How Shannon Miller Applied Olympic Lessons to Cancer Fight

Former Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller discussed battle with ovarian cancer

Former world champion Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010. Now she's written a book — "It's Not About Perfect" — that details her battle against the disease.

"It started out as a very long blog on my journey through chemotherapy, which proved to be very therapeutic for me," Miller told People magazine this week. "Over time, so many cancer survivors told me their stories, which inspired me and helped me to feel not so alone. So I wrote this wanting to do the same thing for other women, with some of the lessons I learned through sports that helped me during this challenge in my life."

The 38-year-old was originally diagnosed after a routine gynecological exam. Doctors subsequently removed what People described as a "baseball-sized cyst" from her ovary. But it was the chemotherapy that took the greatest toll.

"Chemotherapy was far more grueling than I ever thought," Miller said. "There were days I only had enough strength to walk around our dining room table once or maybe twice, a far cry from standing on the Olympic gold medal podium."

The experience had a transformational impact on Miller, and now she's looking to share her insights with others battling disease or other serious challenges.

"So much of gymnastics and young adulthood was about perfection, the perfect landing, the perfect toe point, the perfect score," Miller added. "And then you move into young adulthood, and you think it's about the perfect hair, the perfect body type and the perfect grades. But what I learned is that life isn't about perfection. It's about getting back up every time you fall and enjoying the journey."

It appears Miller is continuing to do just that. She's now a businesswoman, public speaker and mother of two.

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 21,290 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the US this year.