A day after undergoing elective surgery to remove a kidney and the cancerous tissues surrounding it, Congressman Jim Hagedorn said Mayo Clinic doctors are "encouraged" with his progress.
"Today, I'm in a little pain, but otherwise feeling well," Hagedorn said in a Facebook post written from Mayo Clinic in Rochester. "Dr. Houston Thompson just visited my room and again labeled the surgery a complete success."
Hagedorn added that the opportunity to remove his cancerous kidney was made possible by his "exceptional response" to immunotherapy. The treatment helped his body's immune system identify and attack the cancer, causing it to retreat to a point that surgery was able to remove 99% of it.
The surgery and recovery meant Hagedorn was unavailable Monday to vote on legislation authorizing $2,000 stimulus checks to help people better weather the pandemic. The $900 billion pandemic relief package signed by President Donald Trump on Sunday authorized $600 checks, but the president's complaints revived the issue.
Hagedorn said the surgery doesn't mean he's cured or that he can quit fighting the cancer, but he called it a "mini-miracle" to make it to this point and to be able to "work hard and live a full life along the way."
"I am extremely fortunate," he added.
Hagedorn, a Blue Earth native, underwent the surgery almost two months after winning his second two-year term. It also comes a little over a week before Congress meets on Jan. 6 to validate the election of President-elect Joe Biden. It's unclear whether he will be able to attend that session.
Several Trump allies, led by Rep. Mo Brooks, of Alabama, plan to challenge the election results, based on unproven claims of widespread fraud.
Earlier this month, Hagedorn joined 125 other House Republicans in support of a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the results in four swing states that went to Biden. Hagedorn has not stated whether he will support a challenge to the election results on Jan. 6.
Hagedorn's optimistic prognosis contrasts with the grim prospects most stage 4 kidney cancer patients face. Most cancers are ranked 1-4 based on their severity. Stage 4 is the highest.
The five-year survival rate for patients in this stage is 8%, according to Healthline.com. That means that out of 100 people diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, eight will still be living five years after their diagnosis.
Hagedorn thanked his wife, Jennifer Carnahan, who is also chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, who has been "by my side every step of the way," as well family, friends and staff, for their prayers and support.
"Ultimately, it's the healing hands of God, the Mayo Clinic, and innovative immunotherapy that are pulling me through," he said. "For those dealing with serious illness, keep fighting, don't give up!"