Under Her Skin: Crystal Miller

Tuesday, July 01, 2014 - 01:00 PM

Crystal Miller.

Crystal Miller is 28-years-old. She found a lump in her breast in November 2013, and was diagnosed with breast cancer a month later.

As a nurse and cancer researcher at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, Crystal struggles to ignore the disease statistics she knows so well.

Here, Crystal reflects on fighting the disease as a young single woman living in New York.

Guests:

Crystal Miller

Editors:

Ellen Frankman, Arwa Gunja, T.J. Raphael and Jillian Weinberger

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Comments [11]

Ellie from New Jersey

I have had two surgeries for breast cancer and I believe I am now "cured" but I have not been able to cope with the appearance of my scarred, misshapen breasts. I hate to see myself in a mirror or anywhere else, but I have had so many surgeries that I do not want to face plastic surgery. Has anyone else had this problem and how do cope?

Aug. 04 2014 09:50 AM
Nancy from South Carolina

Crystal, I heard you on NPR this morning, concerned about radiation darkening your skin. Have you tried using Aloe Vera on it? My nurse told me a small study had shown it was really helpful in maintaining skin health and appearance. I'm only a couple of weeks into radiation, so I don't know yet what my final results will be, but so far I'm impressed. It took me a few days to find a plant, and my skin was already getting burned because I'm pale, but the Aloe Vera healed it. Just cut off a little piece of the plant each day and rub it gently over the skin -- it's slimy, but it soaks in and dries quickly, and doesn't leave your skin sticky. Much better than that awful Aquaphor which didn't help at all.

Jul. 22 2014 12:34 PM
Crystal from New York, NY

Thanks Ralph for the positive feedback! I love your suggestion! I am definitely going to look into BEGINNER salsa lessons here in the city. Thanks again

Jul. 10 2014 01:00 PM
Erin from Trinidad & Tobago

Crystal!

I am so proud to hear your story. Continue to shine your light and share your positivity!! Love you! :)

Jul. 10 2014 10:21 AM
Ralph

Dear Crystal, I heard your story today in my car. Your positive attitude and sincere voice were deeply inspiring. My dear friend was diagnosis with breast cancer in her late 20s. She is now in her forties, fully recovered, married (lucky guy), and the mother of two children. As a part of her healing, she took salsa lessons. We took classes and went out to clubs. The experience brought us closer together. I encourage you to find a creative activity that will help you through this period. Hey, maybe we will become a talented salsa team. You will be on my mind and in my heart. Stay well.

Jul. 09 2014 05:57 PM
Crystal from New York, NY

Kelsey thanks for your feedback! Join the Facebook group so that we can connect! I am totally into helping others and have had the pleasure of meeting several other young ladies during my journey. anything to help others during this time.. I want to be apart of. Make sure to share with other women. Thanks again

Jul. 09 2014 04:29 PM
Crystal from New York,ny

Thanks so much for your comment Jennifer! I hope by sharing my story it will help someone and they will not feel alone like I did In the beginning of my experience... Particularly when it came to fertility decisions etc. So glad to hear your story as well. Brightened my day!! Hope you join the group of Facebook so that you can follow me as I continue in my journey. Also Share with other women you may know( young or old).

Jul. 09 2014 04:24 PM
jennifer from california

Crystal - I just heard your story and had a total flashback to my own experience. I too was diagnosed with breast cancer at 27. So much of what you said about having kids, support groups - I so felt all of that too. I didnt do fertility preservation as at the time yeah, I felt like I was all new too, still figuring out my life my career, my relationships, anything beyond lets get this cancer out of me wasnt really the focus. Well, I am almost 40 now, and am married to the most amazing person and have a 3 year old daughter. Still see my oncologist on a yearly basis, but cancer free since then. Focus on your today every day and you will get there, where you want to be. Thank you for sharing your story.

Jul. 09 2014 03:33 PM
Kelsey from San Francisco

I'm on the board of Bay Area Young Survivors for young women with breast cancer. We are AWESOME! Crystal, thanks for sharing your story. We put together this really cool campaign to encourage more people to be there for each other when going through treatment. Just a two minute video to show it in action. REALLY COOL. Connect and we can bring this to NYC (my hometown!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IWZnuqwr7M&feature=youtu.be

See http://helpeachotherout.com/category/topics/illness/ for our website and my email is there too. GOOD luck Crystal! We are here for you.

Jul. 09 2014 03:29 PM
Crystal from New York, NY

Thanks Janice for your feedback. As you know the breast cancer journey is a personal one. You should do what you feel is best for you. I do want to say that I received second opinions for my treatment options and felt like I made informed decisions about all of my care. My doctors do not make decisions for me but recommendations. If you do not trust your medical team you need a new team. There are plenty of times I am not 100percent about something and request data or rationale from physicians. They have always supplied them to me before I moved forward. I am glad to hear that we are both cured!

Jul. 09 2014 03:00 PM
Janice from South Carolina

As I listened to Crystal talk today about her breast cancer I was shocked to hear how much she ignores researching cancer treatments herself. It is her life, her body and yet she is giving total control to other people. I feel that is why so many die from breast cancer. They listen to 1 doctor and do whatever he/she says to do with nothing else considered. I survived a golf ball sized lump with NO chemo and NO radiaton. All I had from conventional medicine was a lumpectomy. That was 15 years ago! What I did do was research! I found a Dr. Shamsuddin at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Google him and you'll discover something wonderful called IP6. I firmly believe that had I gone the conventional route that I'd be dead today.

Jul. 09 2014 10:48 AM

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