Living Her Life With A Special Zest: Multiple Myeloma Patient Finds Optimism And A Home At City Of Hope Newport Beach Fashion Island

Living Her Life With A Special Zest: Multiple Myeloma Patient Finds Optimism And A Home At City Of Hope Newport Beach Fashion Island

Bonnie Nolan’s exuberant outlook towards life is contagious, whether she’s talking about her loving family and friends, her tennis game, or her passion for traveling. Even chemotherapy for multiple myeloma at City of Hope Newport Beach Fashion Island—or “cancer camp,” as she calls it—is an occasion to be celebrated.

“I came to City of Hope after I had been diagnosed and given six to 12 months to live if I was lucky,” she said. “When I arrived for my first appointment here, my shoulders were slumped, and I felt so low; I couldn’t believe what was happening. Then the receptionist, Tiffany Yuhas, came out from behind the front desk and hugged me. She took me on a tour, and I met Kerry O’Neill, who’s now my nurse. I found my home in 30 seconds—I was giggling! I felt beyond welcomed and loved, and I knew this was the place for me. And they’ve never disappointed me since. It sounds weird but coming here is like my birthday—I can’t wait to go. They’re absolutely wonderful.”

Personalized Treatment And Support

For Nolan, her care team and treatment close to home was meant to be. The Newport Beach Fashion Island location opened just days before her diagnosis in January 2020. When Nolan was considering her treatment options, she talked with people she knew in the medical field: An oncologist from her tennis club, a pathologist related to her best friend, even her husband’s cousin, an oncologist in Ohio. They all gave her the same advice: Go to Amrita Krishnan, M.D., a world-renowned hematologist-oncologist specializing in Nolan’s type of cancer.

“Her brilliance and expertise are on a whole other level. She’s the leader in multiple myeloma,” Nolan said. “I speak in Disney terms, and she talks in scientific, brainiac terms. She helped me comprehend that multiple myeloma is a cancer through my blood and explained the difference between things like bone marrow and plasma. She showed me what my numbers in my weekly blood work meant and what they’re looking for. It’s amazing.”

Nolan started treatment that March and was in remission within four months. After a stem cell transplant in August 2020, Nolan is now on a maintenance regimen of infusion therapy every other week. 

She is grateful for City of Hope’s singular research expertise and leading-edge treatments for multiple myeloma, as well as the “gorgeous, wonderful” facility that’s practically around the corner from her Newport Beach home. But Nolan says her care team’s personal support is also invaluable to her.

“The word ‘cancer’ sounds awful. I don’t want people to pity me. What I want is to be positive and be me,” Nolan said. “You don't get pitied at City of Hope. Dr. Krishnan's not going to pity you. She is going to tell you how they’re going to give you the best life they can.”

Accentuating the positive

That approach suits Nolan. She has an unbridled zest for life that doesn’t allow cancer to slow her down. She has matches to play with friends at the Newport Beach Tennis Club and a 30th wedding anniversary to celebrate with her husband, Ed, this year, among many other activities. 

“Cancer does not consume me in any way, shape or form,” she said. “If I need to go lay down on a Sunday when I get fatigued from my treatment, I go lay down. So what? That's the worst thing? Who cares?”

For Nolan, it’s all about attitude. She’s fighting cancer with optimism, she says, and she’s blessed to have friends, family, and the team at City of Hope Orange County by her side. And she strives to enjoy life every step of the way.

“You want to be positive when you have cancer—get enough sleep, eat good food, and drink a glass of red wine to celebrate life, not panic about it. That's my philosophy.”

Hope is growing at City of Hope Orange County. Our new locations in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach Lido and Irvine Sand Canyon join City of Hope Newport Beach Fashion Island to form a four-location network of highly specialized cancer care. To make an appointment at any of our four Orange County locations, click here or call:

·         Newport Beach Fashion Island: (949) 763-2204

·         Newport Beach Lido: (949) 999-1400

·         Irvine Sand Canyon: (949) 333-7580

·         Huntington Beach: (714) 252-9415