This is a Breast Cancer Tribute to a truly inspirational woman, Katie Pass. If you know her, you know she has a heart of gold and an incredible and supportive husband, Cooper. I have been friends with them for years, photographed their wedding and couldn’t help but honor Katie & Cooper for the courageous step they are making in November for their future together as a family.
Katie’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 30 years old. She lost her battle after eight years and left behind a husband and two beautiful children. “I remember her being sick. I didn’t know she had cancer, but I remember her losing her hair and being in a wheelchair. When she wasn’t sick she was super active and fun. She was the love of my dad’s life. It was really hard until years later my dad met Michelle and I was blessed with a new mom and two wonderful sisters.” said Katie.
Katie grew up in Bowling Green and went on to college at Western Kentucky where she met Cooper. “I feel like growing up I didn’t have much confidence. A mother instills confidence and I didn’t have any until I met Cooper.” At 25 yrs. old Katie started doing mammograms. With genetic testing she found out that she has BRACA 2 gene which leaves her with 87% chance of getting breast cancer and a 50% chance for ovarian cancer. They recommended she have breast MRI’s and the first painful MRI she got a false positive result. “I always thought I might die young of cancer because my mom did. That first MRI was terrifying. Cooper and I were both like, okay, this it…its my time to get cancer.” After they found out it was a false positive Katie and Cooper took a break from the doctors and testing. They moved to Louisville together, got married and started enjoying life as young 20-somethings should.
At 29 Katie started seeing doctors again and since she was approaching the age when her mother got diagnosed most of her doctors recommended a profolaptic mastectomy. “I cried, I was terrified, I told them I wanted to wait and think about having children. I had finally started loving my body and I hated the thought of losing my breasts.” But if Katie did want to possibly have children one day she would run the risk of the hormones speeding up the cancer and possibly getting it while she was pregnant. So her and Cooper took some time and decided “We wanna handle this before it handles us.” On November 5th Katie will have a profolaptic mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. They searched for doctors and found the right one that they felt most comfortable with and the surgery will lower her risk from 87% to only 5% and she will no longer have to get frequent tests.
“We wanna handle this before it handles us.”
“I didn’t marry her for her boobs. I have wanted her to do this for a while, just to stop the worrying, be healthier, happier. I just want her to live along healthy life with me as long as possible. All I can do is support.” Said her husband Cooper, who was a smoker and has recently quit to prevent any more cancer in their lives.
Katie and Cooper are feeling good about their decision. They both have a huge support system of family and friends that have already reached out to them. Some of Katie’s closest friends threw her a “goodbye to the ta’s ta’s” party!
“I respect that this might not be a choice for everyone, but this time next year I won’t be worrying about constantly getting breast cancer. It’s not the way my mom would want me to live.” said Katie. They hope by sharing this story that it will educate women and men to get tested so that they can live long healthy lives.