A Personal Note From Shannon
Author: Shannon Miller
February 28, 2011
For the past several weeks I have been dealing with a health issue that arose rather suddenly during the holidays.
In mid-January I had surgery to remove a baseball-sized “germ cell malignancy” that my physician discovered during a routine exam. Surgery was successful and I have recovered with little break in my normal routine.
While there is no sign of cancer and the tumor was completely removed, the suggested treatment for my specific issue is three cycles of preventative chemotherapy. This treatment provides the best chance to eliminate the need to deal with this issue again, and I have decided to begin chemotherapy March 7th.
I am working hard to prepare my body, mind and soul for this challenge and remain thankful for such a positive prognosis. I am grateful to the wonderful physicians and nurses at St. Vincent’s HealthCare, North Florida OB/GYN and Southeast Gynecologic Oncology Associates. They have helped me feel comfortable every step of the way and provided the best of care. There is no substitute for their kindness and compassion.
As an advocate for women’s health and wellness, I feel it is important for me to let others know what I am going through and how early detection has saved my life. I urge all women to continue to get their annual exam. Make your health a priority. Do not delay, do not reschedule. Early detection saves lives.
Many wonderful people have already shared their stories with me and have given me the strength to face these next few months with courage, dignity and a sense of humor. Your continued thoughts and prayers are important to me. While I may be a bit slower (and even have a new hairstyle), I look forward to traveling to my brother’s wedding in Oklahoma this June.
With the amazing support, incredible hard work and true dedication of the Shannon Miller Lifestyle team, we plan to move full steam ahead with all of our initiatives and programs, including the SML Radio Show, Children’s Fun Run & Women’s 5K, SM Walk-Fit Program and the SM Foundation Running Clubs. God willing, I plan to participate in all upcoming events and obligations. If there is one thing I know from my gymnastics career, it’s that I don’t enjoy sitting on the sidelines.
This is certainly the greatest obstacle I have ever encountered. I am grateful for the love and support of my husband John, son Rocco, my family and friends, and the many of you who encourage me every day. I am up for the challenge and confident about the outcome.
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.
Updates will be available here at shannonmillerlifestyle.com.
Shannon will be openly discussing the importance of regular health screenings and early detection with her physician, Dr. Stephen Buckley on Sunday, February 27 from 9-10am on Jacksonville’s AM 690 and 106.5 FM Newstalk Radio WOKV. You are welcome to call-in live with your questions to (904) 340-0690.
Leave a Reply
10 Responses to “ A Personal Note From Shannon ”
Shannon, All the best in your recovery!
Please BELIEVE all this will be over soon with all your heart! IMAGINE yourself healthy and happy and your thoughts will become things!!
Best Wishes, from Australia
Ann Drury Says:
Thank you for turning this around into a positive opportunity to share your experiences in order for others to learn. I applaude your courage and wish you continued succcess!
Shannon Miller’s Surgery, Personal Message « The Bluffington Gym Post Says:
Wishing Shannon a speedy recovery, we posted Shannon’s Personal Note on our website:
February 26, 2011 Olympic gold Medalist Shannon Miller posted the following personal note on her website addressing the surgery she had last month to remove a germ cell malignancy on an ovary and the nine […]
Hi Shannon, Stay strong, Stay positive & God Bless. So glad to hear that it was caught early. I’ve seen first hand the effects of chemotherapy so stay positive. You will come through this just fine.
Flipping Out » Blog Archive » A Different Kind of Challenge Says:
[…] There are times when we forget that Olympians are not gods. They are not invisable. They are not robots. They are people. They are people with struggles and tribulations just like everyone else. […]
I’m sure that you don’t remember me since we only saw each other once, in Santa Barbara in the nineties. I felt that in the current circumstances that it might be best to join the well-wishers here.
Chemotherapy can be an unpleasant experience. Maybe you could use some supportive words on the other aspects of the experience.
I know that you are strong and can face this with the support of your loved ones, but that you are also vulnerable and experience suffering, and that this situation will most likely cause some additional stress due to side effects of the chemotherapy. My hope and intent in writing is that you will not experience more suffering than may be necessitated by the chemotherapy itself, and that you may in fact benefit in some way from the ordeal.
You know that you are in a better position than many others who have faced this sort of situation before, between early detection and the likelihood of sufficient and expert medical care. And certainly you are aware that we all face at least the sufferings of old age, sickness, and death. So perhaps you can take some comfort in the days ahead knowing not only that the days of chemotherapy are numbered, but that this suffering is part of the condition shared by all others. Also, you may notice that that new suffering is quite similar to suffering that has gone before, but reset in a new context, with expected duration, and with a trajectory related to, in this case, drug administration rather than, for example, a bout of the flu or, if the suffering arises from something like temporary changes in appearance, unpleasant emotions that may have arisen regarding appearance and self-image at another time in your life. You know that you have tolerated episodes like this previously, with minor alteration, and this can give you confidence that you will handle this well, and provide comfort in the midst of stress.
In such circumstances, we are reminded strongly of the depth of our dependence on the compassion of others, and thus of the value of compassion itself. Many people who have undergone great stresses from medical conditions and other threats have come away with benefits to their mental or spiritual conditions.
Primarily, I think, there are three broad aspects that bear noticing in the context of a period of suffering. These are, loosely: 1) the universality of suffering — we all experience it on various occasions; 2) the value of compassion in others, and by extension in ourselves given that others also must suffer like ourselves — if we are to help them, stronger compassion will help us when the way is not easy; and 3) in the coming and going of suffering, we can observe mental factors which influence the extent of our experience of suffering. My sense is that noticing these aspects while undergoing a stressful period can be useful in achieving some liberation from the mental habits which tend to increase suffering in stressful times. If nothing else, maintaining awareness of these mental factors may provide some distraction from any discomfort.
I hope and pray that this will be of some benefit to you in a difficult time, and that in any case, you will have all the best medical and emotional support in your travails, and will soon be past this episode with no recurrence of malignancy.
Best of luck to you and yours, and keep your chin up!
Lana J Malouf Says:
Wow. A friend of mine shared your website on Facebook with me. Hits really close to home. I am 32, a young mother and wife and was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on Feb. 10, 2011. I had a radical double mastectomy on Thursday, March 3, 2011. I am going strong and recovering quickly and with minor pain. My next step is Chemotherapy as well. I just think you are a few steps ahead of me in treatment and will look to you for inspiration and help. I know you are a busy woman and I am so proud of you for being a Fellow Cancer Warrior and taking the bull by it’s horns! If you are interested I have started a simple Caring Bridge page for myself and would love for you to share it an read it. All the best wishes in the world to you and your family! http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lanamalouf
Sunny Wenger Says:
Many prayers for your recovery Shannon!! My daughters and I met you last summer at Star Gymnastics in Norman, OK. You were delightful and at the time my first-time gymnast, Kate, had no idea of your accomplishments in this sport. She since has done a book report on you and shared her pictures of meeting you with her class. You have set the standard in our house for hard work and dedication. Also, Kate reminds me that your mother got you a Cabbage Patch doll after mastering your press-up! Kate really wants a kitten…I supposed that will happen as soon as she masters her kip on the bars. You have inspired my daughter Kate and now you are inspiring me to keep up with my annual breast exams. Thank you. Prayers for you and your family during this time~ Sunny in Norman
Shannon Miller Says:
Thank you all for your wonderful messages! This has certainly been a humbling experience. It puts your priorities in order. I am more sure than ever, with these positive notes, emails, letter, FB messages, tweets, etc from those that have been through, are going through or have loved ones dealing with this issue, we will gain strength and empowerment by knowing that we are not alone. If going through this can help others and remind women to get their exams and make your own health a priority then it’s all worth it. Thank you so much for your support and for sharing your thoughts and stories with the world. You are inspiring others to take control of their health. Know that you have made a difference and likely saved lives.
Tona Harville Says:
Personal Note from Shannon
[…]Your health in old age usually depends on how mentally and physically active you were when you were younger. […]