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Artist continues work despite terminal prognosis

Many cancer patients try to continue living like they did before their diagnosis. Derek Miller is a 41-year-old terminally ill…

By Chelsea Blazer , in Health , on March 31, 2011 Tags: , ,

Many cancer patients try to continue living like they did before their diagnosis. Derek Miller is a 41-year-old terminally ill artist who maintained his lifestyle during his battle.

Derek Miller is a local Vancouver writer and part-time musician. Doctors diagnosed Miller with colorectal cancer in January 2007 and revealed it was terminal three years later.

Today, Miller, married with two young children, is nearing the end of his life. But he spent the past four years playing shows with his bands, recording music and frequently updating his blog and podcast.

Miller's band, The Neurotics, have performed at the starting line of the Vancouver Sun Run since 1994.

The Pen Machine

Miller owns penmachine.com and shares his experiences with cancer on the blog. Readers learned his tumours started shrinking in 2010, but near the end of the year doctors had no treatment options left for him.

Miller said his creative outlets have been critical to his mental health and helped occupy his time since his diagnosis.

“The blog is how I keep everyone up to date on what’s going on and what I’m interested in… And it’s something my kids and wife and family and friends will have left of me once I die, so it’s worth continuing.”

The Neurotics

Miller played part-time with his band, The Neurotics, for almost 20 years. Physical demands forced him to quit in 2009.

“Basically, we dress up in silly costumes, wear wigs, pretend we’re British, and play old Beatles and sixties songs, ’70s rock, ’80s New Wave…the hits. Whatever people enjoy. It’s a party band, and it was always a fun show to do.”

Inside Home Recording

InsideHomeRecording.tv is a podcast of instructional videos about home and project studio recording.  Miller began co-hosting the show in 2005. He continued to record his own segments and maintain the website after his diagnosis. His involvement is now ending, but the podcast will continue.

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