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Family, friends and a dose of humor help Kristy Herman fight cancer

By Lacy Hilliard
Kristy Herman lived through what might well be considered a woman’s worst nightmare. At the age of thirty-eight, Herman was told that she would be forced to wage battle with the number two killer of women –breast cancer. With amazing strength and a healthy dose of humor, Kristy met the battle head on and was extremely candid about her experience.
Though it isn’t recommended that women get routine mammograms until the age of 40, Kristy was inspired to receive the preventative screenings by a friend that had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer. In addition to the mammograms, Kristy was diligent about self-exams and it was through the method of self-examination that she discovered a lump. Kristy immediately made an appointment with her doctor and so her long and challenging journey began.
During the interview, Kristy recalled the difficult task of informing her family of her diagnosis. She feared for all of them but especially for her oldest daughter, Courtney, who had already lost her father at the age of four. She also recalled the sadness she felt when she was faced with telling her father. Though the news came as a shock, her father simply said, “We’ve not had a fight to fight in awhile; I guess it’s time to beat this one.” The support of Kristy’s family never wavered throughout her cancer ordeal. Her daughters, Courtney, Celena, and Channie and her husband, Dennis, as well as her parents and many friends always helped Kristy find the humor in every situation. Kristy said of her family, “We laughed a lot and my husband was just awesome. He was my rock and he was there for me throughout everything.”
When Kristy was diagnosed, she was in stage two and though her original treatment plan called only for radiation and surgery, a new study prompted her doctors to recommend chemotherapy in addition to the originally suggested therapies. Through the treatments, Kristy said, “I became very self-conscious about the loss of my hair. I immediately went out and bought three wigs but the wigs only made me feel more self-conscious. It wasn’t until my friend Linda told me ‘suck it up, you’re not Farah Fawcett.’ For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.