“I am so glad I had my yearly mammograms and the cancer I battled was caught early”: Kathy’s story

Archive, Month, October

Years into her survivorship, Kathy is keeping her promise of being here for her family.

Hello, my name is Kathy. I've had the honor and privilege of being a mammographer for 32 years. For the last nearly 10 years, I have been employed at the McLaren Macomb Breast Center.

Four years ago, in 2016, I was asked by Pat Keigher to dance at BRAvo's "Dancing With Our Docs" October fundraiser. The money raised goes toward the fight against cancer, right here at McLaren. A breast cancer survivor is paired up with a McLaren Macomb doctor to dance together.

I had been diagnosed in 2009, so at that time, I was seven years out from the initial diagnosis. I was paired up with McLaren Macomb’s Dr. Albert Przybylski. It was an evening I will never forget! It represented so much to me. Hearing my kids, hubby, family, friends and coworkers cheering me on while I danced in front of a thousand people (give or take) was the absolute best! THEY are the reason I fought against this cancer in the first place! It was so much fun dressing up like a boxer, and dancing to Michaels Jackson's song "Beat It," inside of a boxing ring on stage. I think it's safe to say Dr. P had fun too, and so did the audience!

Since 2016, a few things have changed. In 2019, I became board certified in breast ultrasound. I trained in this modality for a couple of years under the guidance and supervision of some remarkable technologists and doctors. I am thankful and beyond blessed to have such an awesome team that I get to work alongside and also to learn from.

My daughter is getting married next year. When I was diagnosed, I promised my family that I would do whatever it took to beat the cancer EXACTLY for milestones in their lives such as these! I cannot wait to see her in her wedding dress, walking down the aisle with her dad and marrying the man of her dreams.

I also have a son who has become a Marine. He graduated from boot camp in November 2017. THAT was a very memorable day in our family's life. The hug I shared with him that day is one I will never forget. He is a third generation Marine. My father-in-law, hubby, and now son have all served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Needless to say, we are very proud of our young man!

I am so glad I had my yearly mammograms, and the cancer I battled was caught early. I look forward to celebrating many more milestones with my precious family!

I am grateful to have a job where I can make a difference in so many ladies’ lives. How many people can say that what they do for a living has the potential to save lives daily? I am thrilled to say that my job DOES have that potential. I have been on the receiving end of its life-saving potential, and now I get to "pay it forward" — screening ladies every day for breast cancer. Do yourself and family a favor: Schedule your yearly mammogram!