Pisani nominated for Masterton

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

DENVER -- Fernando Pisani has been named the Edmonton Oilers' Masterton Trophy nominee.

The annual award is handed out by the Professional Hockey Writers Association to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Pisani, 30, battled back after a bout with ulcerative colitis put his career in jeopardy.

"Back in August, I was just trying to get better," Pisani said.

"It was really, really secondary playing hockey, I just wanted to get better. I tried not to think about my career possibly being over, my focus was just on trying to get healthy and hoping that the meds would work and I would avoid surgery and all that stuff.

"I was always hopeful that it would work out and I never really accepted the alternative which was surgery."

LOST 30 POUNDS

Pisani lost nearly 30 pounds in his battle with the disease and missed the first 26 games of the season. He returned to the lineup in December and has gone on to score 10 goals and add six assists in 44 games this season.

"The doctors never said that I wouldn't be able to play again, they basically never had anybody with it that was a hockey player, but that didn't mean that I couldn't play," he said.

"I think they had a couple of football players that have done it and been able to play with some success.

"They never really said yes or no, they just wanted to see how I felt and how I reacted to the medication and stuff."

Pisani had been living with the disease for a few years and was able to keep it under control. However it flared up on him last summer, hitting him really hard.

"The worst part when I was sick and I was trying to see what kinds of foods bugged me and what didn't," he said. "It was so hard, and I basically got to a point where I couldn't eat anything.

COULDN'T EAT

"It got frustrating because I couldn't figure out what foods were good for me and what weren't. I got to a point where I couldn't eat and I couldn't digest anything. Hopefully those days are gone."

Since going public with his struggle, Pisani has become a spokesperson for the fight against the disease and will be participating in a golf tournament this summer to help raise proceeds.

"I've been asked to speak to people and tell them my story just to help people that are embarrassed about it and don't want to talk about it," he said.

"But it something that happens and you need to get the help in order to deal with it. I've been asked to do a number of other things as well and I'm more than willing to do them."


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