BIRMINGHAM Ala. (WIAT) — Dr. Jenn Hale, a breast cancer survivor, said her life transformed like never before when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019.

Reflecting back on her journey, Dr. Hale said not only has her outlook changed in life, but the way she treats her patients. She received her diagnosis just 6 days before Christmas in 2019 and quickly began treatments shortly after.

“I think as a physician you are giving diagnoses often to people and you are kind of grieving for them, but when it hits home and it’s you everything you know goes out the window,” Dr. Jenn Hale, UAB Hospitalist, said.

Fortunately, doctors caught her cancer at an early stage. Hale’s treatment included going through a bilateral mastectomy and she had five surgeries in a span of 8 months.

“I spent about an hour and a half to 2 hours a day in hyperbaric oxygen here at UAB. They have fantastic amazing medicine. The people were incredible and they remain some of my friends to this day,” Dr. Hale said.

While facing challenges during her treatment, Dr. Hale found a hobby training for triathlons that helped keep her going not only for herself, but her daughters Allie and Emmie.

 “For me it was a lifeline. My coach connected me with several other women in my circumstance who had breast cancer and had breast cancer treatment some of them more aggressive than mine and they really guided me through,” Hale said.

This journey changed not only Dr. Hale’s perspective on life, but the way she interacts with her patients.

“But, I feel going through that helped me practice differently as a physician as well. There are things that I do now that I didn’t do before that I feel helps patients a little bit better that are in my shoes,” Dr. Hale said.

Dr. Hale encourages everyone both male and female to get mammograms each year starting at the age of 35 because early detection is key.