Thursday, September 25, 2008

Being Blake

"Last year there were times where I just hated life and hated everybody, and just kept asking, 'Why me?' I didn't want to go play sometimes and I just didn't have the desire anymore. It's scary when that happens. But I was just questioning a lot about my life and hockey just seemed to take a back seat at times."
Nice piece by friend of the blog James Murphy.

I know I've seen more than a few people down play Blake's condition and how it affected him last season, but he's on some pretty powerful medication with potentially awful side effects. A small guy under regular circumstances, he lost 12 pounds in a month heading into the season.

It'll be interesting to see if he rebounds this year.

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At 2:09 p.m., September 25, 2008, Blogger rickibear said...

Facial puffing: Good thing Blake came out and said heh don't blame Downie its my meds. Oh wait!

People deal with there illnes in so many ways.

My mother had brain cancer and was given 6 weeks and lasted 22 months.

Blake maintained hockey as a channel. He was able to play and that is great.

At 3:44 p.m., September 25, 2008, Blogger wade little said...

Blake looked great in the two games I've seen... I don't mean just average, he really slowed down the game when he had the puck. He even played well without the puck.

I think he's got some fire in his belly, hopefully he can continue the pace into the regular season.

At 5:37 p.m., September 25, 2008, Blogger Brooklyn Hockey Boy said...

I think that the majority of fans who look down upon Blake are Leafs fans who expected the kind of offense from his UFA year with the Isles (40+ goals, 60+ points) and were highly disappointed by just 15 goals and 52 points. However, they need to remember that Blake played the whole season despite suffering from a non-fatal form of Leukemia for much of the year. The fact that he did play, as rickibear mentioned, and managed to score at a reasonable pace, is remarkable and Blake should deserve more credit than he recieved. He could very well have a much better season this year, although he is still on medication.

At 12:27 a.m., September 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fans are so stupid that they can't understand that players are actually human beings.

They have same problems with health, kids, marriage etc. as we do.

Mats Sundin can't decide what to do and media/Leaf Nation is up in arms.

Jussi Markkanen just lost his son and despite his status as a hockey player I would think that hurts just the same as to us "normal" people, no?

At 1:24 a.m., September 26, 2008, Blogger Don Johnson said...

I know I've seen more than a few people down play Blake's condition and how it affected him last season, but he's on some pretty powerful medication with potentially awful side effects.

I have no doubt that Blake's news last year may well have had a psychological effect on him, but count me among those who downplay his condition. As I wrote on your blog last year when his condition was anounced, my wife also has CML. The side-effects of Gleevec are MINIMAL. Yes, in some VERY RARE cases, any of the symptoms mentioned on the list can occur. If they had, they certainly would have had an effect on Blake. But extreme reactions to Gleevec are VERY RARE. The fact is that most people have virtually no noticeable side-effects.

I think that what Blake is talking about in the quote are more the psychology of hearing potentially life-threatening news and reassessing what is important in life. In the end, playing hockey just doesn't rank up there in significance with more serious aspects of life.

Also, when first diagnosed and before Gleevec really 'kicked in' it is possible that Blake did suffer from fatigue. The first six months of my wife's diagnosis was accompanied by weight loss and fatigue. She just really checked out and spend a good deal of time sleeping. I was a little amazed at seeing Blake carry on with his season right away, but perhaps he was diagnosed before CML had much physical effect.

So, please, don't blame Gleevec for any of the difficulties Blake may have experienced. It just isn't the case and he doesn't appear to be saying so either. I think the trauma of hearing the bad news and adjusting to it is much more the case than anything else. Here's hoping he catches fire this season as all of that should be behind him.

At 10:14 a.m., September 26, 2008, Blogger Chemmy said...

Whoa one of the side effects is "depigmentation".

At 12:02 p.m., September 27, 2008, Anonymous Ryan said...

To Anonymous,

Us "stupid fans" that expect more out of professional athletes do for one simple reason. Money. I do not get a minimum salary of $450k. I dont' get $8million if I can perform at the top of my profession.

I look at it this way. If a company CEO has problems at home, or with their health, they are extremely unlikely to get time off or have people explain away faultering job skills for the money they earn. The same with athletes.

Now to be fair also, some things are beyond this thinking. Jussi's sad story right now is one. Jason Blakes is questionable. If his play suffered because of the illness he had, he should have been put on the IR at sat the year. He put the rest of the team at a loss because of his lower play.


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