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October 23, 2021

Ester Marsh: Strength, faith and support all helpful

Wow, the phone calls I have received and responses on last week’s column have been so heartwarming. My main goal was to bring light to cancers such as throat cancer, even when you are not a smoker. And that my particular cancer was caused by the HPV virus. To all who called, I do not have the time at this moment to call back but please know how much I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, experiences and concerns.

It’s weird to say that I have cancer. When I wake up in the mornings there are many times that I think that I dreamed that I have cancer. Then I feel my lymph node and go, nope, it’s real.

My team of doctors and support staff have been amazing and I feel very confident in a great outcome. As I mentioned last week, I have been very close to three important women in my life who took on cancer by the horns. First, my younger sister who had breast cancer at 36 (spread in her lymph nodes), which was 15 years ago and still does amazingly well. Then my mother who died of melanoma in her lung that was on her calf and lymph nodes 11 years prior. You might remember the article about her. Her outlook on life, and death, was so uplifting. I kept remembering, if I would be half as gracious, kind and uplifting as my mom during my challenging days I have done my job.

My mom died in the Netherlands on Nov. 7, 2017, after I was able to be with her for her last two months. And heaven gained another angel.

And of course my best friend Melissa, who had cancer in the brain — glioblastoma, died less than six months after finding out she had it. I remember the strength she showed, the faith she had and the amazing support of her family and friends she received.

It was an honor to be around these strong and kind, loving people during their illnesses and treatments.

It’s the circle of life isn’t it? What impact do you make? How many lives have you touched? Are you kind to others? How about respectful? Remember a few weeks ago? The importance of respect, responsibility, honesty and caring is great, especially during times of trials.

Being around my sister, my mom and Melissa who were (sister still is) so uplifting, strong and faithful gave me another reason to do the same.

If you are going through any hardship, remember your loved ones are going through it with you, so be kind to them. If you can, work hard to see your cup half full, seek help when needed, exercise, eat healthy and trust.

I am always so happy when I go through trials and tribulations as a Christian. One thing I know for sure, God is in control.

Ester H Marsh is Health & Fitness Director of the JF Hurley family YMCA.

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