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Sharron Hall:  From Fear to Reassurance

Hall HSWhen breast cancer survivor Sharron Hall began to lose her hair during her chemotherapy treatments, it wasn’t vanity that was the source of her pain.

The 41-year-old Dayton woman never fussed over her appearance.  Before her diagnosis in 2010, she’d never even worn make-up.

“When my hair started falling out, it reminded me of why it was coming out.  It was coming out because of the chemo and I was having the chemo because of the cancer,” said Hall.  “Finally, I just shaved it all off so I wouldn’t have to watch it fall out anymore.”

Hall’s fight with cancer began when she discovered a lump in her breast in April 2010.  She was reluctant to seek care because she hadn’t any medical insurance. 

“Then somebody told me there was a clinic that took people without insurance, so I made an appointment,” said Hall.

That check-up led Hall to Miami Valley Hospital for a biopsy the day after her 40th birthday, July 2, 2010.

“When the doctor said ‘cancer,’ that’s the last thing I heard.  She was talking, but I wasn’t hearing anything.  It’s like I was in a zone,” said Hall.

“I thought about my grandmother and my mother who died of cancer.  I was thinking I was going to die.  I was thinking of my kids, how I was going to tell them and how they could live without me.”

Hall was scheduled for a mastectomy the next week.  The unfamiliar journey ahead frightened her.

“I didn’t know anything about cancer, I didn’t know what was going to happen,”  she said.

Then she attended a class suggested by the staff at Miami Valley Hospital’s Breast Center.  The experience gave Hall some much-needed reassurance.

“I learned what cancer was, what to expect, what my emotions would be.  I left knowing more about cancer, knowing that I could survive.”

Throughout treatment, Hall said the MVH staff encouraged and comforted her.

“They were a really big part of overcoming this.  They made me feel good, they could answer questions that my friends and family couldn’t,” she said.  “I looked forward to chemo because of the nurses, I looked forward to seeing them.  I began to feel better by being around them.”

The staff referred her to Look Good, Feel Good, where Hall learned to wear a wig and apply make-up.

“I felt better doing things like that, things I’d never done before,” she said.  “I had been feeling ugly and self-conscious about what the cancer was doing to me.”

By the middle of 2011, Hall had finished her treatment.  A self-described introvert, Hall came out her shell during treatment, something she’d never quite done before.  The experience left her with a desire to help others and to find out what else she could accomplish.

“I thought if I could overcome this disease, I could do other things I never thought I could do.”