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Conversations Magazine Feb./March 2017

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Friday, December 25, 2015

Mellie Miller & Dawn Miller: Appreciating Their New Normal

by Cyrus Webb

It's been my pleasure over the years to interview family members on Conversations LIVE the radio show, but this one was the first time I sat down with a mother and daughter for the web-series to discuss their journey to sharing their stories with the world. Mellie Miller and her daughter Dawn Miller are both authors who I have interviewed before on the radio, but our conversation during my visit to Atlanta at Dream Cafe was not just deeply personal but powerful because you could see how what they had gone through had changed them.

Mellie is known for her fiction, but a few years ago she released her non-fiction book Cancer and the Warrior's Way.  Dawn made her entrance into the world of books with her deeply personal autobiography Darkness Before the Dawn, sharing the terror she faced due to a poisonous marriage that threatened every aspect of who she was. Here you will read some of the highlights of those conversations, and how they now face the day with renewed optimism and courage.

Mellie Miller in her own words: "Cancer is a very scary thing, and what scared me the most about the whole process was what I didn't know about what was going to happen. You know there's going to be surgery. You don't know what's going to happen after it. You don't understand exactly what chemotherapy is going to do or radiation is going to do.

"As soon as they made the diagnosis I was in surgery in like a week and a half. Everything was just thrown at you in such a rush that you don't have time to understand it. It's just like being caught up in a dream. Afterwards I thought people need to know. I wanted to let people know that it's tough, but there's hope. Don't you dare give in. You say 'I'm winning this fight.' Once you give in to the self-pity you lose the mental force to push yourself on each day.  You need the mental fortitude to keep once step ahead.

Dawn Miller in her own words: "It's a continuing thing. It's not suddenly one day you're no longer upset or anxious. It's a gradual process, and I have to give so much credit to my fiance' for building me up. We communicate with each other, and it's okay. I think just having someone tell you that you're okay just the way you are cements the idea in your head that what you're thinking about in your head makes a big difference.

"This horrible marriage had completely reduced me to someone I didn't even recognize. It was a real eye-opener that this was a new normal. That it was normal for me to fall to pieces in the middle of nowhere, but then it was something to work on."

Stay connected with Mellie Miller at www.melliemiller.com. Dawn Miller can be found at  www.facebook.com/rulebreakerediting.

*     Photo courtesy of Shadow Play Entertainment, taken by Kym Swain

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