Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly finally got the news he has been waiting for. Emotions were high after doctors told him that they didn’t see any evidence of cancer. The former Buffalo Bills' quarterback told ESPN that his family screamed with joy and hugged him tight when they heard the good report. “Well, obviously I was elated. I mean I could not believe that I finally heard those words,” Kelly said.
When Kelly completed his chemotherapy and radiation treatment three months ago, he went to visit Dr. Peter Costantino, executive director of the hospital’s New York Head and Neck Institute from New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital for a follow-up appointment. "The treatments have so far completely eliminated Mr. Kelly's pain, and his level of function has essentially returned to normal," Costantino said in a hospital press release. "Further, on physical examination, there is no evidence of the cancer." He suggested that Kelly might not require any more treatment.
In 2013, Kelly was diagnosed with squamous-cell carcinoma, cancer of the upper jaw. Kelly says he recalls having very severe headaches. They were so bad he would take up to 16 Advils a day to alleviate the pain. When he went to the doctor to find out what was going on, he got the tragic news that he had cancer. He was soon scheduled to have surgery to remove part of his jaw. Following his surgery, doctors told Kelly that he didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation treatment. He and his family were excited and relieved until nine months later when the cancer returned.
Kelly’s treatment has been a long process — months of chemotherapy and radiation. At times, his family didn’t know if he would make it. His brother told ESPN that Kelly would vomit every 10 to 15 minutes after his treatments, and lost 51 pounds and his hair. It has been a tough time, but his family and friends have supported him throughout his battle with cancer. “Words can’t describe what family means to me. I am so blessed,” Kelly said in an ESPN interview.
This is not the first time Kelly has faced serious challenges, which is why his family's phrase is “Kelly Tough.” Back in 2005, he and his wife had to bury their 8-year-old son, who died from Krabbe disease. The Mayo Clinic says this disease destroys the protective coating (myelin) of nerve cells in the brain and throughout the nervous system.
Kelly is excited about his latest health updates and looks forward to more good news. He will make his last trip to New York City next week to get a few more biopsies done to find out if the cancer has been totally eradicated. Kelly is hopeful that this is the very last of this disease. “I urge everyone out there to continue to pray because I have another week left,” Kelly told ESPN.