“My wish for you is to stop letting insignificant situations stress you out. Do what is important to you. Relax and enjoy the company of those around you,” wrote Ashley Ann Kuzma, 32, who died of laryngeal cancer in late September. “What do you value in your life? In the end, that’s what matters.”
Kuzma was diagnosed with cancer after suffering from chronic throat pain and hoarseness.
According to GoErie, she endured 29 radiation treatments and was able to return to her students for the final day of high school in 2017. However, the cancer returned by February 2018. She then had another series of radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and her vocal cords were fully removed.
“One positive outcome from having recurrent cancer was that it taught me to let go of the insignificant things and to just enjoy the people and places,” Kuzma wrote. “When you have recurrent laryngeal cancer that just won’t take no for an answer, you have a lot of time to think about death,” she added.
“Ashley was one of my wife’s greatest friends and one of the nicest people that you could ever know,” a friend of Kuzma, Matt Hogue, wrote on Facebook, noting that she wrote her own obit. “Imagine the strength and courage that it took.”
Kuzma said that she didn’t want her friends and family to mourn her death.
“I am extremely grateful for the life that I lived. I was fortunate to have a loving family, supportive friends, a stable and meaningful job, and a house to call my own,” Kuzma added. “Since I think viewings are too sad for everyone, I requested that my family host a celebration of my life,” she said.
She wrote: “I am survived by my wonderful parents, John William Kuzma and Vicky Lynn (Barron) Kuzma of Fairview, Pa.; my sister, Kristen Marie Kuzma of Clinton, Pa.; our family dog, Lizzy; my cats, Archie and Stella; my maternal grandmother, Verda Ann (Durst) Barron of New Brighton, Pa.; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends.”
According to Cancer.gov, laryngeal cancer is when “malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the larynx.”
“Use of tobacco products and drinking too much alcohol can affect the risk of laryngeal cancer,” the website says. “Signs and symptoms of laryngeal cancer include a sore throat and ear pain.”
Meanwhile, WebMD noted that it is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States, affecting more than 13,000 adults each year.
“You might have a sore throat or cough that doesn’t go away. You could feel ear pain, have trouble swallowing, or notice a lump in your neck or throat. Your voice might become hoarse,” the website says. “See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. You could have laryngeal cancer, or another condition with similar symptoms.”