Cancer survivor wouldn't change her life experiences

11 months 2 weeks 3 days ago June 05, 2016 Jun 5, 2016 Sunday, June 05 2016 Sunday, June 05, 2016 6:56:00 PM CDT in News
By: Laurel Bloom, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Samantha Miller is marking National Cancer Survivors Day Sunday with this thought: Cancer made her who she is.

“If someone gave me the option to go back and redo my childhood without having cancer three times, I absolutely wouldn’t change it, because going through that has made me who I am. It’s such a big part of me. I feel like I’m able to look at life a little differently,” Miller said.

When she was three years old, she fell and hit her tailbone. Like many parents of rambunctious toddlers, Miller’s mom and dad kept an eye on the injury, but didn’t worry too much about it. They chalked it up to a little bruise.

A few days later, Miller was still in pain so her parents took her to the doctor. The doctor said she had probably just bruised her tailbone and it would heal in a week or so. Her parents took her home and had her rest.

When Miller’s uncle, who was a doctor, came to visit two weeks later, she was still in pain. He took a look at her tailbone and concluded that something wasn’t right. She had a bump that shouldn’t have been there. The next morning her uncle took her to the hospital and demanded an MRI. On that MRI, the doctors saw something, but they didn’t know what it was.

The next day, Miller was transferred to a hospital in Texas where they ran more tests. The doctors at that hospital diagnosed her with a cancerous tumor called clear cell carcinoma. It was a very rare cancer that could only be treated by removing the tumor.

“After all of that happened, my parents knew that they wanted to get me in the best place they could possibly get me. My mom had always heard of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis,” Miller said.

She had the surgery done and the cancer seemed to go away.

Miller was in remission for three years.

When she went back for her yearly check up, the doctors saw that her tumor had come back.

“This time when the doctors at St. Jude went in to remove the tumor they said, 'They misdiagnosed you. That’s not the cancer that you had.' They told me I had something called chordoma,” Miller said. 

This cancer was also very rare, but not as rare as clear cell carcinoma. Chordoma had also only been treated with surgery in the past, but the doctors at St. Jude decided to try everything they could to treat Miller. They decided to blast it with radiation to try to shrink it and then remove it.

Two years later, it started coming back again so they tried a different technique by putting Miller on chemotherapy. The doctors prescribed her Adriamycin/Doxorubicin, a type of chemotherapy nicknamed the “Red Devil.” She went through a round of that, and it worked. Chemotherapy had never worked on this cancer before, but since it worked on Miller it is now the preferred method to treat chordoma in children.

Miller has been cancer free for almost 12 years. (You can hear more from her story on our Facebook page.)

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City police were investigating a Tuesday evening shots fired incident that left a man with an... More >>
2 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 11:10:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - After President Trump's executive order that put a temporary hold on people from certain countries entering the United... More >>
3 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 9:52:00 PM CDT in Target 8
ST. CHARLES - The second day of a trial in the death of Missouri State Trooper James Bava centered around... More >>
3 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 9:36:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri System Board of Curators voted Tuesday afternoon to increase tuition at all four UM... More >>
5 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 7:33:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Lincoln University was expected to announce its interim president on Thursday. The university's board of curators... More >>
6 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 6:37:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - As lawmakers met in special session Tuesday, Gov. Eric Greitens spoke at a rally of Missourians wanting... More >>
6 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 6:18:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Family and friends of Cameron Scott Caruthers spoke to KOMU 8 News over the telephone Tuesday afternoon. ... More >>
7 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 5:28:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools sent home a letter to parents Tuesday addressing rumors about possible threats. CPS Superintendent... More >>
8 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 4:56:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A restaurant was closed Tuesday after crews found high levels of natural gas. Columbia fire crews responded... More >>
8 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 4:38:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Dashcam video shows that a University of Missouri-Kansas City student seemed confused when she was stopped... More >>
9 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 4:01:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The man shot Monday on Dawn Ridge Road has died and robbery does not appear to be a... More >>
9 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 3:25:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia woman has pleaded guilty to murder and armed criminal action in the death of a man... More >>
10 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 3:03:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Central Missouri Humane Society has brought in over 200 animals so far this year and is looking... More >>
11 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 2:10:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor Leo Morton plans to retire at the end of the next... More >>
12 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 1:08:28 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Alexander Cartwright, a provost at State University of New York, will be named the next chancellor at Mizzou,... More >>
12 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 12:44:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri House members are set to begin considering legislation as part of a special session called... More >>
13 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 11:41:31 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — The University of Missouri System is set to hire the provost and executive vice chancellor at the... More >>
13 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 11:41:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A scam targeting veterans has cost victims about $23 million in less than two years, according to a... More >>
14 hours ago May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017 Tuesday, May 23 2017 Tuesday, May 23, 2017 11:10:00 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 54°
2am 52°
3am 51°
4am 50°
5am 49°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

12:37a
Last Call with Carson Daly
1:07a
The Insider
1:37a
Paid Program
1:00a
Cheaters
1:30a
Seinfeld
2:00a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
8:00p
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
7:00p
Arrow
8:00p
The 100
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld