WGN Radio interview with Eddie Olczyk
On finding out he had cancer
"“It came as a complete shock to my family and obviously me as an individual. All the sudden I got this bad pain in my lower stomach. Typical hockey player, typical guy, I just tried to shake it of (thinking) I’m going to be OK. The next thing I knew I couldn’t go to the bathroom for a day or two. I tried to do what I could, then nothing would happen. The next thing you know I got violently sick and I found myself in a hospital with doctors telling me I have a blockage in my colon and there’s a tumor there. Everything just came to a screeching halt. I’ve had enough quiet time the last three months to last me a lifetime. I’ve thought a million times over and over, ‘How did I get this?'”"
On cancer awareness
"“I know there are many other people that are way worse off than I am, and I understand that. My biggest goal here is to help inspire one person the rest of my life. I’m trading in six months of chemo for hopefully 50 more years on this earth. If I can help one person somehow, whether they get checked early, if they recognize something or getting work done earlier than they should. Whatever it is, I’m hoping if I can help one person, if I can pass that on, and then they pass it on and so on. Then maybe we can help somebody going through it. And that to me is my ultimate goal. I want to try and help one person over the rest of my life to keep them from going through this. It’s been absolute hell, and anybody out there that has been touched by this or has seen somebody go through it knows exactly what I’m talking about. It’s poison and it’s brutal, but you have to have belief and family.”"
On mental struggles
"“I’ve been to places that I never thought I’d be over the course of the last three months. … I can take all the side effects. They’re not fun, but the mental part to me is the greatest challenge because you start drifting into places that you just don’t know. Hopefully I’ll become better for it and help somebody else down the road. I started my chemo on September 11, and we go every two weeks. I think for me looking at the clock, looking at the calendar and looking at the month thinking, ‘Gosh, the middle of February seems like forever.’ My philosophy is that I’m trading in six months for 50 years. It’s going to be hard, I’m going to miss a lot of hockey, I’m going to miss a lot of horse racing, but I’ve got to do what I have to do. The first few treatments were pretty rough. The second one was extremely rough, and I ended up getting blood clots at the end of my treatment, too, and that put a real damper on the two weeks. I feel like I have seven or eight days of hell and then I have five or six days of freedom where at least I can be out and at least have some sort of normalcy.”"
On feeling better lately
"“I felt like I was gaining some traction and I was feeling better than I had been. I want to take advantage of feeling good and doing what I love to do. I think this is going to be great for the soul, I really do. I might disappear for four or five minutes during these games because I’m either in the bathroom or not feeling good, but I think for me it’s just the opportunity I couldn’t be more grateful for.”"
On people he’s most grateful for
"“I don’t think there will be enough time on this earth for me to thank everybody. … I’m absolutely overwhelmed. You know our broadcast with the great Pay Foley. We do a lot of shoutouts. We like to recognize people that maybe aren’t feeling well, are going through a difficult time or when somebody gets married. That’s part of our shtick. We think that’s very important. I always knew how important it was, but now that the skate’s on the other foot, it makes you feel really good. I couldn’t be more proud to have that support. I’m very thankful, and am very lucky.”"