Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thoughts and prayers doesn't really cover what I am feeling

Forgive as this is sort of stream of consciousness...

I write this blog as an escape. And I know that many readers use this blog as an escape. A break in their work day. A chance to vent, laugh, whatever. Ultimately it is an outlet. As spectators, sports is escapism for most of us. Then moments like this -- when the real world crashes into our playground -- everything comes into perspective.

I don't know Mark at all. I do know friends who have battled various forms of cancer and it is never easy. He's lucky in that he has an otherwise healthy strong body. He has great family support and access to the best medical minds in the world. But regardless all of that, the mental and physical road he is headed down is a rough one. Good or bad, no one knows exactly what is ahead. The only known is that it will be tough.

I know a few of Mark's teammates (none particularly well). I feel for them. Compartmentalizing sports amid all their other distractions is tough to begin with. Add this and there is an additional waive of emotions. When you are looking for leadership and guidance and your leader isn't there, things can spin out of control quickly. Hopefully others will fill that void around the program.

I know Mark's dad. Most BC fans active online feel they know him since he's been a presence on message boards since before Mark signed on with BC. If you've ever met him in person, you see where Mark gets much of his passion and intensity. Even at his age, Sandy looks like he could still run out on the field and kick some ass. In addition to his passion he's also got a good sense of humor. I am partial to people who can laugh during tough times. It's what I try to do. Not knowing Mark, but knowing his father a little, I feel confident that the whole family will have the passion, humor, perspective and faith to deal with what they are facing.

In his statement, Mark asked for privacy. I'll do my best to give that to him. I'll post things as they pop up publicly. I'll focus on the football impact when the time comes. For now, I just pray.


Erik said...

I don't know any of the players. However I feel like Mark is a kid who allows us to get to know him, even if we're never met. His amazing attitude is always visibile to us all - the way he plays, the way he handles interviews, his appearance on BC cable shows, how he enthusiastically paints his face like a WWF wrestler -- even the way he marches to the lead in the Eagle Walk before games and slaps my hand, like he knows me and recognizes me from the previous games.

I couldn't be any more confident in a person to have the mental and physical tools to beat something like this.

I look forward to receiving good news about Mark Herzlich in the future.

Jeff said...

I was shocked, horrified, and saddened to read this news. As a cancer survivor myself, I know what it is like to receive such unthinkable news. I have faith that Mark will fight this as hard as he can. Chemo is decidely unpleasant and dangerous, but someone who already has such mental toughness is better equipped to cope than most. I pray that this was caught (as mine was) while still localized, in which case the odds are heavily in Mark's favor for a healthy future. I won't be shocked but I'll cheer all the harder when Mark retakes the football field someday.

mod34b said...

mark -- you are in my prayers.

What is this disease? is the first thing I asked myself. here is an excerpt from Wiki

Ewing's sarcoma
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ewing sarcoma is a malignant round-cell tumor. It is a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone or in soft tissue. The most common areas in which it occurs are the pelvis, the femur, the humerus, and the ribs.

Because a common genetic locus is responsible for a large percentage of Ewing sarcoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumors, these are sometimes grouped together in a category known as the Ewing family of tumors.[1] The diseases are, however, considered to be different: peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumors are generally not associated with bones, while Ewing sarcomas are most commonly related to bone.

Ewing sarcoma occurs most frequently in male teenagers, with a male/female ratio of 1.6:1.[2]

Although usually classified as a bone tumor, Ewing sarcoma can have characteristics of both mesodermal and ectodermal origin, making it difficult to classify.[3]

Small blue round cells of Ewing SarcomaBecause almost all patients with apparently localized disease at diagnosis have occult metastatic disease, multidrug chemotherapy (often including ifosfamide and etoposide)[11] as well as local disease control with surgery and/or radiation is indicated in the treatment of all patients [12].

Complete excision at the time of biopsy may be performed if malignancy is confirmed at the time it is examined. Treatment lengths vary depending on location and stage of the disease at diagnosis. Radical chemotherapy may be as short as 6 treatments at 3 week cycles, however most patients will undergo chemotherapy for 6-12 months and radiation therapy for 5-8 weeks.

PrognosisStaging attempts to distinguish patients with localized from those with metastatic disease.[17] Most commonly, metastases occur in the chest, bone and/or bone marrow. Less common sites include the central nervous system and lymph nodes.

Five-year survival for localized disease is 70% to 80% when treated with chemotherapy.[18] Long term survival for metastatic disease can be less than 10% but some sources state it is 25-30%.

Sr.Atlanta said...

Tough tough tough thing to happen. I know Mark will take on this cancer, like an opponent's offense, and overcome!

Thoughts and prayers with Mark and his family...

Eagle in Brighton said...

Nice, heartfelt reflection ATL.

Just devastating to hear the news. Football aside, he will be in our thoughts and prayers. Somber note for graduation weekend.

Scalper said...

Our prayers are with you, Mark and BC community.-- TN

mattfitz said...

Right now, football is irrelevant. Herzy has access to some of the best doctors on the planet and is otherwise a healthy young adult. Based on the way he handles himself in the other aspects of his life, you can't help but to like his chances...and to root like hell for him.

CT said...

Nothing but prayers and good thoughts to the entire Herzlich family.

We're looking forward to the day when Mark has the good news about a real win!

KZGOBC said...

Obviously many, many thoughts and prayers to Mark and his family. I'm going keep my eye out for any type of legitimate way we can show support (i.e. donation to a particular cancer foundation in his name). If anyone hears of any momentum in this direction please share.

ORDEagle said...

Awful. Just awful. It is a disease that preys on the strong as well as the weak.

Never met the kid. Don't know much about him other than what I see on Saturdays and read online.

And I'm sitting here with tears streming down my face.

eagleboston said...

I met Mark briefly at the bowl in Charlotte when he was a freshman. He was so nice to my children and just seemed like a really great young man.

I toured a cancer treatment facility on Tuesday and we all told the director that it's nice not to be there as a patient. He looked at us and said, "1 out of 2 people in this room will have cancer in their lifetime."

Herzy, you have BC Nation behind you! Best wishes and you will be in our prayers.

Southern_EAGLE said...

As we all are, I'm still in shock and will be praying for Mark and his family. I had the pleasure of meeting Mark's younger brother at the ACC Championship Game in Tampa. What a great kid - just like his older brother. I know he and the rest of the family will grow stronger as they fight together. I look forward to see #94 back on the field someday soon. said...

I commend you on your candid words and I thank all of those who have made comments here and around the internet for their thoughts and prayers. I run a site dedicated to everything Mark Herzlich. I putting together a collection of inspirational letters to Mark and his family and I am asking for your help. Please email you thoughts and prayers to Include your name and location. Once received, they will be compiled and delivered to the Herzlich Family. Thank you for your support.

BCNorCal07 said...

I checked HD's blog this morning for news and, for the first time, I'm glad I did. The news sounds encouraging as the cancer is still localized and Mark doesn't sound discouraged. Honestly, this was a total gut-check yesterday and I still haven't quite recovered. Cancer is an ugly, petty disease and it really makes you question things when a person like Mark is diagnosed. Young, strong, intelligent, the world at his feet. It sounds like he's dealing well with everything, though, and has his priorities straight right now. Beat the badness, Mark. Beat the s*** out of it.

P-Cat said...

I used my blog in the same way. I wrote an insignificant little nothing about Mark, about the unfairness of this. Thanks for the thoughts.

mod34b said...

Herznation --

While your sentiments seem genuine, it would help the "trust factor" if you explained who you were and what if any connection you have to the Herzlich family and to BC. I would hate to compound the Herzlichs' issues if your site and efforts were not welcomed by them. There does not seem to be anything on your site that tells us who you are.

All I see on your website is the following notation: OWNERSHIP is an independently owned and maintained website. We are not in any way associated with Sandon Mark Herzlich

CT said...

Here's the link to a further ESPN article with quotes:

From what I've read, the disease doesn't usually present itself until it has already gotten into the bloodstream. In other words, not good.

It's going to be a long, tough fight. But he's a young, strong guy. That'll be very important from here on out.

Wow. I just can't believe it.

ORDEagle said...

Had a phone interview with Mark on ESPN's Inside College Football. No different or new information. Not surprisingly, Mark came off very well. Well spoken, straight forward, no self pity amd realistic about what is in front of him.

Unrelated but also on that program, they reviewed ND's schedule and did a prediction for their season. We are arguably their 2nd or 3rd toughest opponent next year USC and MSU being the other options. Predicted 9 & 3 season for them. Really a very weak schedule.

CT said...

ND's schedule is, for the most part, absurdly easy. It sets up perfectly for their returning starters. It also means they probably have to win 9 games to keep the anti-Weiss wolves at bay for another year.

Herzy's next appt. is Tuesday?