Clinton Helps Howland Beat Graves' Disease, Thyroid Cancer

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Associate Head Coach Janell Howland shows of her hair which she donated to Pantene to make wigs for cancer survivors.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Associate Head Coach Janell Howland shows of her hair which she donated to Pantene to make wigs for cancer survivors.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Jan. 31, 2014

By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

A two-time member of the LPGA Tour in 2005 and 2009, Ole Miss women’s golf associate head coach Janell Howland was in the prime of life.

In June 2011, however, she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, which is an overactive thyroid. In November 2011, she successfully underwent surgery to remove the thyroid, after which she learned there was cancer in the thyroid. From diagnosis, to surgery, to recovery, it all started with one friend simply looking out for another friend.

“I didn’t know I had it. I had pretty much all of the symptoms of Graves Disease, but I never put two and two together, but then Jami (Clinton) said enough was enough,” Howland said of Jami Clinton, coordinator of Olympic Sports Strength & Conditioning at Ole Miss. “She said I was shaking beyond control, and I needed to go see a doctor. She told me if I didn’t make an appointment, she would make one for me. You kind of didn’t have a choice then.”

The shaking, Howland said, was her biggest symptom of Graves’ disease. If not for Clinton, Howland said she didn’t know if and when she would have gone to the doctor to get tested.

“She’s a professional athlete, so she wanted to be in the weight room, work out and learn what I did,” Clinton said. “I noticed her hands would shake every once in a while when she about to lift. When we would sit and talk, her hands would sit in her lap and just tremble. I had a great aunt who had ALS, and that was one of the symptoms, so it was kind of frightening.

“If it was something serious, it is very important to catch it early as opposed to progressing to other symptoms. It started with that, and she knew me well enough that I would follow up on that threat, so that’s when she went to the doctor.”

When she learned that she had Graves’ disease, she had three options to treat it: surgery, radioactive iodine, or medicine, which she could only do for a couple of years because it damages other organs.

She chose the surgery route, and after the fall golf season, she went in and had surgery and everything went smoothly. Through the diagnosis and treatment, Howland has also been able to reach out and help others.

“I have had a couple of people come to me because I posted everything on Facebook and Twitter,” Howland said. “I have had one of my mom’s neighbors call me, and she had the same thing and she had her surgery. I have another friend who I played with on tour who later found out she had Graves’ disease and thyroid cancer. It’s been an eye-opening experience. For me, it was easier than some, but I’m very thankful that I went down that road and discovered it, so I can help other people.”

“The thing about Janelle is she always has a smile on her face,” Clinton added. “She’s always a very positive person. Janelle did not feel sorry for herself in any way, shape or form. It was fortunate that there were a lot of people around here taking good care of her.”

In November 2013, on the two-year anniversary of her being cancer-free, Clinton helped Howland cut off 16 inches of hair which she donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which partners with the American Cancer Society. Through that partnership, they donate wigs to women of all ages who have lost their hair to cancer.

“That was a really emotional thing for her because it was a celebration to say that she had been two years cancer-free. It’s hard to be young and have the thoughts of: ‘I might have cancer, or I might be really ill.’ A lot of people expect that when you’re older. But she’s in her late 30’s and that was unexpected.”

Today, more than two years cancer-free, Howland has to have blood work done every six to eight weeks and have additional blood work done every six months to make sure that there are no cancer cells. She also has an ultrasound every year.

“I’m a very strong Christian woman, so for me, it’s all part of a plan. It wasn’t as scary for me as for some people because I knew there was a reason that this happened to me, and I try to use that to help other people if I can.”

For more information on thyroid cancer check out these websites:

American Cancer Society— www.cancer.org
Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association — www.thyca.org

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

 

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • Rebels Unable to Overcome Slow Start

      Saturday, November 22, 2014 - Football

      FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas jumped out to a 17-0 in the first quarter and took advantage of six Ole Miss turnovers on the way to a 30-0 shutout win Saturday in Fayetteville."I was concerned all week, for whatever reason, that... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Arkansas

      Saturday, November 22, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 8 Ole Miss travels to Arkansas in its final road game of the regular season Saturday. Slowing the Hogs' Ground Attack The extra week of preparation, defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said, should prove beneficial... read more

    • Rebels Ahead of Schedule in Year Three

      Thursday, November 20, 2014 - Football

      It's sometimes easy to forget where the Ole Miss football program was just three short years ago, when Hugh Freeze was interviewing for the head coaching position. The Rebels had won just two games in 2011 and had lost 14... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 10-16, 2014)

      Monday, November 17, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 10-16, 2014Women's Basketball- The Ole Miss women's basketball team opened up the 2014-15 season with two wins over the weekend. The Rebels took down Grambling 92-67 in the season opener on Friday and followed... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Nov. 16

      Sunday, November 16, 2014 - Athletics

      The Ole Miss football team was off, but it was a busy week in Ole Miss athletics nevertheless, as the men's and women's basketball teams opened their respective seasons. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:-... read more

    • Getting Healthy, Staying Sharp on the Bye Week

      Friday, November 14, 2014 - Football

      No. 10 Ole Miss was without several starters and regular contributors against Presbyterian, and many others were limited.  But given an extra week of rest, head coach Hugh Freeze said he expects everyone, with the exception of the players out... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 11

      Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 11 - Presbyterian (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 3-9, 2014)

      Monday, November 10, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 3-9, 2014Football- Ole Miss took a break from the rugged Southeastern Conference and earned a 48-0 shutout win over Presbyterian on Saturday.- It was the Rebels' first shutout since beating Tulane 39-0 in 2012.-... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House - Nov. 9

      Sunday, November 9, 2014 - Football

      Austin Miller handled all of this week's edition of the Observations from the Best Seat in the House. Check out what he had to say below:- The nation's best scoring defense finally got its first shutout of the season, as... read more

    • Wilkins, Dodson Shine in Blowout Win

      Saturday, November 8, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss racked up the second-most yards in school history, totaling 640 yards, including 402 yards on the ground, in a 48-0 rout of Presbyterian. The Rebels were able to limit the reps for several players in the contest, with... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-PC

      Saturday, November 8, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 11 Ole Miss hosts FCS opponent Presbyterian in its final non-conference matchup of the regular season. Execute, Stay Heathy Saturday's game with Presbyterian is more about Ole Miss than its opponent, as the team's... read more

    • Injuries Create Opportunities for Young Players

      Thursday, November 6, 2014 - Football

      With injuries mounting on both sides of the ball, Saturday's game against Presbyterian presents an opportunity for young players and backups to gain experience and make an impression on the coaching staff. Among those injured players, head coach Hugh Freeze... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 10

      Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 10 - Auburn (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Path To Atlanta: A Little Homecookin'

      Monday, November 3, 2014 - Football

      A question we keep hearing is what needs to happen in order for the Rebels to get to the SEC Championship game. It's pretty simple, just cheer for the home team. The lone exception to that notion is Ole Miss'... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2014)

      Monday, November 3, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewOct. 27-Nov. 2, 2014Football- No. 4 Ole Miss lost a heartbreaker to No. 3 Auburn on Saturday night, 35-31.- In addition to losing the game, the Rebels lost star receiver Laquon Treadwell on what looked... read more