Cancer survivor wouldn't change her life experiences

3 years 8 months 3 weeks 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- State lawmakers are considering multiple bills that would legalize sports betting bills in the State of Missouri. ... More >>
22 minutes ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 8:10:00 PM CST February 26, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - This week state lawmakers are focusing and fighting on bills about the inclusion of the LGTBQ community.... More >>
39 minutes ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 7:53:00 PM CST February 26, 2020 in News
ROCHEPORT - Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to a crash Wednesday morning on the Missouri River Bridge near Rocheport. ... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 6:34:00 PM CST February 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- The city of Columbia and Boone County are partnering up to get everyone counted in the 2020 US Census.... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 4:24:00 PM CST February 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A Boonville woman died after a two car crash on the Missouri River bridge Wednesday morning. Icy... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 3:36:00 PM CST February 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The new location will allow the Boys & Girls Club of Columbia to serve 50 more children at... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 3:16:00 PM CST February 26, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON, D.C (AP) - President Donald Trump is pushing back against criticism that his administration isn't doing enough to meet... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 3:07:00 PM CST February 26, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (CNN) - Missouri deer hunters donated nearly 350,000 pounds of venison to food banks and pantries across the... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 2:02:33 PM CST February 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia woman was arrested for drug possession after being struck on Highway 40 Tuesday night. Joanna... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 1:43:01 PM CST February 26, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican who took over the state’s top post... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 1:11:00 PM CST February 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - As the coronavirus spreads to different parts of the world, one MU student is seeing the changes in... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 11:55:00 AM CST February 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The family of Mengqi Ji, who has been missing since October and is presumed dead, released a statement... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 11:12:23 AM CST February 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Emergency responders have reported numerous crashes, slide-offs and other incidents related to slick roads Wednesday morning. One... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, February 26 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 7:50:00 AM CST February 26, 2020 in News
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Bernie Sanders faced a torrent of attacks Tuesday night during a raucous debate that tested the Democratic... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 8:20:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - One group of former service men and women is making a difference across the state providing help... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 8:10:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
JEFFERSON CITY - New technology installed by Ameren could provide more responsive service if severe weather comes to Jefferson City.... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 6:45:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia neighborhood watch is still relevant despite social media and sites like Nextdoor. Neighborhood watch programs encourage... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 5:51:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT - The American Cancer Society's annual "Stick a Fork in Cancer" campaign welcomes a new restaurant. BluTaco joins... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, February 25 2020 Feb 25, 2020 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 5:34:00 PM CST February 25, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 32°
9pm 32°
10pm 30°
11pm 29°
12am 27°