I should be dead. I always knew my cholesterol was high. At 25 years old, my first blood test showed a total cholesterol of 410, but no one made a big deal of it. I lived a healthy, active lifestyle. I had never been overweight, and I had been a vegetarian most of my life. What was there to worry about?Nearly 30 years later I was watching Barbra Streisand on â€œThe Katie Couric Show.â€ She was discussing heart health. The number of deaths from heart disease was overwhelming, and the amount of people walking around undiagnosed was astonishing to me. I decided it was time to get my heart checked out. I made an appointment for a treadmill test. After the test I drove home. As I walked in my home, the phone was ringing. It was my cardiologist insisting I come back. The blockages were bad, and I needed surgery right away. Two days later I was having triple bypass surgery. I was lucky to find out I had no heart damage, and they caught it in time. It was at this time I first heard the words â€œfamilial hypercholesterolemia.â€ My surgeon told me that without the bypass my first symptom of FH would have been sudden death â€“ likely within the year. Thank you, Barbra Streisand! With this new knowledge, I was determined to fight this cholesterol problem head on. I started on a statin, cardiac rehabilitation and walked two miles at least three times a week. At a three month follow up my cardiologist noted no change in my cholesterol and sent me home. He told me, â€œIt is now between you and the Lord.â€ I felt completely helpless. After a year I decided to give it another go. Another treadmill test meant another cardiologist, and this one finally explained what FH really is. He told me I should look up a Dr. P. K. Shah in California. That was a long way away from my home in Hawaii, but I decided I needed to become my own health advocate. I had to get to Dr. Shah. I made an appointment to see him, and to my surprise I wound up at the Cedar Sinai Medical Center Barbra Streisand Womenâ€™s Heart Center! Many people say, â€œitâ€™s in my family.â€ I did. My father had a heart attack at 51, and his father before him. The day I joined The FH Foundation as a Patient Advocate, I found a group of people who shared similar stories. I finally felt like Iâ€™m not alone in this. Now I have a specialist who works with me, and a community who supports me, and with that Iâ€™m confident I can fight this invisible disease.