A new perspective
Jordan Dray back playing hockey after cancer scare
Sometimes it is the closest calls in life that make you step back and take a look at the big picture.
If you ask Placentia’s Jordan Dray, he’ll tell you he looks at things a bit differently since coming close to contracting cancer of his thyroid earlier this year.
His brush with the disease left him with a new outlook on life. The sun shines a little bit brighter and food tastes a bit better.
Still, Dray’s story is one of preventing the problem before it starts. Last August, his mother noticed a small lump on Dray’s throat.
The family went to a doctor where Dray underwent a series of tests to determine if the lump was cancerous.
“They weren’t entirely sure it if was cancer at that point,” said Dray. “They didn’t want to take any chances.”
After a biopsy it was discovered that it could very well be cancer and in November of last year, Dray was given a thyroidectomy, which removed the right side of his thyroid. The thyroid manages how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins, and controls the body’s sensitivity to other hormones.
Those test results indicated that there was definitely the threat of cancer. That led to a second procedure to remove the rest of Dray’s thyroid in early January 2015.
He started treatment to eradicate the chance of any errant cells causing problems in the future. Dray underwent radiation dye therapy, he takes pills and goes for a checkup every six months.
“The hardest part was getting my pills regulated. The biggest problem I had was having no energy,” he said. “Every couple of weeks I’ll get blood work done to see if my levels are going up or down. It sees if I have to adjust my pills.
“We were able to get it in time.” Pink in the rink When he spoke with The Compass last week, Dray was unsure if he would be starting his team’s game with the Trinity-Placentia Junior Flyers on Friday at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts.
It was set to be a special evening. The Stars did a Pink in the Rink fundraiser.
They wore pink tape, pink skate laces and painted parts of their pads pink in an effort to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer.
“It’s an excellent thing,” said Dray. “It spreads awareness of breast cancer and other forms of cancer. Anytime you can do that, its great.” Getting back on the ice Dray is back playing hockey these days for the Junior Stars, sharing crease duty with fellow keepers Mitchell Dobbin and Riley Akerman while wearing his familiar No. 30.
His goalie gear looks a little different than the last time he hit the ice with the club. It’s been upgraded and has a cleaner look to it.
This season he’s seen action in three contests, posting a respectable one win against two losses while stopping 92 of 107 shots he’s faced. Prior to starting on Oct. 2 of this year, his last start was Dec. 14 of last year.
“It’s excellent,” said Dray. “I’m glad that I got back to play.”
Sometimes, the question ‘what if ’ crosses his mind. On days when Dray’s mind wanders, he thinks about not getting the lump on this throat checked in January. Even though those diagnosed with thyroid cancer have a high survival rate, it is still something that comes up every now and then.
“You really don’t know what might’ve happened if I never got it checked,” said
Goalie Jordan Dray had a close call last year when a doctor identified a
lump as potentially cancerous.