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Help! My Heart is “Heartly” Working!

My name is Patrick McEntee and I am a 43-year-old man who received a life-saving heart transplant on August 13, 2017. I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 1996. Nine years later, a series of heart related illnesses began with two strokes and a heart attack. Ultimately, my heart muscle continued to weaken from congestive heart failure to the point I was sent for a heart transplant evaluation. I was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic at the conclusion of the evaluation so doctors could try adjusting my medications. That was unsuccessful and within a week, I was listed to receive a heart transplant and my condition was so dire that a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) was implanted. This device gave me a much higher quality of life and bought some extra time needed to bridge me to a heart transplant.

Updates (30)

October 17, 2017

Two months ago today I was waking up from what, in all reality, was a 3-year-long dream.

Today, I spent the morning having breakfast with my wife, and amazing caregiver, Amy. We followed that up by strolling through the park, and walking around the lake at Carriage Hill Metro Park. Every time we go for a walk, I am thankful again for my donor and donor family. I am in awe at how good it feels to walk. I don’t have to stop to catch my breath every couple of minutes. The only stops we made were to enjoy the nature around us. Not once did we stop because I was winded.

All I can think of was how I used to have to strategically plot out my route from point A to point B to conserve energy. An economy of steps to get me to a point of rest was what I needed. Now, I just go and marvel at how easy it has become. Every day, I wake up thankful for this gift. Every night I go to sleep thankful for this gift. It is nothing short of a miracle.

I sent a letter to my donor family about a month ago, and hope to hear back soon. Please, as you continue to pray for me, also continue to pray for my donor family. I think of them often and how they are coping with their loss. I wonder how many other’s lives my donor saved that day.

August 21, 2017

Well, it happened! It really, really happened! God found the right heart for me and at the right time. For nearly the last three years, I’ve been patiently waiting. I said over and over that I kept meeting people who were sicker than I was and that needed those hearts that came along more than I did at the time. My line always was “when I need it most, my time will come.” And as much as that may sound like guarding against disappointment, it truly was not. I am so blessed to have had 1066 of the 1068 days with the LVAD that gave me the luxury to patiently wait and to fully trust that God had the plan in order and all would work out. And it has.

Except there’s that one piece of this wait that nagged me over and over throughout my transplant journey and that was knowing that my joy was going to be some else’s tragedy and some other family’s heartbreak and loss. In this very emotional week, this has only become more amplified. My joy is greater than I would imagine and I find myself sobbing at random times, sometimes to the point of “ugly crying.”

As much as I have been overcome by the outpouring of prayer, generosity and simple/not so simple ways I have been supported throughout these last three years, I’m bowled over again and again this week as I see our Facebook posts border on viral, cards, gifts and visitors travel 4-8 hours to spend some time with me as I rally. I’ve also been visited by the Moser family who adopted us sight unseen three years ago when I unexpectedly received my LVAD. I had a place to stay for the duration of time I had to stay in Cleveland after discharge. I had a place to stay every time I traveled to Cleveland for follow up appointments. And, yes, when I get discharged (likely at some point this week, I will go to the Mosers abode “Miss Daisy” style in the back seat of the car with a pillow protecting my sore chest.

This week will be all about educating myself and Amy for the changes that we will now face with whole new and different lifestyle, medicine regimen and more. I don’t know when I will be able to return to the workforce. It sounds like at least a year. When I am fully ready for that transition, I don’t know where God will call me, but I must admit my time volunteering in promoting organ donation seems like an avenue to explore.

So before I wrap this up, I want to again thank you all from the bottom of my awesome new sleek healthy heart. And please, please, please pray for my donor and for his/her family who is grieving so intensely right now. Pray also for those families who will face that critical life-saving decision in the future. May my life and the lives of others saved by them honor their ultimate gift.

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August 10, 2017

Lifting you up in prayer !

The Broering Family

June 29, 2017

Pat, I continue to include you in my prayers. I will add you to our prayer chain in our parish.

Jane Pierron

April 9, 2016

Have a great walk tomorrow Pat, way to keep working toward your goal. Remember my race motto, slow and steady finishes the race!

peace, Chris and Barry

December 31, 2015

Hi Pat, I've followed your story through your sister Kat. She has been a blessing to our family and our family will pray for your complete healing! Cheers to a heart healthy 2016!

Jen & Ella Shockey