MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — A yearly exam four years ago thrust a wife, mother and grandmother into a battle she never expected.
At age 47, Melissa Janes’ doctor found a lump which led to her diagnosis of stage three breast cancer, a disease that does not run in her family.
“I didn’t even know what to say. I didn’t know what to think. “I looked over at my husband, and I’m sure I had this concerned, overwhelmed tears in my eyes look. I just looked at him and he goes. It’ll be ok. We’re gonna fight this, and we’re gonna beat it..and he was my strength,” said Janes.
Janes underwent grueling chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.
“As I say, I started fighting the devil with the devil.”
Painful treatments came with side effects, including losing her hair. Her husband rubbed her head with coconut oil every night.
“I’m baldheaded and he’s telling me how beautiful I am, and that means everything.”
“My son, Tyler..he was here. He had to, he had to see me go through all this and I hate that. I hate that they had to see it, but then again, it’s because of them that I was able to fight.”
Her family pushed her to power through when she didn’t think her weakened body could take anymore. The fight paid off.
“I am clear, three years clear. However, I did have a scare last week. They found another lump, but it is benign. So we’re gonna just continue to watch that, but, so far so good.”
She advises women to get regular checkups. Don’t put off reaching out to someone battling breast cancer, and if you are diagnosed, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
“I’ve known people who have had breast cancer and they didn’t make it, and I want to let people know that you can survive it. You know, you may think that you’re not strong enough, but you are and I want people to know that they are not alone. You know, If you need somebody to talk to, you can talk to me.”
Even before her diagnosis, Janes participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk to raise money for the American Cancer Society. She was there Saturday morning as this year’s Portrait of Hope.