Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bobby Hamilton is still fighting

In August, Rick Minter from the Atlanta paper and I sat in Bobby Hamilton’s motor home at Bristol Motor Speedway and talked with him about his fight with cancer.
All of the reports about his three months of treatment for the cancer doctors had found in his neck were optimistic. The radiation and chemotherapy had taken their toll, but Hamilton was upright and moving forward.
Rick and I both wanted to write stories saying that Hamilton had defeated cancer. We kept wanting Hamilton and his fiancée, Lori, to say he was cured. They would not.
“She’s very careful about that,” Lori said, speaking of Hamilton’s lead physician, Dr. Barbara Murphy. “She doesn’t say, ‘Oh, you’re cured of cancer, you’re 100 percent clean.’”
The scans and everything that could be done from outside Hamilton’s body looked good. But some of the doctors at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville wanted to do surgery to dissect Hamilton’s lymph node to make sure the cancer cells were gone. Some of them didn’t think it was necessary, but Hamilton did.
“I don’t want to go to bed at night,” Hamilton says, “thinking we half-assed it.” Rick and I left and wrote our stories, saying that Hamilton would have that surgery done the following week. I can’t speak for Rick, but I guess I just assumed that no news was good news so I didn’t think about checking in after the surgery to make sure everything was OK.
Then, one day last week, I got an e-mail saying that Hamilton had hired Ken Schrader to drive the No. 18 Dodge in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2007.
Hamilton had said on March 17 when he announced that he was beginning treatments that he wanted to return to drive his truck beginning with the opener at Daytona in ’07. After seeing him in August I knew he had a long road ahead of him to get back behind the wheel. But the Schrader announcement prompted me to send Lori an e-mail asking her how Hamilton was coming along and whether he was going to get to race at Daytona.
Lori answered me quickly, but politely said it’d be a couple of days before they really would have anything to tell us. Maybe I should have been worried by that, but I guess I was still in the wishful thinking mode.
And then, Wednesday afternoon, Amanda Jones sent out a release from Bobby Hamilton Racing.
“In August after extensive treatment from chemotherapy and radiation Hamilton and his doctors were optimistic about findings in his post-treatment CT Scan,” it read. “However, microscopic cancer cells still remained in the right side of his neck. Since that time, Hamilton is continuing his chemotherapy treatment and has gone through several procedures to keep the cancer at bay.”
Hamilton is still fighting. “Cancer is an ongoing battle, and once you are diagnosed you always live with the thought of the disease in your body,” he said. “It is the worst thing you could ever imagine. We are going to continue to search for the best available treatment for my form of cancer. I have flown to several places for other opinions. We know there are some of the brightest minds in the world working on a cure for cancer.
“I didn’t want to be labeled as a victim when I announced it and I sure won’t lie down and be a victim now.”
I hope everybody who reads this will say a prayer for Bobby and Lori and their families, and one for his doctors and another one for all of the smart, dedicated people in this world who’re working every day to kick cancer’s ass.
Everybody who knows Bobby Hamilton would love to see him back behind the wheel for the Craftsman Truck Series season opener at Daytona. But it looks like that won’t happen in 2007.
That’s OK, because 2008 or 2009 works just fine, too.

26 comments:

Jo said...

David, could you please post--either here or on the TR page--an address where we can send our good wishes to Bobby and his family? Thanks.

Keeping him in my prayers--I'm the daughter and sister of two cancer survivors. My heart is with Lori and Bobby.

Anonymous said...

Hamilton will win this battle, rest assured.

BTW, Hamilton's fiance Lori? What happened to Debbie Hamilton?

Anonymous said...

Good health to Bobby in 2007!

Go31Go said...

God bless the Hamiltons. NASCAR has lost a gem.

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