Behind the Breakthroughs
The Your Stories Podcast

Hear candid conversations between people conquering cancer – patients, their family and friends, and doctors and researchers working to help us all.

Erin and Dana
Behind the Breakthroughs
Loving Someone Through a Terminal Illness
What does a family do when cancer takes away life’s most precious moments? Erin Miller’s husband, Mike, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer at age 44 and told he had just three to five months to live. Erin was 38, and they had three young children at home.

Erin talks to her sister, Dana Dornsife, about the day she found out Mike had stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Cancer Changes Everything in an Instant

It happened overnight. Erin woke up on a Saturday morning and noticed Mike’s eyes and skin were yellow. He had jaundice.  

That afternoon, they went to the hospital and doctors gave Mike a CT scan. They found out Mike had a mass on his pancreas. It was stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and the doctors told the Millers that Mike had less than 1 percent chance of recovering. 

Making the Most of a Horrible Situation

The Millers learned there were very few treatments for pancreatic cancer, but they looked into clinical trials. Mike was accepted into a trial, but it would be a big financial burden. Their family members came together to cover the costs of his travel and care. 

Mike lived 19 months. Erin says he regained his quality of life, and they were able to create great memories with their children. “It made the difference between Caitlyn, who was four, remembering him or not.” 

Your Stories
The Gift of Time
I can remember laying my head on his chest and listening to his last heartbeat. And I whispered to him at that time, 'It’s OK. We're going to be fine'
Erin Miller