Staying positive through cancer treatment

Pictured are Lynda Hall from Crossville with her husband, Chris, and their sons, Jed and Jaxon.

Special to the Times-Journal

Having a normal family life while you’re sick from chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy is a major challenge, but Lyndi Hall was determined to keep her husband and sons on track. And she did. Amazingly, they even visited Disney World twice during her treatments.

“Your first instinct is to withdraw, but I thought it was important to keep life normal,” said the Crossville mother of two boys. “I didn’t tiptoe around it. I told the kids when we found out.”

Hall found a lump in her breast on the Friday before Christmas of 2017. As a nurse for 15 years, she had worked in women’s health and in hospice so she had seen a lot of cancer. She immediately went to her OB/GYN. As he assessed the tumor, Hall said she just knew the diagnosis would be bad. Indeed, he told her it couldn’t wait.

The very next day she was able to get an appointment with Dr. Stephen Britt of Surgical Associates of Marshall County. He removed the quarter-sized tumor the following Friday. Hall had to wait a week to find out what it was for sure.

“You worry about things initially,” she said. “I just prayed and gave it to the Lord. He wasn’t surprised at all. I just had peace.”

At age 34 at the time, Hall had never had a mammogram – her doctor had told her to start having an annual scan after her 35th birthday. Once the results came back positive for Triple Negative breast cancer, she immediately got her first mammogram along with a CT scan, an ultrasound and an echocardiogram of her heart. She got a port on Monday and started the first of five months of chemotherapy the following Wednesday.

Her doctor advised her to keep things normal at home as much as possible. Hall took that to heart and shared everything along the way with her boys Jed, 12, and Jaxon, 8.

“The kids saw their mom be strong,” she said. “We didn’t get angry with God or question God. They saw me not change. I wasn’t going to let this get the best of me. They could see it was not the end of the world.”

Hall never went to a treatment without her entourage. Chris, her husband of 17 years and high school sweetheart, was by her side. Her sister, Lexie Boman of Albertville, also a nurse for Alacare, was there, along with their dad, Danny White. When Hall’s hair started falling out, she let her husband and boys buzz it all off. Her dad shaved his head in support. The ordeal brought the whole family closer, she said.

Hall elected to follow chemotherapy with six weeks of radiation, and she had a double mastectomy as a precaution.

“I wanted to not leave anything on the table to chance it coming back,” she said.

As a nurse, Hall was familiar with the Marshall Cancer Care Center and chose to go there for treatment. She never looked back.

“It’s a great facility,” Hall said. “I just clicked with Dr. (Jonathan) Storey. He’s the same age as my husband and he has kids the same age as mine. I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. They’ve just embraced me like family. I really felt like they truly cared. I was not just a number to them. It’s just been a great experience.”

Hall’s journey also had a positive effect on her job. As director of the Alacare office in Rainsville, Hall believes she can better relate to her patients’ suffering now that she knows what it’s like.

“I now have a different perspective,” she said. “All I had was book knowledge. Now, I also have a personal perspective. I get it. I now have this in my toolbox. I really have walked there.”

Ever the optimist, Hall counts the many blessings she got while being sick. One is that she only missed a few days of work. She is determined to move forward and to be a blessing to others.

“It was six months out of my life,” she said, beaming. “I felt good the whole time.”

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