Football Hall of Famer and former Buffalo Bills star quarterback Jim Kelly underwent a follow-up oral surgery on his jaw last month in preparation for permanent dentures to replace part of his upper jaw that was removed in 2013 due to cancer.
Unfortunately, “something came up” during his recovery so Kelly says he’s heading to New York City in August so doctors can ensure that his recovery is still on track.
Kelly, 58, stated, “Right now it’s just a checkup. It will be a checkup, but how long will I be there [until I] check out? We’ll see. I still have a mouth full of stitches. I’m sure they’re going to pull all of those out.”
Update on Jim Kelly’s health: He says he is heading back to NYC for a check up with his doctor in the 2nd week in August.
— Dan Fetes (@danfetes) July 17, 2018
“My doctors are in New York. I’m not there every day. So I want to be sure that everything (that) is going on, is going on for the right reasons.”
“Just like everybody, if you go through a broken leg or something, you got to have checkups. If there is a little pain here (where) you think there shouldn’t be anything, you got to get it checked,” he continued. “Even though I’m blessed to have (the doctor) at (Erie County Medical Center) I go to in Buffalo look and make sure that things are going pretty good, it helps.”
Asked about what pushed him to schedule the checkup, Kelly said, “I’m not sure what’s going on. I have some things that I want to have looked at, and then we’ll go from there.”
“I don’t know whether I’m going to be here for two days, four days or in and out. And then hopefully I pray when September has rolled around that I can finally bite into a piece of meat and not soup every day,” he added.
Kelly had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in 2013 which led to the removal of a portion of his jaw. The next year, doctors discovered cancer had spread to his sinus so Kelly also underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment and was declared cancer-free in September 2014. In March, he underwent a complicated 12-hour surgery to reconstruct his jaw and remove oral cancer again.
Kelly’s battle with cancer, during which he lost 70 pounds, has been challenging. It not only resulted in the loss of part of his jaw, but also led to trouble speaking, an inability to produce saliva and a loss of taste.
The Hall of Fame quarterback gained star status as the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills for 11 years, guiding the franchise through its most successful era when it appeared in four consecutive Super Bowls in the early 1990s, though all four of those big games were losses.
Kelly retired after the 1996 NFL season and remained in Buffalo as his post-football home, where he remains active in the community.
Kelly’s battle with cancer has not gone unnoticed in the sports world.
The beloved star has received tremendous support and recognition and is set to be awarded the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2018 ESPY Awards show in Los Angeles on Wednesday.