McKINNEY — At age 33, Allie Miles was diagnosed with breast cancer. Married, with a 1-year-old daughter, she enjoyed her home in McKinney and working at a dermatologist’s office in Dallas.
While swimming at a summer outing in late June of 2014, she noticed a small lump on her breast. When she contacted her doctor the next day, she was directed to have a mammogram right away.
She had been faithful in having regular mammograms, all of which had tested negative. However this one was different. The cancer that was found called for immediate attention.
“They told me it was cancer and that I needed to get a biopsy the next day,” Miles said. “Initially, I was in shock. I didn’t know how to process it. After that everything was a whirlwind. I’m pretty sure I called my husband and my family, but I don’t even remember that day after that.”
Miles reported to the Sammons Cancer Center in Dallas the following day.
“Everything was pretty quick after that,” Miles said. “They did a biopsy, and then we sat down and talked. They were amazing. They set me up with an oncologist and scheduled all my appointments, and just kind of got the ball rolling.”
After learning that surgery was recommended, Miles hoped that surgery alone would be sufficient. That would not be the case, however. Chemotherapy would come first, followed by surgery.
“We started chemo in August,” Miles said. “I did four rounds, once every three weeks, and after that we scheduled the surgery. I had a double masactomy with reconstruction on Nov. 7, 2014. They also performed latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction, or a ‘lat flap’ procedure. They take muscle from your back and flip it around to the front.”
After three days, Miles was released from the hospital. She went home with four drains in her upper body that would require attention for two weeks. A regimen of exercises was sent home with her, which she would gradually begin to utilize.
“They also continued to use the port that was previously put in my body for the chemo treatments,” Miles said. “Seventeen injections were spaced out over the year following my surgery. They put them into that port.”
Once Miles was home, she was eager to return to work, which she did as soon as possible.
“I wanted to have something that would force me to get out of bed in the mornings, and I wanted to keep going,” she said. “So, I went back to work, and the support I received from my family, friends and co-workers was awesome.”
Even with the chemotherapy and surgery behind her, the winding road to recovery still was ahead.
“One of the worst parts was losing my hair from the chemo,” Miles said. “I can remember wearing a scarf at Christmas. Finally, in late January, my hair started coming back, but it was very slow and was really short for about a year.”
Miles made it clear that cancer’s claim can be on one’s feelings and emotions in addition to one’s physical properties.
“I still have anxiety at times,” she said. “And, whenever I get even a little bit sick I wonder what’s going wrong next. I just have to talk myself down from that, off that ledge, and then I’m fine. During a consultation with my doctor, it was advised that I not have more children. Knowing I was blessed with my daughter, Emma, I made the decision to stop working and become a stay at home mom.”
Now cancer free for three years, Miles can hardly believe it as she assesses her ordeal and the journey she and her family have traveled.
“It has brought us closer together as a family, and slowed us down some,” Miles said. “I have a much better outlook on life, and I don’t stress over the small stuff. Instead, I thank God for every day, and I rejoice in our family’s relationship with him and with each other.”