Catelyn — Matt McGee’s household hopes Friday’s coronary heart surgical procedure in Chicago will make life simpler for the 47-year-old who was recognized two years in the past with a genetic coronary heart illness.
McGee’s spouse, Kristi, stated her husband and father of 4 hadn’t felt snug in a number of years.
“He was affected by shortness of breath and tightness in his chest,” she stated. “We shrugged it off as stress or bronchial asthma for six years.”
Throughout an workplace go to in February 2020, Mackie’s main care doctor found a worrisome coronary heart murmur.
“The center murmur was very loud,” Kristi stated. “We knew one thing was very unsuitable.”
McGee’s physician referred him to a heart specialist in Carle, however because the day of his appointment approached, McGee’s life — in addition to the lives of everybody else — was placed on maintain in March 2020 with the onset of COVID-19.
“He had an appointment with a heart specialist in March 2020, however the world shut down,” Christie stated.
It wasn’t till November 2020 when Carly McGee’s heart specialist noticed and advised him that his coronary heart situation was one thing he could not treatment and referred McGee to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
“We left there with out understanding the prognosis or the seriousness of it,” Christie stated.
At Northwestern, McGee was recognized with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and underwent surgical procedure in February 2021 to have a pacemaker and defibrillator fitted.
“With HCM, the septal wall thickens, inflicting a blockage that causes blood to not circulation correctly between the 2 decrease chambers of the center which in flip extends the center valve,” Christie defined.
“If you hear about teenagers taking part in sports activities and having a cardiac arrest, it is as a result of they’ve HCM,” she stated.
“It is a genetic illness, and there is a 50 per cent likelihood my youngsters may have it,” she added. “They do not present any indicators of it, nevertheless it’s extra widespread than you notice, and now my youngsters have to fret about it.”
McGee’s youngsters — Jacob, 21, Shelby, 17, Carly, 13, and Grayson, 9 — are seen by cardiologists and obtain an echocardiogram yearly.
“Our three younger youngsters go to Lowry’s in Chicago yearly,” Kristi stated. “Our son, Jacob, went to Matt’s heart specialist as a result of Jacob discovered he had hypertension, so we referred him to a heart specialist at Northwestern College.”
Matt’s father, Mike McGee, has since been recognized with HCM.
“Each his mom’s sister (Mike McGee), and his mom’s brother and mom each died of cardiac arrest,” Kristi stated. “It is of their genes.”
New genes with the HCM tag are being found on a regular basis. Nonetheless, Matt McGee is among the 20 p.c of HCM sufferers who do not know the precise gene liable for HCM, which makes it tough to foretell the illness in his youngsters and for docs to find out a remedy plan for it.
With treatment and a pacemaker, Christie stated, McGee had been feeling higher this previous summer season, however in the course of the fall and winter, “all of his signs got here again in full drive.”
“We knew one thing was unsuitable,” she stated. “The treatment wasn’t working and the pacemaker wasn’t protecting the blockage at bay.”
The open-heart surgical procedure on August 5 concerned eradicating the thickening within the septal wall to permit blood to circulation correctly in his coronary heart. McGee will nonetheless want a pacemaker and defibrillator.
Christie and his youngsters hope that by way of surgical procedure, McGee will regain his vitality and really feel as near himself as doable.
“That does not take away the illness, nevertheless it ought to restore vitality,” Christie stated.
“He works two jobs. He works within the third shift in Kraft and can also be a city freeway commissioner.” “I do not know the way he does it. He’s drained and out of breath. He would not know the way unhealthy he feels.”
After the surgical procedure, McGee will keep within the hospital in Chicago for a few week after which recuperate for 10 to 12 weeks.
“The following few months are going to be robust for us when Matt is out of labor,” she stated.
Kristi, a instructor at Oakwood Junior Excessive College, stated she participates within the HCM help group on Fb and is grateful for the outpouring of help her household has acquired from the Catlin group.
Shelby, the McGee’s eldest daughter, created a GoFundMe account earlier this week. The Matthew McGee Profit Fund has additionally been arrange at Catlin Financial institution on the Catlin and Georgetown areas.
Jeff Faufer, president of Catlin Financial institution, stated he has identified McGee for at the least 15 years.
“He is a superb man and really concerned locally,” he stated. “He is a extremely good household man.
“That is unhappy. He’s so younger and energetic,” Faufer added. “Not solely the Financial institution, however the Catlin group as effectively, have been incredible at supporting the household.”