American Idol’s Jennifer Lopez sheds a tear for hydrocephalus

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Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo) tears up when American Idol hopeful, Paris Tassin, sings Carrie Underwood’s hit song “Temporary Home”. Paris dedicates the song to her beautiful daughter who was born with hydrocephalus and talks about how she is the best thing that’s happened to her.

“When you sang, I really felt it … I knew [the song] meant something to you.” Jennifer Lopez

Paris found out about her daughter’s condition while she was still pregnant. While she was given dire predictions, Paris remained determined to go through the pregnancy. Hydrocephalus is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles and could be diagnosed in utero when the technician may detect enlarged ventricles during a routine ultrasound.

Hydrocephalus can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired at any stage of life. Congenital hydrocephalus is thought to be caused by a complex interaction of environmental and perhaps genetic factors. Two examples of congenital hydrocephalus are aqueductal stenosis and spina bifida. Acquired hydrocephalus can be idiopathic (no known cause) or may result from intraventricular hemorrhage, meningitis, head trauma, tumors, or cysts.

Hydrocephalus is treated surgically by the insertion of a shunt. A shunt is a flexible tube that diverts the flow of CSF from the head into another region of the body where it can be absorbed. Shunts commonly include valves to regulate CSF flow based on pressure and/or body position.

Endoscopic third Ventriculostomy (ETV) is an alternate operation to treat hydrocephalus. The surgery entails making a tiny hole in the floor of the third ventricle to allow free flow of CSF.

Hydrocephalus is believed to:

  • Occur in about 2 of every 1,000 live births
  • Impact hundreds of thousands of adults. An estimated 350,000 older Americans are living with normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH)
  • Affect more than 1 million Americans
  • Be the most common reason for brain surgery in children

Although it is treatable:

  • There is no cure for this chronic condition
  • The only known treatment is neurosurgical
  • More than 30,000 shunt surgeries are performed annually in the U.S.! That’s more than one every 30 minutes

With more than 20 million viewers, American Idol is a great place for “hydrocephalus” to gain awareness. We recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity to spread the word and share this video with friends, family, co-workers and your congressman. Support Paris by going to her fan page on Facebook. Post a comment or tell your hydrocephalus story on this message about hydrocephalus left on the American Idol community site.

“I [sing] for my daughter, because I want to teach her: Go for your dreams, do everything you want to do in your life and be happy” Paris Tassin

Go Paris!!!

10 Comments for : American Idol’s Jennifer Lopez sheds a tear for hydrocephalus
    • Becky
    • March 9, 2019

    Thank you for sharing this story. I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus after 6 years of treatment for chronic migraine, and have had 5 shunt surgeries, 4 of them occurred last year in a five month span. I suffered for years and was misdiagnosed by 5 neurologists. I also had 4 shunt failures resulting in near death 3 times; due to infection leading to sepsis, the CSF blowing a whole through one of the incisions, again leading to another infection and dropping my potassium levels so low that muscle damage effected my heart. I also became acidotic and was hospitalized again. It’s been 16 months since the vesitbular shunt (one in the head directly connected to the ventricle) was placed. I am still recovering from the years of build up and damage that also caused numerous side effects; including seizures, strokes, unreal pain and pressure on my head and other more personal difficulties. My cognitive abilities are slowly getting better but I still suffer EVERY DAY with debilitating headaches and losses of memory and cognition that cannot be explained or recovered. I thank God everyday to still be here and able to participate in the lives of my four children. They are the reason I will continue to work toward recovery and to spread information on this condition. I have not been given a reason why this happened, it’s been diagnosed as a psuedotumor. I pray that more research will be done and awareness spread. I pray for all those suffering through this condition and the loved ones that it affects.

  1. Reply

    To Donna Meneley: In case you are unaware of it, the Hydrocephalus Association gives out yearly scholarships to young people with hydrocephalus to be used for educational purposes. You should apply for this for your son’s college fees. It won’t cover all the expenses; I recommend you do some research about grants and loans for people with disabilities in your state. Good luck.

    • lingerabove
    • February 28, 2011

    that was wonderful! made me cry but i had to watch it a few times just because i can completely understand how she feels, my son was born at 24wks and one of his conditions is hydrocphalus and he is the most wonderful thing in my life, he is now 3 years old and has come such a long way…couldn’t be more proud of him!

    • Mary Anne Blaschka
    • February 27, 2011

    I’ve been shunted since the age of 2 months. I am one of the “first generation” members, as I was shunted in 1969. Despite rough times after suffering two bouts of bacterial meningitis, I am employed as a crisis line advocate and volunteer at a local soup kitchen/shelter. The last conference I attended was in Baltimore when AHA members met with their state legislators.
    The nearest support group is in Portland, OR., unless anyone can alert me to one in Southern Oregon.
    Thank you everyone for supporting the efforts of AHA!

    • Donna M. Meneley
    • February 23, 2011

    I have an 18 year old son who has Hydocephalus and has had it since he was born. He received his shunt when he was 3 weeks old. They did not know what was wrong with him. He suffered so much. But thankfully since then, he has done extremely well. Only one revision so far. He is amazing. He struggles so hard with this, because to look at him you would not know there was anything wrong, but he can not do what the average person does as we all know the limitations. His dream is to become a film director or horror makeup artist. Hopefully he will be starting College soon. We are struggling to get money for his college tuition and housing. Applied for grants, scholarships and the whole nine yards, but nothing yet. Trying to get a student loan now. If anyone knows what we can do, please let me know. He was denied disability so I’m lost where to turn next. He wants to work despartly but has lost 2 jobs due to his coordnation and being slow. We love the HA and are trying to get more people involed. Thank goodness this girl is so good on American Idol. Good luck to all!

    • Robherda Lange
    • February 16, 2011

    I have Arnold Chiari Malformation due to hydocephalis. I had a shunt installed in my brain in 2003, after many years of problems with lack of balance, etc. My neurosurgeon told me when it was diagnosed that he couldn’t understand why I had done so well with such a severe problem. Currently I am retired. I wish more people were aware of this problem.

    • Elizabeth Heim
    • January 23, 2011

    I love American Idol, and I have hydrocephalus too, and I’m glad that there is more awareness of hydrocephalus now than ever

  2. Reply

    I was born with hydrocephalus but suffered my entire life luckily I was diagnosed 9yrs ago at 42 and had shunt surgeries.I am so glad to see it brought to the big screen so to speak on idol.It is amazing how few doctors still don’t know how to treat us,considering a shunt surgery is done every 30min. that’s scary.The more exposure the better and here’s a great chance for more public awareness!!

    • Kathie Kopp
    • January 21, 2011

    I am an avid American Idol fan. I am also the mother of a 16 year old young man who just happens to have Hydrocephalus. My son was shunted at the age of 3 months and had a shunt revision when he was 5. Last night while we were watching American Idol together, (which he very much enjoys by the way, but I’m sure he would not admit to in public or otherwise). When Paris said her daughter had Hydrocephalus my son turned and looked at me and said, “I had that”. I was thrilled to see that, for lack of a better way of putting it, Hydro was being advertised to such a wide audience. What an opportunity to make people aware of this cause. I told my co-workers about it today and I intend to tell everyone I come in contact with and then some. I can’t wait to see how Paris progresses with her American Idol and singing endeavors. I wish her and her adorable little girl all the best. I would love to meet her someday and thank her for bringing a wealth of awareness to millions of people concerning Hydrocephalus.

    • janeandren
    • January 21, 2011

    This is a good story and we will all be cheering for her.

    I also sent you another story that should have been told. Gabe Zimmerman, Gifford’s 30 yo aide who was killed, and Giffords who is presently shunted were friends of the Hyrocephalus Association. This is not meant to be political, only something that people of the HA should be aware of and send their good thoughts to the families.

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