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Survivor Story of Nicky Jansen

Updated: May 14


‘Today is the day you will probably die’


I’ve lived an interesting, tumultuous life. With lots of ups and downs. I’ve been depressed since I can remember, although people who don’t know me that well would be surprised to hear that. I’m outgoing, I have amazing friends and I love to have a good time. I’m not the wall flower type. Not at all. But living fast, with the help of alcohol and a ‘never a dull moment’-mentality, I haven’t taken much care of myself. Later in life I found out I have a borderline personality disorder.

Two years ago I married Peter, my second husband. He has three wonderful daughters, whom I love to the moon and back. We married in the eye of the Covid-19 storm, just to make sure that if one of us would die, the other one would be well taken care of.


On may 8th 2021 I had just pored myself a glass of wine and wanted to sit down to read a book. The wine was a cheerio to my dad, who died a few years ago on that same day. Just before I sat down, I suddenly felt horrible. I can’t remember what happened exactly, but I said to myself: this is not good and dialed the emergency number.


In the hospital, doctor Mechteld Arnold recognized the symptoms and ordered a CT-scan. When she came back with the results, she told Peter and me to call the girls and say our goodbyes. She explained I had experienced an aortic dissection and the chances of survival were very slim. ‘This is the day you will probably die,’ she said.


I didn’t die. Thanks to doctor Arnold and her team, that got me into the best hospital in the Netherlands. In the heart of the Covid-19 pandemic, they found me a surgical team that was able to safe my life. With long operations, an induced coma for 10 days and many many complications. I owe my life to these people.


After doctor Arnold had told me I would probably not survive, my husband Peter and I spent an hour talking, about how we first met, about the good times we spent together, about our love for the girls etc. Their mother drove the three girls to the hospital. I explained to them what had happened to me and we said goodbye. We said farewells. I cannot remember a more tearful and painful moment in my life to see these three girls (age 11,15 and 17 then) burst into tears.


When I woke up, I didn’t have a clue what had happened to me. I found that out a bit later, when doctors told me the whole story. Peter, the girls and my friends had lived in so much fear for ten days, because they never knew if I would wake up from the coma and if so, how I would come out of it.


We are one year later now, and I feel grateful for every breath I take. The first time I woke up in a hospital bed, in my own room, outside of the ICU I was glad I saw the sun coming up. I have been glad to see a new day ever since.






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