johnnyrocks Posted March 18, 2015 Share Posted March 18, 2015 http://www.theprovince.com/touch/story.html?id=10777690 BY ED WILLES, THE PROVINCE FEBRUARY 1, 2015 Nine months ago, when his heart was operating at 28 per cent of its capacity, doctors were telling Gino Odjick he might have a year to live. Today, his heart is operating at 58 per cent of its capacity and the doctors are saying he might have three years left, possibly more. So those numbers tell a story; a significant story. But what they don’t tell, what they can never tell, is the life that’s in Odjick’s eyes and the strength in his being. He’s still trying to take all this in and sort out what it means — “I don’t know if it’s a gift,” he says. “I still have to get used to this situation” — but he knows one thing. He can now talk about a future and the things he can do. He used to take that for granted. He doesn’t anymore. “I’m just starting to feel better and better,” says the former Canuck. “I want to get used to this.” And now he has the time. Odjick’s private struggle became a public story last June when he revealed he was suffering from amyloidosis, a rare heart condition in which protein deposits are formed in the heart. His case was considered terminal and there was a question if he’d make it to the new year. But a round of chemo slowed the disease and he’s now considered to be in remission. On Friday night, he was also in the Canucks’ alumni suite taking in the Sabres game with his good friend Peter Leech, and if you saw him in June, the transformation is striking. He’s still weak from the chemo and his voice is reedy, but he gets around and he now talks about working for the Canucks in a scouting capacity. In the summer, none of that seemed possible. Suddenly, his life is full of possibilities. “I want to get healthy and do something I love,” he says. “I love hockey and I’m a pretty good judge of talent. We’ll see what the team wants to do, but that’s what I’d like to do.” “That’s a conversation we’ll have,” says Canucks president Trevor Linden. “He’s a big part of the Canucks.” That much Odjick has learned. When he was in the hospital, former teammates rallied to his side. There was Linden, Stan Smyl, Kirk McLean, Garry Valk, Cliff Ronning, Dave Babych and Geoff Courtnall, but the one man he could always count on was Pat Quinn. Early on, Quinn would stop by a couple of times a week to visit, and when Odjick travelled back east to be with his family, his old coach was on the phone, urging him to listen to the doctors and take care of himself because he was getting better. Stick with the program, Quinn would tell him, his coach till the end. “He was a special person,” Odjick says. “He not only made me a better hockey player, he made me a better person. He’ll have an impact on me my whole life.” Once, Quinn went the better part of 10 days without visiting, and Odjick thought he must have been out of town. He later learned Quinn was in the hospital himself, but he never once mentioned his illness to his former player. In fact, he left strict instructions that Odjick wasn’t to be told about his cancer. “He never mentioned anything about being sick,” Odjick says, shaking his head. “He went so quick. It was a shock.” Quinn’s life will be celebrated by the Canucks on March 17. As it happens, the organization is planning a ceremony to honour Odjick before the end of this season. There’s a beautiful symmetry in that, and Odjick has grown to like the idea of a public ceremony. But that took some time. Initially, he was reticent about disclosing his disease. But then the phone calls and the emails started coming and he came to realize he wasn’t alone in this. So many times during his career he had to face the toughest battles by himself, but now, in his biggest fight, he looked around and saw so many people by his side. There was strength in that. And there was love. “It’s amazing,” he says. “I wish it never came out. It was more a private thing, but the support has meant a lot to me. “I think one of the reasons I got healthy was the power of prayer.” So where does he go from here? Well, the doctors can treat the protein but they can’t remove it, and they’re expecting it will return. When? They’re saying three years, but maybe the timeline isn’t important. What’s important is he’s starting to feel better and he has tomorrow and he knows those are precious. And that’s a fine thing to know. I think this is awesome!!! Way to go Gino!! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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