‘Thriving and surviving’: Nurse practitioner shares breast cancer journey

Buddy Check 3

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – Beaufort family nurse practitioner Iselyn Hamilton-Austin is a pro at her specialty — pediatrics.

She’s thrilled to share her undeniable strength after a surprising discovery 15 years ago. 

“It was like 30 days before my wedding and I was doing…my regular check and I found a small lump,” Iselyn said, adding, “at first I kinda…blew it off.”

But her close friend and OB-GYN insisted that she get it checked.

“He was having a hard time finding it. I was like it’s there, it feels like a tiny marble,” Iselyn explained. “So I went and had a mammogram, they found a suspicious area. And then I had an ultrasound and it was there.”

Successful chemo and radiation treatments followed.

“Thank God that he was the one that was like, ‘No you’re not gonna do that. You’re gonna check this now,’” Iselyn said. “Because I think that saved my life.”

The mom and grandmother says having breast cancer encouraged her to make giving a priority – like the nonprofit she started in Tampa.

“I paid for mammograms and bills for people who couldn’t afford to,” she said.

Her latest promise: writing children’s books that celebrate grandmothers.

“What better way than to pour what I love into a book for kids to read?” she said. “And for me, it was about my grandkids. I’m known as MiMi to them. 

“When I’m gone they’ll still be here, and they can still see me.”

And so will her patients – through donated books.

Most importantly now though, Iselyn is still living her amazing life.

“I’m still here 15 years later, and I’m thriving and surviving. And all of us can,” she said. “We just have to be there for each other.”

Iselyn’s message to women: don’t delay your breast care.

If you’re interested in checking out her work, visit this link for the first book in the “MIMI and ME” series. Click or tap here for the Christmas book.


WSAV News 3 is On Your Side with Buddy Check 3 every third of the month to remind you and your buddies to complete your breast self-exams.

Click or tap here to learn more about the program.

If you have any questions or concerns about breast health, call the SJ/C Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion at 912-819-7053.


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