Diana Miller: Breast Cancer

"I actually miss going to Allegiance Health, because every day I spent there felt like I was visiting friends.”

Breast cancer survivor Diana Miller is happy her treatments are over. “But I actually miss going to Allegiance Health,” she said. “because every day I spent there felt like I was visiting friends.”

The personal level of care she received was especially important to Diana as she underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy treatments at the Gayle M Jacob Cancer Center. Looking back, she said, “It was an absolutely fantastic experience. I really can’t think of a single thing I would change or improve.”

Allegiance Health’s newly renovated Cancer Center was designed to enhance healing through color, natural lighting, comfortable furniture and nature-inspired works by local artists. Patients receive chemotherapy in individual, curtained areas that look out on a stonework waterfall surrounded by gardens. “It doesn’t feel like a medical facility,” Diana said. “I could choose to have privacy when I needed it, and I found the outdoor view very peaceful. When I wanted company, I would open my curtains, and someone from the staff would be there with a smile or a hug.”

What impressed Diana most, however, was the Cancer Center’s team approach to care. “I am truly amazed at how well the staff works together,” she said. "I saw several different doctors, but they made it very clear that they worked closely together on my case, and that gave me a sense of security. The communication between nurses was remarkable, too. Allegiance obviously takes great care to hire exceptional, compatible people.”

At around the same time Diana was receiving treatment at Allegiance Health, a relative and a coworker of hers were being treated at two different hospitals out of town. “I felt bad for both of them,” Diana said. “Their care was good, but they didn’t get any extra support. They never made a connection with the doctors or staff, and they felt isolated.”

“I received  warm, personal attention. The staff kept me well informed, so there were no surprises, and they made sure I knew about all the resources that were available to me.”

Diana Miller, breast cancer patient

Diana’s own experience “was the total opposite,” she recalled. “I received  warm, personal attention. The staff kept me well informed, so there were no surprises, and they made sure I knew about all the resources that were available to me.”

A highlight of Diana’s experience was a free workshop on personal appearance and self-image Allegiance offers through the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better program. Licensed cosmeticians volunteer with the program to teach women with cancer practical, hands-on techniques to manage the appearance side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“They talked about the emotional impact of losing our hair and helped us to prepare for that,” Diana said. “It was a good opportunity to bond with other women who shared my experience and to learn creative ways to use makeup, hats, wigs and scarves. The result was very uplifting and empowering.”

Now fully recovered and cancer-free, Diana is fully enjoying time with her family, who have been “a tremendous support thorough all of this,” she said. Scrapbooking, crochet and “a basement full of craft projects” are keeping her busy, but Diana plans to go back soon to visit her nursing team friends at the Allegiance Cancer Center. 

You can reduce your cancer risk by getting regular medical care, living smoke-free, limiting alcohol use, avoiding excessive exposure to UV rays from the sun and tanning beds, eating fruits and veggies, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active.