Cancer is an ugly thing for anyone to go through. The stories on the web, in books and on the television are countless; with cancer patients dominating much of main stream thought when discussing the ills of America. Even in my own life I have seen the ugly head of cancer lurk beneath the scenes as my aunt, two uncles, and grandmother have constantly had to fight various battles of different cancers. In a way, cancer is an unstoppable force for some, like a natural disaster. Often they see it and are consigned to the fate which Mother Nature has placed upon them. Upon reading of Rhio O’Connor though, a different feeling emanates. Here is a man who late in his life is beset upon by this ‘unstoppable’ force that is portrayed so often in the media. He most likely had been exposed to many individuals with certain forms of cancer; and while not diminishing the sorrow of their claim, they would likely have been consigned to the idea that cancer happens, end of story.
Here is what I find most interesting about the men and women who conquer cancer. They resist the laws of modern medicine, defy the very laws of our perceived universe and conquer their world to the extent that they can bring themselves to do. Rhio O’Connor did this, and in my opinion, with class. I believe that the strongest virtue a man can have is an indomitable spirit. I’m sure the other virtues strongly practiced by Rhio contributed significantly to his studies, but it is this spirit that I value. His spirit allowed him to get over the fact that he had a problem. It was not his fault, but his responsibility to correct it. He studied long hours on the subject of his specific cancer mesothelioma. By studying he found the cause, he found the extent and then he looked for the remedy. When modern science couldn’t offer him much more he turned to other sources. By doing so he was able to find important treatments, diet and mind body medicine. The point was that he did not give up and simply turn over his life to fate. He took responsibility for his life and did all he could to correct it.
If I were to be given the time that Rhio or other mesothelioma patients had been told, I feel my response would be equal to those of these survivors. I would start by doing some research. I would have to find out what was wrong with me. In the case of mesothelioma, I would find that I had some sort of rare cancer that had developed from my lung’s inner lining, and that it had been caused by overexposure to asbestos (this information is abundant if one searches for mesothelioma on the web, this information was found on Wikipedia). After finding out what I had, I would begin my search. The internet is a wonderful tool to begin searching the different databases worldwide in trying to locate information that one needs. Once I had come to learn as much as the internet itself had to offer, I would delve into the different books referred to on the web. Libraries have no end of scholarly depth it seems, and I believe I would devote my time to doing so. I am an inquisitive soul. I would need to know what was taking away my life and why it was so deadly.
I’m sure I would follow from subject to subject in the secular world. At a point though, and deep down even now, I would have to agree that I don’t trust the secular knowledge of this age with complete dependency. Who are they to know what’s right for me always? Weren’t there 1,000’s of years when there was no chemotherapy, no radiation and minimal surgery if any? I am confident that there are more than one way to do anything in this life, and these things would be important to explore. As I would become more knowledgeable, I would be able to know who to take advice from and who not. I would know who knows something and who does not. Faith in my area of belief would be able to hold me up at times also. Basically, the inquisition would continue until I had a fairly solid understanding of my situation. If my studies led me to vitamins, I would take them. If it led me to chemo therapy, I would do it. If it led me to live in the Himalayas and eat obscure berries and practice meditation with monks, I would do it.
Not so much because of my fear of life, but because for the portion of life that was granted me, I want to control as much of it as I can. In other words, I want to maintain my most valued virtue, an indomitable spirit.
With the example of these valiant men and women like Rhio O’Connor, I can feel the power by precedent even, to depart from the precedent, break the mold and defy the predictions of learned doctors. Knowing that someone was able to make a difference in their own lives empowers me to seek to do the same if I were in the same position. Whatever the cause, whether it be cancer or some other ‘natural disaster’ I know I will be able to conquer my universe and in the process empower others.