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  1. Hey guys! I'm sorry I've not been on in forever. Randy, thank you for posting this for me and letting everybody know the great news. October 31st will be 5 years since my Mom went to ER after a dinner with friends. She had debilitating chest pains and we were worried she was having a heart attack. But they found a mass on that x ray and over the course of the next 2 weeks our lives would be changed forever as we learned it was lung cancer at the age of 40 and the awful terror of trying to find out how bad it was, what we had to do, & realizing the possibility that her days with us were being cut short. My what a journey it has been! But we are celebrating wonderful news this year as everything has been negative since chemo. I so wish there could be more happy endings; I'm eternally and abundantly grateful for ours. Paulette, I'm the infamous pewjumper (and Joppette, that is exactly how I got the nickname because I always played the organ at a loud, rockin' Pentecostal church!). I'm sorry I've not been as active as I should be, but Mom's is one of the stories that has plenty of ups and downs, but a happy ending. Just know, it does happen! And these folks are the greatest, greatest, people in the world. I literally would have fallen apart day after day if I hadn't been able to come here and lean on them. Randy, Katie, Ry, Ned, Judy, Nick, Tina, Sue, and oh I can not even begin to name all of them - but they helped me survive and helped me fight along with my Mom to give her the best chance possible, too. They are all definitely angels among us! I'm sorry I don't get on as much as I used to. I need to sit down and write the story, but honestly it's very hard for me to even go back and read my blogs during that first year. I need to make myself do it, and go ahead and close the chapter with the happy ending we've been soo fortunately blessed with to share with all of you here who are still fighting. In the meantime, don't feel hesitant at all about adding me on Facebook, I'd love to keep in touch better! http://www.facebook.com/mitchell.whitt PJ (Mitchell)
  2. Hey everybody, wanted to drop in and give you an update. I know that many on the site are new since my days here, but let me give a brief rundown. In October 2006, my mom was diagnosed just before her 41st birthday with NSCLC stage 2B. All of you know what that entails so I won't go into it, but those horrible days and long nights didn't kill us all like I first thought they would. We made it through it one minute at a time. We've been having some issues with a stomach virus and cold symptoms in our house (btw, I'm home from college for the winter break but I'll update about me below), and so Mom was pretty sick last night plus she was coughing and had a sore throat, so her doc sent her to the ER. Since her normal scans were scheduled for today, they went ahead and did them last night. As always, we held our breath in anticipation, fear, and anxiety. And the results came back - NED!! Three years later and we have been blessed to enter another holiday season with extra reason to be thankful. She's ecstatic, of course. One of my former co-workers this past week was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and Mom has offered to meet her for lunch and talk to her - such a major step for Mom, because as many of you know, she couldn't even bring herself to post online here. The fact that she is offering to encourage another cancer victim is amazing. As for me, those of you who remember know I used to be super morbidly obese and unable to walk without assistance, and have changed my life through bariatric surgery, eating healthy, and exercising faithfully 6 days a week, 2 hours a day. I'm happy to report that I've lost over 275 pounds! I was able to return to college this semester at the University of Tennessee, and I've changed my major from English to Biology (Pre-Med) with a minor in exercise physiology. I want to be a bariatric surgeon and be able to help others who want to take a journey like I did - either through surgery or simple lifestyle changes. There have been challenges along the road, as many of my friends here know, but over all I am blessed - I have a wonderful family, a fighter of a mother who kicked lung cancer in the rear, and a second chance of life that is too much for words! I'll post a picture of what I used to look like below and I changed my avatar to a recent pic of me so you can see the difference. Thanks so much for all your support. To new members of this site who are just beginning this fight, there is HOPE and you will find no better place of support than the great group of people who come here and loan their encouragement, expertise, and thoughts. You've found the greatest single resource I obtained during my Mom's battle with cancer. Keep your chins up, keep being positive, and enjoy the gift of life!
  3. Thanks everybody. I got the rubber bands cut off yesterday because they were pulling my jaw too far to the right, so there's incredibly less pressure and pain now. Apparently both sides of my jaw are broken and I didn't know that until yesterday. In one week, they will re-evaluate my jaw and if it is sitting right, they'll remove the metal. Otherwise, they will rebreak it and start over from scratch (really hoping that doesn't happen).
  4. Hey everybody, Thank you all for your prayers and support. I'm home from the hospital and though my mouth is wired shut, there are some who'd say that's a good thing, LOL. On Sunday night I went out to celebrate with some friends because I've lost 251 pounds in the last sixteen months. Clubbing hasn't usually been my thing, but lately I've had a little bit more confidence and have been going out a little. We went to Cotton Eyed Joe's Sunday and I had just finished talking to some friends, while I was waiting on my party to arrive. Some of them walked away and I stood by the bar waiting, just people watching. Out of nowhere a guy I'd never seen or spoken to approached me way too quickly and before I could react, punched me in the jaw and ran. I started after him but after two steps, blood was squirting out of my ear and I stopped to get help and medical attention. He broke my jaw and sent the bone through my ear drum. The bouncers never found him, but apparently he hit 2 other people on his way out - he was just hitting random folks. I spent 3 days at UT and had my mouth wired shut and it's not pleasant at all, and yeah I'm a bit angry and confused as to why it would happen, but things do happen for a reason and I'll be more cautious from here on out. Someone this crazy could've had a gun, so it could've definitely been worse. I'll be ok. The wires have to stay in about four weeks but we're expecting a full recovery. As for Mom, she continues to do very well. November will make 3 years since her diagnosis and there has been no sign of recurrence, just a scary cough here and there that has always checked out to be allergies or a sinus infection. I'm very grateful for her health, and for mine too. Even with this past weekend, my life has been an incredible adventure in the last 16 months. I've gone from being a super morbidly obese man who couldn't walk without a cane to being a gym rat who works out 6 days a week, 2 hours a day with a phenomenal social life and just generally having a great time, so I'm certainly not about to start complaining now. Thank you all for your love and support! I'll check back in, but all of you feel free to add me on facebook. Oh and here's a before and after shot so far. I love doing this.
  5. Hey everyone, wanted to drop in and say everything is going fine here. Mom had more clear scans a couple of weeks ago. We are grateful that on Thanksgiving, it will have been 2 years and everything is looking great. As for me, I've lost 175 pounds!! Yes, I feel like a completely different person. I have not smoked at all through all this and am very pleased with that. Your support here is always appreciated. I hope this message finds you all being blessed. Mitch
  6. Randy, I'm glad your BIL was late that morning. I was in my Anatomy lab at college and some guy came in and said "I think they bombed the trade center again," very non-chalantly. Remembering the previous bombing, I didn't think much about it and we continued with our lab until the Professor came in looking panic stricken and told us classes had been dismissed and that we should try to go home to be with our families. It was then that we turned the TV on and moments later we watched in horror as the first building collapsed. I'll never forget the terrible sinking feeling in my stomach as I watched that.
  7. Oh Debbie, I'm so very sorry. Today is full of sad news on the forum. You're in my prayers.
  8. pewjumper


    Nova, what a courageous journey you've been on and continue to walk. You've been an inspiration and a source of strength. You're in my prayers. I'm so very sorry.
  9. pewjumper

    Traped lung

    Praying for you Ernie. Lord bless.
  10. pewjumper


    Thanks Linda. It's definitely not an easy way out, but it sure is effective. I've lost at least 48.5 pounds in the past two weeks. I've lost 98.5 pounds all together since January.
  11. Tiny, I remember when I came here and brought you out of retirement. You've been a big part of my inspiration and hope that we'd actually make it through this - and we have! A huge congratulations to you! Enjoy your Greece trip and check in more often. I love hearing from you.
  12. pewjumper


    Hi everyone, I am home now and full of fluids! Unforunately, we seem to be having a problem getting them in fast enough on the top end before they fly (literally) out the other! ROFL. So yes this hasn't gone off without a hitch but whatever really does? The pain has been minimal; the nausea and "etc." has been rough, though I must say I'm glad I don't have vomiting. I also have developed aversions to almost everything, though I don't think that's so shocking considering I've spent the last 240 hours of my life sipping one little ounce of either water, protein shakes, or sugar free popsickles over and over and over and over and over. . . Talk about boring and those thick protein shakes get pretty disguisting in that quantity. But by far, the worst part of this is the head hunger. I am not hungry - not at all. But I would attack billboards, empty out my bank account, and possibly harm someone right now for some good food. I want to eat more than anything!! And I can't! Even once I can start eating pureed food, (Wednesday if I'm lucky and the bowel system complies), It's only an ounce and a half three times a day. Lord have mercy, this is HARD STUFF. I would probably physically harm someone if they accused me of taking the easy way out, cause this is no non-sense, not for wimps business. And even though I'm kinda freaking out, having a difficult time adjusting, and running into obstacles, I'm determined that I'm going to get through this, see the awesome benefit of it and get to enjoying my new life - even if it is without lasagna. This is 1000x harder than quitting smoking for me. Thank you all for your concern and prayers. I do need them very bad. But on the bright side, I've lost 33 pounds in the last 10 days - which brings my 2008 total to 83! How awesome is that! Watch out folks, I'm on this ride and I'm not getting off. Stay tuned. . . You're not going to recognize me in six months.
  13. Funny moment.. the bariatric wing is on the same floor as the oncology unit. Well, apparently, Mom's Oncologist, Dr. Ibach saw us in the hall, and wanted to come check on me. Well I wake up from my sleep and see the cancer doctor right away and my heart just dropped! And they said I threw the oxygen mask off and screamed "What are you doing here? What did they find?!" lol.. he was just tryin' to check up on me.
  14. Here's The Skinny Ok, surgery didn't go as easy as I thought, unfortunately. I hope to blog more in detail once I can, but I remember them saying, "Ok, you're going to go to sleep now. . . " and then the next thing I remembered I was in the most tremendous pain and was begging for water, bu the only thing I got was ice chips. I couldn't wake up enough to do any deep breathing or anything so I was in recovery for six and a half hours! Yesterday was even worse. The pain was so tremendous that they thought my old stomach had become distended and thought I was going to be put on a feeding tube and all kinds of other medical jargon which essentially meant I was doing so hot. But then they got my pain controlled enough so I could ge up an move and that made all the difference. Once I could move and walk, I was able to cough, drink, breathe, and do all the things they needed me to do. So this morning I felt much better, even though I am still very weak and tiring very easily. The surgery went well. It was done laparoscopically like I hoped. Everything seems to be on the right path now and I am home. Don't be offended if I don't reply to individual emails or answer phone calls. Like I said, I'm very weak and still very, very, sore but I so appreciate all the love, prayers, visits, comments, calls, and thoughts that came my way! Mitchell
  15. Thank you everybody. I appreciate all the prayers I can get. This is my first major surgery and the nerves are all rattled, lol. As soon as I'm able, I'm going to have someone update my myspace account, and Randy has me on his friends list and I'm sure he'll update you all. Thanks for the prayers and stay tuned...
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