Toni (Annette) Pankratz

First post: Mar 20, 2022 Latest post: Oct 3, 2022
Welcome to Toni's Caring bridge site.  She has asked that we share her story and keep you updated on how she is doing.  

Last March (2021) she started to not feel well and was experience pain in her stomach.  She had been into the Dr a couple of times but with Covid they were backed up for scans and such.  By July she was struggling to eat much and had lost about 30lbs.  It got so bad that she couldn't even keep water down and her Dr told her to go into the ER.  At that time she had a CT Scan, which showed masses in her stomach area.....the dreaded word Cancer.  This is where her journey begins.

In mid August she started going to the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute at Abbot.  She loves her team there with Dr. Trivedi and her infusion team.   During the month of August and September Toni had many scans and tests done.  They also found a blood clot in her right leg so she is on blood thinners for that.   They found that she has a cancer in the cardiophenric recess lymp node also to close to her heart and making it inoperable.  They ended up putting in a Stent in where she has a stomach tumor to hold the tumor down so she could eat and drink.  She received a port in her chest to administer the chemo.  The first Port she said "We were not friends" it was painful and not put in the proper location and had kink in the line making it useless.  She was supposed to start her Chemo on Sept 15th, but with the useless port and her White Blood Counts low they were unable to start Chemo. 

October 8th she had a new port put in and this time it worked.  On October 26th Toni finally started chemo.  She did find out that her type of cancer is Stage 3 and 4, and she will need to continue with her Chemo in order to keep her tumors at bay.   Her Chemo plan is every other Tuesday she goes in to Piper to have her chemo hooked up.  They also put ice therapy on her hands and feet.  There is a med in her chemo that makes it so that her feet and hands can get very cold, this therapy during chemo if she can tolerate it will help minimize the effects of this cold.  Her chemo also makes it so that things don't taste very good as well as makes it so she has neuropathy in her hands and feet.  She has been struggling with balance due to this.    Her amazing daughter Lisa has taken a leave of absence (and as of March 2022 is still with her daily to help her) to take her to her appointments and anything else she might need.   Rena and Cassie have also been helping out with cleaning and making sure Uncle Jim gets fed. Toni then goes back in on Thursday to have her chemo unhooked from her port.  She pushes herself to stay hydrated even though it's difficult to keep things down and they dont taste very good.

December and January were more of the same.  She had a few treatments and one that she wasnt able to complete due to her low blood cell counts.  The neuropathy has gotten pretty intense in her feet.  She forces herself to eat and drink and gets plenty of rest.  She had a scan done at the end of December to see if her tumors are shrinking or not.  Toni's spirits are high she got to spend Christmas with her daughters and Jim.  Her son Lance visited for a week in January from Michigan.  Toni has an amazing friend group, who orchestrated a group to come and sing Christmas Carols at her front door near Christmas.  It was so beautiful and really gave her a boost. 

January 11th- Tumors are SHRINKING!!  She is able to eat a little more and drink a little more even though it's still tastes like cardboard. 

Feb-March Toni was able to get the med removed from her chemo cocktail that affects her taste and neuropathy in her hands and feet.  Food is finally starting to taste good to her.  She is on a mission to not loose more weight and it's great to see her with an appetite again.   She still struggles with the neuropathy in her hands and feet, but with continued use of them this hopefully will continue to reduce.   She gets very worn out from her chemo, so the weekend after her chemo is taken off is usually a good time for her to rest.