Baker, Brandon – Surviving Mesothelioma

Baker, Brandon

The age of Cancer

When my grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer I imagine that he had many of the same questions, thoughts, and worries that Rhio O’Connor did when he found out. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? How could I have prevented it? These are the same questions that I would ask if I found out that I had cancer.

So what is cancer? In order to deal, manage, and even possibly beat cancer I need to first know what cancer is. “Cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth (division beyond the normal limits), invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood).” There are all different types of cancer and it would be most important to know what type of cancer I have so that I can properly research the effects and what options I have.

Rhio O’Connor was a huge advocate for research, knowledge, and education. He wanted to give himself a chance of survival and in order to do that he had to not only learn about what he was facing but I image he had to deal with some inner demons as well. Doubt and self loathing are easy to succumb to when you are in a situation where you are ultimately facing death.

If I found myself in the position of Rhio O’Connor I would hope that I have the strength, courage, and commitment to handle it the way he did. I’m sure that there would be a lot of depression and uncertainty in the beginning but ultimately I feel that I am a fighter like he is. I am currently seeking my bachelor of science degree in technical management so I know about hard work and dedication. I like Rhio O’Connor would need to have determination and perseverance to face such troubling news. After you have come to terms with something like cancer comes the uphill battle and struggle to keep motivated to keep learning and fighting. A good place that I would start my research would be the internet. There is such a wealth of knowledge to be had if you just spend a little time and effort. It also helps to know how to research properly. With so much information out there it can get daunting and quite frustrating to find what you are looking for. So it is important to be prepared and have some basic knowledge of how to properly research using the internet. When researching it is important to make sure that the sources you use are creditable. I like to use publications and online periodicals from known authors and publishers that are creditable. “Junk in, junk out”. So if I waste my time reading articles and websites that have no credibility, not only is it frustrating to find out that I have been wasting my time but it also could be critical time lost against the fight.

Another good source for information is journals such as medical journals and publications from actual professionals in the field. What better way to learn than from people who have dedicated parts to entire lifetimes researching and studying cancer. Why reinvent the wheel? They have already done the work for me. All I need to do is read and learn. Again, I have to ensure that I am using creditable sources so I have to do my homework on the authors. I need to find out how much experience they have in the field. How much research have they done? Are they a specialist in the field?

I would speak with family, friends, coworkers, and my own physician. My physician would be a great place to start. I have the relationship with him and can hopefully trust that he would steer me in the correct direction. Many times physicians can make a recommendation for someone to talk to that can hopefully get me on the right track. Rhio O’Connor’s story is so inspiring because he used what he knew and he didn’t give up. His strength was phenomenal and admirable. He is proof that anyone can do what he did if you just have some motivation and direction.

If I found out that I had cancer I would not go quietly. I would do anything and everything possible to help ensure my survival. I would be open minded to new technologies and procedures if I thought it would up my chances even in the slightest bit. I would not roll over and give up. That is for cowards and Rhio O’Connor was not a coward. I may not ultimately find a way to “cure” my cancer in the end but I can only hope that it would inspire others to keep searching. “Knowledge is power” and a thirst that should never be quenched.

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