Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen revealed a somber reality on Monday: his wife Nicole has a brain tumor.
“It’s actually been a long nine months grinding through last year starting in about May, unfortunately, when she had her first seizure,” Hazen told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Tuesday. “It came as a complete shock and surprise what was in there. It’s been a long road for her.”
Hazen told a story about how she was having a seizure for an extended period of time, but the doctors said she didn’t have to worry about coming back for radiation — 5.5 weeks was enough.
“She looked at me and said, ‘I’m going to radiation on Monday. I’m finishing this,’” Hazen said.
The GM added that the COVID-19 pandemic may have actually been a blessing in disguise, as working from home allowed Hazen to spend more time with his family.
“We were on lockdown not playing while she was going through this the first time,” he said. “Through the first surgical period, I was able to be home every day. We were working from home. We were not allowed to go into the complex. We were not allowed to go into work — never done that before.
“That really helped us a lot I think as a family. … In a lot of ways, it allowed us to spend that time together.”
Hazen spoke about the importance of mental health, which the COVID-19 pandemic has shown can have an immense effect on not just athletes and those involved in sports, but also all the family and friends in life.
“Mental health is something that is big in sports, it’s big in life,” he said. “It’s something we’re diving into and trying to understand the best we can. It’s hard to support other people when you can’t support yourself.
“More than anything in our family with the kids, that’s No. 1 in a lot of ways. Just processing all of this and helping Nicole fight through this the best anyone can has been a big part of that.”
And even in the darkest of times, Hazen and his wife are still able to keep things light by making jokes.
“We try to make things as light as possible because she’s going to get through this,” he said. “I think that the mental mindset of dealing with the challenges to the therapies and the surgeries and the rehab, are tough, really hard. And she grinds through it so we try to keep it as light as possible.”