Meet Kelli Miller


Kelli Miller

Q: Where do you live?
A: West Jordan, Utah

Q: How old were you when you were diagnosed with breast cancer?
A: 52

Q: What was/is your diagnosis?
A: Stage 1 ductal cell carcinoma 

Q: Can you describe some of the feelings that came with your diagnosis?
A: Absolute terror initially. I had gone through breast cancer with my mom. I was only 19 when she was diagnosed and it was just the 2 of us living together so I was her primary caregiver. I didn’t want my kids to go through what I went through. I would do it for my mom again in a heartbeat but when you are so young dealing with such an awful illness and trying to work full time and go to school, it was so stressful! Mastectomies are done so differently than when she had her double mastectomies. It was a much more radical procedure. I felt so fortunate to be diagnosed in 2021 unlike my mom who had her surgery in 1988! Then came the sadness and body issue worries. It was a horrible rollercoaster of hurry up and wait. Periods of lots of things happening and then limbo which was for me the worst. 

Q: Are you still in treatment? Or how long did treatment take? 
A: I am no longer in treatment. I initially had a lumpectomy. My tumor was only 6 mm. However, when my surgeon did my lumpectomy, she unknowingly cut into an area DCIS in situ. I ended up electing to have a mastectomy. So 2 months later I had the mastectomy and 5 months after that reconstruction with a permanent implant and breast reduction of my left breast. 

Q: What type of treatment did you go through?
A: Surgery and tamoxifen. The tamoxifen (which ironically was a relatively new drug approved for the treatment of breast cancer that my mom took in 1989), made me suicidal. I went through a chemically induced mental health crisis in the middle of everything else. My oncologist told me that if I had that reaction to a hormone blocker, I would have the same issues with other drugs they could try. As it was, the tamoxifen only gave me a 2% advantage of it not returning. I went from 98% chance down to 96% chance if no recurrence. My quality of life was worth more than 2 percentage points! 

Q: Tell us how you felt during treatment. In real words. 
A: Honestly, my feelings were everywhere. I felt like I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. The overriding feeling was of gratitude that I was going through treatment in 2021 in such a wonderful area for health care. I have talked to others around the country and heard their stories and I’m always coming away grateful for the care I received. 

Q: Did you have any cravings?
A: Not at all. I just found it difficult to eat in general due to the stress. 

Q: Did anything completely turn you off?
A: Food in general. 

Q: Describe your support system during your journey. 
A: My ex-husband, who was my best friend in so many ways, was with me at almost every single appointment. He was my rock. My siblings with the exception of my younger brother were not very supportive. My kids were also great, but they are boys; female issues terrify them. LOL. 

Q: Have you gained new friends since your diagnosis?
A: Not only a new best friend, but a job and a boyfriend too. Life is good! 

Q: Use some descriptive words to describe your breast cancer experience. 
A: Terrifying, draining, emotion and physical complete disruption, also hopeful, strong, grateful, fortunate, loved, scared, impatient, and frustrated. 

Q: How has your life changed for the better since your diagnosis? 
A: New job, new best friend, a boyfriend. Life is good. I never take a day for granted. I try to live more in the now. And last but not least, my Image Reborn retreat!


5445 S. Highland Drive
Suite 5
Salt Lake City, UT 84117


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