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Cancer Journey Changes Woman's Outlook on Life

Tameri Miller’s cancer journey had an unlikely beginning.

When Miller began having abdominal pain, she made an appointment with her family medicine physician, who discovered an ovarian cyst. This finding prompted her to put Miller in contact with a Utica Park Clinic OB/Gyn for more specialized testing.

During an ultrasound of the abdomen and pelvis, a Hillcrest South ultrasound technologist caught a glimpse of her lung and noticed something peculiar on it. He brought the finding to the attention of the radiologist who informed Miller’s OB/Gyn.

Her doctor instantly took action and ordered a lung biopsy. Despite being an OB/Gyn, she diagnosed Miller with lung cancer. 

Two years prior to her diagnosis, Miller’s sister passed away from the same disease.

“I truthfully wasn’t too surprised to hear the news,” she said. “Because of my family history, I was kind of expecting it, but my heart still sunk.”

Miller was then referred to Utica Park Clinic medical oncologist, Dr. Laura Kyle Brett, who ordered a PET scan. The test identified two cancerous lesions on Miller’s brain and this information revealed stage III lung cancer. Miller would need cardiothoracic (heart and lung) surgery. She was devastated, but determined to fight.

Dr. Brett suggested treating her brain with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) – a form of radiation therapy, followed by six months of chemotherapy and then lung surgery. Miller had successful SRS performed by Dr. Diane Heaton to treat the two lesions found on the PET scan. That was later followed by successful lung surgery performed by Oklahoma Heart Institute’s Dr. Michael Phillips.

 “Dr. Brett created specialized treatment and gave me the option of a plan that may simply keep the cancer at bay, or a plan that was very aggressive and might speed up the healing process,” she said. Although the former plan would be less invasive, “I knew right away if I was going to fight this, I want to get in there and go after it. I knew the aggressive plan was right for me.”

Fast forward to now, Miller is approaching four years in remission. She is eternally grateful for her team of Hillcrest providers. “He saved my life,” she said, speaking of the ultrasound technologist who first noticed the abnormality on her lung.

“I would refer my Hillcrest doctors to anyone,” she said. “Dr. Brett truly listens to me. Whatever she could do to make me more comfortable, she would. She is awesome!”

Miller’s cancer journey has changed her outlook on life. She encourages others to spend time with their loved ones and participate in the things they enjoy.

“If you want to do something, go out and do it,” she said. “You never know what tomorrow may bring!”

 

In many instances, early stages of lung cancer display no symptoms. For information about a lung cancer screening, contact The Lung Center at Hillcrest at 918-579-LUNG (5864) or go to LungExam.com.