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AT&T's top exec for NC plans to resume work soon

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AT&T's top executive in North Carolina, who has been battling colon cancer this year, expects to return to work in July.

Cynthia Marshall, 51, took indefinite medical leave in January from the state's biggest telecommunications provider to focus on her treatment for stage 3 cancer. She is scheduled to undergo six months of chemotherapy, and took the fourth of 12 rounds Wednesday.

Marshall has been chronicling her treatment in an online journal, in which she celebrates her religious faith and expresses gratitude for her friends and family. In her most recent update, posted yesterday, she said she has already beaten the disease but is continuing with chemotherapy as a precautionary measure.

"The Lord had helped me understand that a virtual thunderstorm swept into my life on December 15, 2010," 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."

Marshall, who lives in Cary with her husband and two of their three teenagers (the oldest is away in college), is the first African American executive to chair the board of directors of the N.C. Chamber and she has been active in various nonprofit organizations since she took over AT&T's North Carolina operations in 2007.

Her online journal is posted through CaringBridge.org, a nonprofit that has administered more than 250,000 such journals since it was formed in 1997.

"Over the past couple of weeks, the Lord has shown me a wonderful lesson about all the things I've taken for granted for so long," she wrote on Feb. 15. "I'm keeping a list and will share it sometime, but it will include things like taste buds, energy, and being able to swallow a cold beverage or stand barefoot on a cold hardwood floor."

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About the blogger

John Murawski has been a full-time newspaper reporter since 1991, with stints at Legal Times and The Chronicle of Philanthropy (both in Washington, DC), The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Palm Beach Post (in South Florida) before arriving at the N&O in December 2004. At the N&O he covers energy (nuclear, coal, renewable, efficiency), hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"), public utilities and health care. His beat includes PSNC Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, Duke Energy Progress, PowerSecure International, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Biogen Idec and others. He has also contributed more than 30 book reviews on topics spanning botany, history, science and religion. You can reach him at 919-829-8932 or e-mail him.
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