Breast cancer survivor to join race
BY TRISH JOHNSON
It may be a one-day race, but Katy-area resident Katharine Miles feels like she's a winner all the time.
For the third consecutive year, Miles will pound the pavement as one of an estimated 30,000 participants in the annual Susan G. Komen Houston Race for the Cure. The annual event, this year presented by Marathon Oil Corp. on Saturday, raises funds for, among other activities, early testing for breast cancer. That's how Miles became a winner.
It was really strange how I found it," Miles remembered recently. I had laid down for a nap, which never, ever happens at my house. I put my arm across my chest and I found it," she said. A lump."
Miles, 42, had already made an appointment for a baseline mammography, the image which is generally used by medical professionals as a comparison for images taken in later years, so there was little wait between her detection of a lump to diagnosis.
I did the whole thing, the mammogram, the diagnostic ultrasound and the biopsy," she said. After the biopsy, the surgeon told me he was sure it was going to be cancer."
Restless for the two days it took for the results of the biopsy, Miles read The Breast Book by Dr. Susan Love.
That book prepared me for everything," Miles said. I felt really informed; I just had to find out if it was cancer."
It was. Told it was a stage 1 ductal carcinoma invasive, Miles said her next meeting with her surgeon dwelt on what her options were. Foregoing a lumpectomy, Miles opted for a mastectomy and reconstruction.
I wanted a mastectomy I think because I didn't want to have to deal with a return of cancer in that breast," Miles said.
I was lucky," the young mother said. I had lots of friends who had already lived through this and they were there for me."
Miles, who sells office furniture for The Ofis, took one month medical leave from work.
It was a long process," Miles remembered. The surgeon started the reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy. It involves moving a back muscle to the front, then putting in expanders, which gets the area ready for an implant. There's three or four months of expansion.
I was diagnosed on Valentine's Day, 2007. I healed beautifully from the surgery," she said. I was adamant about keeping up my exercise and my routine while I was healing. I think that's so important, that you keep your routine."
While she was healing, Miles continued to run and work out. I work out all the time," she said. I've stepped up my running right now to get ready for the race. I run about 10 miles a week."
Miles said the reconstruction was complete and she was healed by September 2007. There I was, already healed, and I thought, doggone, I'll just run this race'."
That first year, Miles ran the family walk/run with her whole family, including husband, David, and sons Alexander, now 8, and Spencer, now 6, as well as the 5K competitive race. By the second year, son Alexander was ready to strap on his running shoes and run the 5K with his mom.
This year, Alexander will run with me again," Miles said. Spencer will probably be old enough to run the 5K next year, but he and his dad will be running the family walk/run this year."
Through the whole medical process, Miles said she was completely honest with her sons.
I told my sons everything," she said. I've always had this attitude that we'll just charge through it and beat this thing, and I didn't want my sons to be afraid."
The annual Race for the Cure, Miles said, is the Susan G. Komen foundations' largest fundraiser. Runners get others to pledge funds for them to run. But for those not able to run, the race promoters have an alternative.
Race spokesman Sarah Miller said that, in addition to the 5K competitive run, 5K non-competitive run, 5K walk and a Family Walk and Kids K sponsored by ConocoPhillips, there is a Sleep in for the Cure."
You can stay in bed and collect pledges," Miller said. It's another fun way to help raise money."
Race promoters said the 2008 Race raised $3.8 million, with up to 75 percent going to local efforts to further breast cancer education, screening and treatment.
That's the whole idea about Komen," Miles said. Early detection saved my life. Nobody should go without detection because they don't have the money."
Begun by Nancy Brinker and named for her sister, a victim of breast cancer, the Susan G. Komen Houston Race for the Cure is to be held downtown, beginning and ending at Allen Parkway West of Interstate 45 near Sam Houston Park. Also included is a Kids for the Cure Corral with face painting and games for children under 10, and the Survivor Celebration at Sam Houston Park after the race, sponsored by Baker Hughes.
Houston has a great Komen affiliate," Miles said. It's hugely important because of the money it brings in."
According to information from Race for the Cure promoters, nearly 200,000 people are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, a figure which includes nearly 2,000 men.
For more information on the Race for the Cure, or to register, call 713-783-9188, or go to www.komen-houston.org/.
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