Old Mill House’s Innkeeper Thrives After a Battle with Cancer

As of May 11, 2013, Dreama Travis, owner of the Old Mill House Bed & Breakfast, is 70 years old, and as a cancer survivor, every birthday is an extra special milestone. InnVirginia is pleased to share Dreama’s story in honor of the recent 26th Annual National Cancer Survivors Day:

“Three years ago I was diagnosed with Stage IV Endometrial Cancer—inoperable and incurable.  It had metastasized to my lung, pelvis and diaphragm.  I was at a ski resort in Arizona when I began having chest pains and couldn’t breathe.  My daughter rushed me to the ER where I was told I had a mass in my lung.  I immediately flew back to Virginia and began the process of testing to determine the type and stage.  Amidst all the drama and pain, the blizzard came and left me without phone service for a week, unable to communicate with doctors and my family.  It was just me and God and of course the new knowledge that things were not looking good.

I closed the B&B and spent most of my days lying on the sofa in front of the fireplace or making trips to Charlottesville for endless testing and doctor visits.  Neighbors were wonderful to dig me out and drive me.  My daughters, who live out of state, left their families and came to help and were such a blessing.  The next couple of years, I spent opening and closing the B&B and giving massages but I had to push through the cleaning, cooking and being hospitable.

Last spring I was told that I ‘didn’t have much longer.’ Once again, I closed the business and began getting things in order for my children.  After much thought, I decided to stop all cancer drugs and live the amount of time I had left. I chose quality of life over quantity of life and I wanted to take the holistic approach.  I began eating whole foods with no pesticides or hormones, juicing and eliminating sugar and other things that fed the tumors. I started a moderate exercise program, yoga, along with prayer and meditation and made a concerted effort to keep stress at bay.  I immediately started feeling better, my energy returned and the doctors are now amazed at my test results and vital signs.

Cancer has been a door to many blessings in my life.  Even times of pain and adversity can be seen as opportunities for growth for which I can be grateful.  My wonderful friends at the Inns at Montpelier held my hand every step of the way.  They brought flowers, fresh eggs, food and provided on-going therapeutic massage which was all part of the healing package.  My church family did all lawn work, made me a prayer quilt, catered to my every whim and prayed without ceasing.  My neighbors showed up on my doorstep often with bucket and cleaning supplies in one hand and comfort food in the other.  One is an oncology nurse and she dressed my wounds and gave much-needed advice.  My mother and my daughters, sisters, brothers and extended family provided support in every way possible.  The outpouring of love simply cannot be described.  I could go on forever.

The take-away message here is, after a long roller-coaster ride, I’M OPEN FOR BUSINESS.  The year 2012 brought two major storms ripping apart the Old Mill House…After coming very close to closing permanently, I’m eager to dive in and once again start enjoying guests and providing them with a place not only to lay their heads at night but also to drink in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, surrounding creeks and river and nature at its finest, a place I appreciate more than ever.”

If you would like to contact Dream about reserving a room at the Old Mill House, you can send her an email at milllady@aol.com or give her a call at 540- 948-6287.


Photo by Fernando Hernandez Photography LLC (www.fhiphoto.com)

Photo by Fernando Hernandez Photography LLC (www.fhiphoto.com)

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15 Responses to “Old Mill House’s Innkeeper Thrives After a Battle with Cancer”

  1. Jay Billie says:

    Even before Dreama’s bout with cancer, she was a miracle in the making. Her spirit, resolve, enthusiasm and personal story are an inspiration to everyone around her. If you haven’t been to the Old Mill House, go and sit on the back porch and the scenery will grab you and never let you go. From Jay and Elizabeth, fellow Inns at Montpelier members.

  2. Miriam Bryant says:

    As a regular customer and friend, I have to say that Dreama left out the part about her ministry to others during the past few years. Her cancer journey has always seemed to be centered around seeking understanding and she has been so generous in sharing her knowledge with others or simply offering support. It is no surprise that her community has rallied around her because Dreama is so very generous in sharing her love with an open heart. Hugs and hope to you, Dreama. You continue to be an inspiration to John and me. . . and many others. Miriam & John (Virginia Beach)

  3. Kippi says:

    So thankful for this special lady who is like a second mom to me. Praise God for His mercies! I love you Dreama!

  4. Judi says:

    You are a breath of the Lord’s fresh air in a world gone mad. I’m blessed to call you a friend. You’ve definitely put on the armor of God, and He must be so proud of you, Dreama. I love you!

  5. Carolyn Lilly says:

    Dreama: This is a really heart-warming story of what you have been through. I am so thankful to God that you are doing so well. All of your WV “buddies” have been so worried about you. This is truly a blessing and miracle for you and all your relatives and friends. I can’t wait to see you soon. Love, Carolyn

  6. Judi Mallory says:

    Posted earlier, now I’m writing from the Montgomery, Alabama area….. a growing town called “Pike Road”. Again, Dreama, it’s thrilling to see His work through you and that you’re giving him the Glory. You’re such an inspiration to so many……. not to mention a GREAT hostess!!

  7. Dani says:

    I met Dreama in 2006 when hiking in the beautiful mountains near Old Mill. Though she denies it any time I mention this – she saved my life that weekend – I was depressed and though not a suicidal person – very very close to feeling like life was not worth living anymore. Rather than camping, I spent the night at the Inn, got the best massage I’ve ever had – before and since- and made a good friend. Dreama is a spiritual person – whatever your religion or beliefs – she radiates goodness and wisdom and love and passes it on readily to those around her. We are all lucky to have her in our lives and lucky that her faith, her ability to heal others has allowed her to heal herself – repeatedly. Dani

  8. Dreama, God loves the praises of His children. Thank you for sharing all the ways He has blessed you during your illness and His healing power which passes all understanding. Your boldness to share will encourage others and bring blessings to you. The only portion I have trouble believing is that you are 70. No way!

  9. Kelli and Bill Smith says:

    I am so over joyed to hear of your recovery. My husband and I have stayed with you several times….the first being shortly after the sudden loss of my father in law. Your kindness and the immediate feeling of being at home still make me smile. My husband fly fishes in the morning and we “hang out” in your kitchen and visit and wait for his return and then him and I enjoy the local wineries. One summer I brought my mom to this wonderful place and she not being a rural girl was a little unsure. The next morning on the back porch during breakfast my mom says sobbing ” How can you not feel God here”. Exactly….you feel God with Dreama and in her home. Can not wait to visit again soon! We love you. Kelli and Bill
    Virginia Beach

  10. Dreama,
    Our love and prayers are always with you. John and I will never forget your kindness when we lost our daughter–a million thanks. You are deeply loved by all my family–THE GRAVES FAMILY.

    Love to you forever.

  11. Tristin Dickie says:

    The Old Mill House is wonderful because…..it has mountains in the background. It has good cookin’! It has a creek. You see horses out your bedroomn window. There are trees as far as the eye can see. It is nothing but peace. There is space to run. There is a barn. You get breakfast in bed. There are great books to read. You can read notes all around the house about how much we love our Dee Dee. It is a home. You will have the best days here. You eat homemade food. Recipe: one dab of food, one cup of love. There are pictures on every wall. There are candles in every room. It has the cutest decorations. Massages are always around the corner? The sun alwyas seems to shine brighter than usual. Hearts are filled with joy when you gather here. We are always welcomed by a hug from the best grandmother ever. These are just a few of my favorite things about The Old Mill House Bed & Breakfast. With much love, Trissy Hope. Age 13, Knoxville, Tennessee

  12. sharon griffith says:

    My beautiful friend, Dreama….the one who has listened to my woes without being judgmental, shared in my joys, gone more than the extra mile for my family, and been like a sister. God has blessed so many through Dreama’s story with her positive attitude and strong faith. She is truly an inspiration.

  13. Sue Garrett says:

    To my Dear Friend Dreama, I have read this over and over and how proud and happy I am to be friends with you. You are an amazing person and I am so happy that God has seen you through all of this illness and gave you the strength to face all that you have been through. As for me, I knew you have always been there for me and we have so many memories we can cherish. I am sorry I was not there in person when you were so sick, but my prayers and love were with you. So stay strong as you have always been and I send my love to you. I am so very proud of you.

  14. Alice Atkinson says:

    Dreama: This is such a wonderful and touching story of what you have been through. You are truly a walking miracle. It was so good seeing you today and spending time with you & the other girls. You are such a beautiful person, inside and out, and I am so blessed to have you as my special friend. You are always in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope things continue to go well with you.
    I love you,

  15. Pat Aldridge says:

    Dreama: Your article would have to be a blessing to anyone. I feel so honored to get an invitation to be a part of your luncheon. God is so good and your work is not finished so I feel he has great things still yet for you to accomplish. I stood up in church and talked about your miracle and what a joy it was to have spent time with you. I will be keeping in touch and hope to visit your beautiful Bed and Breakfast facility. I have always counted you a great friend and it is great to have friends we love very much.

    Love you always,


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