The chorus to a song sang by Pastor Clay Evans and the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church choir of Chicago goes “All night, all day, the angels keep watching over me.”

The chorus to a song sang by Pastor Clay Evans and the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church choir of Chicago goes “All night, all day, the angels keep watching over me.”
While there are some people who will never have an opportunity to meet their “angel,” Melva Thornton of Bismarck believes that one of her angels works at the Baptist Family Clinic of Bismarck in the person of Jakeeli Kersey.
“God and her are the reason I am standing here today talking to you,” said Thornton.
According to Thornton, she became ill with a terrible cough in August 2017. There were no other symptoms with her cough.
“I went to my local primary practitioner Jakeeli Kersey,” said Thornton. “She ordered two x-rays within a 30-day medication treatment, as well as breathing treatments. She said this is not okay and that I should have been well by now,” she added.
Based on her x-rays, it appeared as though Thornton had pneumonia. Kersey, not satisfied with the diagnosis, ordered a CT scan with contrast for the next day.
“She called back that afternoon and said I had a mass in my left lung and in the bronchus. She immediately got me to a pulmonary specialists, Dr. Nutan Bhaskar at Little Rock Diagnostic. He confirmed and performed a biopsy the next day,” said Thornton.
According to Thornton, the news was not good as the mass was large and located in a vital area for removal of the lung.
Thornton’s diagnosis was squamous cell carcinoma, which is a cancer caused by an uncontrolled growth of abnormal squamous cells.
“This information went to Dr. Robert Muldoon of the Genesis Center, where my daughter is employed,” said Thornton. “He wanted to see me the next day and start chemo treatments before I got to see a surgeon.”
Thornton chose her surgeon, Dr. Matthew Steliga, from a list provided to her.
“Dr. Muldoon wanted to continue treatment of chemo,” said Thornton, who complied with her physician’s request.
Thornton was met with disappointment when Steliga stated he could not operate on her. He suggested removing her lung and that she continue her chemotherapy treatments.
“Now I knew what I was facing. I knew at my age of 74 I had better build the good lung stronger,” said Thornton.
In an effort to do this, Thornton began walking on the days she could. Her walking trail was a lawn mowed path around a 10-acre pasture. She could only walk two miles at times, but was proud to make one mile as the chemo had weakened her body.
Thornton admitted she had moments when she feared the cancer had not shrunk and that it had possibly spread to other parts of her body.
“After my treatments, I would always talk to God about it. Jesus and the Holy Spirit were holding me up as my walk partners,” said Thornton, who also added that her family served as a support system for her.
After six weeks of chemotherapy, a second CT scan revealed that Thornton’s cancer had reduced by 50 percent.
“That was amazing. My family was sent with the report and followers to give me the news. I knew God had given me His answer,” Thornton said.
According to Thornton, Steliga was pleased with her results and removed her left lung on Nov. 17, 2017. After this operation, Thornton was declared cancer free.
“I am not in a wheelchair and I do not require oxygen. I was blessed with a mirage team of doctors and I thank God for each of them,” said Thornton said.