The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

October 20, 2012

Cancer stories: Mother has strength and courage

OTTUMWA — Editor’s Note: The Courier asked cancer survivors and/or family members to share their stories during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

A few people have written to tell of their experiences.

We thank all the people who participated. As many of you said, you want others to know about the experience and to always have hope.

Their stories will run often this month.


My name is Missy Smallwood, and I’m writing about my Mom, Geneva, who everyone calls “Ma” because she is such a wonderful person.

My Dad passed away Feb. 8 and then shortly after that, my mom told the family that she had breast cancer. What a shocker!

Mom hadn’t been to a doctor in over 40 years. She’s always been healthy. Mom took care of our dad while he was sick right up until the day he was gone. So what a surprise to hear now that Mom had breast cancer.

Come to find out, Mom knew something was wrong, but for many, many months, she had kept that a secret from us all because she wasn’t going to take a minute away from Dad for herself. That’s the caring and loving mother she is. Mom is always thinking of others before herself.

About a week passed, and we found ourselves at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. The doctors were all so great with us. They said Mom had Stage 3 cancer. Mom had a “team” of doctors working with her. I’ll never forget the day — Friday morning, we were all in the room waiting for the doctors to come back in from her last exam and all three doctors said to be back on Monday (June 4) for her big surgery.

It all happened so fast, so soon. But the big day was about to be over. We packed up, went back to Ottumwa,and were back up to Mayo on Sunday.

The surgery was nine hours long; she came out of it like nothing ever happened. She was such a trooper! She had no fear whatsoever.

We gathered together that morning in the hotel and said a prayer. God answered all our prayers! She had so much strength and courage with her.

I want to thank our Pastor Bill and the church for all they have done for Mom and our family through all this.

The next morning by 10:30 a.m., they released Mom from the hospital, but we had to stay one more night in case something went wrong.

Everything went well. Better than to be expected. The doctors were amazed at how well she was. We got the OK to go home.

A few weeks later, Mom started chemo. She had a couple of days of being sick, but nothing too bad. She is down to one more chemo and then radiation.

What a journey she has traveled. I want her to know how much faith and strength she has shown all of us. We are so proud of her. We love you, Mom!

Missy Smallwood


Text Only
Local News
  • 0723 OTT Riverfront color photo -L -M Ideas flow at Riverfront Renaissance workshop OTTUMWA — Ideas flowed as freely as the river itself Tuesday evening as more than 100 Ottumwans shared their vision of what the riverfront can be.The Riverfront Renaissance design charrette, sponsored by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, drew p

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kids … not cash OTTUMWA — From a project that started with nothing, supporters created a top-notch education facility for at-risk youth. Someone in on the project from the beginning shared the story. Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker addressed a community advis

    July 22, 2014

  • Staying healthy during extreme heat OTTUMWA — After unusually cool temperatures last week, it may have been easy to forget how the heat of summer feels, but an incoming heat wave will quickly remind you. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat is the No.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shooting ruled homicide OTTUMWA — The death of a man shot in Wapello County has been ruled a homicide. The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office on Monday received a 911 call of a shooting 4 miles southwest of Ottumwa. Deputies discovered Clinton Gus Leedom, 49, of Bloomfield, to

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT flood file photo Over $1 million to fight floods EDDYVILLE — It's not the way a town wants to get $1 million, but the damage suffered by Eddyville in recent floods has prompted the federal government to cut a check. Actually, it's Area 15 Regional Planning Commission, a community assistance agency

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Driver's license services temporarily suspended KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Treasurer’s Office has notified the Iowa Department of Transportation that it has suspended driver’s license services due to staffing issues in the county treasurer’s office. It is anticipated suspension of the services

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT Canoe Camp color photo -L -M -T Canoe Camp teaches water safety OTTUMWA — Six children at Pioneer Nature Area and Nature Center pond were making waves and getting wet as they flipped their canoes over in attempt to rescue each other. Since summertime and water activities go hand-in-hand, the goal of the activity

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0723 OTT Seth Techel mugshot -T Techel jury may begin deliberations Wednesday DAVENPORT — The jury in the third trial of a Wapello County man accused of murdering his wife may begin deliberations as early as Wednesday in Scott County, Davenport. The jury was excused mid-afternoon Tuesday while Judge Daniel Wilson, who continue

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three appointed to Board of Adjustment OTTUMWA — Three new faces will appear on Wapello County Board of Adjustment, thanks to help from the county’s newspaper of record, the Ottumwa Courier. Four applicants applied for the positions and three were selected. New members include Marcia Week

    July 22, 2014

  • Slain woman's boyfriend: I didn't kill her DAVENPORT — A married man who had an affair with a slain Wapello County woman testified this morning that he did not kill her. Jason Tinnes, a jailer who worked with the late Lisa Caldwell Techel, said their affair ended shortly before she died. Tinn

    July 22, 2014

Photo reprints