Her Story: Paula Palmer

Motivating Stories from Local Women

Photos taken on location at Market South

Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever.

These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for four truly motivating stories by the women who experienced them firsthand.

Paula Palmer sitting at table at market south

I have discovered that being positive regardless of what life throws my way is the only way to be.”

When I turned 50, I thought I had missed a bullet with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). The disease ran in my family, and only a couple of relatives on my father’s side of the family did not have the terrible disease. But I was wrong. I was diagnosed with PKD, but within four years of my diagnosis, I received a kidney that was so close to a perfect match, it could have come from a twin.

Seven years after my kidney disease diagnosis, I was diagnosed once again – but this time with stage 4 breast cancer. I took charge of my treatment with some reluctance from my doctors. I stood my ground and have been with a wonderful doctor who empowers and listens to me.

Although this has been a wild ride, striving to maintain a positive attitude has really made all the difference. Surviving hereditary kidney disease and stage 4 breast cancer (with a hip replacement thrown in) has been eye-opening in a good way. With my busy work schedule, I always thought I didn’t have time to be sick, but life does not always accommodate us in our time frame. I have discovered that being positive regardless of what life throws my way is the only way to be.

There are always others that have greater struggles than our own, and you never know how your choices in healing can affect others with the same issues. I have found that coaching others to be strong and take control of their choice in treatments has made me a better person and hopefully helped others going through the challenges of cancer and kidney disease.  

I have also discovered that family and the support of co-workers is everything, and without them being there for you, the journey can be tough. Always remember that you never know who might be listening, and your words have the power to make a difference in someone else’s life regardless of what their struggles are.

Paula Palmer, Chattanooga

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