Like many in our Armed Forces, U.S. Army Reservist Captain Katrina (Kat) Moughan dreamt about serving our country by going overseas to help in the fight against terrorism.
She almost got her wish, too. Three years ago, the Westville, NJ resident was assigned to an Active Duty tour in Kuwait. But the day before mobilization, she learned that the ovarian cancer she thought she beat nearly four years earlier had returned--and in a more virulent form. “My oncologist had wanted to do one final test to make sure I was still in remission,” she says. “I was devastated when I found out the results.”
Moughan was taken off Active Duty and has been receiving chemotherapy ever since. But through it all, the 37-year old has maintained a positive attitude, despite undergoing surgeries, including a hysterectomy that eliminated her other dream of one day having a baby. “I look for humor wherever I can find it, “ she says. “For example, I like to remind my husband that he is the luckiest man alive because his wife hasn’t had PMS in over seven years!”
Even during her initial chemotherapy treatments, Moughan did not renege on her commitment to the Army and remained an active drilling member of the Reserves. “I had a special wig that I wore when I lost all of my hair that was regulation length and able to sustain heavy abuse under combat helmets and berets,” she says. She went on Annual Training Exercises to Hawaii, Korea and Japan.
Throughout her maintenance chemotherapy, she sought positions of higher responsibility. Today Moughan serves as an HHD Commander in the 1st Battle Command Training Group/2ndBrigade/75th Division in Fort Dix. “I shoot my M-9 and M-16, I go on Field Training Exercises and I continue my Officer Career training courses,” says Moughan, who is a computer security professional with a Department of Defense contractor and is also a graduate student studying computer security at Penn State. In addition, she has served on the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition’s Delaware Valley Chapter's Advisory Council.
Of course, like anyone fighting ovarian cancer, Moughan, who shares her home with her husband, two dogs, seven cats and a tropical aquarium, says there are days when she allows herself to cry. “Living with cancer is a scary thing. I allow myself a pity party every so often.” Nevertheless, she vows not to let the disease get her down. Her monthly Army Reserve duty also goes a long way to help. “When I am in uniform, I am no longer a cancer patient, I am just another soldier,” she says.
She sums up her circumstances this way: “Happiness is choosing to be happy. You can be happy even in the worst circumstances. I love the Army. I’m living a good life.”
Kat Moughan, we salute you.