Despite the plethora of soft pink merchandise and rhetoric surrounding the disease, breast cancer is hard.
Chemotherapy alone can make even the smallest of things women take for granted vanish overnight. Take nose hair, for example, a bodily attribute that is essential to prevent the nose from running at any given moment.
And then there’s the rest of a woman’s body hair. While 44% of women in a 3,000 participant survey reported that they changed their hair style or look because they were bored and wanted a change, many women with cancer have no choice. After just one shower, a breast cancer patient undergooing chemotherapy could lose more than half her hair, and the next day, her eyebrows.
While these truths are certainly ugly, cancer survivor and Dothan resident Kelli Hall’s outlook is anything but. After being diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in 2009, Hall decided from the very beginning to approach her illness with humor and purpose.
“I was chosen for this disease,” Hall said. “I still believe that God did not let me have this disease because I had done something bad, but he knew I would take it and run with it.”
At the time of her diagnosis, Hall was 43 and newly divorced. In order to increase her chances of survival, Hall had a bilateral mastectomy and later, a hysterectomy.
But even in the beginning, Hall chose to face her cancer with a sense of humor. Only months after her diagnosis, Hall invited her family and friends to a head shaving party at a local salon.
Refusing to call her illness by its name, her family referred to her cancer as “Pink it,” and claim Hall would find reasons to laugh as she fought each day.
Despite her sunny disposition, Hall did face her fair share of struggles.
“The disease is as much mental as it is physical,” Hall said.
To raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research, Hall will be participating in this year’s Sandi McCool Champions of Hope Walk for the Southeast Alabama Medical Center Foundation, at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine in Dothan.
The organization is in its eighth year, and helps to expand cancer services and programs at the Southeast Alabama Medical Center. Since its inception, the event has raised $735,000.
As of today, Hall is in remission. She credits her success to the “F’s” in her life: Family, Friends, Faith, Fun, and Fitness”.
And with her 50th birthday rapidly approaching on October 28, Hall added “Fabulous and Fifty”.