October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About one in eight women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point. The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.
-American Cancer Society
Everyday Angels would like to introduce you to Heather Miller, wife, mom and cancer survivor. Heather, 41, is the wife of Holly Springs Mayor Steve Miller, and the proud mom of Stephanie, 13, and JT, 10. Heather is battling her fourth recurrence of cancer, Stage 4 Breast Cancer, HER2 positive, an aggressive form that affects one in five with a breast cancer diagnosis.
Heather was born in 1975 to a military family in South Carolina. At age 14, a knot was discovered on her neck, which turned out to be Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. Throughout her entire seventh-grade year, Heather underwent chemotherapy treatments every other week. The following year, recognizing a familiar feeling, she told her mother that she felt as though she had cancer again. She was correct. A tumor was found in her left chest, and her eighth-grade year consisted of radiation treatment every day for six months.
Fast-forward 24 years later: Heather lives in Holly Springs and is married to the love of her life and blessed with two beautiful children. Her nightmare recurred when she discovered a marble-size lump above her chest while applying lotion. Immediately, she scheduled a mammogram, which led to a sonogram and biopsy. Her worst fears were confirmed when she learned she had breast cancer.
“This time, it is different. I have kids and a husband who need me,” Heather said. “On Jan. 26, 2015, a double mastectomy was performed, followed by Taxol Herceptin chemotherapy. I had made it through seven of the 12 cycles of chemotherapy before going into congestive heart failure. The drugs that were supposed to kill my cancer cells were damaging my heart, so they halted treatment.”
On July 14, 2017, Heather’s cancer returned again and she is now in the midst of her fourth fight. “I do everything in my power to win this battle once and for all. I control my diet with juicing, natural remedies and exercise, while doctors creatively experiment with the latest medical advancement drugs. Because of my treatments as a child, I have reached my lifetime limit of radiation therapy, so doctors must be creative. There are also lots of prayers!”
Heather and Steve will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary this November. “He is my best friend, defender and biggest cheerleader,” she said. Steve and Heather have given so much of themselves to their family and community. Steve, a Marine veteran, serves on the Honor Transport, respectfully honoring fellow veterans and their families at funerals. They serve as scout leaders for Pack 8880 and they began the All Pro Dad chapter, a program that promotes involvement of fathers in schools, at Indian Knoll Elementary.
“I urge all women to remain vigilant and on top of their breast cancer screenings. If you feel like something may be wrong, trust your gut and get checked out immediately,” Heather said. “I would like to thank my beloved family, amazing team of doctors, especially Georgia Thompson of Piedmont for accelerating my diagnosis, our scout family, Woodstock City small group, friends who have organized fundraising events in my honor, neighbors and strangers. I have had more than my fair share of cancer scares. Through it all, my faith, family and friends have been my strength. As I face my greatest challenge, I will praise Him.”
Everyday Angels asks for your prayers for Heather and her family in the months ahead. We will accept donations in support of Heather’s on-going treatments and care.