Monday, December 21, 2009

Nancy Jane McCullough Keeler Katzen 1955-2009

Nancy passed away yesterday, December 20th, in the afternoon at home with her family surrounding her.

I came home last saturday to be with her, and Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle David came to visit last Sunday. Grandpa and Uncle David returned to the Farm the next day but Grandma stayed and Aunt Janet came on Monday. Monday night about 20 sacred harp singers came to the house and Mom sang with them for an hour and then laid on the couch for an hour and listened to them sing. After Monday, mom lost all of her energy, Caitlin was able to come home on Thursday and Grandma headed back to the farm Friday morning. We had Christmas on Friday, and Mom passed away in the afternoon on Sunday.

Her services will be held on Wednesday December 23rd at Hope Lutheran Church, 601 N Front St. Reading PA 19601. The calling hours will be from 11-12:30, the service at 12:30. After the service the interment will be at Charles Evans Cemetery, and a reception back at the house at 33 Laurel Ave Reading 19606.

Contributions in her memory can be sent to: Family Nurse Partnership 230 N 5th St. Reading PA 19601

Please feel free to post any memories or stories of Nancy in the comment section.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tough Time at the Cattle Ranch this week

Ever since Thanksgiving, I have been feeling more tired and my legs are weak. I asked our sonagrapher to give me a quick ultrasound. She told me that the liver didn't have tumors to measure: that it was all metastisized. If that was the case, I didn't want more expensive, ineffective treatment.
My oncologist ordered a CT scan for Tuesday night night at 8:o0 PM. That went ok until we got home. I was trying to get up into the house from the garage when when my legs went out from under me and I went tumbling two steps down to the garage floor. My eye was bloody, my wrist, shoulder, elbow were bruised. So, we hopped in the car and went to the emergency room.
I got a CT scan of the brain, chest, and abdomen, 2 x-rays of the shoulder and ribs. Everything was clear (I was particulary happy that the brain was clear.)
After all that testing; they told me I was clear, they slapped ONE steristrip on!
One the way home, we discovered it had begun to snow. The P.T. Cruiser couldn't make it up the hill, so we hiked up, Marty pulling me up the hill by one arm.
I felt better the next day and went to my to my 5:00 PM nurse visit. The oncologist called and said : she is still driving!!! He also said we had a good sonagrapher, that she was right about the metastisis.
Marty was very brave, and asked for a prognosis. The doctor said weeks or months. So there you have it. I am stopping any kind treatment. We are all so surprised it progressed so quickly.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Birds and Snow


We had a wonderful snow yesterday. It started around noon and didn't stop until 10:00 PM. It blanketed our mountain top with about 6 inches of snow. Marty put these feeders outside window. I set up a tripod for the camera and have been having a great time watching and photographing birds.
Fortunately, the driveway melted enough that I could get out and sing today in Lancaster. I've been short of breath, tired, and have had a dry mouth, so I wasn't sure how it would go. We were a small group, but I thought we sounded great.
Back to work tomorrow: looking forward to my visits.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Lori, my cousin and florist by trade, brought me this beautiful wreath.

Cardinal detail of wreath
Purple Kale on front porch.

My cousin, Lori, and her daughter, Megan came to visit and get a 3D ultrasound of Megan's baby. Fortunately, Evan cooperated very nicely and showed us his chubby little face. We will be excited to see how he looks on the outside the beginning of February.

Good news. My agency generously allowed me to apply for partial disability for 3 more months, which will maintain my full time status, and allow me to figure out my insurance. Working full-time is too hard for me and the insurance is only for full time workers. I can get a subsidy for Cobra from the government if I quit all together, but I feel better when I work. Bob Casey has introduced legislation in the Senate to subsidize part time workers who have been down-sized. Hopefully is works for illness too , or I guess the agency could downsize me. It is a big relief not to have to worry about this before Christmas.
So for those of you are confused about changes in the Health Care System:Think of me.

Work=Good Health Insurance
Get Sick, or lose job= lose health insurance.
Continue insurance on Cobra=no money, not working remember?

Also small businesses need relief.
Sick employees= raise premiums. My agency's premiums went up 37% this year based on usage.
Too bad they don't lower them if everyone stays healthy.

I am so disappointed that the Republicans won't get on board with novel ideas instead of just shooting every thing down. If everyone would work together, the Republicans could keep an eye on the money and look for ways to cut costs, and the Democrats could work on access for everyone. I thought that was how the government was supposed to work.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Wedding

Bride and Groom

More pictures of Cory's Wedding click
Cory hugging Uncle Marty
Amanda's dad Ken and me

I guess all my activities over Thanksgiving wore me out, because I have been dragging. I think I might be a little depressed because it has been a year since I was diagnosed. I got myself to work yesterday and that perked me up a little. I went to the outlets after work and finished most of Christmas shopping, so that was a relief too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving, Wedding, The Messiah

We were too busy on Thanksgiving to take pictures: but someone did snap this one of Isaac and me. We had a nice full house: Allie, her friend Alison and boyfriend John, Caitlin, Lisa, Nora, Jason, Kyle and Isaac.
Thanksgiving Menu

Cider Brined and Glazed Turkey
stuffed with bread stuffing
Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Filling
Aunt DeAnn's Corn Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole with Ginger
Brussels Sprouts with Garlic Butter and Slivered Almonds
24 Hour Salad
Marty's famous spring greens salad
Pumpkin Pie

Caitlin arranged 5 or 6 little vases of flowers that still remained in my garden. This cone flower is in a vase that my cousins, Linda and Gladys gave me from my Aunt Mary's vase collection. I also had snapdragons, some yellow daisy-like blooms that my friend Jean gave me for the garden this spring.
On Saturday we drove to Manhattan for Marty's niece's Corbett's wedding, which was a lovely affair. Kyle was the ring bearer and did an did an excellent job performing his duties. He also did an outstanding job of quietly holding still for the ceremony, which is quite a feat for a 4 year old boy. Of course, he couldn't have looked any cuter in his little suit.
It was a long night for a four year old ring bearer.

On Sunday we arrived home in time for me to attend the "Do it yourself" Messiah, which marks the beginning of the Holiday season for me. I have attended for 6 years now. It was held at First Presbyterian in downtown Reading this year, which has lovely acoustics. They publish a date in the newspaper, everyone shows up with their score, there is a live local orchestra and local conductor and soloists. It all comes together sounds heavenly.