Back on January 27, my blog introduced our readers to this precious lady–Iva Jewel Tucker of Birmingham. You may drop back and read it for yourself when you have a few moments and I predict you’ll find yourself treasuring her too, the way the rest of us do.
This week, she sent me an update on her situation as she endures the radiation treatments.
“I am having a few side effects of the radiation, even as I swore–yes, swore–the treatments wouldn’t bother me! It is a new adventure, true, but I kick against losing some of my stamina and giving in to tiredness sometimes. The feeling of nausea comes and goes and I hate it.”
“Sometimes nausea streams through me. I do not act on the nausea, just feel sick. At least I’m not pregnant and I’m thankful for small blessings. I have an occasional cough. Not a bad cough, but I know the radiation is affecting some tissue here and there.”
“Food does not taste as good as it used to. I have always loved good food, savoring the joy. Now I don’t really care if I eat or not. Peanut butter on a cracker tastes about as good as baked Alaska salmon.”
“The multimillion-dollar radiation machine swings over me, backs up, comes another direction. I told the girls it was like a car wash. They said tomorrow I may get a wax and buff.”
“The late writer/columnist Molly Ivins had it right. When she went to the hospital with breast cancer, she described it: ‘First they mutilate you. Then they poison you. Then they burn you. I have been on blind dates better than that.’ I skipped the poisoning, but I agree with her description of surgery and radiation.”
“All the staff is great at the Bruno Cancer Center at St. Vincent’s Hospital. These professionals do good work as well as caring about the patients. Why, today I even had a fashion evaluation while I lay on the table waiting for the long arm of the radiation machine to swing over me. Usually I wear skirt, blouse, and stockings like a good Baptist should, but today I wore slacks. Wearing my cute little hospital gown, I slipped out of my shoes and lay down on the table as gracefully as possible. The radiation therapist announced from the other room that I had on a black sock and a navy sock. I told her that was obviously a side effect of the radiation since the real Iva Jewel would never have done such a thing.”
“The oncologist–with whom I am madly in love even though he’s only 60-ish–said with radiation treatments on the LEFT breast, the rays go through a certain way to cause nausea, while treatment of right breast does not. No problem. I can live with times of nausea without having to look forward to another child to raise! Hallelujah, sing praises all day!”
“Some years ago I worked in conversational English with a doctor from Shanxi Province in China. I think he taught at UAB. We have remained friends. You will enjoy a couple of his comments when he heard about my cancer. Dr. Li encouraged me:
“You have a pleasure mood. It is important to fight disease. You help some much people like me, you are so nice, God will help you to fight cancer.”
“I am worried some side effects of radiation to hurt you. More pleasure mood is benefit to fight side effects. I pray God bless health to you, bless happy life to you.”
(Iva Jewel continues:) “I count my blessings night and day. Some of my new friends at the Cancer Center are in serious condition. Many of them drive long distances for their daily treatments, and some of them are undergoing chemo as well as radiation. God bless them.”
(She concludes:) “Joe, I do pray that you will have more ‘pleasure mood’ during these days. You are blessed, too, for you love your work. Also you are a cancer survivor, praise God.”
“It is exciting to receive mail from many who received the news of my cancer via Joe McKeever. Thanks for everything. Love you.”
She signed the note: “With tired love, Iva Jewel.” Then added a P.S. at the bottom: “If I reread this rambling message, I’ll probably delete it. So here it goes to you.”
As you may have deduced, I forwarded to her all the comments from readers about this remarkable lady. And we’ll do so again for you who leave comments below.