Patti - (article about my sister in law )
(8/2017) This month I am taking a break from politics to write about another member of my wife Tinaís family that sadly has passed away. Just over a year ago we lost her Mother, Pat Zanella and on July 8th 2017 we lost her sister Patti ( Zanella ) Sprenkle to pancreatic cancer. Patti was just 49 years old. Iíve known Patti since we were in high school, I was a senior when she was a freshman.
Since her older sister Tina wooed me into dating and eventually marrying her, I was around the Zanella household almost every day so when Iíd see Patti at school she always made it fun. Patti always had a great sense of humor and a laugh that was unmistakably hers. She was classic Zanella one hundred percent right down to the standard bright blue eyes which are the Zanella trademark.
About fifteen months ago she found out she had pancreatic cancer. The tumor could not be removed until it was reduced to a size that made surgery possible. So, chemotherapy was the only option at this point. So after months of chemo that had little effect on the tumor but a large effect on her quality of life, she started looking to other options. They contacted a treatment center in Chicago
where she went for testing. After all tests were performed the results came back that there was nothing they could do for her at that point. Most people would have given up right then and there, not Patti. She tried various other treatments and did it with a smile on her face. Truly unbelievable.
Then came June and July of 2017 when things took a turn for the worse. She was in and out of the hospital several times, the last time being the end of June. About a week before she passed, Tina and I went to see her in the hospital. Even in her condition which we knew was not good, she was smiling and her and I were joking about some things and then once again there she went with her
unmistakable laugh. Cancer is tough. Cancer is hard on a personís mind and body. Most people would be laying there feeling sorry for themselves but not Patti. Her courage and grit through this was something I will never forget. It reminded me once again that certain people just wonít quit, they love life, they love their families and they have a resolve that sets them apart, Patti had all of
I know she loved her two kids, Anna ( 15 ) and Joe ( 13 ) along with her husband Greg. Her family kept her going as they all stayed incredibly strong throughout her illness. A void left from a mother, a sister and a friend taken way too soon. Patti, you set an example that you passed on to your kids about courage during a life altering and inevitably a life ending event. You will surely be
missed by all of us but you left us all better people because of who you were right up until the end.
Patti wrote some final thoughts on paper on the last few weeks of her life. One of those thoughts was " Be a warrior not a worrier". You were a true warrior in your fight against cancer Patti Z.