My Story: Tyler McGregor

Tyler was diagnosed with Spindle Cell Sarcoma January 28, 2010. It's one year later, the cancer is behind him with eight months of chemotherapy and amputation of his left leg. His hopes and dreams of playing hockey may have changed direction, but he's proved it's hard to keep a good man down; he's back on his feet and skating. This is the story of one hockey player who NEVER GAVE UP!

Background Story

Tyler’s journey begins with the start of a few broken bones playing the game he loves. It was November '08 when Tyler first broke his clavicle bone, he was playing up with the Lambton Jr. Sting Minor Midget AAA's that year. Hockey is a rough sport, and when he broke his collar bone, we contributed it to him playing up with bigger, stronger kids.

After recovery, he was back on the ice ready to play again. In the spring of '09, he had an awesome time playing with a group of kids put together for the spring team of Kitchener Jr. Rangers. Feeling really good to be back on the ice, Tyler agreed to fill in for another team in a tournament in London, which, ultimately, turned disastrous as Tyler broke his ankle.

The summer went by quickly and before you knew it, hockey was starting again. Tyler was back on the ice in August, and his ankle felt good. Starting his minor midget year and playing for a new team, the Huron Perth Lakers Minor Midget AAA, Tyler was pumped and ready to go. In September, hockey fitness started at school and Tyler starts to experience pain and swelling in his shin below his knee, with a little bit of ice, he toughs it out. A few exhibition games under his belt, and we are off to Toronto to the first tournament.

September 11, 2009, turned out to be a bad day. Tyler broke his tibia/fibula in the very first game of the tournament. He was taken to Scarborough Grace hospital where he was told he would need surgery to repair the bone. Crushed and heart broken, we head for home. A dad and a friend on the team, get him into Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario where a week later he has surgery, a rod and six nails are inserted in his leg from knee to ankle. Tyler’s decision to have the surgery was only because he was told he would be walking within a few weeks.

If you can imagine, his only thought was to get back on the ice as soon as possible. Recovery was going well, Tyler was feeling strong, and hopeful he would be back playing soon. After a couple months, a bump develops on his leg at the site of the original fracture. The surgeons in London think it is a pseudoaneurysm, and Tyler undergoes an angiogram to try and fix the leaking vein.

The ultrasound and angiogram rule out any leaking blood vessels, Tyler is sent home and told he is perfectly healthy. The doctors figure he has extra bone developing and the bump is extra healing tissue. The bump keeps growing, we go back to the doctors, and are told not to worry, this bump could get bigger and may take six months to subside.

December 14, 2009, Tyler is told he can resume regular physical activities, the bone has healed well. With the exception of playing games at this level, Tyler resumes practice, working out, and physiotherapy. Tyler was looking forward to January and hitting the ice again. Over Christmas and New Years he had two illnesses that landed him in emergency both times, strep throat and an abscess on his tonsil. This was not my healthy Tyler, so our New Year’s resolution was to get healthy quick, we had had enough.

He had lost some weight over the fall, and was all of a sudden eating like a mad man to put it back on. Multi-vitamins, vitamin D, Omega-3's, protein drinks, steak, steak and more steak, you name it, he had it. Three weeks after New Year’s, Tyler was feeling great, he was strong and healthy. Except for this nagging lump on his leg, it had gotten huge. Throughout this injury, Tyler had never experienced any pain, but over the last two weeks he was icing his leg after practice. It was obvious it was starting to bother him, but being the tough guy he brushed it off, and we believed the doctors when they told us not to worry, it was just healing tissue.

January 25, 2010, Tyler’s follow up appointment at the surgeons, and one week before playoffs began. Tyler had already received the go ahead to resume hockey, he just needed a signed permission form for his coach. That day we received very different news, and our whole world fell to pieces.

Over the course of three weeks, Tyler was put through hell, but God has lifted him up and carried him through. To lose your dream, to be told you have cancer and then to be told you will lose your leg. They tried to knock him down, but he is back up and ready to fight, this will not destroy him, it will only make him stronger. He is a hockey player and he will succeed! He's already curious as to how this new leg will work, and how soon can he get back on the ice!