Driver Parker Price-Miller races sprint cars between cancer treatments
WILMOT – Parker Price-Miller would rather study a racetrack than a medical dictionary.
Unfortunately, when the doctor says:Diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with double impact“Life changes.
A 23-year-old asset who trained and played basketball with his buddies and raced sprint cars for a living, Price-Miller was understandably blindsided by the diagnosis of what once looked like a sprained ankle.
“I was in a very low place from October to January, and I didn’t really do much in those few months,” he said. “I felt sorry for myself and I wasn’t in a good place, mentally and physically. Eventually I was like, you know, I have to get up (butt). I’m not going to beat him sitting here and feel sorry for myself.
Knowing that cancer always has an asterisk, that’s exactly what Price-Miller did.
Using running as both an incentive and a distraction, he built his strength in the gym, followed his doctors’ advice, and was able to run between cycles of chemotherapy and radiation. He has had a good start on the circuit and is enjoying his success more than ever.
Price-Miller headed to Wisconsin this weekend with reason to celebrate. He completed his outreach and turns 24 on Sunday, the last day of a three-race swing in Wisconsin for the All Star Circuit of Champions.
After: Key dates Wisconsin racing fans should know for 2022
“I’m really enjoying the racing,” Price-Miller said at Wilmot Raceway on Friday, before the first run took place in the rain.
“With everything I’ve been through, I kind of looked at things differently. I used to get stressed easily, disgusted, sort of stressed out about things. Now I’m just ready for the next night. I’m just in the moment.
“And I feel like that’s part of why we raced well. We’re here to have fun. We want to win, for sure. But we want to have fun and enjoy it. There’s a lot other things we could do outside of racing, and we’re just lucky to come here and do this for a living. Just keep going after every weekend.
Price-Miller came third over the weekend in All Star points behind Tyler Courtney and Justin Peck. He came in the top 10 in all but one characteristic, and although he didn’t win with the All Stars, he recently won a local show in South Dakota for his first post-diagnosis checkered flag. .
The second of three combined All Stars/IRA Sprints shows was scheduled for Saturday night at the Plymouth Dirt Track on the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds, with the swing set to wrap up Sunday at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie.
“Every week I can say I’m getting stronger and stronger,” said Price-Miller, who has been on the winning streak with the All Stars, IRA and World of Outlaws.
“It would take me three to five days after chemo to start feeling good enough to get up and move. As soon as I felt like that I would immediately go to the gym and start working out so I could feel as good as possible and not lose so much muscle and lose all that stamina and stuff for the racing car. It helped me in the long run.
“I would say (I am) 80-90%, and in these things you want to be 100% all the time. I feel like even though I’m at 80%, I’m still putting in my 100% effort and… I don’t think I’m holding things back.
Price-Miller’s off-track odyssey began in February 2019, when he noticed his right ankle hurt like he had rolled it. But chafing came and went, and given his athletic endeavors and the way a driver can bounce around in a 900 horsepower sprint car, some aches and pains are to be expected. He ignored it.
The problem flared up more frequently in 2020, however, and Price-Miller finally went to see an orthopedic surgeon in August.
“He gave me an x-ray and immediately found a bone spur on the top of my right foot,” he said.
The surgery was simple and the physiotherapy quick and productive. The pain was gone.
“Then May 2021 came and the pain was coming back,” Price-Miller said. “I was like, you know what, that’s part of it, it’s going to come back, that’s part of getting older. My mom got me in, so I came back in August 2021.”
The orthopedist ordered an MRI which came back with “abnormal results”. So he sent Price-Miller to an oncologist, who set up a CT scan, which led to a bone biopsy, questions about whether he might have leukemia, and finally a diagnosis with a long, scary name. . The cancer was considered stage 2 and treatment began.
“One of the days that really opened my eyes, I wasn’t feeling well, I could barely get out of bed. It was a beautiful day in February, it was like 60 degrees, and it’s rarely like that in Indiana,” Price said. -Miller, who is from Kokomo.
“I went out and took a walk. I was super grateful to be able to get out and walk, depending on how I felt. Before that, I wouldn’t have been grateful for that. I would take it for granted. It’s something I will never do again, like taking every race for granted. It goes so fast.
“I learned that over the past few months. This is something I learned through this experience and will be grateful for for the rest of my life.
Chemotherapy took care of a spot in Price-Miller’s neck and another in his pelvis and dramatically shrunk the large tumor in his right leg. He’s due for another PET scan next month to see if the radiation did the rest.
Price-Miller has heard people find his story of racing between treatments inspiring, and he’s happy if that’s the case, but stresses his goal was simply to get better.
“Racing was something that helped me out,” Price-Miller said. “It’s something I can do to get away from it all. I really don’t think about it when I run. Selfishly, it helped me more than anyone.
“I used to always race or work to try and impress and show people what I could do. Now I just do it for my own enjoyment and always try to put on a show for other people and d inspire others. Before, I didn’t really appreciate my own success. Now, I make a point of trying to do it.