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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Fighter's Story

If you are from Grayson County, you probably know Cathy Schultz. Cathy is involved in a lot of community activities. However, you may not know that Cathy has a particular story of strength, of being an overcomer. It’s this story that we wanted to highlight in a community member spotlight.

Cathy’s story is being released this October for a reason. October has been declared Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That’s exactly what Cathy’s story is all about. We asked Cathy to share her story with others, and we were excited when she agreed to do so. By sharing her story, we hope that it helps others make the decision to be aware of their own health—and to take the necessary steps when diagnostic testing is needed.

We asked Cathy when she found out that she first had breast cancer. Cathy told us that “she found a knot in her right breast in the spring of 2021 when doing a self-exam.” She also noted the following. “I ignored the lump for a few months. On August 5th, 2021, I had a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound that the radiologist read as benign. My husband insisted that I get the knot removed (no matter what the radiologist said). I saw a surgeon on September 15th, and he biopsied it. Friday, September 17th I received an email from my online medical chart letting me know I had test results. It was in this report that I found out I had cancer.”

Cathy’s story may seem foreign and unrelatable. However, many of us have found ourselves in similar situations. At times, we may find ourselves wondering what a certain spot is, or if the symptoms we are experiencing require a trip to the doctor. Some of us, like Cathy, have even ignored a symptom hoping it will just go away. However, it’s never wise to sit on the sidelines when it comes to our own health. We are happy that Cathy found encouragement in her husband to continue to look for answers. Perhaps in this, we find another lesson which is to encourage those around us to make those needed appointments, and to keep up with routine tests such as mammograms.

We also asked Cathy what helped her during her diagnosis. Cathy shared these words with us. “Had I not had my family and my faith, I am not sure how I would have made it through treatment. My family was with me constantly. Literally. We put our faith and trust in God and pushed through together. We even became closer as a family. Before I started chemo, we made a conscious decision to love each other, to care for one another even more than we had before.” Herein is another lesson for us all. During the storms of life, the best thing we can do is rally around the ones we love. In doing so we aren’t just offering support, we are also reiterating to those in the eye of the storm that there are still reasons to fight, to push forward, to not give up. Cathy’s family did just that, and as mentioned she attributes their willingness to be there as a big part of her healing process.

The last question we asked Cathy was if she had any words of encouragement for those facing a similar diagnosis. Cathy told us that “she is living proof that self-exams are important—and that they should be done faithfully, even if you are a man.” As Cathy noted, men are not exempt from breast cancer. Although men are less likely to develop this form of cancer, they are still at a low risk. Therefore, appropriate steps should be taken to be proactive.

In closing, Cathy encouraged women to keep their yearly mammogram appointments. “They are a good baseline if anything ever comes back abnormal,” she noted. Cathy is right! Mammograms are very important. Mammograms save lives! These routine tests are critical to a woman’s health which is why agencies such as the Grayson County Health Department offer solutions. GCHD offers a cancer screening program for those who qualify. This program offers free to low-cost breast exams. For more information, contact GCHD at 270-259-3141, option 1.

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