Don’t Wait

By Contributing Writer - August 05, 2021

Last September, Bonnie Hamilton began experiencing abdominal bloating and constipation. The symptoms prompted her to make an appointment with her primary care provider.

“My doctor ordered a CT scan and based on my results he quickly referred me to a gynecologist,” Hamilton shared.

Without question, Hamilton decided to make an appointment at Moffitt Cancer Center for further evaluation. Her daughter Samantha worked at Moffitt as an oncology nurse before moving to Atlanta. She urged her mother to seek the advice from former colleagues that she knew and trusted. Samantha even flew down to Tampa to attend her mother’s first appointment.

Bonnie Hamilton with her daughter Samantha.

“I was subsequently diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer,” said Hamilton. “My wonderful oncologist, Dr. Mian Shahzad, had a plan right from the start.”

Time was of the essence. The quick action by the Moffitt team helped save Hamilton’s life.

“I had a full hysterectomy on January 11,” Hamilton recalled. “The surgeons also removed cancer from my abdomen and colon.”

What should have been a four to five hours procedure ended up lasting eight and a half hours. Hamilton spent eight days in the hospital and now wears a colostomy bag.

Her treatment continued with three rounds of chemotherapy, which she completed in May. Now, she will begin maintenance therapy.

Bonnie Hamilton rings the bell signifying the end of treatment.

With Hamilton regaining her strength, she was ready to get back to business. After eight long months, she returned to work as a legal assistant.

“I think I surprised a lot of people with how well I did,” Hamilton said. “I can honestly say that I stayed positive throughout my journey.”

With a large support system of family and friends who never stopped praying for her, Hamilton believes they are one of the reasons she is here today.

 “My family and I are forever grateful to all the medical professionals at Moffitt,” Hamilton said.

“I never thought I would say these words - I am a cancer survivor!”

On July 31, the Tampa Bay Rays honored Hamilton during the Red Sox game at Tropicana Field through the Salute to Survivors program presented by Moffitt. The avid baseball fan is typically glued to the TV during Rays game and the experience was one she will never forget.

Bonnie Hamilton was honored during a 'Salute to Survivors' ceremony at the Tampa Bay Rays vs. Red Sox game on July 31.

“It was the best! I was so nervous beforehand, but once the tribute started I was so humbled and happy to be recognized. I was glad all I had to do was stand up and wave,” Hamilton said. "To be honored by my favorite major league baseball team and Moffitt in front of my family and the home crowd was beyond exciting and emotional. I cried, my sister-in-law cried, and she never cries! I will cherish this memory forever.”


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