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Meet Kelley Payne

Business woman, breast cancer warrior

Kelley Payne is a busy woman.

She is an operations manager at Walmart Distribution Center in Cullman, a board member for Restoring Women Outreach and a business owner. She and her husband, Nick, own Alabama Outdoor Lighting.

“My husband and I install landscape lighting and professional custom Christmas lights," she said. "Celebrating the birth of Christ and opening our home to our family, friends and clients for a special Christmas lighting experience is especially rewarding.”

Kelley Payne is also a warrior.

She has been diagnosed with Stage 2, Grade 3 invasive lobular carcinoma.

“My last 28 years at Walmart have taught me that the only thing truly constant is change and success is achieved through adaptation with the willingness to be open minded, but in life, there are obstacles like a cancer diagnosis that you never prepare yourself to expect. My routine mammogram was in March 2023,” she said. “The nurse came to my room after the mammogram and stated, ‘We need to take a few more pictures.’ Instantly, I knew. I felt a pure calmness come over me, and I knew that I would be just fine. Whatever is God’s plan, I trust in it completely.”

Payne said her first thoughts went instantly to her husband, son and family.

“I have put all aspects of my life into perspective and have not taken any moments for granted,” she shared. “Always believing that I was unstoppable, accepting the thought that I have cancer has been challenging.”

Kelley Payne has advice for other women.

“I would love for everyone to know there is an option to try to save their hair,” she told me. “Heather Wilson and Jennifer Brown recommended that I try to save my hair because they knew that losing it was one of my biggest fears. While we may lose so many things during cancer, we may have the ability to try to save our hair. I have been Paxman cold capping with the help of my mother, who ensures the cap is on straight and tight before each chemotherapy treatment.”

In fact, Payne said, the photo used in this article was taken during her ninth round (out of 13) of chemotherapy.

“According to my dosage of chemotherapy, my hair should have all fallen out by July 1,” she said. 

I asked her if there was anything else she’d like to share.

“I want to publicly show my appreciation to the ones who answered all of my questions and taught me what to expect. With the loving advice from survivors such as Monica Roberts, Jennifer Brown and Judy Grissom, I have been able to better understand my diagnosis and how to navigate expectations. Having others share their experiences prepares you for your journey ahead.”

According to the Cleveland Clinic

Lobular breast cancer (also called invasive lobular carcinoma, or ILC) is breast cancer that starts in the milk-producing gland, or lobules, of your breast and has spread into surrounding breast tissue. It accounts for about 10% to 15% of all breast cancers and is the second most common type of breast cancer. Left untreated, lobular breast cancer spreads to nearby lymph nodes, and then to other areas of your body.

It may cause the following symptoms:

  • Hard or thickened area inside of your breast or underarm
  • Your nipple is inverted, meaning it points into your breast instead of pointing out
  • Dimpling, dent or puckering skin on a part of your breast
  • Changes in breast size or shape
  • A feeling of warmth or redness
  • Nipple discharge
  • An area of swelling or fullness in your breast
  • A lump near your armpit
  • Breast pain

"Instantly, I knew. I felt a pure calmness come over me, and I knew that I would be just fine. Whatever is God’s plan, I trust in it completely.”

  • Kelley Payne said her first thoughts went instantly to her husband, son and family.

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