Death is not the end. Therefore, cancer should not be the end either. James “Rhio” O’Connor understood this maxim and lived it out in his fight against cancer. I am currently a student at Saint Louis University (SLU) in my sophomore year and am majoring in Chemistry and Spanish. I have long-term goals of becoming a Cardio-Thoracic surgeon down south in my hometown of Houston, Texas. I have not been diagnosed with cancer; however, if asked the question what I would do if I were diagnosed with cancer, I would simply answer, “Change the World,” a goal I would hope to accomplish through education.
James “Rhio” was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, meaning that the linings of his lungs, mesothelium, were filled with fluid. This would most likely cause difficulty for “Rhio” to breathe and sustain his daily life. Nonetheless, he managed to find a way to prolong his death by adjusting his diet and taking over 100 daily supplements. By changing his lifestyle and educating himself about the cancer, he extended his life by over 6 years.
If I were diagnosed with cancer, I would understand the need for change. My first and foremost adjustment after being diagnosed would definitely be to change my diet and look at nutrition in a different way. I would change to a mainly plant-based diet and depending on results, expand from there. Some sort of vitamins would be essential. Also, I would test the effect of different foods on my cancer symptoms and hopefully better the situation.
On a larger scale, I would think that surgery would be too risky and chemotherapy would not allow me to enjoy my life to its fullest potential. Instead, I would look for another way to solve my problem and fight the cancer. Not only would I look for different methods already in existence, I would also research methods myself. I would want to form a team of doctors, biochemists, and biologists from around the world to try to find a method to solve cancer. I say cancer because I would not want to simply find a cure for me but rather find a cure for others as well. Using the help and advice from my closest friends, family, and colleagues, I would hope to find an answer.
One specific field of research I would be interested in is ozone therapy. Ozone is a deadly molecule when inhaled. It literally makes holes in our lungs so that we cannot breath. When ozone is injected into the blood stream, it can reduce the amount of free radicals in our body by oxidizing the organic compounds in our body. Though not many studies have proven the effect of ozone therapy on cancer, there have been studies showing that ozone inhibits the growth of lung cancer cells. This would be a subject which I would have to speak with doctors from around the world, since it has not been endorsed by any health authorities in English speaking countries. It would not be experimentally, or ethically, correct to receive all of my information from one doctor who happens to be against ozone therapy. I would therefore try and gain information from an unbiased point of view.
If ozone therapy shows any positive correlations of inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in the lungs, then I would have to go elsewhere to receive treatments because ozone therapy is not allowed in the U.S. Furthermore, I would do my own research on the biochemistry aspect of ozonation and cancer because I would have a degree in Chemistry. After researching the subject at hand, I would then try to spread the word by publishing my findings in journals, books, and even possible lectures. By doing this I believe I could reach out to others in need and possibly lend a helping hand in educating others about their own situations.
When people work together towards a cause, it not only shares information, but also develops a bond, which no microscope can see, the bond of friendship. Friendship is what I believe causes others to feel better; friendship can cure illnesses and find meanings to things that are undefined. The people around me everyday help me live my life and enjoy every second. I thank God everyday for the friends and family I have. They would be the ones to help me through anything. I would trust my friends and family with the decisions of my well-being. They know me well enough to make the best decisions possible.
My entire hypothetical plan for if I were diagnosed with cancer relies on education. I believe that continuing education is a major, crucial concept in any successful person’s life. To me, it is very important to read between the lines and not limit myself to simply my coursework and textbooks. Education is not a restriction but rather a stepping-stone or ladder, which must be used to achieve whatever you set your mind to. Granted, one cannot live forever by simply educating oneself, but one can surely make life more comfortable. Becoming educated is a never-ending process, which allows happiness. As once said by Father Alfred D’Souza, a theologian philosopher from Australia, “Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”
Education and research allows for people to become informed and make a wise decision. If I were diagnosed with cancer I would do everything in my power to change the world. I believe that the best gift one can give another human being is the gift of education. Wisdom saves lives. One must always set goals in life, whether they are short-term or long-term goals. Many people believe that once they are given a “deadline”, like a cancer diagnosis, they have to try to accomplish everything they think they want to do before they die. The reason why I believe that death is not the end is because our goals should not simply take one lifetime to accomplish. We must dream bigger and set goals that will take decades to reach. If we are achieving our life’s work in one lifetime, then we must dream bigger.