I was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) at age 28 because my doctor heard a heart murmur. Not long after that, I became pregnant with my second child. Because of this, I needed to go to a high-risk OB-GYN doctor during my pregnancy, even though I didn’t start having symptoms of HCM until I was 35.
Being married to a military man, I traveled the world and because of that, I had great medical care in England even before I showed any real symptoms of HCM. Moving so much also showed me that many cardiologists are uncomfortable treating people with HCM because they don’t know enough about it. When I started having symptoms, I knew I needed to get to a high-volume HCMA recognized Center of Excellence for HCM to get the best care possible.
My father also had HCM, so it runs in my family. Genetic testing is important to help find family members who might be at risk, but patients should know that it may not be the same for them as it was for their parents. Even if your kids are gene-positive, they might never develop HCM.
When my symptoms started to affect my life, the doctors tried medications to control them, but nothing really worked so I was scheduled for an open-heart surgery called “septal myectomy”. My husband needed to speak to a mental health therapist after my surgery because supporting someone through something like that is an intense experience! My kids also experienced some anxiety because it’s scary having mom undergo major surgery.
I am grateful for the good days, in part because I know what the bad days are like! I find that I appreciate life more having been through everything I have.
Please share this story to bring awareness to Heart Month!
To learn more about accessing care at a HCMA Recognized Center of Excellence, go to https://4hcm.org/center-of-excellence/.
To learn more about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), go to https://www.4hcm.org.
#4HCMAwareness #HCMStrong #HCMDay #4HCMWarriors #4HCM