Many of you saw Jimmy Kimmel’s video of the him talking about the birth of his new son, Billy, and the difficulty he had to start his life. Billy was born with a heart defect and needed open-heart surgery immediately after he was born. After about a week in the hospital, Billy is now healthy and at home. As some of you may know, an extremely similar thing happened to me at birth. I was born with a heart defect and needed open-heart surgery immediately. When I was born I could not breath and within a day or two I had the successful surgery of transposition of the greater arteries. In basic terms, this means my heart was “upside down when I was born”, not allowing me to breath properly. When you breath in, you breath in oxygen-rich air which is then transferred to all of your blood vessels from your heart. When you breath out, you breathe out oxygen-poor air in the form of Carbon Dioxide. I was unable to do this, hence the surgery. After about 10 days in the Boston Childrens Hospital ICU, I was sent home a healthy baby. Since then, everything has been fairly normal and I have an MRI each year to make sure everything is good to go. The specific procedure I had was developed only a few years before I was born so I’m certainly blesses to be doing as well as I am. As I’m typing this now, I am feeling the best I ever have and am having the time of my life so all is well!
In my 25 years, I have never met someone with the same surgery as me and rarely hear about it on the news or in articles. That’s why this video struck me so much. I was just scrolling through twitter when I saw the video and was blown away when I heard that Jimmy Kimmell’s son had such a similar surgery as I did. You never think things like this happen to celebrities and I appreciated how candid he was in the video. The biggest takeaway I got to see was his perspective as a parent. I could never really imagine what my own parents went through when I was born and have never spoken to any parents who went through the same thing. Hearing Jimmy talk, I thought about my parents and how they must’ve be going through the same emotions. It was a combination of a weird but slightly reassuring feeling listening to him speak, as I was never able to compartmentalize what really happened when I was born. My entire life I have lived knowing what happened but not necessary how it happened and now I have a bit more understanding. Of course, things were certainly different in my case but it still gave me a different perspective and one that I always needed but was unable to find on my own.
I will probably never have the opportunity to meet Jimmy Kimmell, his wife or his son Billy, but in my mind we will always be a bit connected.