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Born in Spain, Maria lived with her grandparents for 7 years before immigrating to Venezuela to be reunited with her loving and dedicated parents. At age 17, Maria returned to Spain to attend medical school at the University of Santiago. After medical school, Miller and her husband came to the United States, where she completed her pediatric residency at Flushing Hospital Medical Center in Flushing, New York. Just over 23 years ago, Miller and her family moved to Oviedo, Florida, where she has a thriving pediatric medicine office. At first glance, it seems that Miller had an easy life. She comes from a loving family and has had the opportunity to live in some of the most beautiful places on the planet. However, while still in medical school she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling autoimmune disorder. In spite of the life-changing diagnosis, Maria was even more determined to live a full and complete life. This disease would not stop here. She became a mom and a medical doctor, only taking one sick day from work in the past 20 years. Her debut novel, My American Dream, chronicles the struggles of immigration, having a dilapidating disease, and the pursuit of her American dream.
Dr. Maria L. Miller is a woman who has defied tremendous odds. In spite of her being raised in a rural farm village in Spain and being diagnosed with a dilapidating illness, Maria pressed on to become a board certified pediatrician and to raise children of her own. Her goal is to teach others to never let the bad things in life prevent you from having your dreams come true. Paperback: 192 pages| Publisher: AuthorHouse ISBN-13: 978-1-45207-699-7
Key Selling Points
An immigration story told from a woman’s point of view. A success story told from the perspective of a person who could have given in to her Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis.
About My American Dream
Born in a farming village in rural Spain, a young girl is faced with the harsh realities of life at an early age. Forced to be separated from her parents continents away she is raised by her grandparents as if one of their own. After years of being exiled from her family she is suddenly ripped away from the only life she had ever known. Called upon to rejoin her mother and father in South America she begins a journey of discovery that will shape what will eventually become her American Dream. Along the way she will face obstacles that may seem familiar to some, as well as some that are so unique that are unimaginable to most. As a teenager she was diagnosed with a chronic disease, which she was informed would lead to her eventual paralysis. As a young mother she was faced with a decision of where to raise a family away from the growing violence of her adopted homeland, and as a young professional she was ostracized by her peers for her accent and the physical toll her disease had begun to take on her appearance. This book takes you on one woman's journey of self discovery that spans from that small farming village in Spain to the big city lights of Miami and New York City all the while witnessing the internal battles that eventually shape her and allow her to be able to live Her American Dream.
What are some core values and beliefs you learned from your family? I learned from them that families should be together so that when you are apart it doesn’t matter. I know this because we went a part for a period of time but I always had good memories. Good memories are important. Your relatives live on in good memories and those left behind can survive on those memories. We don’t always get a lot of time but all time should be quality time. How has these values impacted your life? The main values were family and being together. In spending quality time with my parents and grandparents, I learned the importance of quality time, as well as the virtues of honesty and goodness. I try to be honest. I try to be a good person. I also learned that one must work to achieve anything in life. Never let the bad things in life prevent you from having your dreams come true. What motivated you to become a doctor? Believe it or not it was being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I wanted to find a cure for myself. When you went to medical school, what was most challenging about the process? It was being away from my parents, in a city where I didn’t know anybody. I was only 17 years old. Besides getting the studies done, I also had to survive a disease that was undiagnosed until I turned18 years old. While in medical school, you were diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). What changes did you have to make to be able to balance school with the illness? I really believe people don’t know how far they can go until they are in a situation. I really believe that God was always with me. He gave me the strength and he showed me the way to balance things. Sometimes it didn’t work because I am very stubborn. It was my faith and my commitment inspiration to finish something that I started. My boyfriend, who is my husband now, also helped me more than anyone could possibly imagine. I met him in medical school. When I was diagnosed they expected me to end up in a wheelchair sooner than later. More than 40 years later, I’m still walking around. It is by the power of God that I am still walking around. As a survivor of RA, what can you tell other survivors about managing the disease? Do you use traditional medicine, Holistic medicine, or a combination of both? I only want to tell everyone with a chronic disease, is that when you have the disease don’t let it take over. Make the disease adapt to your needs. We don’t want a disease to take over our lives because when it happens you get incapacitated. It paralyzes you. You have to know, I have this disease. It won’t go away but you take over the disease. Don’t let it take over you. I use a combination of medicines. I didn’t have much luck when I went to specialists. I think every patient is
unique. The thing that works for one person might not work for the next person. Doctors should listen to the patient to learn what the patient needs instead of making the same prescription based on disease alone. If the doctors listen, there may be something outside of traditional medicine to help a patient live better with a diagnosis. How do you think the medical community can better serve the RA community? Listen to the patients. I think sometimes we doctors get absorbed in the diagnosis without considering the patient’s needs. Because you have RA, asthma and children who are autistic we have to treat the disease or ailment often failing to consider that every child and person is unique. The diagnosis is only a label. How you handle the diagnosis is different because the patient is different. If we listen to our patients and them to us, we can learn from each other. You wrote the book My American Dream, what prompted you to tell this story? The idea came from my son Danny. I was telling him about my life, about my grandparents and about how difficult it was growing up. He came to me and said, “Mom, I think you should write a book.” I was unsure that people would like it, but he thought people would like and learn from my story. We live in a critical world and many judges before truly knowing the person. How do you deal with criticism? I never felt criticism from any people in American. I felt it from foreigners who worked in America. The only time I felt that I told the person who made me feel that way. Even with my language barrier, I never let that get me down. I have a lot of pride, we call that Spanish pride. In three words describe Maria Miller. Honest. Professional. Determined.