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Donna Miller of Fenton: lung cancer survivor & ambassador of hope
Donna Miller was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in the summer of 2013. The 62-year-old lives in Fenton. By chance, she learned about a new, innovative treatment option at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute (HFCI) at Henry Ford Hospital.
The Henry Ford Department of Radiation Oncology was the first in North American to acquire the Edge, which delivers large doses of radiation safely with pinpoint accuracy to destroy cancer cells while protecting normal surrounding tissue. This is a noninvasive cancer procedure that can be performed anywhere in the body.
Donna’s lung tumors had metastasized (spread) from a previous cancer battle in 2006. Her radiation oncologist at Henry Ford Hospital used the Edge to treat two growing lung lesions. A follow-up scan showed the lung lesions have had an excellent response to treatment, and Donna is feeling well.
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Donna’s message of lung cancer survival
When I first learned in 2006 that I had a cancerous tumor in my neck, I was told by the doctor that I probably had six months to live. I had radiation for nine and half weeks and was asked to come back in for a PET scan. I received a phone call the day after my scan, and the doctor said. “It’s gone.” What amazing news!
I’ve had routine PET scans since then and on July 17, 2013, I was told that the cancer had left my neck and gone into my lungs. I went to two different cancer centers in Michigan and nobody would even look me in the eye. I was told that there were absolutely no treatment options available to me at both places. I begged them for anything experimental, and was flat out told “no.” You don’t know how frantic you feel. You think, "There has to be an answer out there.'
I was sitting at home one day and I heard the word “cancer” on the TV and, naturally, it immediately caught my attention. It was Dr. Movsas, explaining the Edge. I was almost flying around the living room, looking for a pen to write down his name. I found a number, and the woman who answered took down all my information. I thought, here we go again. About a half -hour went by and I saw Henry Ford on my caller ID. I figured it was the receptionist looking for more information. But it was Dr. Movsas! I thought, "Here’s the movie star himself calling me!" And after talking with him, I thought, "He is the answer."
Dr. Movsas was so informative and so kind. He is the best doctor that I have ever met. Whatever I asked him, he didn’t think it was too much. I am a living person, not already gone, and he gets that. I remember with another doctor I talked to his back the entire time. Dr. Movsas looked straight into my eyes and explained everything -- we are so desperate for that knowledge -- and then began my treatment. I was treated with the Edge (only four treatment sessions!). Two months had gone by when I came back in. He showed me what the tumors had looked like before and what they look like now. I could barely see where they were! Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!
Life is way too precious. Dr. Movsas and Henry Ford give people faith and hope. I feel as if part of the reason I am still here is to share my story and give hope to others. My message is simple: If you have been diagnosed with cancer, then you need to get the "Edge on Life" at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit!