Cancer survivor wouldn't change her life experiences

9 months 2 weeks 2 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
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A Missouri woman has been ordered to spend a quarter century in Illinois prison for killing... More >>
8 minutes ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 5:13:19 PM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A trial is underway in suburban St. Louis in the case of a mother accused of poisoning... More >>
11 minutes ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 5:10:12 PM CDT in News
OWENSVILLE (AP) — Authorities in east-central Missouri's Gasconade County say they're investigating as a homicide the death of a person... More >>
13 minutes ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 5:08:19 PM CDT in News
MEXICO - A middle school student was turned over to the Missouri Division of Youth Services Wednesday after Mexico Public... More >>
23 minutes ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 4:58:13 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation held a public hearing in Columbia Wednesday to hear feedback on ways to improve services... More >>
1 hour ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 3:39:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – The Secretary of State’s office has implemented an initiative called “ Show It 2 Vote, ” to educate... More >>
2 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 3:10:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Southeastern Conference and Mizzou athletics are mimicking the National Football League and its initiative to keep game... More >>
2 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 2:43:00 PM CDT in Sports
COLUMBIA - The president of the East Campus Majority Housing Association said Wednesday his group "lost" Monday night with the... More >>
3 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 2:17:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police are now investigating a Tuesday night shooting as a homicide. Shamya Nichole Brimmage died Wednesday from... More >>
3 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 1:46:00 PM CDT in News
GLASGOW – The coroner’s inquest for Kenny Suttner brought questions about the potential liability for employers and schools in... More >>
4 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 1:20:38 PM CDT in Target 8
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The husband of a woman whose body was found near a St. Louis freeway two days... More >>
4 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 12:27:18 PM CDT in News
ST. GEORGE (AP) — Authorities say two people have been killed after a sport utility vehicle's driver who was headed... More >>
6 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 11:01:06 AM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - One woman is dead after she was shot Tuesday night in Columbia. Shamya Brimmage, 25, died at... More >>
6 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 10:41:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Police made two additional arrests connected with Sunday morning's disturbance at the Eagle Stop on I-70. Columbia... More >>
7 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 10:16:00 AM CDT in News
MAYSVILLE (AP) — A suspended northwest Missouri teacher has been charged with sexual misconduct with 10 teenage students. Thirty-nine-year-old... More >>
8 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 8:40:00 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities say a welder accidentally started a fire that spread from a suburban Kansas City apartment... More >>
10 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 7:09:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Cole County Clerk's office plans to test its voting machines on Wednesday morning in preparation for... More >>
14 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 2:56:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police investigated an armed robbery at a hotel Tuesday night. Bryana Larimer, a public information officer... More >>
17 hours ago March 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 Wednesday, March 22 2017 Wednesday, March 22, 2017 12:04:00 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 54°
6pm 52°
7pm 50°
8pm 48°
9pm 47°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
6:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 6
5:00p
American Dad!
5:30p
American Dad!
6:00p
Family Guy

Tonight's Schedule

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