Team Takes the Lighthearted Approach to Cancer

“Team” is one word that describes the 43-year marriage of Mike and Joy Miller of Russellville, but a shared sense of humor and a deep faith are the glue that hold the team together.

Humor, they said, has always been a factor in their relationship. Their home reflects that sense of fun: Walls bedecked with a treasured clown art collection, and a huge Santa painting displayed year-round. During trying
times, a little lighthearted play has managed to take the edge off, said Joy.

Spring 2008 was one of those trying times. Mike scheduled a physical to address concerns and discomforts he’d been experiencing. The results were not encouraging. He was diagnosed with not one but two forms of cancer, prostate cancer and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

The Millers soon discovered a different kind of teamwork in play, one between Mike’s family physician Dr. Charles Brown and the staff at Saint Mary’s Regional Cancer Center, including Dr. Jeff Yates, Dr. Darrel
Speed and Dr. Tom Sneed.

Through surgery, 43 radiation treatments and the ensuing chemotherapy treatments, the Millers’ spirits were lifted, they said, by the attending staff.

“I just can’t say enough good things about everybody,” said Mike. “Dr. Speed’s and Dr. Yates’ staff is just
wonderful. They make you feel so welcome. And Dr. Sneed is just top-notch in my book. He really does care about his patients and his nursing staff was always smiling.”

“The upbeat attitude of the whole cancer center really impacted us,” added Joy, “plus, they know you by name,
and that is so important and so comforting.”

“This was just a little detour,” Joy concluded. “We went through some things we hadn’t seen before, but we dealt with it. It helps to have a pretty healthy dose of humor, but we were in the Lord’s hands and in the care of an outstanding medical community. Honestly, I can’t imagine anybody not choosing to be treated here. They treat you so well.”