The Realization

Author: Shannon Miller

Today was a great day. I awarded trophies and checks to two of the three schools that won the Shannon Miller Kids Fun Run a few weeks ago. Way to go to all of the kids who participated!

Tomorrow morning my interview with Robin Roberts will air on Good Morning America. I am so thankful to those who have continued to carry the message of early detection. I admit, even working as a health and fitness advocate, I still fell into the category where in the back of my mind I thought “this could never happen to me.”

You would think that would have changed when my mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2008. I watched her go through chemo and radiation and win her battle. (She is doing great and just finished another 1/2 marathon!). I think many of us just consider ourselves invincible. Not in a conscious way but simply ignoring or denying the possibility. We don’t have time to get sick. No symptoms so we are fine.

Unfortunately ovarian cancer is not like many others. Often times there are no symptoms until the disease has progressed. There isn’t a self exam and if you don’t catch it early you risk losing options.

I urge women to get their annual exams, to make your health a priority. If you don’t take care of yourself you can’t be there for everyone else. Yet, it can all be so overwhelming. There are so many tests, exams, treatments, appointments and on and on. It can be quite scary to think of all the “what if’s.” I’ve been struggling with the worry of all the things that could happen. I’ve had to face the realization that, yes, it can happen to me. Yet I remain so grateful to the physicians that caught my cancer early.

I’m hoping to turn that startling realization into 1) a strong message to help others and 2) personal motivation to do what I can to prevent health issues with the things I can control like diet, exercise and keeping up with doctor’s appointment and leave the things I cannot control (amazingly I do not get to control everything!)  to God and let him guide my way.

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