Katie Peterson Green isn’t just the girl next door, she is the epitome of strength and courage.
Katie was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2008. She felt a lump and thought nothing of it. After a routine checkup with her OB/GYN, she was told “there’s nothing to worry about.” The lump didn’t go away. After talking to her doctor once again, she had a mammogram, sonogram and biopsy on a Monday and by Friday, her world had a different outlook. Because of her family history of breast cancer, she chose to have a double mastectomy.
In July 2014, six years to the date of her first diagnosis, Katie’s world was once again turned upside down. She was told she had Stage IV cancer that had spread to her sternum, bones, spine and two spots on breasts. She had to fight for her life once again. She was told she had six months to a year to live. This news would make anyone want to bury their head in the sand, but not Katie. She has too much to live for. She began an aggressive routine of chemotherapy for eight months, resulting in only two spots remaining. All I can say is “God is good!” She continues to receive chemo via a port and a shot to both hips monthly. She will continue this treatment for the next two years. She will have a PET SCAN next month and we will be all in agreement that the last two remaining spots will be gone.
I didn’t know Katie through the first fight, but I have known her in the second fight. I met Katie and her family in April 2013, when her youngest daughter Paityn was enrolled in Panhandle Junior High. Last year when I was told the news, my heart broke for her and her family. Several things went through my mind. “How can this happen again? I can’t imagine having to do this again with my kids as they are beginning new adventures.” I have seen the strength in Katie. Who else could attend pep rallies, track meets, football and basketball games after having chemotherapy the day before? I have seen her at church when she was weak, but Katie continues to bless everyone with her strength.
I think about the wedding vows, through sickness and health. As you are saying your vows, do you even think about having to take care of your spouse? Sickness and health has a whole new meaning to them. It wasn’t the common cold, allergies or the flu bug, but cancer. Usually in life, the wife is the caregiver when they are sick. Not in this family! Scott and their children, Hayes, McCay and Paityn took on the role of caregiver. Katie said “My God, Scott, family, Cinda and Mark Urquhart, church and community have helped me through this all. God placed us in this community for a reason.”
Scott and Katie celebrated their 21st anniversary last week. Scott and Katie have been dealt a hand that most people would have folded under. I asked Scott to describe in his words what this journey means to him. “Katie is the strongest person I’ve ever known. Early on, I would try to keep her home but she would refuse. She would say, ‘I’m not going to miss one thing that I am supposed to be at, whether I’m sick or not!’ She would take chemo for four hours in the morning and be at Paityn’s basketball game that night or attend a Kansas State University football game the next day to watch McCay cheer. Through this experience of fighting death, she has taught me as well as many others how to truly live. It was also incredible to see how the community of Panhandle rallied around us even though they barely knew us. From prayers to bringing over dinner, the people of Panhandle has blessed us tremendously and we thank each and every one for that,” he said.
Cinda Urquhart and Katie have been best friends since they attended Amarillo High School. Cinda said “It’s hard to put in words the bond that we share. She has a positive outlook on everything. She never meets a stranger. She makes all who come in contact with her feel welcome. She is a testimony to all. I love her.”
Mark Urquhart, family friend and pastor said, “Cancer is such a scary thing. I had some of the most difficult conversations of my life with Scott and Katie about cancer. I have also had some of the greatest celebrations watching her fight cancer. Katie’s understanding of healing is on a whole other level now. She knows that God has a plan for her life and that nothing is going to be able to cut God’s plan short. She has become an inspiration to many people and Cinda and I are on the top of the list!”
Katie is the 2015 Honorary Chair for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Amarillo this Saturday, Sept. 26. This is the world’s largest and most successful education and fundraising event for breast cancer awareness. It celebrates survivorship and honors those who lost their battle with this disease. Green and her team, Katie’s Breast Buddies, will take the streets of Amarillo along with many others.
Katie’s message to all women. “It’s important that you know your body. You are your best advocate. If you feel that something is wrong, push with your doctor until you receive answers. Get your mammogram!”
Please join in the Race for the Cure. We are #katiestrong!