Carson Meyer should have been on top of the world last August: He had just been drafted into the NHL and was prepping for his last year of playing college hockey. But instead, the 21-year-old was lethargic, had no appetite and was losing weight.
For months, no one could figure out what was wrong with Meyer, and his future NHL team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, was starting to worry about his poor playing at Miami University of Ohio — as were his current teammates.
“One [opposing] coach asked some of my teammates if I had cancer,” Meyer told The Athletic.
“He looked like Edward Cullen from ‘Twilight,’ ” said Holly Meyer, Carson’s mother.
“His personality completely changed, too. He’s usually really upbeat and energetic and excited about life. But he was sad and quiet, just not himself.”
Meyer barely had the energy to make it through his games or practice, and was down to just 170 lbs. But doctors still had no answers after 10 blood tests and checks for mononucleosis and other issues.
Then, after using the bathroom on Feb. 27, “it just came out,” Meyer said. “It” was a 25-inch, orange tapeworm with a head, neck and 50 segments.
“I FaceTimed my mom and was like, ‘What the hell is this thing?’ ” he said. “I was freaking out. Absolutely freaking out.”
“I was trying to be calm,” his mom said. “He showed me everything and I remember saying, you have to get that to the trainer and figure out what it is so they can get you fixed. And I did say at that moment, ‘This is why everything has been the way it’s been, Carson. This was it.’ It was scary, but it was a relief.”
Doctors told Meyer that it was diphyllobothrium latum, a type of tapeworm that comes from eating undercooked fish, and based on the size, it had likely been in his body for over a year.
He was put on a strong, anti-parasitic medication to eliminate any remaining parts of the tapeworm, and Meyer said that he started feeling better about a month later.
“I honestly was starting to think that it was all in my head, and that got me really worried,” he said. “But about a month after we got an answer, I started feeling like myself again, and I feel really good now.”
“It’s been a 180,” his mom said. “He’s back to eating everything in the house again, and he’s got his attitude back. He’s Carson again.”