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Dougie Miller’s Philosophy in Fighting Cancer!
Dougie Miller was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in early 2002 at 49 years old. He is now 53 and continues to battle the disease.

From Day1 he has applied his simple philosophy in tackling the disease:-

  • Accept it! Accept it from Day 1. Don’t say why me? Don’t get bitter. Don’t say “I thought these things always happened to somebody else“. The fact is you have it and nothing can change that diagnosis.
  • Respect your cancer but battle it with all your strength.
  • Try not to worry. It does not help. It does not change things.
  • Try to understand your disease and treatment. This can help to allay fears if you have any.
  • Believe in your clinical, surgical and nursing teams. They are true specialists who have your best interests at heart and will do everything in their power to help.
  • Above all, true self-belief, determination and humour are key. Never ever think about giving up even though you may be faced with dramatic ups and downs throughout the course of your illness.
  • Remember where there is doubt there is hope. This is not an exact science.

Unlike many patients Dougie was not devastated when he was eventually told he had bowel cancer, Due to his background in medical technology and the fact that he watched his sigmoidoscopy procedure real time he knew from the appearance of the lesion visualized in his bowel that malignancy was almost guaranteed although, of course, this had to be confirmed via biopsy. It was!!

An anterior resection followed quickly after diagnosis and proved to be rather challenging surgically due to the localization of the tumour. Initial signs were that the operation had been a total success with all malignant excised. However pathology revealed that the cancer had spread to the lymphatic system and was staged as Dukes C. Due to the complexity of the procedure I was given a temporary ileostomy which was reversed after 9 months.

Two weeks after the operation I was back driving even although 6 weeks is advisable. However recovery was quick and I felt fine. I did contract MRSA but this cleared after about 6 weeks.

Six months of adjuvant chemotherapy followed interspersed with 6 weeks of radiotherapy to the surgical site.

Dougie had absolutely no serious problems with either treatment. The only issue was a bit of tiredness but this was in no way debilitating.

A normal life was resumed very quickly with routine follow-ups with my Oncologist and Surgeon becoming a routine part of life.

All was well until May 2004 when the CEA marker started to rise. Initially it remained within prescribed limits but within a couple of months it was becoming clear that the cancer may have spread. This was confirmed by PET scan in December 2004. The cancer had spread to the liver. Time for some action!!!


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