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 identified 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 comfy 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, a McGee major care doctor found a worrisome coronary heart murmur.
“The center murmur was very loud,” Kristi stated. “We knew one thing was very incorrect.”
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 instructed 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 figuring out the analysis or the seriousness of it,” Christie stated.
At Northwestern, McGee was identified 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 guts which in flip extends the guts valve,” Christie defined.
“While 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 probability my kids can have it,” she added. “They do not present any indicators of it, but it surely’s extra frequent 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 kids go to Lowry’s in Chicago yearly,” Kristi stated. “Our son, Jacob, went to Matt’s heart specialist as a result of Jacob came upon he had hypertension, so we referred him to a heart specialist at Northwestern College.”
Matt’s father, Mike McGee, has since been identified 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 without doubt one of the 20 p.c of HCM sufferers who do not know the precise gene chargeable for HCM, which makes it troublesome to foretell the illness in his kids and for docs to find out a therapy plan for it.
With medicine and a pacemaker, Christie stated, McGee had been feeling higher this previous summer time, however throughout the fall and winter, “all of his signs got here again in full drive.”
“We knew one thing was incorrect,” she stated. “The medicine wasn’t working and the pacemaker wasn’t retaining 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 kids hope that via surgical procedure, McGee will regain his vitality and really feel as near himself as attainable.
“That does not take away the illness, but it surely 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 understand how he does it. He’s drained and out of breath. He would not understand how 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 trainer at Oakwood Junior Excessive Faculty, stated she participates within the HCM assist group on Fb and is grateful for the outpouring of assist her household has obtained from the Catlin neighborhood.
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 places.
Jeff Faufer, president of Catlin Financial institution, stated he has recognized McGee for no less than 15 years.
“He is a great 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 neighborhood as nicely, have been unbelievable at supporting the household.”