Cancer victim empties her bucket list: Carol Jobe did not wait for a ‘cabin in the sky’
by William Wright
Oct 30, 2011 | 8846 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CAROL JOBE, a retired Oak Grove Elementary School teacher, said she is thankful for all of her students, family, friends and the log cabin her beloved husband, Gary, had built for her in their large backyard in the summer. The popular 60-year-old mother of two and grandmother of four said her faith is in God, who she believes made it possible for her to have the only thing on her bucket list — a real log cabin.
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Having inoperable breast cancer but faith in the 23rd Psalm, Carol Jobe said she is convinced the Lord is her Shepherd and will be with her as she walks through the valley of the shadow of death. She also believes in the phrase, “I shall not want.”

So when her unfulfilled desire for a log cabin was suddenly answered, the Cleveland native said she knew it was more than a coincidence, but an answer to her prayers.

Jobe, who went to Oak Grove Elementary, grew up with an innate love for history and antiques, joking, “I’ve always loved old things. Now I am one.”

Born to Virgil and Inez Suits of Cleveland, Jobe was a history major at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and returned to teach for 31 years at the same elementary school she attended, replacing her favorite teacher, Ita Lacy. Jobe said her fascination with history and antiques impacted her home decor.

“I loved the Colonial period and studying about how our country started,” she said. “I wanted a cabin. I don’t know when it started, but I wanted one.”

Jobe wanted one so much, she turned her basement into a replica of the inside of a log cabin with miniature log cabins placed on shelves. As life would have it, however, Jobe was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, at the age of 52. She and her husband, Gary, focused their attention on effective treatment and her recovery.

It was around Thanksgiving 2010 when she discovered a relentless and increasing pain in her lower back that would not go away. An MRI on Dec. 22 revealed the cancer had returned and metastasized into her lower back.

“I had started falling,” Jobe recalls. “I couldn’t lift my right leg very well and I was tripping. That was one of the first clues. The cancer did not come back in my breast. It came back in my sacrum — my tail bone and in my lower back. Mine is called a distant metastasis.”

The realization that her cancer was back was devastating to Jobe and her husband of 37 years, who were called back to the doctor’s office later in the afternoon of the day of the MRI.

“When we got there the doctor came in and read the report. He said, ‘You have a large mass completely filling your right sacrum, sparing the left somewhat and the pressure is believed to have caused a fracture of the tailbone.’ I said, OK.”

But Jobe was not OK. She confessed, “I was numb. I think my husband was numb also. Everything was seeming to hit me and to bounce off. Nothing was penetrating my brain. But I did say, ‘OK, what do I do now?’ The doctor said, ‘We’ll have to see if it’s spread somewhere else.’”

Although test results revealed it was nowhere else, Jobe was told she could not have surgery this time because the mass was too large and therefore inoperable.

Radiation therapy in January did not shrink the tumor, according to Jobe, but it did alleviate the worst of her back pain.

“It’s different the second time. Because I know — I knew when I went over there my chances of being cancer-free are not good — unless the Lord intervenes. I don’t think Medical science can make me cancer-free now,” she admits.

For now, Jobe is taking Femara, an aromatase inhibitor which reduces the risk of cancer spreading to another part of the body.

“I had a CT scan in August and it showed my cancer was stable,” Jobe said. “I also take Aredia once a month through the veins, at my doctor’s office. It doesn’t fight the cancer. It makes my bones stronger because my cancer is bone destroying. Aredia stops the calcium from coming out. It keeps it in while the cancer tries to takes it out.”

According to Jobe, her brother and sister, also educators, wanted her to consider experimental treatments.

“My brother knows a man in cancer research. He said I qualified because all the conventional treatments have failed me,” Jobe said. “I’ve lived six decades. I told my daughter who also wanted me to try it, ‘I don’t feel led to do that.

“I know what I’m supposed to do. I’m happy and I’m blessed.’ She accepted it. My husband is also behind me. He said, ‘We’ll go anywhere you need to go. We’ll do anything you need to do.’ I think this hormone blocker (Femara) is my shot at extending my time. My hope is to maintain it, hold it where it is, not let it grow and to give myself time.”

In the cherished time she has, Jobe has used it to linger in prayer and meditation, and to recognize the important things in her life — including those unexpected gifts that cannot be explained by man.

Jobe said, “I’ve asked God why has He been so good to me. I’m so far from perfect, but He’s been perfect to me. I have good children, a good home — anything I have ever needed I’ve been supplied — even my wants.

“Even when I think of a bucket list — there’s nothing on it. I don’t want to go to Hawaii. I want to live right here in Cleveland. I want my last days to be spent as ordinary days with my family. Then I said to God, ‘You know, there is one thing. It is the desire of my heart. I’d like to have a cabin.’ That’s the one thing I have not had. When I say the desire of my heart — it’s not something you just want. It’s between a need and a want. It was a desire. And I didn’t think about it anymore.

“A few weeks later, my cousin called. She asked me if I read my paper today. I said, no. She said, ‘Well, when it hits the driveway you get it!’ I said, ‘What is it?’ She said, ‘It’s a log cabin. You get that paper!’”

Jobe, who has been a Banner subscriber for 34 years, rushed to get her June 1 newspaper and turned to the Lifestyles section where she discovered a Meigs County lumberjack was featured. Dave Hampton of Decatur was offering to build inexpensive log cabins as an alternative to housing problems and a way to get back to nature.

“He was building cabins anywhere you wanted it and they were affordable,” Jobe recalled. “It was as cheap as a barn for a metal outbuilding. I said, “OK!”

“I put that paper down and I looked at my husband as he sat in his recliner, and I said, ‘You know the garden spot?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Well, we’re going to have a cabin there.’ He said, ‘Do what? What are you talking about?’ I said, ‘Read this.’”

In a matter of weeks after they hired Hampton, Jobe stood inside her very own log cabin. To her it was more than a dream come true. Jobe said it was her “special gift — just for me.”

“I told Mister Dave that he was an answer to my prayers. He said, ‘I was praying too.’ I said, ‘You’re my miracle man — and he was. I can’t say enough about how special my cabin is. I tell everybody this is my miracle cabin.”

When asked what is the best thing about having a log cabin, Jobe laughed. “I’ve been so busy filling it up!” she said. “It also coincided with the World’s Longest Yard Sale. I went during the first week in August and got a lot of good stuff.

“In fact, I went the week when Mister Dave delivered the logs. He knew I was going to be on that trip and I came home to see what he had done. I loved it. It’s the highlight of my year.”

Among the things Jobe says she especially enjoy are children, plants and flowers.

“I have many children,” said the former school teacher. “The Lord has blessed me with so many children. I read the Banner to keep up with what they are doing.”

Jobe said she is especially proud of her son two children and four grandchildren. Her son Jonathan, who is 35, works with the city of Cleveland and her daughter, Jennifer Hastings, 33, is a school teacher in Dalton, Ga.

It is the 23rd Psalm, however, that has taken on greater meaning for Jobe, a woman’s whose faith is playing a profound role in her life and current circumstances.

“The 23rd Psalm is very special to me, because the Lord is my shepherd — always has been — and I shall not want,” Jobe said, fighting back the tears.

“The desires of my heart — like that cabin — God has restored my soul through it. It lifted my spirit! Sometimes I feel in and out of a deep shadow. I know He could take away this cancer — yes, He could. But His will be done. That’s what I pray. And I accept His will.”

With a soft smile and a perky voice, Jobe added, “I know I’ll have enough grace and enough mercy when the end comes.”

According to the American Cancer Society, about 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2011. This year, 5,020 Tennessee women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

In the U.S.,1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer within her lifetime. At this time, there are over 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides free or low-cost breast and cervical cancer screening services to women in all 50 states, as well as some U.S. territories and Native American tribes.

To find out if you qualify for a free or low-cost mammogram and Pap test and where to get screened in Tennessee, call 1-877-969-6636.