Olympian Shannon Miller on beating ovarian cancer
September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
In February 2011 Shannon Miller was diagnosed with germ cell ovarian cancer a rare form that strikes women in their teens and early twenties.
"I mean I guess I always thought ovarian (cancer) was older women. I didn't need to worry about that. But the fact is cancer doesn't really care," she said.
Miller was diagnosed very early and she was ready to fight. The cyst was removed and she got three cycles of chemotherapy. She lost her hair and fought through the sickness and fatigue all with a young son. Then seven months later, Miller was cancer free. She's not shy when she talks about her experience.
"It's something that I talked to my husband about early on when I found out that I had to go through chemotherapy," she said. "It was one of those moments where I thought, you know, there's a reason I'm going through this. I don't feel like, oh God gave me cancer, it's, God gave me an opportunity to help other women. I wanted to be very public about it because I want women to know that cancer doesn't care, and we all have to make our health a priority."
Miller didn't grow up going to the doctor all the time, but now she believes not only in yearly check ups but listening to your body every day of the year.
"I think we have that sixth sense, I think we have that feeling about our own bodies when something's just not right," she told me.
UNCUT: Watch Melanie Lawson's complete interview with Shannon Miller
Since the cancer diagnoses, so much for Miller has gone right -- especially when she announced she was pregnant.
"I was concerned, you know I had my left ovary removed along with the tumor and then with chemotherapy. First you wonder if the right ovary is going to kick in and then you wonder how much damage the chemotherapy did to it and I think for us just having a positive attitude," explained Miller
Miller told me she and her husband were only trying for a month and half when the pregnancy test came back positive.
"I called him screaming on the phone because I had taken the test and then I left it on the counter for like eight hours. I completely forgot about it and when I came back in to throw it away it said 'pregnant," said Miller.
Now with two kids, she still runs Shannon Miller Lifestyle and her foundation and life is hectic.
"Yeah, I wouldn't have it any other way. I have the wonderful opportunity to do all of the things I love," said Miller
But with all the love there's still the memory of cancer but she puts that in her past and not her future.
"I remember just a week ago I went in for my next check-up for the cancer with my oncologist and they took me into the room where they had initially discovered the mass," recalled Miller. "I looked at that chair and I started to cry. It was just one of those moments of fear, but also joy that it was caught, but you kind of relive that every single time you go in for a blood test or for another scan. I have to remember that I just need to live in the moment, and right now things are great and I'm going to just enjoy every minute of everyday."
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