Everything changes the moment you are diagnosed with cancer. But patients can celebrate and hope for the success of others.
Marianne Hamilton will never forget the day she heard the words, “It’s a virulent disease” and the room began to spin.
Knowing that breast cancer affects one in five women in their lifetime, and due to a family history of cancer, Hamilton always imagined that it wasn’t a question of if, but when. Even so, when the diagnosis came, she was understandably upset.
So, when the world began to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Hamilton was stepping up herself to fight a battle she was determined to win.
“I had a lumpectomy in March (2020) and radiation in April and May. “It was a crazy time,” she said.
Hamilton said her oncologist helped set the record straight by indicating that there would be little more to do during the lockdown than focus on her health.
Hamilton knows she’s lucky. Cancer is detected early. The disease had not spread to her lymph nodes, and her treatment plan included radiotherapy, but no chemotherapy.
“It wasn’t a picnic, but it wasn’t horrible,” she said.
As an athlete, Hamilton was grateful that she felt good enough to continue running during that time. Soon her daily routine consisted of walking 4-7 miles, showering and eating and then heading to Intermountain Cancer Center in St. George.
“I would wear a jogging skirt in a different color every day and have a number taped to my shoulder indicating how many treatments were left,” Hamilton said. “I felt like I was in a race.”
And in a way, it was.
Hamilton crossed the finish line for her treatments May 11 while donning a sequined cocktail dress, sash and beauty queen tiara as a way of celebrating. I brought a large cake with a radioactive symbol on top to give to the cancer center technicians as a way of saying thank you.
“Everyone at the cancer center has been so amazing,” Hamilton said. “I can’t say enough about the oncologist, my nurse, the navigator…all of them. They were the dream team. I can’t imagine having anyone better to guide me on that journey.”
Hamilton also credits her husband for his continued support during such a difficult time.
“I wouldn’t have made it as well as I did, or happily as I did, without him,” she said.
Hamilton said she knew she was one of the lucky ones. Her case was resolved relatively quickly and with the best possible outcome. However, her cancer journey has given her a great deal of perspective on life, and she is grateful for any opportunity she has to help others.
“A lot of people in town have been very helpful to me. I want to be able to push it forward, and I’ve been doing that as often as I can,” Hamilton said.
Along with another year as a cancer survivor, Hamilton has achieved another milestone this year – her 70th birthday – and she’s so happy!
“This is going to be an epic year,” she said. “I won the title of Ms. With so many amazing things to look forward to, it makes my health adventure all the more valuable.”
For more information about cancer, prevention, detection, treatment, and cure, see www.Intermountain.com/cancer.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations throughout the western United States, Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics and medical groups with approximately 3,800 working physicians and advanced practice providers, a health plans division of more than one million called Members of SelectHealth and other health services. To help people live the best possible lives, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare using evidence-based best practices to deliver consistently high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information, see Intermountain Healthcare.