Dave Dravecky's agent said he was "upbeat" following surgery to amputate the former pitcher's left arm and shoulder.
"Dave said it was wonderful not to be in pain anymore," agent Sealy Yates said Wednesday, a day after the surgery. "Dave and his family are doing well. They see this development as a relief as much as anything. They just want Dave to get well."Dravecky, in a statement released by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, thanked fans for their concern.
"Your prayers truly have been felt," the statement said. "We have experienced such peace that it is amazing. We are truly thankful for the wonderful care we have received at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. We are thankful that God has placed us in the hands of such a fine surgeon as Dr. Murray Brennan."
Brennan is chairman of the Department of Surgery at Sloan-Kettering, which pioneered limb preservation procedures for sarcomas such as Dravecky's. Amputation, necessary in 50 percent of the cases during the 1970's, is only rarely required now, the hospital said.
There had been some hope that the arm could be saved, but according to Dravecky's father, the decision was made to proceed with the amputation following two late tests.
The amputation was performed during a 2 1/2-hour operation, which the hospital said proceeded as planned. According to the hospital, the surgery was necessary "due to progressive pain and loss of function."
Cancer was first diagnosed in Dravecky's arm in 1988 and he underwent surgery Oct. 7 of that year to remove a malignant tumor and nearly half of the deltoid muscle. At the time, doctors told Dravecky he would never pitch again.
But 10 months later, he was back on the mound for the San Francisco Giants and threw seven shutout innings in a 4-3 victory over Cincinnati.
His dramatic comeback took a tragic turn five days later when, in his second start, Dravecky's left arm snapped as he threw a pitch against the Montreal Expos and he collapsed in pain on the mound. The fracture healed and Dravecky was considering still another comeback when the arm was broken again, this time in a swarm of Giants players celebrating the clinching of the 1989 National League pennant.
The remainder of Dravecky's deltoid muscle and 10 percent of his triceps muscle were removed in January 1990, and further surgery removing tissue and grafting skin was performed in May 1990.
Since then, Dravecky, 35, has undergone treatment for staph and strep infections as well as several weeks of radiation treatment.