Kiger to share story of survival at 'Love Lights A Tree' event
When Mary Beth Kiger talks about her battle with Stage 3 breast cancer during "Love Lights A Tree" on Monday, Dec. 5, she'll speak about going into survival mode after her diagnosis on Aug. 15, 2014. "You don't have time to breathe. You just kind of go with the flow," says Kiger. "I was trying to be stronger for my family," she adds, "because I knew if I broke, they may break. So my mode of action was: What's next?" Kiger likens her experience to being on a rollercoaster. She returns to her doctor's every three months for checkups - a reminder of the aggressive cancer that attacked her lymph nodes. "I went through six rounds of chemo," remembers Kiger. "I lost my hair within 11 days of my first treatment. That was a shocker." A month later, she underwent surgery for a double mastectomy followed by 40-plus radiation treatments before she was finally able to return to work with the water department at Versailles City Hall in July 2015. Her advice to other woman: "Know your body. Go on your gut instinct." With her prior history of fibrocystic breasts, Kiger thought a lump that she'd felt would go away. She didn't realize the pain that she'd been feeling was a symptom of breast cancer until she visited the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation website. She credits family, friends and her faith for helping her become a cancer survivor. "I'm glad I'm here today," says Kiger. ".If I had let it go any longer - I may not be sitting here today. "It's life-changing . Life is precious. People are precious. Time is precious." She describes her 17-month-old twin granddaughters as "my life." Kiger and her husband of 20-plus years, Derry, raised two grown children. Their daughter gave birth to their first grandchildren. "We found out right before I had my last treatment (for breast cancer) that we were pregnant. So that really gave me a push like you wouldn't believe. That I had to be here," says Kiger, born and raised in Midway. "Love Lights A Tree" on Dec. 5 begins at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary at Versailles Presbyterian Church, 130 North Main Street in downtown Versailles. The ceremony includes the lighting of the "Love Tree" and a candlelight service.