Ravinnia Miles, 37, has spent her life helping others. The oldest of 3, she took care of her younger brother and sister, and when she got old enough, her mother too. As a patient care coordinator in Chicago, she helped people navigate the health care system to get the care they needed. And as the mother of her own 3 children, she always tried to give them everything they needed.
But about a year ago, Miles underwent surgery to have her gallbladder removed. A biopsy revealed she had gallbladder cancer, and additional tests showed it had spread to her kidneys and pelvic area. Miles had more surgery to try to remove the tumors, followed by about 2 months of radiation and 6 months of chemotherapy.
“I eat right and stay positive and continue with as much treatment as I can,” said Miles. “It’s been hard financially because I’m not working. I’m trying to be a good parent to my kids. They don’t really know the seriousness of it. All I really want is to be up every day getting them ready for school.”
‘Live for yourself; live for your children.’
Miles’ doctor told her she had to stop treatment because the chemo was damaging her liver. She’s decided to get a second opinion.
“The doctor didn’t give me the hope I was looking for, so I decided to go elsewhere to see what they can do,” said Miles. “I can understand that there may not be a cure, but I just want to live as long as I can.”
She said, “I just want to tell other people who are going through it or know someone going through it that even if there’s no cure, keep being yourself and stay positive. Live for yourself; live for your children.”
Help from the American Cancer Society
Miles had to stop working after her gallbladder cancer diagnosis. Fatigue and pain kept her from being able to perform the physical aspects of her job. Even just walking around the big hospital where she worked was too difficult. But without a paycheck, she quickly fell into financial difficulty and had trouble paying rent each month.
Miles called the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to ask for help. An information specialist let her know about an organization in Chicago that provides financial assistance to people experiencing an emergency that can lead to homelessness. She’s now working with that organization for help paying her rent.
“I don’t want my kids or my family to worry about me,” said Miles. “I just want them to see me as the strong person that I perceive myself to be.”