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, mentioned 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 mentioned. “We shrugged it off as stress or bronchial asthma for six years.”
Throughout an workplace go to in February 2020, Mackie’s major care doctor found a worrisome coronary heart murmur.
“The center murmur was very loud,” Kristi mentioned. “We knew one thing was very flawed.”
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 mentioned.
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 remedy and referred McGee to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
“We left there with out figuring out the prognosis or the seriousness of it,” Christie mentioned.
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 center which in flip extends the center valve,” Christie defined.
“While you hear about teenagers enjoying sports activities and having a cardiac arrest, it is as a result of they’ve HCM,” she mentioned.
“It is a genetic illness, and there is a 50 per cent probability my kids could have it,” she added. “They do not present any indicators of it, but it surely’s extra frequent than you notice, and now my children have to fret about it.”
McGee’s children — 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 mentioned. “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 mentioned. “It is of their genes.”
New genes with the HCM tag are being found on a regular basis. Nevertheless, Matt McGee is among the 20 p.c of HCM sufferers who do not know the precise gene chargeable for HCM, which makes it tough to foretell the illness in his kids and for medical doctors to find out a remedy plan for it.
With remedy and a pacemaker, Christie mentioned, McGee had been feeling higher this previous summer season, however through the fall and winter, “all of his signs got here again in full pressure.”
“We knew one thing was flawed,” she mentioned. “The remedy wasn’t working and the pacemaker wasn’t preserving 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 by surgical procedure, McGee will regain his power and really feel as near himself as potential.
“That does not take away the illness, but it surely ought to restore power,” Christie mentioned.
“He works two jobs. He works within the third shift in Kraft and can be a city freeway commissioner.” “I do not understand how he does it. He’s drained and out of breath. He does not understand how dangerous he feels.”
After the surgical procedure, McGee will keep within the hospital in Chicago for a couple of week after which get well for 10 to 12 weeks.
“The following few months are going to be powerful for us when Matt is out of labor,” she mentioned.
Kristi, a trainer at Oakwood Junior Excessive Faculty, mentioned 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, mentioned he has recognized McGee for at the least 15 years.
“He is a great man and really concerned locally,” he mentioned. “He is a extremely good household man.
“That is unhappy. He’s so younger and lively,” Faufer added. “Not solely the Financial institution, however the Catlin group as effectively, have been improbable at supporting the household.”