August 13, 2019
When Cathy Young has free time, she likes to spend it on her boat at the lake with her family – especially her 2 grandsons. It’s a joy the Lee’s Summit Chamber director of member services truly appreciates as she recalls her breast cancer journey 20 years ago.
Cathy found a lump in her right breast at age 34 – early to be facing the possibility of breast cancer. Unfortunately, the mammogram that followed found nothing. Yet thanks to a routine ob/gyn visit, Cathy’s physician also felt the lump and got her an appointment for a biopsy with a Kansas City surgeon.
At the time, Cathy worked as a hair stylist. She and her husband were also the busy parents of a 5-year-old and 18-month-old.
“Even before my surgeon confirmed it was breast cancer,” says Cathy, “I told him that if it appeared to be cancerous during the biopsy, I wanted to pursue a mastectomy right then and there.”
Ultimately, the lump represented a stage 3 breast cancer. During the mastectomy, Cathy had 31 lymph nodes removed; 15 of them positive for breast cancer. Shortly after, she began chemotherapy with an expert oncologist with The University of Kansas Cancer Center: Brian Osgood, MD. Thirty radiation treatments followed.
Losing her hair was especially tough. “I wore a wig for a long time because I didn’t want my clients to think I wasn’t a good stylist,” Cathy laughs.
Not long after her breast cancer treatment, Cathy chose to have a hysterectomy. She did this to reduce the level of hormones that were “feeding” her breast cancer. She also followed a 5-year regimen of Tamoxifen to further reduce hormone levels. Four years later, she had breast reconstruction surgery.
Today, Cathy uses her experience with breast cancer to educate teenagers about the importance of good health, often speaking to area high schools. She also shares her experiences with the many men and women she meets in her role at the Lee’s Summit Chamber.
Most rewarding, she says, is hearing from teens about the positive impression she made on them.
Cathy continues to see Dr. Osgood every 6 months for checkups and has become one of the family at The University of Kansas Cancer Center in Lee’s Summit.
“Dr. Osgood and I have become good friends,” she says. “The decision we made together saved my life.”
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