Joseph Pangelinan Big Man Joe

First post: Feb 9, 2021 Latest post: Mar 3, 2021
I'm a "Little Man with a Big Plan." In December 2020 I was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-small cell Lung Cancer. It all started off as a persistent cough that was misdiagnosed as pneumonia. When the antibiotics for pneumonia failed to work, my doctor became suspicious that something else was going on. A CT scan revealed a tumor in my right lung. From that point I had tissue samples taken from the tumor which officially confirmed that it was lung cancer. I'm a non-smoker and was relatively asymptomatic, so this diagnosis definitely came as a shock to us all. A PET scan and brain MRI showed that the cancer had metastasized to my abdomen, pelvis, spine, and brain. 

Luckily, there's a pretty smart army of specialists and doctors who are learning more about cancer and coming up with new, innovative ways to fight it. Genetic testing revealed that I am "ALK Positive." This means that a specific ALK genetic mutation is causing the cancer. Researchers know a lot about ALK Positive lung cancer, and have had very successful results treating it with targeted therapy. I have been on this targeted therapy for a couple of weeks, and will hopefully see positive results in 8 weeks after treatment. The chances of having this genetic mutation were extremely slim, and it has given us hope that I will be around to annoy you all for years to come! 

If there is one thing I have learned on this journey so far it is that no matter how much we stress and worry about "the plan" that we have for our lives, the plan can change at any moment. We have no control over our long term trajectory. What we do have control over is NOW. We all need to be more mindful and present and truly appreciate all of the blessings that we are given. Don't wait to be overly generous, thankful, or overly loving to the people you care about. 

We are blessed with such loyal and supportive family and friends. This Caring Bridge site is here to keep you all updated on my fight, and to keep the positive thoughts flowing.