At what point did you start to feel ill?
It started towards the middle of July. I started feeling sick. It went from a really bad situation to worse. I lost a lot of blood, was constantly going to the bathroom and basically couldn’t live a day-to-day life.
At what point did you start to realize this was something that was going to affect this season?
Early on in July I was hoping to get the situation under control but it just seemed to spiral down from there. Once August hit I got pretty nervous and scared and then it just seemed to get worse from there and I knew something serious was going on.
Can you describe your affliction and what it does to you?
Colitis is what I have. Basically my intestines were raw is what it was. A normal person would have a skin layer over top of it. I don’t really know the medical stuff. My stomach was pretty raw and it caused me to bleed a lot internally.
How much weight did you lose and how much better do you feel now?
I lost a little bit over 30 pounds. It was looking pretty grim for awhile there up until a couple weeks ago. I started different medication and started to feel a lot better and things started to progress upwards instead of downwards. I was really happy for that because the next step would have been surgery and that’s a major surgery and I wasn’t really looking forward to that.
What’s the outlook for the next six months of your life? Is it more about trying to get back to a normal life? Is hockey even in the picture right now for this season?
It’s hard to say. Every day it’s been wake up and see how I feel. First of all I want to make sure I get healthy and get back to a normal everyday life. Then hockey comes next so I want to make sure I’m healthy and able to live day-to-day.
Can you describe what your illness has been like for you?
Every time I ate or drank I couldn’t keep fluids in – just constantly going to the bathroom 15 or 20 times a day. Really dehydrated and a lot of cramping and discomfort.
Do you have any sort of family history with Colitis?
My brother has Crohn’s and it’s a similar disease but with Colitis there’s a cure and with Crohn’s there isn’t. That’s the big difference. Basically for me to get cured surgery would be an option.
How difficult was it to have to go through this?
I went from being completely healthy to not being able to walk up the stairs. I felt out of breath and it shows you how human you are. As a hockey player you think you’re invincible but this shows you it can happen to everybody and how important your health is.
What’s your workout schedule like?
I’ve been given a little bit of a green light to work out lightly. As soon as I get tired I stop, I’m easing into things and going at my own pace.
Is there a new perspective that you gain from having to go through this?
Definitely. You sit in hospitals and you think about everything. It gave me an opportunity to re-evaluate things and get a whole new outlook on life.
Can you talk about the support you’ve received from your teammates in all this?
They’ve been phenomenal. The organization has been great. The doctors have been unreal to me. When you go through tough times you know who your friends are. All the guys in the dressing room here have been great to me and came in, saw me and visited me. Even though I didn’t really want visitors it was great to see them and forget about what I was going through – just talking with them, hanging out and laughing, trying to be part of the team when I really wasn’t at that point.
- Transcribed by Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com