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Flicking cancer off her like a fly

The sun broke through a thick fog yesterday morning as we made our way to Milwaukee to celebrate my sister Kathy’s last day of chemo.

After 20 weeks of treatment, Kathy deserved much more than a bouquet of flowers, a care package and a trio of surprise visitors to mark the happy milestone. Still, our pop in felt great for all concerned.

We found her sitting calmly as the toxic, life-saving Taxol slowly dripped into her patient veins, pink painted toes and jeweled sandals resting on a slight recline. Her view — crystal blue lake, crisp autumn trees, rising golden sun — belied the epic battle underway inside her as the chemo fought Her2 positive breast cancer cells.

Meanwhile, the patient chatted companionably, answered text messages and contemplated a nap.

Her goddaughter Katherine said Kathy was “flicking this cancer off her like a fly,” amazingly, an accurate description.

With a support crew of her husband Keith and stepson Traveain, Kathy spent the summer without complaint, rotating through weekly doctor appointments and treatments, recovering from major surgery and focusing the bulk of her energy on a three-person daily trivia contest among herself, her ultra competitive sister Jenny and her lifelong friend John.

I stood in line for hours with her outside Miller Park earlier this summer as we waited for the gates to open for a Paul McCartney Concert. An unforgiving sun beat mercilessly down and all around us people whined bitterly. I may have mentioned the heat a time or two myself, but Kathy, who probably shouldn’t have been in the sun at all and wore a stifling baseball hat/thick wig on her head, never said a negative word.

We watched the sun climb again yesterday and saluted Kathy’s September triumph. She has another surgery and six weeks of radiation ahead of her.

Today, though, we’re celebrating Kathy, a strong, funny, sweet, wise, positive role model, who is one step closer to flicking this cancer off her for good.

Nothing but smiles

Thumbs up for Kathy, who had her last of 16 chemo treatments yesterday.

Kathy and her mom on the last day of chemo

Seasonal allergies kept Grandma Peggy mildly quarantined, though she wouldn’t have missed the celebration she had planned for 5 months for anything. That’s her in the background trying not to touch anything.

The sun broke through a think fog as we made our way to Milwaukee for Kathy's last chemo treatment.

The sun broke through a thick fog as we made our way to Milwaukee for Kathy’s last chemo treatment.

The Finley family

Here’s Kathy’s amazing support team, Keith, Traveain and Kathy herself. Go Team Finley!

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Posted on September 27, 2013, in Family, Kathy Kostelnik, kostelnik and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. My 3 visitors took everyone in the room by surprise! Thanks to everyone for all the support and kind words. I definitely have not been battling this alone!

  2. The picture from yesterday is an excellent example of Team Kathy. The cap on my head is from niece and goddaughter Katherine. The zip up jacket is from a coworker who knew I would have trouble getting my arms over my head. And you can’t see it, but my face is slathered in really good moisturizer – a gift from my mom to combat my extra dry skin.

  3. Congrats and prayers for a successful surgery!

  4. beautiful! undoubtedly the most inspirational person I know!

  5. Kathy is amazing. Good luck to her and Team Kathy with the surgery and radiation. I’m sure you will update us with her progress in flicking this cancer away.

  6. Kathy’s story reminded me of a good friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She and her husband were my adopted parents in college. She has a really funny and inspirational blog that Kathy might enjoy- http://thisdoesnotdefineme1.blogspot.com/2013/03/first-day-of-spring-2013.html
    I think they could be kindred spirits in their attitudes toward cancer!

  7. Wow, I was not expecting to hear this news. Kathy will be added to the numerous pray chains I am involved with. I will also add another rosary to my evening prayers. Love kills cancer & it appears she has so much. Love, prayers & good thoughts are being sent her way. Molly I’m no longer on face book will you check with Charlie & ask if he would mind if you gave me his e-mail. Thanks
    God Bless

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