Monday, March 12, 2007

Heart Surgery

I have a 'rare' heart muscle disease called Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy. Aka HOCM or HCM. I was born with it, inherited it from my father who died at the age of 42 in 1975 of sudden cardiac death. The official word was heart attack, as dad was a chain smoker and it's possible he did have some blockages.

I was diagnosed with this disease about 7 years ago. I was just beginning to show the symptoms. Shortness of breath, pain in the chest area, light headedness, palpitations and my heart murmur was beginning to sound 'loud' and echoed. Some people never have symptoms at all and it isn't until they die of an unexpected sudden death that the cause is found.

My symptoms worsened and I needed open heart surgery ( septal myectomy) to reduce the obstruction caused by my septal muscle and my mitral valve needed repaired. I also had a dual pacemaker/ICD defibrilator implanted. I went into the hospital on Feb. 20, 2007.
I've been writing a journal of my hospital/surgery experience in my Menopausal Monster blog.

It's an experience I never want to repeat and one I'll never forget.

Maybe you know someone with this disease? It's very important that they see a cardiologist who is familiar with HCM. This disease doesn't always wait until you are an adult to start showing symptoms. Young children and teenagers are at high risk as well especially if they are very active. This is an inherited disease, passed on from a parent. Children of these parents have a 50-50 chance of inheriting the disease as well. In my family, there are 7 children and so far I'm the only one that has drawn that straw. My siblings all need to have regular echocardiograms done, at least every five years. My three daughters have all had their echos done within the last three years and so far so good. My three grandchildren have also had echos done.

I belong to a HCMA (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association) forum where others who have this disease go for support and to share their experiences. I highly recommend this community.

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Posted by: Neenee
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