Andrea Kremer interview with Jim Kelly on cancer battle: Wants to say, ‘I’m done with all of this pain’

Andrea Kremer has an interview with Jim Kelly on NFL Network’s “Total Access Kickoff” tonight at 6 p.m. ET.

The Hall of Fame quarterback and his family talk openly about his battle with cancer. You could feel Kelly’s pain.

Excerpts from the interview.


On how he deals with not being able to know what his future holds:

Jim Kelly: “I just smile.”

On his health:

Jim: “I went through neck surgery, double-hernia surgery, back surgery. Very shortly after that I had six root canals done because of the jaw issue and then the second diagnosis with cancer. Now MRSA. I’m done with all of this pain. I want to be able to wake up one day and say, ‘You know what, I feel good today.”

Jill Kelly: “I think the pain is I guess the hardest thing because there hasn’t been a resolution. There hasn’t been this quick fix. I’ve never ever seen Jim in this much pain. Ever.”

On being the primary caretaker for Jim:

Jill: “As of lately. He takes IV medication three times a day and so I actually do that. He has a G tube obviously that goes right into his stomach and you hook up a feeding bag.”

On her father:

Erin Kelly: “After we know that he’s cancer-free and he’s still in this much pain, to hear him just say ‘I’m hurting, I’m really hurting and I need you to pray for me.’”

On her husband:

Jill: “You see this man just knowing that he has to persevere, knowing that he has two daughters who absolutely adore him and look up to him and want to see him be strong.”

On how her relationship with her father has changed with his cancer diagnosis:

Erin: “Now I find myself just snuggling with him and being with him. He’s lost so much weight that me holding him, I kind of have to hold him up because he is so weak still.”

On what he learned about himself through all of this:

Jim: “I’m not as tough as I thought I was [laughing]. People don’t understand when they talk about Kelly Tough, yeah the physical toughness I was brought up [with], I was born with that. But for me, the mental toughness was one that I needed.”

On what her husband is going through:

Jill: “You’re bombarded in your mind about death and to overcome that with life is a process. I’ve watched him walk through that. I’ve seen him at his darkest during this.”

On what the darkest moment was:

Jill: “Sharing that is really hard. It was in New York City. It was definitely in New York City when he was ready. He was like, ‘I can’t do this and I think this is it but you’re strong Jill.’ And he just kept talking. I remember my hands coming up and being like, ‘No, you don’t know that, this cannot happen.’ This man who has always fought, who has always said never give up – he cannot give up. We can do this at home. We have to come home. I think that was the turning point. Absolutely. There is no doubt in my mind that coming back to Buffalo was the turning point for Jim…We went literally from one hospital to a hospital over here; one hospital in New York to a hospital in Buffalo. He came to life.”

On the people of Buffalo:

Jim: “At times, there were people here that needed my support but I needed their support too. There is not a family around here any bigger than the Buffalo Bill family. Everywhere I turn, there are people praying for me, there are people that give me well wishes and to be honest with you, I don’t know if I would have been able to make it anywhere else.”

On his outlook:

Jim: “I live every day. I know it’s a cliché [to live] every day to its fullest but I do. I’m not going to change. Even though I have cancer, even though I’ve been through some tough times, it doesn’t matter because I’m going to live life to its fullest today because tomorrow I have no idea what is going to happen.”

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