If I Had Cancer


At the age of 3 in half on October 27, 2005 Jade Mary Aviles Arredondo was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumor. Jade at her young age had to deal with this malignant tumor that had affected the third part of her left kidney. Six months after she was diagnosed, she had a surgery where they removed her left kidney. The doctors said that if they had waited at least 5 days more the cancer could have been spread in other organs from her body. This little girl was also exposed to chemotherapy for 6 months losing her hair without her understanding why. This little girl is my cousin and every time I see her I wish the tumor would not appear back in her body again. In this world there are lots of people with malignant cancer like my cousin or even worst people who have been diagnosed with deadly cancer and they only have certainly time left to live. However, in this world they are also examples of people who had found a positive way to continue fighting with their sickness. For example, Rhio O’Connor who was diagnosed with a deadly cancer called Mesothelioma with a year to live and instead of giving up, he fought this sickness until he died that by the way was more than a year. Rhio after been dead still inspiring me with all what he left for those with the same case. His idea of expending his sources from his sickness and believe in himself can make big changes in any person. Based in his experience I’m able to deduce that if I had a deadly cancer I would definitely research about my treatments. I have this phrase in my mind that is exactly what Rhio did, this is: “Looking beyond what we can see, there are the things that we can’t see and those things can be the ones that we want to see”. Cancer treatments like chemo, radiation, and surgery are not the only solutions. Holistic medicine, nutrition diets, and exercise can also help to manage and or mitigate cancer.

The word “Cancer” has such a built in fear complex for almost anyone that hear those words. Hearing the words: “you have Cancer” with a dire prognosis is the same as saying you will die. Too easily we accept this evaluation of health as certainty and close our mind. Yes, this marvelous mind, which imagines time and time again ways to solve complex problems at times just, accepts opinions a certainty and essentially gives up. This is not the case for James, “Rhio” O’Connor. Mr. O’Connor refused to die of ignorance. He did not accept that one opinion would determine his life. Instead he chose education. His story is truly amazing. It is amazing because he managed to live for six years with Cancer through sheer will, determination, and discipline of education. Without an example like his I don’t think I would have the mindset or paradigm to look at the situation the same way. But through his actions, in my personal life, if I was to receive such a prognosis such as his I would also be determined to live.

Mr. O’Connor example is definitely one to follow and imitate. Just as James did, I would first research the disease and begin to understand it. This is the first time I have heard of Mesothelioma. And upon reading about it” Malignant Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of cells lining the body’s internal organs, known as the mesothelium. There are three recognized types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease, accounting for roughly 70% of cases, and occurs in the lining of the lung known as the pleura. Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity, known as the peritoneum and pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, which lines the heart.”(mesothelioma.com) However I still don’t understand it or know how it works besides the fact that most people get this from Asbestos. Nevertheless, much like ignorance is the biggest self-imposed prison education brings freedom.

One important fact to have in mind to mitigate cancer is the Holistic Medicine. The Canadian Holistic Medical Association say: “Holistic medicine is a system of health care which fosters a cooperative relationship among all those involved, leading towards optimal attainment of the physical, mental emotional, social and spiritual aspects of health” with this definition I deduce that focusing in health would be one way to fight cancer. This medicine emphasizes the need to look at the whole person, including analysis of physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual, and lifestyle values. It encompasses all stated modalities of diagnosis and treatment including drugs and surgery if no safe alternative exists. Holistic medicine focuses on education and responsibility for personal efforts to achieve balance and well-being. This Holistic medicine can be associated with other terms like complementary medicine, natural healing or alternative medicine.

Another solution that I would have in mind is to discipline my self with a nutrition diet. Cancer is rise for several reasons, and some doctors think that is for polluted food, air and water supply ranging from pesticides to artificial hormones especially in meat and dairy from non-organic husbandry. Finding a good nutritionist that would help me with my diet, restricting dairy or meat with hormone would be definitely helpful to manage cancer. Diet and health should never be underestimated. The very essence of who we are physically comes from the years of accumulation of our nutritional habits. The degree of our resistance and strength come from our habitual or lack there of physical exercise. A nutrition diet has to be supported with exercise. This would be another point that I would focus on. The condition of our body tells a lot about us. Exercising everyday gives energy to the body and energy help us to continue with our lives. One exercise that helps with cancer is yoga. Yoga doesn’t only help to maintain the body in shape; it also helps to relax the mind taking away the stress. How imperative and fundamental both exercise and nutritional really are.

In addition of what I would do if I had a malignant cancer is that I would help others with the same situation. The life and story from Mr. James “Rhio” O’Connor needs to be told again and again. It needs to be told to children and to adults. It needs to be added to the fabric of our views as patients, and doctors. It is because of people like this that changes are made, that steps are taken in a positive movement to better improve and to teach lessons from which we can learn to live. Yes, it takes time to educate yourself, yes it takes discipline to read over many books, and yes it takes courage to say no to a person that is considered a specialist because you feel and has some information that makes you feel deep inside you got that this is not correct. Rhio did not believe in what the specialist told him he believed in himself.

To conclude we know that Rhio is dead. He did die from this insidious disease. But he also won. He won because he did not acquiesce, he did not let down his guard. And most importantly after he left us, he left behind a clear message and example worthy of imitation. In this way his effort and determination is a clear triumph. I would love to say that James is still with us now, and that because of his fighting and relentlessness his is alive. But that is simply not the case. And after thinking about death and both the briefness and fickleness of life, James O’Connor demonstrates to me that he did live. He lived before his Cancer and during his Cancer. He did not die because he had a disease he died because he body gave out. And in this way he also teaches anyone with a disease that you continue to live as long as you can and you don’t suddenly stop life because now you simply know that you may die soon. No, you continue to live you continue to strive. And the way is by searching information and going beyond chemo, radiation or other treatment that might be easy. Like I said believing in other natural ways such us holistic medicine, nutrition diet and exercising would help to control or mitigate any cancer. Nothing of this would matter without believing in you. Now that I know more about cancer I’m wailing to help my cousin if she gets the cancer back and this would make me happy.

By: Arredondo, Anna

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