Tran, Sang | Surviving Mesothelioma

Tran, Sang

My Hope for Life

For a long time, due to its spread and danger, cancer has been one of the most serious diseases which were mentioned and researched constantly by scientists and health-care professionals. As a matter of fact, there are many different types of cancer as brain cancer, leukemia, colon cancer…. Some of them can be noticed easily by the unusual appearance of tumor or strange items on many outside parts of a person’s corpse. Contrarily, other cancers cannot be known easily because of their slow and unnoticeable spread inside the internal organs; therefore, a person would not able to get any cures from it since cancer reached to its advanced stage.

Similarly, mesothelioma is one of those fatal cancers. It is a rare form of cancer which malignant cells are found in mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs. Additionally, those cancerous cells quickly multiply and damage to other organs, especially within the lining of chest, abdomen, hear, and also metastasize to various places of the body. Mesothelioma is mainly caused by the exposure to a great amount of asbestos over the time. A person who is diagnosed with it usually has a short survival between 5 and 12 months. There has been a case of James Rhio O’Connor who was diagnosed with mesothelioma and told to have about a year left to live by the doctor. Instead of thinking negatively and giving up easily, Rhio started to do many researches on the cancer, talk to different doctors, and find out a lot of offered treatments out there. Also, he tried to learn experiences from the patients who had the same disease. He did everything that he could; fortunately, he was able to survive mesothelioma more than six years. That was a miracle, an event would rarely happen for anyone.

The story of Rhio impresses me a great deal the first time I ever read it. I couldn’t describe how much admires I had for him. I did not believe that a person’s mind could be that strong and powerful to outlive the dangerous disease. If I had faced the same challenge that he faced, I would do anything, no matter how hard it was, to survive and to do all my wishes.

At first, I would be disappointed and upset when I found out a hurtful truth that I had a deadly cancer, mesothelioma. My mind was full of hopeless and no-future thoughts since I was told by an oncologist that I had more or less than 1 year to live. That time, I did not know what to do with my short 12 months left; therefore, I sat around my house and got into the computer to forget the bitter sadness. Unintentionally, I typed in the word “ mesothelioma”, so there were many and many websites popping off. Without even thinking, I began to read those electronic pages about my diagnosed cancer, mesothelioma, which I did not have much understanding about it before.

The more I read those sites as www.survivingmesothelioma.com, www.asbestos.com, www.maacenter.org …, I learned more of what the kind of cancer it really was and what options and treatments a patient could get. Suddenly I remembered a few useful links which my English teacher told me earlier about to do research topics for her class. Those were the two largest online databases- EBSCOHOST.COM and also GALE.CENGAGE.COM where I could look for many helpful peer journals and reviews on mesothelioma of different doctors. Here, I got a chance to study about conventional treatments for cancer as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Moreover, by through a friend’s recommendation, I also search for alternative medicines as acupuncture, herbs, massage therapy, yoga, vitamins, meditation, and spiritual healing. I was so happy to know that I could have hope.

Immediately, I contacted to my oncologist in Memorial Regional Hospital to discuss about treatments for mesothelioma. I quickly told him what he thought of my situation. Because I was in the stage II of cancer, he gave me options to do radiation and surgery to reduce the size of the enormous tumor close to my lung; after, he would see if I will able to do chemotherapy to destroy the remained malignant cells. He warned that the short-term and long-terms effects after those procedures would be very bad and harmful for my health. I would get nausea, hair loss, unusual weigh gain and loss, fatigue, and neurological damages through the intensive chemo and radiation treatments; therefore, my quality of life would be low and not enjoyable However, the doctor said that acupuncture and meditation could help me to alleviate the stress and emotion which were very important during the process of healing from chemotherapy. Also, changing some of the massive meat eating habit into more vegetable and protein-filled food was beneficial to me.

Finally, I got those conventional treatments combined with these alternative medicines; as a result, I luckily was able to endure the effects and outlived the prognosis of mesothelioma for 4 years. I realized I could not easily give up for anything and I always had to make informed decisions based on researches, recommendations, and personal experiences. Also, keeping emotion is the main factor for me to be better off in the treatment of mesothelioma.

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