Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman offered a medical update on his Facebook page Tuesday, saying that a seven-hour surgery at Mayo Clinic removed all visible traces of cancer from his lung.
He praised his team of doctors, who successfully excised the lower left lobe of his lung Monday after “determining the cancer was more invasive than seen in earlier scans.”
“In what my surgeon, Dr. Shanda Blackmon, and her fabulous Mayo Clinic team has described as a most challenging surgery, in part because of the scar tissue from earlier radiation treatment, I can share with you that she is pleased with the outcome,” Coleman wrote on social media.
“I remain grateful for the continued prayers and support of friends, families and strangers. Battling cancer is a race without a finish line — but I am blessed to be on this journey accompanied with an abundance of goodness in my life.”
Last August, Coleman learned that the throat and neck cancer he began battling in 2015 had spread to his lungs and was at the most advanced stage. After heavy doses of chemotherapy, Coleman said the tumor was gone.
Still, his doctors had him undergo a program of intensive radiation for five weeks in hopes of crushing the disease.
But a follow-up PET scan last month showed a spot on his lungs that doctors thought could be either “radiation irritation” or a recurrence of the disease. Another scan five weeks later showed the spot had grown, and a biopsy determined that the cancer had returned.
In a Facebook post earlier this month, Coleman said Monday’s surgery would remove about a quarter of his lung and cut his lung capacity by 15 to 20%. He later joked that the news simply meant he wouldn’t be running a marathon anytime soon.
Coleman said he remains active, including traveling the globe for work as well as fishing and spending time at his northern Minnesota cabin.
“Cancer sucks,” he wrote. “But, I will not let it decide how I will live my life.”
The Associated Press and Mary Lynn Smith contributed to this report.