Al has a condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM for short). HCM in a nutshell is a cardiovascular disease that is characterized by an abnormally thick heart muscle. We learned of this condition while still living in WA. The docs in WA put him on medications (blood thinners, statins, beta blockers) and said he would be good for the rest of his days. OK, great! We moved to CA in January of 2016 and found a new cardiologist at Stanford. Stanford decided they needed to put a pacemaker/defibrillator unit in to avoid risk of stroke and/or heart attack (they said it was to prevent "sudden death"). What!!?? That was more than a bit scary but comforting at the same time to know we had a backup right there in his chest. Fast forward to when we moved to AZ in November of 2020. Stanford found us a new cardiologist in Tucson. Tucson is 2 hours away from home, but they specialize in HCM so off we went. We met a fabulous team of 3 professionals there. They were quite excited to actually have a patient with HCM as they are also a teaching hospital. One of them heard something different that he didn't like so he put a tube down Al's esophagus and looked at the heart from the side and discovered a few things. The thickness of Al's heart muscle was now significant (normal thickness is 1-2, worst case is 30 and Al was now at a 23) and he appeared to have Mitral Valve regurgitation (this is where the mitral valve does not close completely causing blood to leak back to the left atrium when the left ventricle contracts). In terms we can understand........... 50% of his blood was doing what it should but 50% was being regurgitated where it shouldn't. That info was the missing link explaining why he wasn't had the energy that he felt like he should have. That team of 3 is why we are now at Cleveland Clinic to get him the much-needed life changing surgery.