Patient Story

Young’s story: Prioritizing his health after colon cancer


Young Kim's journey with cancer began in May of 2023 when he was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. He was 51. 

Reflecting on his experience, Young shared, "I’m not completely sure when I first started experiencing symptoms because the symptoms were so mild at first." 

He noticed occasional pain in his lower left side after eating and rare instances of bleeding in his stool over a couple of years. But he didn’t think anything was bad enough to need to go to the doctor. In early 2023, however, the pain became more frequent … and then it never went away, prompting Young to seek medical advice. 

Young_before surgeryYoung was referred to Northside Hospital colorectal surgeon Dr. Wayne Ambroze

“I am so grateful to Dr. Ambroze,” said Young. “He was able to see me immediately and was able to schedule a colonoscopy for me within just a few days.” 

The results, unfortunately, revealed a malignant mass in Young’s colon. 

“This diagnosis took my wife [Abigail] and me by surprise … we really weren’t thinking that anything like this could happen,” said Young, who added that he eats healthy and is a martial arts instructor in Canton — his work centers around daily exercise. He has no family history of colon cancer

"It was extremely scary, and once we found out we knew we were in for some hard times.” 

Surgery was recommended and was scheduled for three weeks later. Young praised the compassionate care he received at Northside Hospital, where the staff made the process less daunting. 

“Northside was more than just easy to work with during this process — they were kind and compassionate, and their care helped my wife and I feel a lot less scared than we may have otherwise felt,” said Young. 

Following surgery, Young learned that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. He would need chemotherapy and was referred to medical oncologist Dr. Lynn Zemsky. He began treatment one month later. 

Young commended Dr. Zemsky's expertise and the kindness of the nursing staff during his chemotherapy sessions. 

“Dr. Zemsky was very knowledgeable and reassuring,” he said. “I felt confident with her as she explained my chemotherapy treatment plan. 

“The nurses at Dr. Zemsky’s office were also fantastic — they were always kind to me, compassionate and concerned about my comfort during the treatments.” 

Eight months post-diagnosis, Young expressed gratitude for completing his chemotherapy and regaining his health. 

Young_now“I feel good. I’ve completed my chemo treatments, I’ve gained weight, I have energy, I’m back at work, and I am having fun in my life,” he said. 

Despite the unexpected diagnosis, he and Abigail found strength in their family's support. 

“My wife and I couldn’t have gotten through this time without the support of our family.” 

"Nobody wants to get cancer," Young added, "but I’m so glad that I went to Northside for treatment." 

Looking ahead, they pledged to prioritize their health, with Northside Hospital remaining their trusted health care provider on their healing journey. 

Learn more about colon cancer care at Northside Hospital Cancer Institute.

* The health story shared here may portray atypical results of survival for this type of cancer, given its severity and stage. Atypical results are considered surviving a cancer that has less than a 50% five-year survival rate. Patients should consult an expert to discuss specific treatment plans and the possible outcomes before making medical decisions. 


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