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McDonough woman urges self-checks for early detection
by Noreen Cochran
October 03, 2013 01:20 PM | 1519 views | 1 1 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye /
Breast cancer survivor Janice Stowe displays her Relay for Life T-shirt.
Staff / Katherine Frye / Breast cancer survivor Janice Stowe displays her Relay for Life T-shirt.
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Janice Stowe of McDonough, 63, said after 13 years she still remembers the moment when she detected her Stage 3 breast cancer.

“I had a mammogram three months before I found the lump myself. I was in the shower Thanksgiving morning and I found a lump,” she said. “I had to wait over the weekend to go to the doctor.”

The holiday season suddenly became drenched in anxiety.

“It was difficult. It was difficult on my family more so than me,” Stowe said. “They were devastated. It was hard on them.”

The news hit her mother, Lillian Cash, hard after the 1995 death of her husband, Louis Cash.

“My dad had cancer of the esophagus,” Stowe said. “It was a death sentence to my mom. She couldn’t even talk about it. She had to go in another room and shut the door when I told her. She watched my daddy struggle so long.”

Stowe had surgery.

“I had a double mastectomy. I had my right breast removed first,” she said. “I had the second a year later when I finished up chemo. I found the lump in my left breast. I had the second one removed.”

Stowe said she would rather have the aggressive treatment than another round of chemotherapy.

“I had chemo for almost a year. I understand now they have improved it a lot. Then, you did eight hours of a slow drip of treatment. Every third treatment I got a stronger dose, which makes you sick,” she said.

It also made her bald.

“I lost all my hair. If I had a really good feature, it was my hair. Being bald-headed was not fun,” Stowe said.

Neither was chemo, but her husband Tommy made it endurable.

“My husband retired and he went with me every treatment and every doctor visit,” Stowe said. “He was by my side for eight hours during chemo.”

In remission since 2008, Stowe said she is thankful for her blessings.

“Going through cancer gives you a whole new prospect on life. Now I’m so grateful. I have four beautiful grandchildren I didn’t have then,” she said.

Stowe has advice for all women, even those considered too young to begin having mammograms.

“I check my body all the time. Be aware of your body. I don’t take anything for granted,” she said.

The grandmother also gives back to the community through Henry County Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society staged at a high school stadium.

“I love it,” Stowe said about the 24-hour event. “I raised a lot of money.”

She volunteers with her daughter Tonya Brantley, a Timber Ridge Elementary School physical education teacher who also co-chairs the event.

“She is an extraordinary person,” Brantley said “She is the one bagging thousands of T-shirts for teams before Relay, cleaning the bathrooms at Relay at 2 a.m., picking up trash around the track at 5 a.m. and dancing at 6 a.m. She Relays all night!”

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Linda Dunaway
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October 04, 2013
This was a great article but it made me cry. I will always remember the call I got from you, Janice. You ask me if I would shave your hair off since it was falling out from the chemo. This was a hard day for both of us. I thank God that you are a survivor and I know you & you will always be there to help others with cancer because that is just the kind of person you are! You had what it took to survive, good husband, great daughter,supportive family & your Lord & Savior. Love you, Linda
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