James “Rhio” O’Connor lived. He lived through ten years of expiration dates, tearful discussions, and hopeless eyes. This man lived longer than expected with mesothelioma. James “Rhio” O’Connor was a strong individual who refused to accept his fate and instead studied diligently to provide different options for himself. He gave hope to many cancer patients by being proactive and outlasting the prognosis. His particular form of cancer, mesothelioma, is a rare form of cancer that has a very poor prognosis. After he was given his prognosis, the doctor told him his best option was to go on a cruise and accept his fate. The magnitude of such a scenario is hard to comprehend. The idea of a doctor telling me that my time is up is beyond words. If I was caught in the tide of a serious disease I would surround myself with love, hit the books, and talk to my comrades in the fight.
After I received the horrible news, without any thought my hand would reach for the phone to call my family. Wherever I was I would pick up my stuff and head towards them or they would move towards me. Either way I would need them during this time. I may be a strong willed and independent person, but after receiving my death sentence I would need them there for support. My family would help to recharge my strength. With them there I would receive encouragement and assistance. Their love would be a constant reminder of the reason for my fight. Through these difficult times they would love on me and help me in my quest for a solution.
With my family by my side; next, I would hit the books. The library would become my best friend. The first step in my research would be exploring my particular type of cancer. By looking through book after book and journal after journal, I would know the ins and outs of my cancer including the different therapies. Not only would I camp out in the library but I would also be in constant connection with leading physicians, researchers, nutritionists, and physical therapists. Each of their different fields of expertise would help me decide on a more holistic approach to my therapy. Instead of focusing on medicine, chemotherapy, and surgery for answers, I would turn my attention to more non-toxic therapies. I prefer a more natural approach because the body is very intelligent and can find a way to restore itself if given proper support. All I need to do is make sure all the other parts are working efficiently. I would look at different foods that would help my body as well as keep a tight regiment of exercise to help my body work better. An example of a book I might look to for more natural solutions would include “Cancer-Free-Your Guide To Gentle, Non-Toxic Healing” by Bill Henderson. Still the most important thing I need to understand before choosing a therapy is my body and how it works. After I understood the mechanics I would decide on the best way to help my body fight off the cancer.
Last but not least I would talk to those fighting the same fight. Through my doctor I would try to get in contact with those that are suffering from the same cancer as me. These contacts would provide another support system during this time, but unlike my family they would understand the pain I was experiencing. They would understand my fears and worries, because they are experiencing the same emotions. Together we would divide and conquer to find the most effective therapies. I would fill my bookshelf with the books survivors wrote on my type of cancer. If it was Mesothelioma like James O’Connor, I would read They Said Months, I Chose Years: A Mesothelioma Survivor’s Story by James O’Connor as well as Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers: A Patient’s Guide by Mr. Kraus. These people’s wisdom and experience would provide a large building block in my study.
If I were given an expiration date because of a dire form of cancer, I would surround myself with love, hit the books, and talk to those that have the same cancer as me. Each of these steps would help me in my fight against the toxins in my body. I have never been through any type of near death experience, so I cannot fully grasp the enormity of the situation. Still if I was faced with this situation, people like James O’Connor would give me hope that I didn’t have to take that cruise and give up but I could defeat the odds and live.
By: Amy Morton