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The Donna Mills Interview (Page 1 of 2)

An Interview with Donna Mills

Donna Mills InterviewGary Barg: You were dealing with your father and his colorectal cancer at an early age, and youíve been active in getting people to think about preventing that disease. Are they listening to you?

Donna Mills: Well, I think they are listening more and more. From what I understand, the colonoscopy procedure is being done a lot more now. Maybe Iíve had something to do with it, but certainly Katie Couric has had a lot to do with motivating people, because her husband died of colorectal cancer. People also know that the polyps which are pre-cancerous can be removed and then youíll never get the cancer, so itís a preventative thing to do, too. Iíve had this procedure done, and itís nothing. They put you out under a light anesthetic, and it doesnít hurt. Theyíve made great strides in what they can do for you now. My father had it many years ago, and he had to have a critical operation to remove a large portion of his intestines. He had a long life after that, but it was a major procedure.

GB: Were you involved at all with caregiving for him?

DM: I was youngóaround 12. But I do remember he was laid up for quite a while. He was in the hospital for a long time and then at home in bed for a while afterwards. My mother cared for him; it was difficult to do, but they were both grateful that the doctors had removed all the cancer.

GB: Lately youíve been an advocate for people living with arthritis. How did you first discover you had the disease?

DM: After playing tennis, Iíd be very stiff and it had gotten so that it was really hard for me to serve because it was in my shoulder; and it got so that I couldnít pick up my daughter. You know, I used to think that I had overdone it in tennis, or that I had injured myself; but when it didnít go away, I figured it was something else and thatís what sent me to the doctor.

GB: How would you encourage caregivers and their loved ones to go see the doctor?

DM: First of all, they donít have to live with pain. Pain isnít necessarily a part of growing old. It just doesnít have to be that way. If you or your loved one has joints that are painful and tired, go to your doctor. A caregiver can tell their loved one that there is hope, that something can be done. Years ago, arthritis was something you just had to live with. Now you donít have to. You donít have to think, ďWell, I have to go to the doctor, and thereíll be a big doctorís bill, and nothingís going to happen.Ē


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