Jimmy Wheeler Conquered Cancer

June 5, 2017 11:58 am Published by

Jimmy Wheeler of Wilmer was always strong and healthy. But when he turned 60 in 2015, his health took an unexpected turn. He became fatigued, developed a slight tremor and began losing weight. After several visits to different specialists, Jimmy’s fatigue was explained by blood work that showed low testosterone levels and the slight tremor was attributed to a diagnosis of early stage Parkinson’s disease.

But when the fatigue lingered and the weight loss continued – down to 170 from 230 pounds – Jimmy and his wife, Elizabeth, knew something more was wrong. A few months after a check-up with his primary care physician, Dr. David Phillips, Jimmy underwent a colonoscopy, which he admittedly had postponed for too long.  “Had I not done it when I did, I would have been in serious trouble,” he said.

The procedure revealed the cause of his weight loss – a tumor in his upper colon.

Colorectal surgeon Dr. Joseph Bornstein performed surgery on Jimmy, removing about 10 to 18 inches of his colon. No chemotherapy or radiation treatments were necessary. “We feel very fortunate the cancer had not spread to other areas,” Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth said Dr. Bornstein and his staff provided comfort — and caring – that went beyond the surgery that was an important part of Jimmy’s recuperation. “Dr. Bornstein goes the extra mile to show how much he cares,” she said. “From the first scary visit until the surgery was completed, he made us feel important and encouraged.”

Jimmy has now returned to work and is enjoying the time he spends with Elizabeth, their five daughters and nine grandchildren. He also encourages others to follow through with their routine checkups because he knows they save lives. “It’s strange how I didn’t realize how sick I really was until I started feeling better,” he said. “I was dying and didn’t know it.”