Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Cynthia Marshall, AT&T’s top executive in North Carolina, is sharing online in eloquent, emotional and powerful fashion her battle against colon cancer.
“I am quite hopeful and I’ve claimed a disease free, healthy future with a brand new ATTitude,” she wrote Thursday in a journal entry at the website CaringBridge,org.
“For the present, I’m thankful each day, whether it’s one of my 9 ‘whose body is this?’ days or one of my 5 ‘feeling more like Cynt’ days. Because of you, I’m celebrating life EVERYDAY.”
Marshall, who lives in Cary, is referring to the 14 days between chemo and other treatments she is receiving.
As chemo treatment recipients [I’m one, having endured colon cancer myself five years ago] can attest, the chemo cocktails know the patient for a loop – mentally and physically. Just about the time you begin to recover, it’s time for another treatment.
“Greetings from the Chemo Clubhouse,” she writes to begin the latest entry.
Marshall took a leave of absence from AT&T in January when she was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer.
“[T] Lord had helped me understand that a virtual thunderstorm swept into my life on December 15, 2010, my 51st birthday,” she wrote. “Since then, I have experienced sadness, worry, weakness, and anxiety. But I have also experienced peace, comfort and an incredible outpouring of love. And through it all, I’ve never doubted that this thunderstorm is heaven-sent for a Divine purpose. I remain optimistic and am hanging on tightly to God’s promises. ‘We’ are beating cancer! (We’ve actually already beaten it; we’re just taking some extra steps to keep it in my past.)”
While recovering, Marshall has reached out online to share a message of hope while through that witness she is encouraging people who haven’t had a colon screening to schedule one. She also delivered a video address to the NC Chamber annual meeting earlier this week.
In the days when speaking about one’s faith can trigger a great deal of criticism, Marshall has been quite open about hers.
“[T]he Lord is still in charge and working miracles daily! I entered the [Chemo] Clubhouse yesterday morning in pearls, sweats, a hairdo that’s starting to shed, and fluffy socks! :-),” she wrote.
She also cited scripture:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer 29:11).
Marshall plans to return to work in July. But the memories of what she has experienced are not likely to fade.
“Over the past two weeks I’ve experienced the normal chemo side effects and gained a new understanding of ‘I can feel it in my bones,’ since the side effect of the White Blood Cell booster shot is a great deal of pain,” she wrote. “I’m determined to endure these shots as often as necessary and – praise the Lord! – it has paid off. My WBC count was up but my platelets were dangerously low. So we made some adjustments to the chemo meds for this round to hopefully address the low platelet count and were able to tip-off March Madness in the Clubhouse on schedule.”
If you choose to visit the CaringBridge website, you can read more about Marshall’s battle.
You also can leave her a message.
As cancer survivors can tell you, prayers and support from family, friends and strangers can be effective treatments, too. And better still, they don’t require a needle or leave you with “chemo brain.”
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