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Old 09-01-2006, 03:15 PM   #5495
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Default Mass found in Lacroix's spine not cancerous

Colorado Avalanche president Pierre Lacroix confirmed what has been rumored for weeks, saying he recently went through a health scare that raised concerns that he might have cancer or another serious illness.

Avs president Pierre Lacroix said his recent health scare had nothing to do with him giving up GM duties with the team.
Lacroix had a mass in his spine, resulting in a frightening series of tests that ultimately concluded the mass was not a tumor.

Lacroix's scare began eight days after he announced the hiring of Francois Giguere as his successor as GM and said his decision to give up his dual duties with the Avalanche had nothing to do with health issues.

Doctors finally were able to rule out cancer and other serious illnesses after Lacroix underwent a series of tests during hospital stays in Las Vegas and Denver, in addition to the Minnesota Mayo Clinic. A biopsy in the spinal area is so dangerous, it is considered a last resort, and doctors ultimately were able to rule out cancer by other means.

"You're in a long period of knowing nothing, or imagining the worst," Lacroix told The Denver Post. "I had a mass, and still have a mass, in my back. They said to me that it could be from so many things. It could be from a virus or a disease, or it could be a tumor No doubt the worst things go through your mind. It was very tough on my wife and my family, but the outcome is great."

Lacroix said he felt ill at his Las Vegas-area home on the night of June 2. He called his friend and neighbor, Rene Angelil, singer Celine Dion's husband.

"He's had two heart attacks and I asked him, 'What are the symptoms?'" Lacroix told the paper. "He said, 'Burning sensation in the stomach and back pain.'" Lacroix said that described his symptoms, and Angelil took him to a hospital. Over the next few days, doctors ruled out a heart issue and sent him back to Denver to be treated by Avalanche team physicians and renowned neurologist Stanley Ginsburg.

Lacroix spent two weeks in an intensive care unit, as doctors pumped him full of steroids and attempted to shrink the mass in his back. Doctors also ruled out other serious diseases, including multiple sclerosis. On his second visit to a specialist at the Mayo Clinic on Aug. 18, he finally got the word that the mass wasn't cancerous.

"They told me they would have to monitor it, and that I might have another reaction like I had a few months ago, but that there was, in their opinion, no need to go in for any kind of surgery," Lacroix told The Post.

"You can't call it a tumor. You don't know why it hits. It hit me and created this malformation of the spine. People live with pain in the back, and there's nothing wrong with that."
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