Tammy Miller was blessed with a beautiful voice that she shares with others at Asbury United Methodist Church. But she doesn’t just leave her voice at the sanctuary door. Tammy is also an advocate for those in her community who need a voice as well – young women in difficult situations. “There are lots of people out there who are worse off than me,” she stated. And it’s this attitude that exemplifies Tammy’s humble approach to life.
In August 2011, Tammy awoke to feel a lump in her pelvis area. Concerned, she went to the doctor for an ultrasound. Although the doctors thought it was a benign tumor, it grew rapidly – reaching nearly six pounds in weight. After undergoing surgery to remove the tumor, Tammy traveled to New York to see a specialist. She learned she had Leiomyosarcoma, a rare uterine cancer that affects one in four million people.
In a seven-month timeframe, Tammy had more than 40 tumors in her abdomen removed and underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy to battle the return of her tumors. Despite the struggle of shielding the effects of her disease from her children, she finds solace knowing her family: husband, Bobby; his children, Audrey and Morgan; and her children, Layne and Preston, continue to offer their loving support.
Although the disease weakens her physically, Tammy finds inner peace through her faith in God. “When you’re first diagnosed, there’s such fear and panic about the things you don’t know. But then you come to this place where it’s up to your faith to see you through,” Tammy explains. “The doctors are fantastic, but ultimately, it’s up to God and my faith in Him. He meets us where we are.”
Tammy’s garden, consisting of a vibrant bed of color, is meant to draw visitors from a distance. “Bright, beautiful flowers bring me great joy, and I wanted to share that with someone else,” Tammy says. She also incorporated vinca into her garden after learning this plant had a hand in creating her chemotherapy medication.
When asked what Tammy wanted to share with others on a similar journey, she stated: “Even though cancer tries to dominate your life, you have to decide not to let it be all-encompassing. You still have a life with so much you can enjoy and be thankful for. No matter what life throws at you, you can still have joy and laughter.”