Tonawanda News — Mike Hessman took a deep breath when his doctor told him the news. In a heartbeat, baseball and home run records were the farthest things from his mind.
Hessman, a 36-year-old member of the Toledo Mud Hens and former Buffalo Bison, is on the brink on becoming the International League’s all-time home run king. But that and other accolades meant little when Hessman was diagnosed with precancerous skin lesions.
“When I first found out about it on Friday it was, I guess, nerve-wracking a little bit. Knowing it was cancer and supposedly what they thought it was,” Hessman said prior to the start of Tuesday’s four-game series between the Hen’s and the Buffalo Bisons.
“It turned out being not as bad as they initially thought, which is good. It was the most common cancer that’s out there so they were able to go in there remove it, test the tissues and the cells around there and they were pretty confident that they got it all. Being able to go in there, get the procedure done and having it removed, it kind of eased my mind a lot more. Knowing that they got it all, we’re just trying to let this heal up a little bit.”
“He came in last week Friday and said they didn’t want to wait on it,” said Toledo manager Larry Parrish. “I said hey that’s your health. It’s more important than the game — get it taken care of. Hopefully he’s not gonna be out too long.”
Hessman, who has a history of skin cancer in his family, said that he went to see a Toledo area doctor after a “bump” on the left side of his nose hadn’t healed. Trainers spotted it during spring training and advised Hessman to have a check up. Hessman had surgery Monday to have the lesion on his nose and another growth on his forehead removed. Thankful that the surgery went well, Hessman said he will need a day or two to recover but is eager to get back to the normalcy of everyday baseball life.