In 2019, Barbara Jones underwent a series of events that no one wants to experience.
It began with a car accident where she was rear-ended. She reported back pain which revealed a tumor in her abdomen that, despite initial concern, turned out to be non-cancerous. A pre-screening before a surgery, however, would later reveal a spot on her lung that was determined to be cancer.
“It was a rare sarcoma and the doctors at Vanderbilt said I was one of only a few in their care with one like it,” recalled Jones. “They took out my lung, and everything was fine after that. When I went back in for scans this past November, they found it had returned in my liver and was inoperable.”
Jones was given the option of managing symptoms or starting chemotherapy to battle her diagnosis, and chose to ultimately undergo treatment to combat the cancer.
“I have weekly check-ups with Dr. Ma, and I started chemo recently. Her whole office staff is the most caring I’ve ever seen,” said Jones. “I also had COVID, but came out of it with flying colors even though I only have one lung. I’m a tough woman.”
Between church-goers, friends, family and many other loved ones, Jones expressed profound gratitude for the community and how it rallied around her during this difficult time in her life.
“I have my husband for support, but you don’t realize how much you need the support of others until you go through something like this. I realized I needed to write a thank-you note to everyone who has called, prayed or helped, but there’s so many and I want everyone to know I cherish and appreciate them,” said Jones of the immense outpouring of love from the Irving College community and beyond. “I have all these churches and friends praying for me, I need to let them know how much it means when you’re home and can’t go out. With COVID going around, I can’t go out and see anyone or even attend church. The most important part of life is people, and recognizing them for their help.”
Alongside the loving support of the community, Jones cites her faith in the Lord and connecting with people throughout her life as being pillars in her positive outlook during her ordeal with cancer.
“Christ is the reason we’re here. We need to take time for each other, even if it is just listening to someone for a minute” explained Jones of her mindset. “The Lord told me it isn’t about coming and going, it’s about loving people.”