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
    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Sneak Peak

      Monday, August 18, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football 2014: Episode 1 Sneak Peak from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Wallace: 'It's My Offense'

      Monday, August 18, 2014 - Football

      The dean of Southeastern Conferences quarterbacks and the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing touchdowns, senior Bo Wallace is as healthy and confident as ever, and he's also assumed a more vocal leadership role on the... read more

    • VIDEO: We Are Ole Miss

      Saturday, August 16, 2014 - Athletics

      We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, "Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss" from earlier this year: Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss Football: Fins Up (Part 2)

      Saturday, August 16, 2014 - Football

      In case you missed it, Fins Up (Part 1) from last year:... read more

    • Rebels Battle Injuries on Defense

      Friday, August 15, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze confirmed that junior cornerback Carlos Davis suffered a torn ACL and will likely have surgery Monday. Davis joins sophomore cornerback Tee Shepard and junior safety Chief Brown on the list of players expected to miss... read more

    • Recapping the SEC Network Launch

      Friday, August 15, 2014 - Athletics

      The launch of the SEC Network shows the growth and vision of the 14 schools in the conference. #OleMiss-- Coach Alex (@apsimms2) August 15, 2014 That was fun! And the @SECNetwork is only getting started. #SECStoried finished strong. Great... read more

    • Ole Miss and the SEC Network Launch

      Thursday, August 14, 2014 - Athletics

      Tonight is the night!! #SECNetworkLaunch pic.twitter.com/73UYs8B0Hg-- SEC Network (@SECNetwork) August 14, 2014 Historic day for SEC & #OleMiss as we celebrate the launch of the @SECNetwork at 5pm CST! Congrats to everyone who made it happen!-- Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) August... read more

    • Luke Breaks Down the Offensive Line

      Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - Football

      The center and right tackle position battles have been two of the biggest story lines of fall camp, but as the Rebels prepped for their second preseason scrimmage Wednesday night, they are closer to solidifying the depth chart along the... read more

    • Attitude, Effort are Front and Center in Process

      Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - Volleyball

      "Buy-in" is a common term thrown around by coaches. How will first-year Ole Miss head volleyball coach Steven McRoberts measure buy-in, as the team continues its preseason work for the upcoming season? Attitude and effort. "If we bring those two... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Soccer Day One

      Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - Soccer

      THE SEASON: Soccer - Day One from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Kennedy Recaps Trip, Talks New-Look Roster

      Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - Men's Basketball

      The Ole Miss men's basketball team wrapped up its Bahamian exhibition tour with a perfect 2-0 record. Head coach Andy Kennedy recapped the trip, talked about the chemistry, depth and experience of a new-look roster heading into the fall. The... read more

    • Looking at CB, OL, WR and RB Depth

      Monday, August 11, 2014 - Football

      Sophomore defensive end Fadol Brown and sophomore cornerback Kailo Moore returned from their respective injuries, while sophomore Tee Shepard remains out with a toe injury. The results from Shepard's MRI performed on Saturday are being sent to Birmingham, head coach... read more

    • Ole Miss Programming on SEC Network

      Monday, August 11, 2014 - Football

      The SEC Network will debut on Thursday, August 14 with a three-hour SEC Now that will visit every SEC school and the 21 sports within the SEC. The first two weeks of the network will also feature customized programming to... read more

    • The Week That Was: Ole Miss Football

      Sunday, August 10, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss continues its preparations for the the 2014 season with the second full week of fall camp starting Monday. Here's a look back at the first full week of fall camp with some observations and takeaways, as well as... read more

    • Center, Right Tackle Position Battles to Watch

      Thursday, August 7, 2014 - Football

      An extended portion of the team drills were open to the media. Gameplay-wise, the highlight of the period was a pair of deep throws from senior quarterback Bo Wallace, one to sophomore wide receiver Laquon Treadwell and another to junior... read more