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4/4/11-I Did Not Know Mandi Schwartz but…I Needed to Post This Today

April 4, 2011

4/4/11 – There are typos in this post. I had to get it posted and simply can’t keep working on it. I am starting to have more “mentally” bad days than good, so here are my thoughts-take them as you like. Posts may become sparce for a while. LOVE YOUR HOCKEY! Can’t thank GMGM and #44 for working with the hockey gods to make me BELIEVE this year! Let’s ROCK the playoff hockey.

It’s early evening and another jobless Monday has dropped on me yet again. Although, I am somewhat happy that I have the time in the mornings to read a lot of the National Hockey League articles, watch NHL videos, recaps, highlights and other goodies and of course, look at the standings. It’s that time of year for all those in the throws of an NHL season to really start doing all of those things. Personally, I am very lucky in this regard. I can “hockey-think” all day if allowed. As all things are in this universe, however, the good accompanies bad. I will not be able to live for too much longer without having a full-time job with health benefits. It really is a matter of life and death in some ways. So, while I am happy to have the time to explore the internet for almost any subject that relates to NHL hockey, I am unhappy at the same time, because the only way I can possibly survive is to be employed.

Okay, don’t worry. I’m not out to depress anyone. I’m usually much more positive than I am negative and today is no exception. The Washington Capitals are playing a game that has changed this season. That change may make some other fans and some media outlets go bonkers, but it has made me a particularly happy fan, for the most part. I have been a bit selfish from a CAPS fan perspective. I admit it. This year, I simply want to feel good about the playoff chances of the DC boys. I haven been uneasy and not confident about the playoff chances in recent years. I always try to keep the mindset, as a fan, that the guys will do well and make progress through the post-season. They have made the post-season since 2008, so that bodes well in my mind, considering the history of the organization.

The one thing that has kept me a little “nervous” was the type of hockey they were playing over the last few years. It always seemed to me that playoff hockey wasn’t translating on-ice through the regular season in many, many ways. It did come to pass that playoff hockey also wasn’t translating to the extent it should in the playoffs as well. I can agree that all of this is in hindsight, but I truly did find myself feeling a lot of apprehension at the start of the last few Capital’s playoff “runs”. I hoped they would prove me wrong, but that did not happen. This year is a different year for me as a fan and I am about the happiest I have been as a life-long fan of the CAPS, because this year, I have seen the type of hockey that gets teams success in the post-season. Hence the reason my Washington Capitals jersey has the word “BELIEVE” stiched on the back of it.

You may be thinking right now why my post is titled as it is. Here’s your answer. I was sifting through “tweets” yesterday and ran across many “tweets” delivering the news that a young woman named Mandi Schwartz had gone to hockey heaven after fighting the battle with Leukemia for a few years. Here’s a Puck Daddy article about her with several very good links that should also be read. Here’s some blunt honesty from me and I can’t worry about how anything I type here will be perceived. I have to do this.

I wasn’t familiar with Mandi’s story at all. I don’t know her family or anyone who knew her. The one thing I do know is why someone would decide to stop medical treatment. I also know that today, I am peeved at the hockey gods. Believe what you must, but when it comes to ice hockey, and especially females who do get the opportunity and support to actually play the game, the hockey gods should have taken me and left Mandi to play. They should have left her to show all the little girls who could see her play that females can and do play hockey. They should have spared her family the sorrow. I made this clear to the hockey gods-everyday. I told them that if there is a female hockey player out there somewhere who can live the example by being heavily involved with the sport, get some attention for it and who may need some sort of help from the hockey gods – I’d happily trade if that’s what keeps a needed balance. I don’t know how the universe works, but I’m still maintaining that position.

I am being selfish. I want nothing more out of my life but to know that females will play ice hockey and that they will have a professional hockey league in place to build a strong love of the game, not just in other females, but in “hockey voids” like the one in which I grew-up. I am not playing the game and I do not have a family and barely any sort of support system consisting of people who also love ice hockey. The hockey gods screwed-up and I am unhappy today. People like Mandi are the one’s who make the biggest differences. Not people like me.

I am uniquely qualified to address the decision some people make, according to what I’ve read about Mandi is one of them, to not obtain medical treatment for cancer. In my case, I simply don’t have money. I’ve already been completely wiped-out financially. I have already declared bankruptcy. I have already been through the horrific, life-sucking, black hole of misery that becomes one’s life when bill collectors and those who want money from you aren’t getting that money from you. I couldn’t work regularly. I was weak and tired all the time. I got my butt kicked from one end to the other, over and over again and if I didn’t have it in me to find or earn money to remove the stress that accompanies medical bills – those medical bills went unpaid and the debt crushed me with extreme weight.

Once I STOPPED taking all those pills prescribed to me AND I STOPPED dragging myself around to medical appointments, which began to be all I did, if I could get a vehicle, pay for gas and stay upright for the trips, I started to get better. I started to be less depressed. The little peaks of sunlight started to shine through every-so-often. Slowly, I was able to gain more and control over the things that were putting me down faster and faster. The most important decision I could have ever made in my life was to simply be in control of how I lived it and if that meant chosing to forego chemicals, tests, and sitting in waiting rooms holding my breath every time to get news that would either make me happy or sad, then that is what it meant.

I can’t speak for anyone else with regards to their personal reasons for chosing to stop treatments for whatever may be or was the battle that is cancer, but I can say that if Mandi in particular got the chance to take that control before she moved on to playing ice hockey in the heavens, she’s probably having a nice smile right now, playing “heaven hockey”. If those not ever faced with such situations are unable to understand what I mean, I’ll mention that sometimes people know how they want to fight. Fighting isn’t always about surviving for long periods of time. Sometimes it’s about fighting to live whatever life you have the way you want to live it. Wrong or right, that decision does belong to the person whose life it is.

I’m hesitant to post this. I do type posts that I do not ever make public sometimes. It’s helpful and cathartic to get thoughts out this way, but I do sometimes leave posts “unpublished”. This time, I will publish a post that maybe I should keep to myself. The one thing I do not want to do is offend anyone or make anyone angry. I don’t get very many readers, but given the nature of the internet, there still is a tiny, remote possibility that someone from the Schwartz family or someone who personally knew and love Mandi could read this one day. I am not attempting to discount the grief or sadness that is the loss of a beloved person in anyone’s life. Loss is miserable and human emotion is crucial and hard felt by those left behind. I simply ran across a story about a hockey-loving female who battled and eventually did win one very important fight. The fight to play ice hockey and that fight counts more than many know. Little girls will be rewarded in the future for the love of a great sport that Mandi played. To me in particular, she’s pretty awesome and I’d never even heard of her while she was still alive.

Every female who plays ice hockey is making a difference, not just for the little girls out there, but for the entire ice hockey world by creating more and more interest in the greatest sport in the universe. I couldn’t be more grateful. I am also reminded that to my knowledge, I do not have Leukemia. I haven’t had any tests done to say that for sure. I could be riddled with tumors for all I know right now. I can’t say that the Lymphoma is my biggest problem. I can say that I made the decision to take very few pills each day. I made the decision to take as much time as I need to decide which doctor I will see and when. I am, for the most part, alone and can only do what I can do in each given day. If I have a productive day and know my “unemploment” budget can handle a trip to see a doctor or get a blood test, I do it. I will be getting a blood test this week to see how everything looks. My white blood cells work too hard and there are still a few high levels and low levels. If I need a treatment beyond the medication I already take each day, I will most likely refuse it.

The mental stress of dealing with health issues will not be the reason I go to hockey heaven. I have control of that desicion. I will go to the last home game of the Washington Capitals this Wednesday against the Florida Panthers with my housemate and my friend Brian. I look for work in some way everyday. I try to get stronger and believe that I’m not on the way into the grave. I’m a stubborn pain about it actually. I certainly will cling to even the tiniest little positive thing I can find so that I can get through everyday until the Capitals win the Stanley Cup. I may not be as invested as a fan as I have been next NHL season, but the Capitals will win the Cup. I DO BELIEVE!

The universe does like to put some people through trials that appear completely and totally unfair. There are days when I am hit hard with that reality and times when I feel I should just lay in bed and not bother with anything until some outside force intervenes. That is happening to me more and more often. I am having more and more low days. I know that’s not a good sign, but I also still have ice hockey and music. Those two things still matter to me and for now, they are keeping me fighting to make progress.

I suppose what I’m getting at with all of this is that I hope the hockeyverse helps all those who knew and loved Mandi Schwartz through the loss. I also hope that next time, the hockey gods remember that I will happily go if some other female who actually is playing ice hockey and who has a family and friends who will be deeply hurt by her loss happens to need a hand from the hockey gods. It may not be fair, but even I know that I am expendable. I am not playing ice hockey. I am no longer a mother. I have no family. There are far more important females who can make a very big difference that will better and more quickly lead to a professional female hockey league and more little kids on ice.

GO CAPS! My friend Brian is so excited to see a live game at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night, his wife has informed me that he made her wash the Ovechkin shirt I gave him for his birthday two weeks ago when I told him I had an extra ticket. That shirt has been out and ready to where on top of the dresser ever since. He even got all chatty with excitement just going over the ride-sharing details. There’s another first-time Rocker of the Red heading to DC! Let’s get the playoff hockey a ‘rollin. (NO,NO T-O) – peace – mia – and twitter (@creasesinger) luvyalotsandlots


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