In a Blink of an Eye Life Changes

Rewind to Summer 2016

The offseason always feels so rushed with a million things to do. Craig and I always try to jam a years worth of “things to do” into a four month timespan.  
One of our major priorities is to plan things as a family.  This past summer, we made a conscious effort to plan activities for our boys.   Since Craig has a regimented work-out plan, our life always revolves around hockey with a work-out schedule, goalie school, and ice time.  We created a calendar to help us plan everything we wanted our boys to do, whether it was a Disney trip or just a simple day to fish, it was on our calendar.  Looking back, we both can say our boys had a great summer.
House Renovations 
Besides trying to build memories as a family, we decided to tackle many renovations in our home.  We painted the inside of our houseinstalled new wood floors in our master bedroom and office, and polished the marble in our house.  In June, we decided that we would tackle hiring a pool company to fix the leak in our pool; which lead to a pool remodel and landscaping changes.  The projects were overwhelming!  A lot of thought went into planning all the details for every renovation.  It was fun, yet exhausting.  Our minds were so preoccupied in our children and home repairs.  We never thought we were about to encounter this crazy path coming our way.  
A Blessing in Disguise
In June, Craig and I were so excited to learn we would be expecting our third child in March. The first trimester was an emotional roller coaster for us.  At 10 weeks, we decided to do the Panorama non-invasive blood test.  This blood test reveals possible genetic defects and the gender of the baby.  After taking the blood, we patiently waited for the results.  Our doctor phoned us and explained that there wasn’t enough fetal faction in the blood and we had to redo the test.  We redid the test at 11 weeks and got the same resultsnot enough fetal faction in the blood. Our doctors became very concerned stating this is a sign of an abnormality.  We were referred to a genetics doctor and they administered a CVS.  Once again, we waited a long two weeks for the results.  When the results came back,we were notified it was a healthy baby girl.  We were over the moon and so relieved. The boys were so excited to be having a sister. At the end of September, I thought I was going to a routine ultrasound.  At the ultrasound, I learned that our baby girl measured three weeks behind, which included heart defects and an undeveloped cerebellum.  I remember sitting there–just devastated and feeling numb.  How could this be happening when the CVS told us otherwise? I remember thinking…we can fix her heart, but no brain? What was happening? I immediately phoned my husband and had the doctor talk to him.  I couldn’t speak.  We were told that our daughter would never live a normal life.  There was the possibility of stillborn baby or a baby that would lay lifeless.  We were given the option to terminate the pregnancy.  I kept praying to GOD please don’t make us have to make this decision.  My world crumbled before me.  It was all happening so fast, but praise the LORD, He made the decision for us and we miscarried at 16 weeks, three days later.
The Diagnosis
During the pregnancy in August, I noticed a little congestion setting in.  As we all know, congestion is a part of pregnancy. I started experiencing coughing phlegm, dry mouth, night sweats, and extreme tiredness.   These are all symptoms of a cold or even pregnancy.  I called my OBGYN and was prescribed an antibiotic.  I completed the antibiotic and flew to Mt. Tremblant to meet my husband for a little preseason get-to-together.  My ear was crackling.  It had a full feeling.  It continued to pop as if I were on an airplane.  I associated these symptoms with my cold, travel,  and never thought it could be anything more.
After the miscarriage, the congestion did not subside.  I called the team doctor for an appointment.  He felt the lump in my neck, and advised me to get an ultrasound of my lymph node which led to a suggested biopsy.  At the time, I was in Pennsylvania visiting my family and friends. The purpose of my trip was to sit through chemo with a my girlfriend, Crystal, who is battling breast cancer.  I never thought in a couple days from this point I would be in the cancer club too.  I am so thankful The Flyers Organization referred me to an oncologist ENT, Dr. Chetan Nayak.  He biopsied my neck and also found a nasal mass.  The report from the biopsy indicated there was cancer in my lymph node.  Craig flew home immediately.  The following day, I was in surgery to biopsy the mass they found behind my nose.  After gathering all of the information from both biopsies and multiple tests, I was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
P.S.  Nasal scopes are not fun!




42 thoughts on “In a Blink of an Eye Life Changes”

  1. prayers you will be cancer free, I will be praying for you and your family. I know you will beat this. love you Patti

    1. I thought I had a cold, ears plugged, headaches etc. I was diagnosed with the same thing. I’m almost done with chemotherapy, chemo and radiation took a lot out of me.. i wish you the best recovery . what do we have in common. I am a blond white female 52 years old. They said they see this in older Asian men .

  2. You are truly a brave,inspirational lady!!!Sending you positive light and love!!! We travel through this journey and lift you when you need it! Your Warrior family will be here for you! Hugs sweetie and keep your great love of life & family????

  3. Nik I’m so sorry you had to join that club, and I wish you all the strength and stamina you need get you through this journey. You know you have to for those guys in your life, I know you have much love ❤️ and support which makes a huge difference. How awesome you’re doing this blog because you never know who you could be helping while also helping yourself. ????

  4. I have admired you for many things. Your integrity, humility, and overall genuine disposition. You continue to inspire with your resolve. You are one of the most courageous and brave people that I know. It goes without saying, my family is in your corner. You’re a fighter, Nik! Kick cancer’s ass!

  5. Your strength, personality, and support system will get you through this. Sometimes putting your story on ‘paper’ allows one to clear their mind. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to celebrating when you have overcome this. Always a wonderful friend, Nic. Like many others, I’m here if you need. Keep the smile going!

  6. It feels like I’m reading a book. Except this is not a book, it is just the story of your life. As I fight back the tears, I am reminded that like any story.. you still have so much to tell and so much more to live for. Though this won’t be an easy journey for you, you are blessed to have such as beautiful family to share these memories with. And i know that you will have much deeper insight on learning to enjoy the little moment we take for granted everyday. You have a strong and fierce, beautiful spirit and I’m sure you will get through this. I am excited to keep reading about your journey and can’t wait for the happy ending. I love you!

  7. Not sure if my first comment was posted. So, I will try again.

    Thank you for your thoughtful synopsis. Sorry to hear about your baby girl. My heart goes out to you and your family. The zest for life and boundless energy I observed of you as your assistant when Anna was in 4th grade will help pull you through this. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily.

  8. You are in our constant thoughts and prayers. I talk with your mom so I don’t disturb your rest with a text or phone ringing.
    I have kept the prayer chains up to date. You are surrounded with so many that love you and care for you. So thankful that Craig is are to be with you and that Jake and Levi are close at hand.
    oh, by the way, where are Raider and Bella?
    We love you
    HOlly and Richard
    and Snowball

  9. I’m so glad you wrote this I’m following you all the way and Hoping for a good outcome you and your family Have been through enough and deserve calmness and Peace …❌⭕️❌⭕️
    Prayers Today and Always

  10. My heart ❤️ goes out to you and your family. Through all these tough times you stayed strong and positive. No one would have ever guessed what you were struggling with inside because of the smile you kept on your face. You got this. Keep up the fight. ? I look forward to reading your articles as you post them.

  11. We love you so so much- you are our inspiration, our children’s’ inspiration, and now strangers inspirations. I am in awe of your positivity, drive, and love for your family and others. Your impact on all of us is everlasting to say the least. We love you Nicholle.

  12. Nicholle, I’m just so heartbroken for all you have been going through. I discovered this past year after losing a brother and a sister that prayer is so powerful. And have found such comfort knowng people were keeping me in their prayers. You will discover a tremendous strength from all the friends and family that offer their support. My brother was forever an optimist and would say to make the most of the best and the least of the worst. My prayers to you and Craig and your beautiful babies. Hugs and love, Barb Jones

  13. Love you Nicholle! I am so blessed by your positivity and you are already an inspiration to so many! May you be an overcomer!

  14. You are a courageous woman to share your journey with us! Our family went thru cancer with my husband about 10 yrs ago which last for many yrs. My husband finally had a bone marrow transplant 5 yrs ago. Praise God he is cancer free since then. We know that God was in control thru the many friends, family & total strangers praying for him. We as a family will lift you up in prayer. God Bless you & continue to be strong.

  15. I don’t think I’ll even meet someone who can have the series of events you have had nic and have the outlook and positivity you do ! Your smile is contagious and the best eff you to your situation! Love you girl!

  16. Nicole,
    You are one brave and amazing individual! A warrior! I can’t even begin to explain what I feel as I read your blog and get to understand the circumstances that lead to this path. I have sorrow and a broken heart for you and your family’s circumstances, but overwhelming joy in the out pour of love and support you are getting from your friends, family, and NHL family. What I do know is that there is a God and HE is beside you in every way and form during this time. What HE puts in your path is to steer you in another direction that HE so desires. I know in my heart it is one of love, happiness, and most of all health. Huge hugs, kisses, and prayers to you throughout your journey. With much love xoxoxoxo

  17. Nicole,

    How much I can relate to your post that in a blink of an eye life changes. This past July I lost my “baby ” brother suddenly (at age 51) to a massive heart attack. Not only was he my brother, he was my best friend and I felt like I was in a bad dream hoping for someone to wake me up from it. I insisted my family all go for physicals, not ever thinking I would be the one to fail it. Through some abnormal blood work, abdominal ultrasound, a division finally a CT Scan, they found a small and contained cancerous mass on my right kidney. Now I really feel like I am living a bad dream and the rug has been pulled from underneath me. Thankfully, I am told, that I will just need to have my kidney removed, no follow-up chemo or radiation as they caught it early enough, just scans every 6 months for the next 5 years. So, just a 3 short days after Christmas my kidney will be removed. As the doctor told me, “your brother saved your life thru his death” . I wouldn’t have gone for a physical otherwise, and by the time the cancer reared its ugly head, things would be way different. So while I am very sorry you lost that precious baby girl, I believe her death was to save you. As I am, you are surrounded by family and friends who love and support you and will walk this journey with you every step of the way. Yes, in a blink of an eye life does change. And while we may feel our life is out of control, how we handle these life changes and what we do with them is our choice. From what I read and see, you will beat this and rise to the top. Keep fighting. My prayers and healing thoughts are with you. God Bless.

  18. Nicholle
    Like many I heard about your diagnosis through social media. I am a die hard Leaf fan and have seen Craig play many times when our teams faced off. So when we heard that he was taking a leave due to a family emergency, it went much deeper than hockey, we are now talking about a real human being with a family and a life outside of hockey. I think as fans we forget that those people we see on the ice are real people with real life struggles.
    I want to thank you for creating this blog, I have kept you and your family in my thoughts and prayers since reading your public statement. I will continue to pray for you and I know you will beat this. You have not only your family and friends cheering for you but you have the entire love and support from so many of us fans.
    I will continue to follow your blog and wish you well. One day at a time, that’s all we can do, you will rise above this.

  19. First off I would like to say terrific blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Kudos!

    1. I enjoy writing. Prior to being traded to Canada, I was a 4th grade teacher, and still certified. Writing is my passion. I try to pick little moments in this journey to write about so it isn’t too overwhelming. I focus on a little topic at a time. Hope that helps.

  20. Nicolle,

    Its been some years since I’ve spoken to you. I want you to know that I really do think of you often, after learning of what you are going through. I want you to know I think positive for you daily. You will be fine because you are a great person. Keep fighting and stay strong.

  21. Thanks for sharing your story. I am sure it has and will inspire others to look a life a little differently. A few years ago I was awaken by a friends cancer story. It inspired me to go and see a doctor, and lucky for me. My story had a happy ending and I truly feel yours will as well. In support of you and Craig, I have recently retied my skate laces with PINK laces in support of cancer. I’ve taken some good jabs from all the guys, but , they will stay there till you beat this. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Never give in,

  22. Nicholle, I just want to send you my thoughts and prayers and thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry about your loss. And I know there really are no words. I too, lost a son in a similar manner(routine 2nd trimester ultrasound) due to an underdeveloped brain(holopresencephaly). It is still the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced and oh how I wanted to scream at anyone who said “everything happens for a reason” or “at least you have one kid”….

    My father died of cancer a year ago and he chose not to fight it. I really regret not encouraging him more, and so I really admire you for fighting this tooth and nail.

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this difficult time in your life. You are an amazing woman!

  23. How long will you be receiving treatments? Chemo and radiation? Your positive attitude is so great. You will beat this. Your blog is wonderful. I suffer from depression. Your positive attitude helps me. Thankyou

  24. Our family is going through the same thing. Would love to participate in the foundation. Husbands PET Scan is tomorrow.
    Best of luck with your recovery!
    Family from Hamburg New York.

    1. Thank you for your interest. We are in the process of setting it up. As soon as we have more information, we will post. Praying the pet scan comes back clear. Best of luck to you all too! xoxo

  25. You will get through this. You have a great support system around you. I was diagnosed with stage 3b breast cancer and in some lymph nodes in January 2016. Had chemo until August 2016, then mastectomy and all lymph under my arm. 11 of the 15 nodes they removed had cancer. Then they found 2 nodes in upper chest with cancer so more chemo. Just finished 3 months instead of 6?! Just try to be positive and a good sense of humor helps, also! A Distant cousin of mine said I kick cancer ass! Even found a greeting card with kick ass on it! If you want to email me, feel free! So nice to see you at the game on Saturday in NBC! I hope you are feeling well. Love Hope.

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