We can easily get so caught up in our to-do list, especially when it gets this close to Christmas, but the Miller family of Lubbock has been making an effort to slow down the Christmas rush and just celebrate their time together.
In the Miller home there is fear and sadness but there is also joy, laughter and hope.
Stoney Miller was born in September 2012 weighing nearly 8 1/2 pounds. Two days later, doctors found that Dena Miller, Stoney's mother, was still carrying a 17 pound tumor that had attached itself to her liver. She was diagnosed with Melanoma. A year later, doctors still can't find where the cancer started. However, they do know how it started.
Dena says, "I'm literally in a fight for my life over a tan."
After 14 surgeries in a year, Dena's best option now is an experimental drug available only in California.
Dr. Ashley Sturgeon, her dermatologist, says it's important to remember that "all our best medicines came from experiments."
Dr Sturgeon, a Texas Tech Physician, is encouraging this new treatment option.
She says, "It takes a generous person to say, 'Sure I'll be a guinea pig. It could work. It absolutely could work,' and I think that a good attitude makes a big difference. She (Dena) has a great attitude."
Dena makes the trip to L.A. every 2 weeks. It's an expense that is overwhelming. She and her husband, Boomer, are paramedics. Ironically, in the business of saving lives, they're feeling a little helpless now, but always hopeful.
Dr. Sturgeon adds, "It's always what we hope for. Never say never in medicine."
Dena looks back at this last year and says, "Honestly, I was in the mindset that last Christmas was my last Christmas, so this has been a blessing to be here."
Little Stoney is 15 months old now and runs into his mothers arms when she calls him.
If there is any good that can come from cancer, the Miller family agrees it allows you to see life through a new lens.
Holiday traditions are more special. Little messes are more fun. Family time is more precious.
Dena says, "We take the time to spend with family, stay at home and watch a lot of old Christmas movies. Honestly, our greatest gift is being here."
Boomer adds, "It's important to know that as long as you have your family and friends that love you, that's all that really matters."
And that is a good reminder for the rest of us during the holiday rush.
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...that the true meaning of Christmas is faith, hope and love.