The Heroes Project

Gwinnett Magazine Heroes Project 2016: Juliana Herrera

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“Cancer is too hard to do alone.”
– Juliana Herrera

JulianaJuliana Herrera, a 24-year-old medical assistant, was a sophomore at the University of Georgia when her digestive issues began. After more than a year of taking useless medications, she got to the point where she was bedridden for three days, her body racked with pain.

Surgeons discovered cysts in her ovaries—one the size of an orange—and removed everything that was compromised, resulting in a complete hysterectomy that forced her into early menopause.

Herrera’s devastated mother broke the news to her daughter that she had Stage 1C ovarian cancer. “I said, ‘I’m not going to be able to have babies, am I?’ because I had prepared myself for that possibility,” Herrera recalled. “Mom said, ‘No, but that’s not the worst part. You have cancer.’”

Today finds Herrera loving life and staying upbeat, focusing on the bright future ahead. She plans on continuing her education in healthcare.

Looking back, she credits her positive attitude and support group with helping sustain her through 18 weeks of chemotherapy. “Cancer is too hard to do alone,” she said.