Jane Evans was diagnosed with breast cancer on Oct. 1, 2010 – the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“It was all around me,” Evans said. “I couldn’t get away from it, but I got my head wrapped around it pretty quickly.”
Doctors first thought Evans was Stage I, but after further testing she was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, which had spread to her bones and liver.
“I thought, ‘Millions of women go through mastectomies and chemo, and I can do this,’” she said. “It was what I had to do, it was what I needed to do, and it what was what I was going to do.”
Evans had no symptoms and her cancer was not picked up on a mammogram. There was no lump and it was located far back into her chest wall and flat. She said she had no pain and the only reason the cancer was caught was because she had a crease on her side that was explored by an ultrasound.
“I was told only 5-6 percent of diagnoses were similar to mine,” Evans said. “That went on to be really devastating because here were all these people who had been through breast cancer treatment – who were willing to talk to me – but it wasn’t my story. There weren’t people out there to talk to in the same situation. I can’t say anything more than it was devastating.”
Evans has been fighting cancer for three years, and her message to others is there is hope to be put into remission and have quality of life.
“I’ve heard stories of people with my diagnosis who are told not to bother with treatment because there is not much they can do, but I want people to know there is,” she said. “I am always living with never knowing if something is going to work and for how long.”
Evans has been through chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, reconstruction and seven weeks of radiation. She is currently on Tamoxifen, an estrogen suppressant that could make things worse before it makes them better. She said she is in a waiting period right now and is hopeful this works because it has minimal side effects.
“I’ll do this as long as I’m feeling the quality of life and as long as my husband and I can continue doing the things we want to do,” Evans said. “I will keep fighting.”
Evans and her husband, Frank, are the owners of the Great Clips salons from Monument to Pueblo and from Woodland Park to Falcon. They have owned the shops since 2006, and Evans said they are known as the Great Clips love story.
“In 2004, the previous owner set me up on a blind date with a man who was working at Junior Achievement, and the rest of the story is a year later we got married,” Evans said. “A year later he sold us his Colorado Springs shops. It was something at my age I thought I was too old to be buying, but we did. We jumped in and are very pleased with the outcome and very happy working with our group. I don’t really call it a team – I call it a family.”
Evans believes having privately owned salons is a chance for her to give back to the community. She has tailored her salons to provide services to fellow cancer patients – free of charge. In July 2014, Evans’ program, Clips of Kindness, will be required in Great Clips nation-wide.