Mariah Nelesen

First post: Feb 24, 2020 Latest post: Jan 30, 2022
On Saturday, February 22, 2020, my 21 year old daughter - our daughter - Mariah Nelesen experienced a spontaneous aortic dissection.  

At the time, she was laying in bed and talking on the telephone.  Sharp abdominal pain marked with corresponding back pain caused her to reach out for help.  Her aunt and uncle picked her up from the residence hall and brought her to the local hospital.  They informed the hospital about the family history (Mariah's mom had an aortic dissection 10 years ago) and was later diagnosed following a CT scan.  Shortly afterward, Mariah was transferred to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Il.  She stayed there in ICU for two weeks.

Aortic dissections are dangerous and extraordinarily rare for women under 60.  Mariah's is hereditary.  

The aorta is the major blood vessel that comes off from the heart. Shaped like a candy cane, this pipeline descends and then branches off to the left and right to the kidneys and then runs down into each leg.  The aorta is composed of several layers.  In Mariah's case, it is the inner layer that has torn away from the other layers. Once blood flow gets behind a layer, it tends to tear easily (one doctor described this layer like a potato chip bag; it’s thin and once compromised, continues to tear easily).

We are grateful for the multiple communities of friends, neighbors, and brothers and sisters who remind us that we are not alone.  Thank you for your prayers and all kinds of support we are feeling.

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