Eddie Olczyk finished his chemotherapy on Feb. 21. Then he had to wait nearly six weeks for his final scans to determine if the cancer was indeed gone.
“I don’t know what those scans are going to say and I’m scared still,” he said on March 2. “What will they say? What are they going to tell me?”
Well, because of emergency hernia surgery, Olczyk had his scans early — and he got the news he and so many in the hockey world had been waiting for. He’s cancer-free.
“I’ve had enough crying to last me a lifetime,” Olczyk said on NBC Sports Chicago on Thursday night. “I got the call on March 14 at 5:07 p.m. letting me know my scans were clear. And I never heard a better phrase in my life. I’m now 10 days on with the rest of my life.”
Olczyk offered a lengthy list of thank-yous, from Blackhawks players, staff and management to his friends in the hockey and horse-racing communities, particularly broadcast partner Pat Foley.
“We beat this thing,” Olczyk said. “And I say ‘we’ because it has been a team effort. … We all beat this and I’m so thankful for all the support and prayers — they worked. I’m proud to stand here before everybody and say we beat this thing.”
Olczyk fought a very public battle with colon cancer, having 23 lymph nodes and 14 inches of his colon removed, then enduring a dozen 48-hour chemo sessions, still calling games whenever possible. He hoped to serve as an inspiration for others.
“Anybody that takes chemo is way tougher than they ever thought they were,” Olczyk said earlier in the month. “Look, I played a long time in the league and I’m very proud of my career. It’s hard to play in the NHL. I was never known as a tough player, I know that. But what I proved to myself is that I’m way tougher than I ever thought I was.”
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