Lorne Miller, a born and raised Calgarian, Fire Fighter, loving husband, and father to two young children, was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2021. After experiencing some abdominal discomfort and swelling, Lorne was diagnosed with liposarcoma. A volleyball-sized tumour, along with some of his small intestines, was removed a month later. As a man in good health who enjoyed staying active, like hunting and fishing with his dog Maggie, this news came as a massive surprise to him.
As a father, this news was devastating to hear. “Having to tell your mother, wife, and daughter that you are sick, and there is nothing they can do about it, was the worst day. I’m the one person that is supposed to be invincible, and to have to tell them that you are not, was incredibly painful. That said, if someone had to take the statistical bullet with this disease, I’m glad it was me and not any of them. With our kids being so young, they don’t have a full understanding of what happened last year. So, unfortunately, the brunt of that fell onto Lindsay [Lorne’s Wife]. For us, the diagnosis really reinforced the vows we took on our wedding day to be there for each other and our family in whatever comes our way. News like this is always difficult for a family to process and as one of my Doctor’s said last year, ‘this is the hand you’ve been dealt, how you play it is up to you.'” – Lorne Miller
A cancer diagnosis often turns a person’s world upside down. For Lorne, he knew it would come with its challenges, especially as a parent. When asked if his perspective changed on what being a father meant to him, he said, “Absolutely. I learned that time is our most valuable commodity, so I have become extremely calculated on how I spend it. As a parent, all you ever want to do is protect your children, and when the ability to do that is threatened, you realize what it means to be a protector. As soon as we had our kids, my goal has been to work hard at providing a good example to them on how to be a good father, son, husband, friend, and how to give back to the community. It’s always been really important for me to leave this place better than how I found it. After my experience last year, I’ve realized that the opportunity to do that cannot be taken for granted and needs to be actioned right now. As parents, we need to take full advantage of the time we have with our kids because things can change in an instant. The reality is that none of us know what the future entails, so my goal is to leave a legacy for my kids so they will be proud of the person I was, and the things I did to give them a better life and make this community a better place to live.”
“As parents, we need to take full advantage of the time we have with our kids because things can change in an instant.”
Helping him on his journey to recovery, Lorne found support in his loved ones. “I am very fortunate to have a great support network of family, friends, coworkers, medical professionals, and even strangers. I’m a firm believer that, in situations like this, the right people will be in front of you at the right time. Once I accepted the reality of my situation and stopped resisting the unchangeable, I was able to open myself up to vulnerability and the help others were offering. It can be very difficult for a father to accept help in looking after his family, or himself, but I’m so glad I did. I wouldn’t be where I am today without doing that. Once I leaned into the support network that I had, I could really focus on the important things, and still be as present as possible for my family. In terms of tangible solutions that have helped me, I’ve really focused on regaining my physical and mental health to a productive state. I’ve worked hard at getting myself back in shape with physiotherapy, regular workouts, and a clean diet. I’ve explored naturopathic remedies to compliment the fantastic care I have received and continue to work diligently with my therapist to make myself more mentally resilient to past and future challenges. I’ve found that a well-balanced approach of taking mental and physical health seriously has allowed for a successful recovery, and ultimately, allowed me to resume a lot of my previous roles and responsibilities.”
Lorne recently celebrated one year of being cancer-free on the same day as his 39th birthday. A lot can change in 365 days. When we asked how he is doing today, he said, “All things considered; I’m doing absolutely incredible. This time last year, I would have given anything to be in this position today.” It comes without saying, Lorne radiates positivity into the lives of those around him and for us as well. He states, “I’m beyond grateful for the incredible support I have received during this process. Although challenging, this last year has been an incredible gift and second chance to make the most of my time here. I have, and will continue, to work hard at paying back all the love and support our family has received by being living proof of the good things that can happen with the power of faith, and community.”
Lorne expressed his gratitude for the care he received and knows that with the new Calgary Cancer Centre, those facing cancer in the future will have access to world-leading cancer care, research and education.
Happy Fathers Day to all of the incredible Dad’s out there, like Lorne.
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