“Everything is perfect — until it isn’t — and then it gets even better.”

So said former Utah Congresswoman Mia Love as she spoke to young Latter-day Saints at a YSA Area Conference held in downtown Salt Lake on Saturday evening. The theme of the conference was “Together in Christ,” and Love shared her personal, life-changing health experience that she said fit perfectly with the theme.

“About a year and a half ago, I went on vacation with my family. As soon as we landed, I felt a headache come on. When we went to the beach, the reflection of the sun on the water made the headache worse. My husband took me to the hospital.”

Following a series of X-rays, the doctor reading them asked, “Was that there before?”

It was a tumor in her brain.

Love rushed home to Utah to have surgery, which removed about 95% of the tumor. She knew she would have to follow up with chemotherapy and radiation, but remained hopeful that the tumor was perhaps benign.

Then, the biopsy results came back — the tumor was not benign. It was a Grade 4, fast-growing tumor. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the same type of brain cancer that took the life of Sens. Ted Kennedy, John McCain and Beau Biden. Love said she was given 10 to 15 months to live.

“I would believe the diagnosis,” she said, “but I would not believe the prognosis.”

“I had babies! And I could not leave my husband. His mother had died from a brain tumor. Why would God do this to me?! Where are the miracles?,” she asked. “Where are the miracles?”

As she walked with a friend, she lamented the lack of miracles in her life. “Have you asked?” said her friend? “Have you asked specifically for miracles in your life?”

“At that moment,” Love said, “I decided to ask for miracles” and then do everything she could to find those miracles. “I chose to believe promises made to me, and to act in faith.”

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People listen as former Utah congresswoman Mia Love speaks at the Together in Christ Utah YSA Conference at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Working for miracles

In addition to an “army of Saints” praying for her, Love was able to enter a clinical trial at Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University in North Carolina. She was the third person admitted to the immunotherapy trial, overseen by Dr. Henry Friedman, a neuro-oncologist and deputy director of the center.

In January, she began the experimental treatment that involves using her body’s own immune system to attack the tumor. Now, almost eight months later, her tumor is shrinking. Friedman told her he is not trying to just keep the cancer at bay. He is aiming to cure her. And, if he has anything to say about it, she will live a “good, long life.”

Love, who was sharing her story publicly for the first time, told the Latter-day Saints assembled at the Salt Palace that she was scared when first learning of her diagnosis. But she was also scared to share the diagnosis with others.

“Can you believe that?” she asked. “I was afraid that I would be ‘tossed away’, that I would be as good as buried while I was still alive.”

Jason Love listens as his wife, former Utah congresswoman Mia Love, speaks at the Together in Christ Utah YSA Conference at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

She decided the time to share was now because she wanted her audience to know that there is no trial “too big” for God. “Ask for your miracle,” she said. “And I will ask for you too.”

Through the past 16 months, Love, who served as a U.S. representative for Utah’s 4th Congressional District from 2015 to 2019, has continued doing commentary on CNN. She did the audio of her book, “Qualified: Finding Your Voice, Leading with Character, and Empowering Others,” she sits on advisory boards, keeps a regular schedule of public speaking and most of all, she has continued to deepen the most important relationships in her life.

On July 10, 2023, she reached the 15-month mark, originally given as the outside limit of survival. She celebrated passing that milestone by eating gelato in Italy with her family. She and her husband Jason are looking forward to becoming grandparents any day now, followed by more commentary, books, speaking and travel.

“Everything is perfect — until it isn’t — and then it gets even better.”

Holly Richardson is the editor of Utah Policy.

Former Utah congresswoman Mia Love gives an emotional talk at the Together in Christ Utah YSA Conference at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. Love detailed in her speech that she has been battling brain cancer for the last year and a half. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News