11/27/2013 10:05 AM
By Nick Goucher
As the holiday season rapidly approaches, it’s hard not to think of what a roller coaster ride the last few years have been. It was two years ago during the holidays when I was told I needed heart surgery. Suddenly your whole existence changes and you don’t care about anything that may be under the tree; instead, every thought you have is just about getting through the ordeal and walking out on the other side to see the next Christmas.
To my own fault, I always took the holidays for granted. As a kid, I was always so concerned about getting those particular presents that I wanted or the kind of food that was going to be on the table at Thanksgiving. Christmas in particular has become so commercialized today and so many people lose sight of what it is really about. To me, Christmas is still about presents, though—the presents that you cannot quantify or put a price on, like being around your friends and family who really matter.
Last year was the first holiday season since my heart surgery in January 2012 and was hands down the best one yet. I got the best Christmas present you could ever ask for and that was, simply, to be there, sitting next to the tree, with my family on Christmas. Plus, my favorite band released a new album, which was pretty awesome too!
It is really amazing how your perception of life can change. Things that used to be important aren’t, and the things that you thought were so little can become everything. It’s quite comical how crazy some people can get over holiday shopping, getting into fights and such—it’s crazy.
I feel bad for those people who think Christmas is about buying every gift on the list. The meaning of Christmas and the magic it can bring are not purchased with a credit card or validated by a certain number of presents—it is something that is felt from within that brings a warm smile to my face and is completely priceless.
Nick Goucher was born with a double aortic arch, a type of vascular ring anomaly, in Queens, New York. He was raised and still resides in Hampton Bays on Long Island. Nick graduated from Dowling College with a degree in sport management and coaches high school baseball. He enjoys going to the gym, the beach, and listening to music, most notably any by Tom DeLonge, especially Blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves.
Copyright ©2013 ACHA
1 comment(s) so far...
By Stevynne Callahan on
12/21/2013 8:00 PM
Re: What the Holidays Mean to Me
Wow, I went through open-heart surgery last year as well. At age 22. I had to go through my second surgery open heart surgery. Then 4 months Later in October, I had to go through catheter ablation. It's quite an eye opener and puts things in perspective of whats important and what shouldn't matter to you. I was born with tetralogy of fallot. I had to get a valve replacement, it started leaking again 2 months ago but the good news, I just saw my doctor on the 18 and he said that the leak is stable. The best Christmas Gift ever. I thank God every day I'm still here even though, I still have miles to go before I can sleep. After the surgery I was told that I've been dealing with PTSD and Non elliptic seizures. I'm glad you posted your story.
It's nice to have an organization for people like us. I used to feel alone, because I was the only one in my family who had CHD. MY mom was always there and understood. Now I know that there is a entire community of people like me. (: By the way Blink 182 Rocks. Used to be my favorite band to listen to as a teenager. lol