Padres Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn sent a message to fans Monday after a recent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his mouth.
In an 14-minute interview with a San Diego-area sports radio station, Gwynn said doctors got all the cancer and he looks like he's been punched in the eye.
"Other than that, you'd be hard pressed to tell that I've gone through the kind of surgery I went through, " Gwynn told XX 1090.
Gwynn underwent surgery Feb 15 to remove the tumor inside his right cheek. Surgeons grafted a nerve from his shoulder to replaces the nerve damaged by the tumor.
“The best way to describe it. You go through 14 hours of surgery and when you wake up, the first words out of my mouth were ‘Alright I made it,” he said laughing.
Gwynn has been busy the past few days catching up with friends and family members to let them know how the surgery went. He said his close family members were shocked to hear his voice.
He said he’s way ahead of recovering from this surgery compared to his last surgery when he couldn’t blink his eye or close his mouth.
“This time I’m in much better position. I can do things a whole lot better,” he said. “Obviously I have a whole lot of recovery to do.”
His colleagues at San Diego State University, where Gwynn is now head coach of the men's baseball team, said the former Padre was a little sore following surgery but was in great spirits.
Doctors said they were "guardedly optimistic" that Gwynn will be able to retain the use of the right side of his face, according to a UCSD spokesperson.
However, it may take about a year before the results become apparent.
On Monday, Gwynn confirmed the doctors believe they got all the cancer out and he's encouraged about his prognosis.
“It’s another miracle, another blessing,” Gwynn said Monday. “I’m happy to be here.”