Monday, May 31, 2010

In Memory

Today (well, everyday, but especially today) I'm remembering my father who passed away three years ago. He served in the Air National Guard. My father died unexpectedly of a disease called HCM. Never heard of it? Neither had we before his death. I would love to share a little bit about it with you since it is a completely treatable (but rarely tested for) disease if you know you have it.

From Wikepedia: "Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, HCM or HOCM, is a disease of the myocardium (the muscle of the heart) in which a portion of the myocardium is hypertrophied (thickened) without any obvious cause. It is perhaps most well-known as a leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. The occurrence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a significant cause of sudden unexpected cardiac death in any age group and as a cause of disabling cardiac symptoms.

HCM is frequently asymptomatic until sudden cardiac death; it can be detected with high accuracy (70%+) by screening via ECG or echocardiogram. Routine Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Screening of athletes in Italy since the 1970s has reduced sudden cardiac death by 89%; in the United States such screening is not routine and has consistently been opposed by the American Heart Association, presumably due to its rare incidence."

The above paragraph claims HCM as frequently asymptomatic, but it is my personal belief that because it is a rare disease, the symptoms that patients exhibit are often misdiagnosed and/or ignored as "not serious". My father presented the following symptoms that never led doctors to perform an ECG: Periods of rapid heartbeat, intense feelings of "heartburn" without cause, asthma.

After my father passed, my uncle, who realized he had all these symptoms, immediately went in to get tested and has HCM (it is genetic). He is being treated.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I also want to honor all the service men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country and those who continue to serve.


  1. I feel your pain, Kasie. I know how much you must miss your father. But I also know you know it's only a temporary loss.

    I'd never heard of this disease, either. But it does sound like it's NOT asymptomatic.

    Btw, I woke up this morning thinking of my father who died just short of four years ago.

  2. Kasie, It must have been so hard to lose your father so suddenly. I worked as a cardiac nurse and rarely saw this, so awareness of the disease if definitely a good thing. Sorry for your loss.

  3. Thanks for sharing! There are so many rare diseases that are treatable if caught. So hard to catch though.

    I'm sorry to hear about your father. :(

  4. I always admire people who are brave enough to share their sorrows as well as their happy moments. Thanks, Kasie.

  5. Linda, thanks, whenever I write things like this, I always think about the fact that you lost your father around the same time too. It's hard, but yes, I do feel it is temporary.

    Jessie, I didn't know you worked as a cardiac nurse. Pretty cool. How are you going to use this power for evil? Oh, wait, I'm the evil one, you can definitely use this power for good. :)

    Janet, it's true, awareness is good. Thanks for your condolences.

  6. Kaylie, ah, thanks, I appreciate that. This is definitely a hard subject for me, one of the saddest times of my life, but it's true, I think in sharing sorrows that we can support each other.

  7. Hi Kasie, I was already here, but I left you an award over on my blog if you want:

    Have a great day!

  8. Kasie - I'm so sorry to hear about your father. My heart hurts for your loss.

    I have a friend whose nephew died of this last summer, at the age of 20. It was sudden and completely unforeseen. I'm glad you are getting the word out.

  9. I didn't ever know that this disease was the cause of his death. You know I just loved your dad, he was really one of the great ones. Thanks for sharing this, it's always good to gain awareness. :)

  10. Your dad was amazing. I still think frequently about what a great loss your family has suffered. What a great, GREAT man!

  11. We love your dad so much. One of the best, that one!