a teacher for over 25 years) when I felt pain in my stomach, so I said, “Let me go to the bathroom” and I went downstairs and got on the toilet, but nothing happened.

As I got up that same pain went from my stomach up to my chest and down my back and I thought I was having a heart attack. I was so nervous and scared, but I said to myself, “Don’t panic, calm down because you have to make it upstairs to get help” so I hung in there and said, “Let’s go”.

I struggled to get up the steps but I finally made it to the kitchen because I didn’t want to go back in my class for the kids to see me like that. After I arrived in the kitchen I called my director on the job phone because I couldn’t make it outside to call 911 on my own phone and I told her to call because it felt like I wasn’t breathing and I have severe pain.

I tried to sit down but when I sat down the pain got worst so I stood up shaking nervously because I was so scared. My director came up to the kitchen when the EMS arrived and they took my pressure, took a EKG, gave me an aspirin and told me that I have to get to the emergency room immediately.

We arrived at the hospital, and they put me on monitors, took all types of tests and my pressure was at 185 and when the other test results came back, they said, “You have to be rushed to another hospital called Mount Sinai because we can’t help you here.” In pain, scared and confused I asked why, and they said, “We don’t deal with Aortic dissection here”. Being by I never heard of the term Aortic dissection before they tried to explain the little, they knew about it. After a little waiting they came back with the EMT’s and said I will be going to Maimonides Hospital because they specialized in that.

I was still in pain when we got there they and they took me to the ICU where I got hooked up to all these machines. They told me I will be staying because my pressure is still high so they took me upstairs where the doctors were waiting for me and explained to me what Aortic Dissection was. As they were explaining it to me they asked did I know if anyone in my family had it and I told them I wasn’t aware, then they asked do I have kids I said, "Yes.", and they said that they will have to get checked when they turn 40 years old and to make sure I let them know.

They told me the most important thing is to have to get my pressure down and to stay down, Days went by and my pressure was still high so they came into my room and said, “we can’t do surgery until your pressure is down and stays down” and that’s when the medications started kicking in and my pressure was going down but didn’t get to their expected amount. I was in the hospital from March 16th - March 25th and when they let me go home they said I have to keep my pressure down for my safety.

The meds I was on had me extremely weak and I would fall out of nowhere. There was an incident on my son's birthday April 5th, 2022, where I fell and hit my head on a bathroom sink and all I remember was getting up from the floor, walking to my husband and he yelled “you are bleeding” I said “where” and he said, "your head". So I went to look and it was a deep gash with blood leaking out. After I looked in the mirror, I called Maimonides and they said to come in ASAP, so I went and they gave me stitches on my head and kept me to monitor me for a few. After that they cut down on one of my medications that could have caused me to be off balance a lot.


After all of that, on April 14th, 2022, I had pain in my chest again so I called Maimonides and was told to come in and when I went they examined me and told me I will be getting operated on tomorrow for aortic dissection. After my operation, I spent what was now my birthday on April 16th in the recovery room, what an amazing birthday present. I stayed for a few days then went home but It wasn’t the same, It was like my whole life turned around and I was so depressed.

Going from working at my job for over 25 years as a teacher to now not being able to stand or walk for long periods of time. It made me really sad that I wouldn’t be able to cook with my class, walk to the park or do community walks because of the pain and sadly I couldn’t go back to teaching. 


Months went by as I was adjusting to my new life thinking things were getting better and suddenly had to go back to the emergency room because I had pain in my chest again. On December 8th, 2022, I went back to Maimonides and took a CT scan with dye, and I was told I needed another operation due to Aortic Dissection.

On December 9th, I got operated on again and stayed for few days. After my recovery I went home but still couldn’t do my regular activities and my depression got worst. After a while at home, I started back spending time with my great niece and nephew which was making me emotional because I realized I couldn’t be a teacher anymore.

Time went by and suddenly On September 20th, 2023, I went back in the hospital for a couple of days due to some pain I was feeling in my chest, so they kept me for a few days for observation. It was at that moment when I realized things will never be the same for me but instead of complaining I started taking it it one day at a time and thank God I’m still here.

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