It was late 2005 and Jim Pantelas seemed to have everything going for him. Recently married, a successful business owner living well in a beautiful community, what more could he want? Cancer was the furthest thing from his mind. Then Jim began having symptoms that led him to see his doctor. After a comprehensive evaluation and tests Jim was shocked to learn that he had a right lung mass. Jim was seen at the Lung Cancer Specialty Center at St. Joe’s in Ann Arbor.
Jim had mixed emotions on his visit to the Center. He and his wife were expecting their first child in November. All he could think was “will I be there for my wife and baby?” His only request was that we help him be strong enough to love and care for his new baby on the way.
Our nurse navigator was able to fast-track Jim’s care, he saw a team of specialists in one visit. Eight days, later the surgeon performed an upper lobectomy on Jim’s lung.
After surgery, he revisited the Center and was reunited with his lung cancer physicians. They rapidly worked with him to create the second phase of his cancer care - chemotherapy and radiation therapy. That’s where he met Dr. Stella. “I have a friend who is an oncologist. She raved about Dr. Stella…said he was a world-class oncologist.” Jim knew he was in good hands.
While receiving chemotherapy treatment, Jim learned his wife had gone into labor. Staff rushed him to her in the Family Birth Center at St. Joe’s so he could be part of his baby daughter’s delivery.
Jim and his wife named their daughter “Stella”. He says that while her name has ties to their family tree, Dr. Phil Stella’s compassion and the expert care he received from the Lung Cancer Specialty Center led to them choosing baby Stella’s name. Most importantly, Jim’s wish came true. He can give Stella all the love and care she deserves.
“I waited until I was 52 to have my first baby. And Stella is just a treat. The goal right now is for me to be around to pay her college tuition and it’s a goal Dr. Stella has taken on as well.”
Jim’s CAT scan remains negative. He says his lung capacity is fully restored and he’s working full time again. It’s a good thing, since Jim and his wife Kathy welcomed their second baby daughter (Grace) in the spring of 2008.
“I couldn’t be happier and I feel great. St. Joe’s is a world-class facility. It was like having a very large, extended family. They saved my life. We really could not have asked for more…and we got a lot more than we asked for.”
- Jim Pantelas