BRADFORD - In this - National Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Chris Miller advises other people like herself to get themselves examined.
“I think they overdo mammograms and pap smears, but I also believe you need to get them done for your own good,” said Miller, who was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in site 2 [the right medial breast] in early 2011.
Miller said she was having other health issues at the time of her diagnosis, but said it was still “a slap in the face” when she got the news.
“Within six months, I had three cysts removed and a lumpectomy,” she said. “And, I’m diabetic, so it takes longer to heal. All this at once was devastating to me. I do feel at one point I almost lost my faith in God. I didn’t understand why this was happening to me. It always happens to the other guy, but I am the other guy to some people now. But, this too shall pass as I quote my mother.”
Radiation, she said, began in March 2011. She had 32 radiation treatments in 6 1/2 weeks at Good Samaritan North.
“I had the fast-growing cancer, but, fortunately, because it was within the duct, it had not metastasized,” she said. “It was very small and caught very early. It was Stage Zero and, thus far, I’m cancer-free. But, with my other health issues, it still left me with side effects and I’m still dealing with other problems. The radiation treatments took me down a path. I was fatigued and my immune system is lower.”
Even though she had a lot of stressors, she tries to keep them at a minimum.
She praises the people who were there for her in her time of need.
“I had very good doctors, technicians and nurses,” she said. “They are very busy people.”
She also attributed her recovery to the Miami County YWCA, the Darke County Y and the Cancer Association of Darke County.
“All of them had a part in me keeping my chin up,” she said. “I went through all of the emotions. My personal trainer in the diabetic program at the Miami County Y helped me with attitude and exercise.”
Her husband, parents, son and daughter-in-law, an uncle and friends are all appreciated by Miller.
“They took me to my treatments and there were other offers,” she said. “A lot of love and support…that’s what gets you through.”
Other ways she has found to keep herself entertained and getting healthier is by watching the Ellen DeGeneres Show and listening to Joel Osteen.
“Ellen is funny,” she said. “I love to watch her dance. That helps me through depression. And, Joel, he’s awesome.”
She also likes to keep her mind alert by working on Word-Finds and reading.
Little messages, such as “Success lies in the journey, not in the destination” and “Be Watchful. Stand Firm on Your Faith, Be Courageous and Strong” are seen around her home.
“I think I’ve gained my faith in God back,” said Miller. “My life’s changed. You just live differently. Somebody told me to enjoy the fruits of your labor. It’s time now to stop and smell the roses. I realize the cancer society and United Way are a very big help to people. They rely on money that is raised. It’s a good way to make donations.”
The only child and daughter of Richard and Sue Fourman and granddaughter of Mary Kauffman, all of Greenville, Chris is married to Jim Miller and they live in the Bradford/Gettysburg area. Married June 13, 1981, after having met through Chris’ uncle and aunt, they are the parents of two children, Michelle (Brian) Brown and Mike (Brittney) Miller.
Chris also found solace in her pets, her Shorky “Angel,” and her black cat, “Bo,” during her recovery. Her parents’ dogs, Mandy, Titan and Zeus were also good for her.