Runner and Breast Cancer Survivor
"I appreciated that Dr. Ludwig called me himself as soon as the results were in. I had my surgery less than 30 days after discovering the lump.”
Runner Got a Fast Start on Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
Ethel Miller found two cancerous lumps in her left breast the last week of July.
“I probably do one self exam a year,” said the 45-year-old Linwood woman. “That day, I just woke up and said, you know, I should do one. So I did.”
Miller said she cried, and then called Gynecologist Cheryl L. Dwyer, D.O., who saw her the next day at the Center for Women’s Health at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland. It was the beginning of what she calls one of her life’s journeys.
“There is such a high chance of survival. It’s not the end of the world,” she said. “I’m going to see my young daughter grow up. I’m going to be a grandmother.”
The team of doctors and breast health nurses at the center got Miller’s journey off to a fast start, which seemed especially right for an avid exerciser.
“At the center, they located the lumps, and thirty minutes later I was having a mammogram,” Miller recalled. An ultrasound the next day was followed by a consultation with Breast Surgeon Ellsworth E. Ludwig, M.D. Soon after that, an MRI found a third lump, and the next step was an ultrasound-guided needle biopsy.
“Dr. Ludwig offered to do the biopsy that week, but I told him I had been training six months for the Warrior Dash, and he agreed to put it off a week,” Miller said. She completed the race over obstacles, including water and mud, a junkyard and a small ropes course. Less than two weeks after surgery, she was back on the road, if a bit slower, for a 5K in Saginaw.
“When the biopsy was done, I appreciated that Dr. Ludwig called me himself as soon as the results were in. The plan changed from doing a lumpectomy to doing a mastectomy. I had my surgery less than 30 days after discovering the lump.”
The team at the Center for Women’s Health continues to give her the support she needs. “I have met so many great people there. Every last one of them is amazing,” she said.
Miller’s next step is chemotherapy in October, and her plan is to keep exercising. “If I’m tired, I just have to walk slower. Every morning, I still get up and walk my daughter down the road to the bus stop in the dark because she needs me. That reason alone is enough to keep going.”
Those interested in learning more about MidMichigan’s cancer services may visit www.midmichigan.org/cancer.