Utah Valley man responds to cancer: 'I choose to live'

“I Choose to Live” is the message one local man is spreading to others through his writing and his living as he fights cancer.

Jeremy Hall of Pleasant Grove was diagnosed with cancer in December 2016. Specifically, he has a gastrointestinal stromal tumor or GIST, a rare form of sarcoma.

Before being diagnosed, Hall had spent the previous few months becoming healthier, changing his lifestyle with more exercise and better nutrition. He realized that he was doing this because he was choosing to live – choosing to live a better life.

When he found out that he had cancer, his life choice did not change. He is still determined to choose to live. Hall writes about his experiences with treatment, doctor visits, tests, fears, questions, hopefulness and everything else that comes with fighting cancer on a blog and on social media. But, more importantly, he writes about everything he is doing in order to choose to live.

“Rather than curl up in a ball and wallow, I’ve instead

done my best to keep up my current routines,” he wrote in a post just after being diagnosed. “My pathway has taken a new direction I would have never chosen, but the desire and effort remains the same.”

“It was a huge paradigm shift to go from the health transformation of getting back in shape and healthy to realizing I was now in a fight for my life in a much more serious way,” Hall said. “Of course, immediately I wanted to believe that by working hard, I could ‘fix’ the newly–found diagnosis, but already I also knew this was more about living the life I had left to its fullest.”

Hall said he had no idea how much the cancer would shorten his life or alter his quality of life, but he just knew he wanted to make the most of it.

“I went back to that phrase of we don’t choose our circumstances or what happens to us, but we choose how we react to them,” he said. “It’s easy to say something like that when things are good or even when they are not all that bad. When things are really tough, it becomes a lot harder. And yet even more important to realize that we still have choice in every situation.”

Hall said he wanted to put on a brave face both on the surface and internally, for himself, for his family and for those around him. He wants his family to see him prioritize and put what is most important first in his life. “That’s all a big part of the ‘I Choose to Live’ mantra,” he said.

Even with the hard work — the exercise, the healthy diet, the treatments and the positive attitude, Hall, of course, gets discouraged at times. “After a bit of a short pity party, I am determined to pick myself back up and keep going,” he said.

Writing about his journey is one thing that helps Hall with his fight, but he is also helping others.

“It’s been really interesting and amazing, the number of people that have contacted me privately or talked to me in person about how my choice to be public and write about my experience has helped them. Many have said they are far too private to share their own struggles or illnesses, but they find comfort and shared motivation in reading what I write and the comments from others,” he said.

Many readers comment that his writings help them with their own struggles, even if those struggles are not cancer or even health-related.

Recently, Hall wrote about an upcoming major surgery and he wrote about being scared, of the unknown, but he continues to “Choose to Live.”

“I’m sure some have tired of this phrase, but it’s my mantra. It’s what I repeat to myself in the lowest moments of self-pity and my moments of peace and enjoyment,” he wrote. “I share all of this this with one hope; life is precious — and to anyone out there struggling, it is never too late to change to enjoy life better. My cry is to everyone. There is no tomorrow, no next week or when it’s more convenient after a holiday to make life changes.”

To read more, check out Hall’s blog at https://ichoosetolivelife.blogspot.com.