Cancer survivor wouldn't change her life experiences

3 years 6 months 2 days ago Sunday, June 05 2016 Jun 5, 2016 Sunday, June 05, 2016 6:56:00 PM CDT June 05, 2016 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 - Singing pine trees and dancing blue penguins are now lighting up the night throughout Binder Park in... More >>
4 hours ago Sunday, December 08 2019 Dec 8, 2019 Sunday, December 08, 2019 8:00:00 AM CST December 08, 2019 in News
AUXVASSE - A suspect has been taken into custody in Auxvasse on Saturday in relation to a shots fired incident... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 9:19:00 PM CST December 07, 2019 in News
FULTON - The 71st annual Christmas parade took over the streets of Fulton on Saturday afternoon. This year's theme... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 3:40:00 PM CST December 07, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Road signs honoring five Boone County veterans killed in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan were revealed Saturday. ... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 3:36:00 PM CST December 07, 2019 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY — One person was transported to the hospital Friday night after being ejected from their vehicle. The... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 3:17:00 PM CST December 07, 2019 in News
TIPTON — A shooting suspect is in the hospital after authorities shot him five times, according to a news release... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 8:50:00 AM CST December 07, 2019 in News
FULTON - Police are investigating after shots were fired at a Break Time in Fulton Friday night. According to... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 1:25:00 AM CST December 07, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - MU spokesman Christian Basi, confirmed the man who died after being hit by a car on College Ave... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 9:34:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Central Missouri Humane Society is waiving adoption fees this weekend, just in time for the holiday season.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 6:36:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
MISSOURI - Missouri’s minimum wage rate is set to go up again soon. The state minimum wage will increase... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 5:21:41 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson are inviting families to join them at the Governor's... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 3:50:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
BOONEVILLE - The Cooper County Sheriff's Office is asking travelers to find an alternate route on Highway 41 going to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 3:02:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Former Columbia police chief Ken Burton has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after originally being charged with driving... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 2:45:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
HALLSVILLE - Kari Hallowell, the mother of 17-year-old Hayden Holt, who died in an overnight car crash after being chased... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 2:04:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP)- Two U.S. officials have identified the shooter at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola as a second... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 1:53:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - This weekend, 47 high school basketball teams from five states will go head-to-head in the 2019 Norm Stewart... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 1:24:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- Former MU Quarterback Drew Lock is set to make his second start with the Denver Broncos this Sunday versus... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 12:28:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in Sports
BOONE COUNTY- A 52-year-old male suffered two gunshot wounds Thursday night after getting into a fight with two people at... More >>
2 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 10:53:00 AM CST December 06, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 55°
12pm 48°
1pm 51°
2pm 53°
3pm 55°