#OSKARSTRONG: It’s more than a hashtag

As 2022 draws to a close, I am very greatful for so much. This has been a very difficult year for me, a year that has seen me having more in common with Oskar Lindblom than I ever thought possible. I July of 2022 I began having serious issues that saw me hospitalized, and later diagnosed with cancer; one very similar to the cancer that Oskar fought and beat.

I finished my eight rounds of chemo shortly before Christmas. When I walked out, I came home and took a nap. I did a podcast and took another nap.

When Oskar Lindblom was diagnosed with cancer, I followed his story very closely. I have a son who is not much younger than Oskar. I wept, for a beautiful soul facing the ultimate battle. I supported the #OskarStrong movement, and remember the chills as I watched him return to the Flyers just in time for the playoffs in that crazy Covid season of hockey and life.

I also remember my anger at the treatment given to Oskar by Chuck Fletcher, who unceremoniously bought him out in what was called a “business” move. In September of this year, I was officially diagnosed with cancer, and began eight rounds of tortuous chemotherapy. My treatment involved being inpatient for four to five days each cycle, and while I had visitors, including the best son in the world, my blog squad and even my favorite Rangers fan, they all had to leave when visiting hours were over, and I was left alone, terrified and usually in tears.

As I have for all of my life, I turned to hockey for comfort. This was no easy accomplishment, as the television available was as god awful bad as the food they served. I subscribe to ESPN+, and further added YouTubeTV and bought a personal hot spot to boost the crappy hospital WIFI. I watched late games when I couldn’t sleep, which was every night they didn’t sedate me. I paid special attention to Oskar’s San Jose Sharks, and was watching when he scored his first goal of the 2022 season. His bright smile brought me to tears.

As Christmas, and the end of my treatment approached, my son asked what I wanted for Christmas. He was not hearing that all I wanted was to be home and finished chemo. My second choice, of a gift card to buy clothes as I had lost about 40 pounds during my treatment, also did not satisfy my son, he wanted something he could wrap. The only thing I wanted was Oskar’s San Jose Hockey Fights Cancer sweater, and I’ll be damned if the best kid in the world didn’t have that waiting for me Christmas Morning. Oh, have I mentioned he is the best kid in the world?

2022 is now history, and I hope to be given the official “in remission” status early in 2023. I watched the recent Flyers-Sharks game draped in that new sweater, and with tears in my eyes with every glimpse of #23 in teal. His ever present mega watt smile, his positive attitude, and his fight made me realize that he is a warrior. So much is asked about what the current version of this Flyers team is missing. My answer is a warrior, the warrior that Chuck Fletcher waived.

I am fighting that same battle now, and am angrier at Flyers management than I was in July. Oskar, however, has never uttered one negative word about the Flyers, and believe me, he has been asked. Oskar has become everything I want to be. Positive, a fighter, a warrior….#OSKARSTRONG. He has become, to me, more than a hashtag, more than a hockey player…he is my hero.

By: Phyllis Ceci (@ajandiansmom)

photo credit: nhlpa.com

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