Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of stories on area cancer survivors as the date nears for the 2013 Relay For Life at James B. Abraham Stadium in Lonoke. The event starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 26. It concludes at 6 a.m. Saturday, April 27.
Our names are Preston and Cindy Hamilton, and we are cancer survivors. Our stories are similar in that our cancers were not found in the typical way.
Preston was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the fall of 2009.
Going in for a routine colonoscopy, the doctor was concerned about a possible enlarged prostate. Preston’s PSA had always been in the normal range, so we weren’t too worried. PSA stands for prostate-specific-antigen, a substance produced by the prostate gland. Measurement of PSA, which is done with a blood test, is a screening tool used for detection of prostate cancer. A biopsy was ordered, however, and Preston was diagnosed with prostrate cancer.
There are three possible avenues in treating prostrate cancer: radiation therapy, surgery or no treatment at all. We decided against radiation therapy, and because he was only 62 years old at the time, we chose surgery.
Dr. Ronald Kuhn, a specialist in the da Vinci method, performed the surgery. The da Vinci System is a sophisticated robotic platform designed to expand the surgeon’s capabilities and offer a minimally invasive option for major surgery.
The surgery was successful, and with the grace of God, he is cancer free today.
I was diagnosed with invasive carcinoma breast cancer on Jan. 13, 2012.
For the last five years, I had a diagnostic mammogram because of fibrocystic breast disease. The cancer never did show up on a mammogram.
In fact, just a few months prior, I had a mammogram that read "normal." Through self-examination and observation, I felt like something just wasn’t right, so I made another appointment with the doctor. He agreed with me, performed a biopsy and found the cancer.
Because of the stage of cancer, I was given six months of chemotherapy (to shrink the tumors) before the mastectomy. On Aug. 1, 2012, I had a radical bilateral mastectomy. A PET scan right before the surgery insured that the cancer had not spread. In fact, the miracle was that there was not even any cancer in my lymph nodes. After a PET Scan in December, I am still cancer free.
In the past, I often wondered just how I would handle something like a cancer diagnosis in my husband or myself. But, I found that a lifetime of faith in God prepared us. It was His strength, our family, strong Christian friends, and good doctors who sustained us through this journey. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
We are looking forward to joining others in this celebration at the Relay for Life!