When I was diagnosed with HCM, around 10 years ago at the age of 37, my wife was pregnant with our 5th child. The diagnosis hit me very hard when I learned that the condition was passed genetically and each of my children had a 50% chance of inheriting it. It was frightening to consider this reality and what it could mean for them. Part of me felt guilty because of what they might have to endure because of me. And when we considered having a sixth child, there was a whole onslaught of questions we had to consider; is it fair to them, or is it selfish?
I first became aware of this condition when my father was diagnosed with it in his 50s. Even though I was screened right away, my HCM was missed. I did feel fine however, so I didn’t think too much of it. A few years later, I was experiencing symptoms like fatigue, chest pain, and palpitations. My heart rate would skyrocket with just a simple task like standing up. I came close to fainting a few times. As my symptoms became worse, I was no longer able to do the things that came easy to me before like riding a bike or helping my kids. Even with my father’s diagnosis, doctors repeatedly told me that I was fine. It was only when I saw an electrophysiologist that I was diagnosed.
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To learn more about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), go to https://www.4hcm.org.
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