Iva Jewel Update–and a great story

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.


My son Neil did not tell me where he found this devotional. The author is David Roper and it’s so perfect, I’ve forwarded it to Iva Jewel. Thought you’d like it, too.

“The body is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.” –I Corinthians 15:42

“Years ago, I heard a story about a man looking for flowers for spring planting. At the greenhouse he came across a golden chrysanthemum bursting with blooms. To his surprise, it was hidden in a corner and growing in an old dented rusty bucket.”

“If this were my flower,” he said to himself, “I would place it in a beautiful pot and display it proudly! Why is it confined in this old bucket and hidden away in this concealed place?”

“When he remarked to the owner about the flower, she explained, ‘Oh, I started the plant in that old bucket until it blossomed. But it’s just for a short time. Soon I’ll transplant it to my garden.’

“The man laughed and imagined such a scene in heaven. ‘There’s a beautiful one,’ God will say, ‘the product of my loving kindness and grace. Now it’s confined in a broken body and in obscurity, but soon in my garden, how tall and lovely this soul will stand!’

“So we may now be planted in bent and battered containers for a short time while our Lord beautifies our souls. But, ‘as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.’ (I Cor. 15:49) Then He will display His handiwork and our loveliness for all to see. This is our assurance and delight.”

In the meantime, let us bloom where He has planted us. That is precisely what our beloved Iva Jewel Tucker is doing.

2 thoughts on “Iva Jewel Update–and a great story

  1. Imagine my chagrin at learning that this dear person is going through cancer treatments – though we are members of the same wonderful church! I am serving an interim pastorate presently, and have been out of touch. I left a message on her answering machine today, assuring Iva Jewel (well named) of our love and prayers, and my hope that this ordeal has not slowed her down in riding her little yellow motor scooter. She is one of those people with whom a contact leaves a warm fuzzy feeling.

    Thanks for the update.

  2. THANKS AGAIN JOE. GOOD TO HEAR MORE FROM IVA JEWEL.

    MAX & CAROLYN YOUNGBLOOD

    (CAROLYN IS THE DAUGHTER OF ADA TURPIN.

    ONCE LIVED WITH IVA JEWEL’S MOTHER IN

    EASTLAKE. THAT’S WHERE WE FIRST MET IJ)