NewsPinellas County


Local woman living with stage four cancer beats the odds during the pandemic

Posted at 4:18 PM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 16:18:06-04

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Lori Giannico never imagined she would have lived long enough to see not just one, but two of her daughters getting married in 2020.

“It was beautiful and it meant so much to me that I was able to watch my daughter get married and it was something to look forward to and I have another daughter that’s getting married at the end of next week so I have that to look forward to, too,” said Giannico.

Giannico was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic and liver cancer in July 2019. She was only given three to six months to live.

However, instead of checking into hospice care, she chose Palliative Care with Empath Health instead.

“And that was a resource that we didn’t even know existed and since that time I feel that Palliative Care has saved Lori’s life several times,” said husband Anthony Giannico.

“You have a chaplain, you have a therapist that talks to you, you have a nurse, you have a doctor, its all the support you can use plus you can still continue with your chemo,” said Lori.

Lori said there have been a few instances where she could have taken a turn for the worse, but managed to overcome each challenge with the help of the nonprofit organization.

“My ankle felt a little swollen and she looked at it through the Zoom phone call and immediately she called my doctor and suggested that I have an ultrasound and they found a blood clot,” said Lori.

Candace Dornstauder is one of the Empath Health professionals looking after Lori. She said the mission is to make sure their patients maximize the time they have left with us.

“We can guide them through the tough decisions that are really hard to make, the ones that will help them figure out what their future goals are and how to achieve them,” said Dornstauder.

As for Lori, she is busy preparing her dress for another wedding. She has a second mother-daughter dance in her future.

“I feel like I’m living the best possible life I can at this point,” said Lori.

For more information on Palliative Care, go to