It’s a hand in the darkness. It’s non-discerning and always reaching. It doesn’t care what it grabs as long as the grin is tight. It’s stubborn. Slap it away and it will try its hardest to come back. Cancer cares about jet one thing and that is destruction. Tony Gwynn‘s battle with the hand in the darkness continues as he had surgery yesterday to remove a tumor in his cheek.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, the San Diego State Aztecs baseball team has known about the tumor and the impending surgery for about two weeks. No doubt, Tony has known longer. The tumor was located in his parotid gland, and tumors in such a location can cause facial nerve disorders. According to the report by SDUT, the surgery was to include nerve replacement in the cheek, but there was a chance Tony’s facial movements could be affected after the surgery. Yet, the main concern is eradicating this cancers once and for all.
No chemo. No radiation. The doctors said the best thing is just go in and get it all out.
Tony’s wife Alicia says the goal was to just get everything out and hope this never comes back. Tony was first diagnosed with cancer in 2010. He underwent surgery in August of that year and began chemotherapy. It all appeared to have gone well and looked as if the cancer was gone. Unfortunately, the hand in the darkness just keeps reaching.
The San Diego Padres Hall of Famer plans to return to coaching the Aztecs baseball team this year. Doctors have told him he needs to rest for at least 30 days after the surgery though before he can return to the dugout.
While the players, Tony’s family, and the entire community are trying to remain positive, there are complications with a surgery like this. Reportedly, Tony told doctors they needed to get everything out with this surgery. Of course, that meant they would have to go deeper into the tissue of his cheek. In that tissue are the nerves that control the face. They will do their best to make sure his facial movements are not limited, but it is a possibility. Alicia Gwynn said,
Hopefully, his face will work fine; hopefully he’ll be able to blink his eye. They said they will make his face as normal as they can — and that it might be better than it was.
Yet beyond the facial control, the more important issue for Tony and his family is the cancer itself. If this surgery can once and for all rid his body of cancer, then it will all be worth it. The eight-time batting champ attributes his cancer to smokeless tobacco he used during his playing days. While some may be able to escape the grasps of cancer while using chew their entire career, Tony has had to battle the disease for the last two years.
It was a sad day yesterday. Learning of the cancer’s return was surprising and painful. To see anyone go throughout the struggles of cancer surgery, whether it be chemotherapy or surgery, is difficult. Yet watching Tony go through it is like watching a close friend. His impact on the San Diego community and the baseball community has been tremendous. He not only passes his wisdom on to college kids with major league dreams as the Aztecs head baseball coach, but provides us with color commentary from the TV booth during Padres games. But cancer doesn’t care.
Tony will fight this hand in the darkness. He’s escaped from its grasp once before, and he will do so again. The hand will always be there, grasping away in hopes of just one final grasp, but no one thinks for a second that Tony will just give in to it. He’s proven himself in the field, at the plate, in the community, and as a coach. He has a track record of success, and that success will include beating cancer.