Craig Anderson, goaltender for the Ottawa Senators, has been married for seven years to Nicholle Anderson, who is currently battling cancer.
Nicholle Anderson’s battle with cancer began in 2016, and Craig missed some games during the season in order to be with his wife.
So who is Nicholle Anderson, and what are the latest updates concerning her throat cancer? Here’s what you need to know.
1. She Was Diagnosed With Throat Cancer in October 2016
Nicholle Anderson says on her blog that in August 2016, she began experiencing coughing phlegm, dry mouth, night sweats, and extreme tiredness. This came as she was pregnant with her third child, and so she thought these were just symptoms that came with pregnancy.
“I associated these symptoms with my cold, travel, and never thought it could be anything more,” she writes.
She eventually saw a doctor, though, who felt a lump in her neck. She received an ultrasound of a lymph node; a doctor biopsied her neck and found a nasal mass. The doctor discovered that there was cancer in her lymph node.
“The following day, I was in surgery to biopsy the mass they found behind my nose,” she says on her blog. “After gathering all of the information from both biopsies and multiple tests, I was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma.”
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a form of cancer affecting the the cells of the nasopharynx.
2. She Had No Knowledge of Hockey Before Meeting Craig
Before meeting her future husband, Nicholle Anderson did not know anything about hockey. She said on her blog that hockey was like another language to her; she had never been to a hockey game, and she didn’t even know who Wayne Gretzky was. Growing up in Pennsylvania, she said, she mostly only paid attention to football, wrestling, and baseball.
Anderson also said that part of her was scared to date a professional athlete.
“I was so scare[d] to jump into the fire of dating a professional athlete,” she said. “Even though all the signs were there that he was ‘awesome’, I was still very apprehensive of getting my feelings hurt. Everyday Craig proved those insecurities wrong. The man doesn’t have a bone in his body to ever intentionally hurt me. In fact, he always one step ahead.”
Nicholle Anderson said that Craig is incredibly organized, and when she and Craig started to commit to a relationship, one of the first things he did was organize her cabinets.
“Craig holds me together,” she said. “He teaches me to be organized and plan things ahead of time. If anyone reading this knows me, I am laid back and fly by the seat of my pants.”
She also said that Craig has been incredibly supportive throughout her fight with cancer.
“During the night he would watch over me, and check on me,” she said. “Never once did he ever complain that he was tired or needed a break. His strength to be by my side is truly remarkable. I always think I can I ever repay him? I am truly blessed by GOD to have this man in my life.”
3. She & Craig Have Two Children
Craig and Nicholle Anderson have two children: Jake and Levi.
Nicholle says that Craig is an amazing father, especially during her battle with cancer.
“As I would sit back and just watch him, I would tear up,” she wrote. “I was so happy to see him, doing my job at ease. To making breakfast, finding activity for them to do, to napping our little guy, to becoming Santa, the man held the fort down. It amazes me what a great dad he constantly displays day in and day out.”
She also said that the boys get along great with their father.
“I am truly thankful the boys bonded in a special way which puts me at peace,” she said.
4. She & Craig Lost Their Third Child in 2016
In June 2016, Craig and Nicholle Anderson found out they would be having a third child: a baby girl.
However, in September, they discovered from an ultrasound that their baby had heart defects and an undeveloped cerebellum
“I remember sitting there–just devastated and feeling numb,” she says on her blog. “…I remember thinking…we can fix her heart, but no brain? What was happening? I immediately phoned my husband and had the doctor talk to him. I couldn’t speak.”
At that time, Craig and Nicholle were told that their daughter would never have a normal life. Three days later, Nicholle had a miscarriage. During the pre-season, Craig left for personal reasons to be with his wife.
“It was a devastating time in our life,” Nicholle Anderson said on her blog. “I can recall reading negative comments of his personal leave judging his character and dependability to the job he loves dearly. People were bashing my husband with negative comments that were so hard to swallow. How could people respond negatively when they really don’t know what goes on behind closed doors? How could you tweet something you have no idea the reason? How could you write articles to create controversy on circumstances people have no control over?”
5. She Has Been Undergoing Chemotherapy Over the Past Few Months
In February 2017, Anderson was discharged from the hospital, and she shared some of her experiences on her blog.
Anderson said that during this time in the hospital, she underwent 33 radiations and three chemotherapies.
“First, when you radiate your neck, it creates mucus, sores, etc in your throat,” she said. “This enables you to not eat solid foods reducing weight, and then chemo induces vomiting. It was a vicious cycle to get through.”
Anderson posted these updates in a blog post titled “First Round Over.” She explained that as soon as she was discharged from the hospital, she and her husband immediately traveled to Ottawa.
“As I left the hospital, I never experienced this kind of freedom,” she said. “As I walked to my mom’s car, I felt the winter air and it rejuvenated me to having my life back. I immediately recorded the highway on snapchat to all my friends. In my head, I was thinking wow I’m free, and I wanted everyone to know.”
In March, she started the second round of treatment, being admitted to the hospital for an infusion. She said on her blog that it was at this point that she began to lose her hair.
“Today was a tad emotional, I washed my hair and little clumps of hair began to fall out,” she said. “Carboplatin is know for hair loss. I am not too sure if it will be a little or I will have to shave it. At first, I was in tears today. I had to weigh out the pros and cons. Cisplatin would leave me deaf, whereas, Cisplatin causes hair loss which would be temporary.”
Nicholle Anderson says that a pet scan is scheduled for the end of May.