The message that Jerry Remy sent to the public following the news that he requires further surgery for lung cancer was as much about others as it was about himself.
The popular analyst for Boston Red Sox games on NESN, has had more than his share of personal and medical problems. He said, “I’ll deal with it. My message is if you don’t go to the doctors, you don’t have much of a chance to find out.
“Every three months since I’ve had cancer, I’ve gone in for scans,” Remy added. “The point I’m trying to make to everybody, go see a doctor.”
Eight years ago Remy, who admitted he had not been one to visit doctors, was being treated for pneumonia. During that time Dr. Larry Ronan, Red Sox team physician, located something on his right lung through a CAT scan and X-rays.
Since then “I’ve had surgery twice. I had radiation. I had another procedure, not sure what the procedure was called.
“I’ve been fortunate as far as scans every three months. This is the fifth time I’ve had it. Each time I’ve had it it’s been caught early.”
Courageously, he has spent the last two weeks with the knowledge of his condition and has not let on. During that time the 64-year old former Boston player who was a teammate of Red Sox greats, Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice, was subjected to harsh criticism for expressing an opinion that interpreters should not be allowed to go to the mound when coaches confer with pitchers not fluent in English.
The Red Sox and NESN immediately took exception to what was said. The next day, perhaps under pressure, he issued an on-air apology.
Monday night Remy spoke with reporters at Fenway Park, with tears in his eyes and his voice cracking. “I’ve been through a lot for a long period of time, but you know, life goes on. I’ve got baseball to keep me occupied. It keeps my mind occupied. I’m strong. I feel strong and I don’t feel there’s anything that can stop me.”
The surgery will be designed to remove a triangular piece of lung. With that prospect hanging over him, Jerry still plans on being mike side of Dave O’Brien until close to the time of surgery.
That means road trips to Philadelphia, Houston and Kansas City. Then, he said, he’ll be in the booth for the June 23-25 weekend series with the Angels that includes David Ortiz Night.
The following day he will be at Massachusetts General Hospital and his goal is to be back at work after the All-Star break.
“I’ll be back doing my job,” he promised. “Having it diagnosed early again, I feel blessed that I can get past this.
“I’ve had enough of cancer. But if other people can avoid it, I hope to help.”