Lee-McNelis pushing forward

Lee-McNelis pushing forward

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The grind doesn't stop for Joye Lee-McNelis. Not even lung cancer can stop her.

"You know just because I'm not traveling with the team doesn't mean it's not time to work," Lee-McNelis. "You know in the world of athletics it's different. As I was in the hospital last week I broke down game film the whole time I was sitting there in the bed."

For the time being watching her Southern Miss squad from afar will be Lee-McNelis' life. This after announcing a leave of absence Tuesday to treat cancer in the upper lobe of her left lung.

"I've not felt good for several months and I had arm pain," Lee-McNelis. "I've had jaw pain. I've had chest pain. But every time it would come up I'd just take three Aspirin. Because that's what you should take if you think you're having a heart attack. And I just said when the season gets over with I will..I'll handle it."

Doctors have told Lee-McNelis that the cancer cell is differentiated, meaning spreading occurs slowly.

"You know praise the Lord that it's not in any lymph nodes," she said. "So hopefully with (this) procedure they'll be able to do surgery. From my understanding they'll take out the left lobe of my lung and we'll move forward."

Lee-McNelis hopes the same mentality toward challenges her team has displayed throughout the season serves as encouragement.

"You know my adversity now is totally different," she said. "It's much greater because it involves me. It involves my family. And so now I'm faced with adversity. I said you know what just like we faced it then we're going to face it now. And we'll overcome because God is in control and we'll move forward."

Lee-McNelis will head to Jackson Thursday for a consultation. The next steps will then be determined. One thing is certain, Lee-McNelis won't stop working. The sideline is calling her name.

"What my hope is that I miss this weekend's trip and hopefully I'll be back on the sideline in no time at all," she said. "I don't plan to miss many games. I mean we've got five total left and I'm missing these two. My hope is to be back on the sideline pretty quickly."