Another toast to Kathy Kostelnik

On Saturday we toasted my sister Kathy at a bridal shower for her June wedding.

We’ve raised our glasses often to Kathy, who literally has scaled more mountains than any of us.

To celebrate the centennial, Kathy climbed Mount Rainier, a daunting effort for anyone but particularly for Kathy, who rose above significant health challenges to ascend.

We toasted her in 2007 when she received a Kohl Fellowship for her teaching and again later that year when she represented Wisconsin as the Special Services Teacher of the Year.

Kathy and I have attended Packer games together for more than 20 years; we share two season tickets four rows behind the visitor’s bench.  For a brief time we were immortalized on the Packer Hall of Fame wallpaper, until the team remodeled that display (a move we found mildly insulting). We also have gone to three Packer Super Bowls together and we plan to see a few more.

With Kathy I have dog sledded in a remote corner of Upper Michigan, accidentally wandered the French Quarter during the Bayou Classic and sprinted through Disney World in an effort to keep up with our mother.

When my grandparents were still alive, Kathy used to jump in our car and road trip with us to Pennsylvania and Ohio, which may have been her bravest adventure of all as we continued to add car seats to the minivan. She came to Croatia with us in 2005 and met us in Alabama in 2008.

I also have spent many hours with Kathy at Mayo Clinic where the doctors have become so familiar with her brain that she intends to donate it to them. She has had five brain surgeries to control hydrocephalus, including a particularly grueling stretch in Rochester two years ago when doctors had to go in on three separate occasions.

She rebounds incredibly well, though, and just a few hours after each surgery she jumped right back into what, for her, is the serious business of tracking her picks in the NCAA pool.

On June 16 Kathy will marry Keith, who proposed in Paris last year.

We can’t wait to gather on a Florida beach and raise our glasses to Kathy once again and to toast her new life as Mrs. Keith Finley.

Our heroine on Mount Rainier.
Asked about any allergies in a pre-op interview, Kathy helpfully responded that she was allergic to tequila so the admitting nurse gamely made her a bracelet, which mortified our mom. It also inspired some hilarious comments from various nurses, who wondered how the symptoms of this allergy manifested themselves. One nurse suggested that Kathy may be allergic to the worm rather than the tequila. Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine.
Here's a post-op thumbs up from the resilient Kathy. Hard to believe just two hours prior to this photo, doctors were digging around in that brain.
Here she is receiving her fellowship from Mr. Herb Kohl.
This is Molly, my mom and Kathy at the Teacher of the Year Awards Ceremony in Madison.
Here are Kathy and Molly on the beach in Florida.
The third in our series of Packer Super Bowls. Go Pack Go! We are flanked in this photo by our brother Mike and my husband Vince.
We love our seats behind the visitor's bench, though Kathy has been known to heckle.

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