A Fighter Who Has Cheated Death Five Times!
October 2021 Issue
by Edwina Hoyle
Photography by T.R. Love, T.R. Media World
Margaret Miller, affectionately known as M&M, celebrated her first year cancer-free in August. She is a breast cancer survivor, but M&M has cheated death again and again throughout her life—five times to be exact. She believes she has fought and survived because God has a plan for her.
Her first brush with death was as a child. She was taking swimming lessons at a public pool. “I went down and was bouncing off the bottom. Nobody noticed, and I nearly drowned. I still don’t swim,” M&M said. Her second encounter with the Grim Reaper was as a newlywed. “After we married, we moved to California, and I was in a terrible car accident.” Her severe back injury landed her in bed for a month and she received treatments five days a week for a year.
M&M’s former husband is British and loved to sail. They set off on a two-year adventure to sail across the ocean to England. On the fifth day at sea, they encountered Hurricane Alma and battled her fury for three days in a 34-foot sailboat. “I was tied to the boat,” she said. “It was an out-of-body experience, like I was watching a movie. With 25-foot waves we went straight up, then straight down, looking up at the sky then straight down at the water. I went into shock. Remember, I don’t know how to swim.” After the storm they headed to Hawaii and stayed there for five months.
More recently, M&M suffered with “a mystery illness” for a year. “Finally the doctors found that I had stones, grit and gravel in my gall bladder and 18-inches of my bowel were attached to my appendix,” she said. “The doctor told me I was lucky to survive. God was keeping me alive for some reason.”
“I’ve been saved so many times. This one year anniversary being cancer-free has been a bonus year.”
On Dec. 26, 2019 she got the phone call informing her that she had breast cancer. She had surgery and underwent chemo and radiation. She was told it had metastasized. “I was ready to go. I told my doctor I wanted to die—that the party’s starting. My doctor told me, ‘I know you can do it. You’re a strong, strong woman.’ I said, if you say so, I will try. When my mother was dying, she didn’t want to go because she needed to take care of her niece, Susan. She’s a 35 year-old special needs person. I promised to take care of her. She’s my light. I’m living for her. My doctors love me, and I love them. They made me fight. I couldn’t let them down, so I fought.”
M&M lost her hair and bought 23 hats. She drew pictures for the doctors to show exactly where the radiation felt like electricity traveling through her body. Her doctor promised her a big hug when it was all over. “On August 20 this year, I went to Amelia Island, and I went to see The Sound of Music to celebrate one year being cancer-free,” she said. “Then I wore a big ole Minnie Pearl hat -- and a boa -- and I got my hug, and it was beautiful. I gave out 23 presents to the radiation staff and doctors— everyone who ever touched me.”
M&M went to a cancer awareness event at Peacock Subaru last October and said, “My claim to fame is when I got to be on TV on the six o’clock news. They wanted to interview me, and when I walked through, all the TV people parted like the Red Sea so I could come through. I told everyone, ‘Listen, all you need to do is believe you’re going to beat it with all of your family and friends for support. Family, friends and prayers will carry you. All you must do is trust and believe. Inhale the good and exhale the bad.’”
M&M also attended Pink Magazine’s Pink Partini. She said, “I couldn’t believe it when Elizabeth grabbed my hand and took me on stage and said, ‘This is M&M and she’s going to tell us about cancer.” Elizabeth Millen is the publisher of Pink Magazine. M&M told the crowd, “Take them by the hand and let them know they can make it.”
M&M is a now a self-proclaimed advocate and spokesperson for women’s health. “God puts me in these places. That’s why I survived. I’ve been blessed.”
Derby Days: M&M grew up in Lexington, KY, but had never been to the Kentucky Derby until her goddaughter, a professional jockey, qualified to race in the Derby. M&M not only got to witness the race, she was treated to a gala and dinner for the owners and jockeys.
Lifeline: She served in the Coast Guard Auxiliary in Alameda, CA, for five years doing search and rescue missions. Remember…she doesn’t swim!
Dance Like No One is Watching: M&M loves line dancing and square dancing and goes dancing three days a week at Hilton Head Ocean Waves.
On a Mission: Her personal mission is go up to someone every night when she takes her walks and say, “Hi, I’m the WalMart greeter.” Why? To welcome people to the island she loves, and to encourage them to come back.
Nightowl: M&M stays up every night till 5 a.m. working on Facebook to offer help and support to anyone who needs it. She only sleeps from 5-10 a.m.