A Pennsylvania teacher who has battled laryngeal cancer for two years last month went to an obituary before her death, calling on people to enjoy life and "let go of the trivial things".
Ashley Ann Kuzma, of Beaver County, passed away September 22 at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, according to her online obituary. The 32-year-old wrote an obituary to help "make the transition easier for her family".
"When you have recurrent laryngeal cancer that just won't get you the answer, you have a lot of time to think about death. The good news is that I no longer have to worry about saving for retirement, paying off student loans or trying not to get cancer at skin ??? "she wrote.
"One positive outcome of recurrent cancer was that it taught me to give up insignificant things and just enjoy people and places."
Kuzma was diagnosed with cancer in June 2017 after suffering chronic throat pain that made his voice hoarse, GoErie.com reports. She underwent 29 radiation treatments at a Pittsburgh hospital. The tumors disappeared, but returned the following year.
In March 2018, McDowell High School teacher had a partial laryngectomy, a surgical procedure to remove part of her voice box.
In August of that year, a scan showed she had mucoepidermoid carcinoma, a salivary gland carcinoma, GoErie.com reports. Kuzma then had a total laryngectomy at Cleveland Clinic and underwent 30 radiations and five chemotherapy treatments.
She wrote in her obituary that after her cancer returned for the fourth time, she traveled to Mexico to visit Chichen Itza, the Mayan ruins of the Yucatan Peninsula.
"I am extremely grateful for the life I lived. I was lucky to have a family with a bunch of friends, a stable and meaningful job and a house to call my own, "she said.
Kuzma wrote that she wanted to read, go to wine tastings, relax on her father's boat and cuddle with cats. She was a golf fan and wanted to cheer on the Pittsburgh Steelers. A Pennsylvania parent also enjoyed traveling, and besides vacationing in Mexico, he visited London, Paris, Poland, Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome.
"Some of my favorite family vacations include experiencing fear of the Grand Canyon and enjoying the sun, sand and family time at the Outer Banks," said her obituary.
Kuzma said her desire is for people to "stop letting insignificant situations stress you out".
“Do what is important to you. Relax and enjoy the company of those around you. "
Gabe Samandi contributed