Beasley, Ashley | Surviving Mesothelioma

Beasley, Ashley

My Brush with Cancer

William Feather, an American author of the early 1900s, once said that “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go” (Kothari). Cancer is something that takes many lives and while some become discouraged by the diagnosis others, like James O’Connor, choose to take action. Mr. O’Connor was an ordinary man up until the day he was diagnosed with mesothelioma and was told that he only had one year to live. Mesothelioma is a cancer that occurs in the layer of the tissues around the organs. The main function of mesothelium is to provide a lubricant between the organ covers that allows them to move against each other without causing any kind of abrasion. This cancer is very deadly over 2,000 people are diagnosed with it every year in the United States, but Mr. O’Connor chose to not accept his fate and instead he went on the offensive. James O’Connor was dedicated to finding the best treatments for his cancer. He spent countless hours doing research about new treatments and talking to different doctors. Mr. O’Connor along with the help of several selected doctors came up with a specific treatment protocol that allowed him to fight off the cancer for 6 years. The dedication and perseverance of never letting anything stop him, not even cancer allowed him to have five more years than that doctor had predicted.

Mr. O’Connor’s story is captivating and moving and also provides hope to people who are dealing with cancer. The story shows that people are in control of their lives and they do not have to listen to only one doctor. It shows that you should consult with as many doctors as you can and be willing to take risks in order to increase your time here on earth. Mr. O’Connor’s story also provides optimism for many people. It is an inspiration to not only those who have cancer, but also the people who are in constant contact with the person who has cancer. These people are able to find hope in that they are not confined to the amount of time the doctor told them.

From my own personal experience, the people who take the offensive and stay positive and decide that they will not let their cancer rule their lives are the ones who seem to handle the treatments better. There is always the scare of being told that you are dying, but to be honest everyone is dying. You just might be dying a little faster than you had planned for. So, the only question is what are you going to do about it? Are you going to allow the cancer to rule your life and make the time that you have left miserable, or are you going to take action? Fighting is not only a physical battle, but a mental one.

So, yes if I was diagnosed with cancer I would definitely take the offensive. I would consider every option that is available to me. I would want to look beyond chemotherapy and radiation and into things that are newer experimental treatments. Being involved in every aspect of my treatment from knowing exactly what drugs I was given and the expected side effects to what I should be doing outside of the hospital would be a major priority for me. I would want to remain in charge of my body as much as possible. Staying physically active and eating foods that would help benefit my body now, that it is being compromised would also be concerns of mine. There are all kinds of cookbooks that are written especially for people who have cancer. They suggest foods that help strengthen the immune system and I would try to follow the diets suggested. I would read books on cancer and my specific cancer and all the cancer treatments. Another way that I would research is by using the internet. Cancer Monthly is a website that provides information about specific cancers. They report new treatments and the results and also give patient accounts on how well the treatment worked. Cancer Monthly is a great place to do more research about cancer and it can help a person decide exactly what treatments they want to try. “Cancer Monthly is the only centralized source of the survival rates and side-effects of hundreds of the latest cancer treatments. It also provides access to cancer news, clinical trials, a cancer encyclopedia, the largest cancer community on the internet, a comprehensive cancer glossary, reports on alternative and integrative approaches, and much more” (Horwin). My plan would also be to do consults with as many doctors as possible even doctors overseas. I would want to be able to ask the oncologists questions and see what their opinion was about my findings, but at the end of the day my say would be the final say for as long as I was able to think clearly. My goal would be to find a doctor who was not only well versed in common treatment, but also willing to try experimental options. I would want this doctor to treat me as if I was his own family. My only other major concern while undergoing cancer treatment is to invest as much of the time I have left in enjoying life, but also in giving back. I would want to help out the community as much as I possibly could. After my battle of cancer was over, my last prayer would be that I was as inspiring as James “Rhio” O’Connor.

Work Cited
Horwin, MA,JD, Michael. “Cancer Monthly”. Cancer Monthly. 2/26/10 <www.cancermonthly.com>.
Kothari, Amit. “Success”. QuotationsBook. 2/26/10.

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