Photos: Chicago Comedy Veteran Mike O'Brien Opens Up About Cancer Battle
By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 26, 2016 5:26PM
Mike O'Brien / Getty Images / Photo: Ben Gabbe
Former Saturday Night Live cast member and Chicago improv veteran Mike O’Brien recently underwent two surgeries for melanoma. He chronicled his thoughts about the operation plus the physical effects on Monday in a series of moving and occasionally bemused Instagram posts.
O’Brien, who cut his sketch-comedy teeth at iO and Second City in the mid-aughts, said his extended family has a history of skin cancer and that he was diagnosed just a couple of weeks ago. Doctors missed some of the melanoma in O’Brien’s cheek in the first operation, and he went under again one week later. The second operation successfully removed the cancer, O’Brien posted.
True to form, the creator of 7 Minutes in Heaven brought a splash of levity as he recounted the events. “Now, I doubt they a special version of this surgery for guys with popular web series, but obviously taking off the bandage and seeing [the stitches] was a bummer.
3/8 As I was being wheeled off for surfer, my friend Shelly said to the nurse, "do they know he's a performer so some of his income is from on-camera work?" And the nurse said, "okee doke we'll mention it to the surgeon," as I faded out. Now, I doubt they have a special version of this surgery for guys with popular web series'.. But obviously taking the bandage off and seeing this was a bummer. The great news was that they had removed 2 lymph nodes from my neck and the cancer had not spread to those! I forced myself to do 4 stand up sets in 3 nights to get over the embarrassment of the scar. Already posted the only pics from those..
O’Brien also noted feeling pain in a very odd part of the body for someone who had undergone facial surgery: his foot. “I woke up with my foot hurting a ton, too. Exactly 6 feet from the cancer location,” he wrote. “Did they drop me? Did they get a full head of steam up with my gurney then use my foot to boast open some swinging doors? We'll never know.”
Then the surgeon said they hadn't gotten all of it out of my cheek and I had to go right back under, exactly 7 days after the first surgery. This is me when I got home from that one, much crabbier. Especially cause along with my face, I woke up with my foot hurting a ton, too. Exactly 6 feet from the cancer location. Did they drop me? Did they get a full head of steam up with my gurney then use my foot to boast open some swinging doors? We'll never know. Plus the face incision was lengthened a little on each end. But if survived a 2nd surgery and was thankful to the friends who had come along, @shellygossman @benpiner @maroldswan
He ended with note of appreciation for friends and family—and clip of “beautiful life philosophy” from Hall of Fame pitcher Goose Gossage. “Even the home runs I gave up were great,” he ruminates.