May, 2013 was the worst month of my life, and I was happy to see it fade into the past.

On May 2, I was told the small nodules in my lungs and enlarged lymph nodes in the middle of my chest were cancer. On May 30, after 28 days of tests, scans and life on hold, I received the best news of my life. It wasn’t cancer. It was sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease.

Over those 28 days, I tried to keep things normal, but that’s impossible. I’d work, covering a baseball game or Brandon Berry’s professional boxing debut, and one thing ran constantly through my mind.


I never felt helpless or hopeless. When I got the initial diagnosis on May 2, I was numb. I paid my copay and walked out of my doctor’s office and called my mother from my car. I was calm, until my mother called back an hour later, to let me know my father and brother were on their way from Vermont and would be at my house in a few hours.

Then I lost it. I was a mess for about a half-hour, then I was calm again. I’m not one to dwell on the negative and I can’t stand people who wallow in misery, looking over their shoulder for some stray pity.

I prepared for a fight and I did my best to keep those voices that whispered one word over and over silent.


Work and writing didn’t silence the voices. It helped turn them down for small periods of time, but they still chattered away.

One thing shut those demons up. One thing allowed me to let go of the fight for a few hours and just relax.

That was the Boston Bruins.

I’ve always loved the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Stanley Cup is the best trophy in the world and it’s the hardest to win. A hockey team has to grind through four best-of-seven series to hold the Cup, and when you win it, your name goes on the thing. You become immortal.

The day I saw a second doctor, one who told me that while there certainly is something troubling in my chest, he couldn’t tell me with certainty what it is until I underwent more tests, the Bruins beat Toronto 5-2 to take a 2-1 lead in their quarterfinal series.

The day the Bruins pulled off their incredible Game 7 comeback against the Maple Leafs, I was prepping myself for a PET scan, a procedure which requires you to lie perfectly still with your arms above your head for a half hour. When I was in the machine, I thought about that comeback and the upcoming series against the New York Rangers.

I waited for my PET scan results and watched the Bruins take the first two games from the Rangers. I got my results, which confirmed what was going on in my chest and also confirmed it was not going on anywhere else in my body, and watched the Bruins take another game.

I saw an oncologist, who showed me all the scans of my body and who repeated the phrase, “I think you’re going to be fine,” and the Bruins pushed the Rangers to the brink.

On May 23, I prepared for a bronchoscopy by eating and drinking nothing and watching the Rangers steal one game from the Bruins. A bronchoscopy is a procedure in which a flexible tube is snaked into your lungs through your nose. Tissue samples were taken and when my pulmonologist said things look good, I celebrated by watching the Bruins finish the Rangers off in Game 5.

I took a breathing test on May 29 and wondered if the Bruins could slow down Pittsburgh’s juggernaut offense.

My pulmonologist called on May 30 with my fantastic test results. It’s been more than a week, but I still haven’t been able to flip off that switch that tells my body to fight. I’m still on edge. Watching the Bruins tear through the Penguins for a four-game sweep helped.

I’m getting my life back and I know I’m lucky. Most people who are hit with the diagnosis I received don’t see it end after 28 gut-wrenching days. The only advice I can offer all the families who hear the voices — cancercancercancercancer — every day is, try to find that one thing that let’s you relax, even for just a couple hours.

The Boston Bruins did that for me, helping me cope with the most difficult month of my life. Whether or not they hoist the Stanley Cup, I’ll always be grateful for that.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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