Benvenutti, Taylor | Surviving Mesothelioma

Benvenutti, Taylor

Mr. James “Rhio” O’Connor is an inspiration to anyone, healthy or ill. It would take a truly optimistic man to search through all of the negative information in order to find the positive. Not many people after hearing they will live for one more year would have the faith and strength to believe they can make it. Mr. O’Connor did more than believe. He succeeded in using every resource that was available to him in order to live for seven more years. He refused to surrender without a fight. I hope that if I was given the same prognosis that I would have the same strength and love for life that Mr. O’Connor had.

I cannot imagine how he must have felt when he was told that he would live for only one more year. I cannot say that I would act as bravely as he did. However, if I were in the same situation as Mr. O’Connor then I hope that I would not just accept what my doctor told me. I would want to put up a fight that would make Mr. O’Connor proud.

Although I cannot pretend to know how I would feel in his place, I do have a pretty good idea of how I would act. I am a researcher. As I am applying to a new college next year I went through many steps of collecting as much information on that school as possible. I searched the website, had mail and packets sent to me, watched videos, and read books. I had to know everything about it, and I even plan on visiting next month. Finding the facts are essential to whatever new task or challenge one must take up. Naturally, I believe that if I had a fatal illness such as mesothelioma then I would start by collecting the facts. After the first time of conversing with my doctor, I would want to discover more information on my own. I would visit academically and medically approved websites. I would have to be careful in looking for only credible sources such as Cancer Monthly. Also, I would look through the library and bookstores for any helpful books or magazines. I would contact doctors and specialists in the field. I would start with anything that would improve my knowledge of my new illness while trying to remain optimistic throughout the entire experience.

After gaining all of this new knowledge I would choose the best possible treatment. There are many things to consider with this choice, and what works for one person might not for another. However, I would first rate the treatments based on their success rates. I would want to go with a treatment that has more scientific proof backing it up. With this I would also speak with patients who had already undergone each treatment to get a better understanding of the experience. I would want to choose the one that would help me to continue life as normally as possible. I would not want to go through a treatment that kept me away from my family for too long. Of course, I would have to consider the financial obligations as well. I would want to give anything to remain with my loved ones for as long as possible, and someone might say that there is no price to save one’s life. However, I would consider it too selfish to leave my family in a debt from which they would never be relieved. Just as I value my own life, I would want them to be able to appreciate their own as well.

If the usual treatments of chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery did not work for me then I would not stop there. I would continue to search for whatever could possibly help in prolonging my time on earth. However, I would not obsess over it. I would continue living my life. Sometimes the best medicine for an illness is to appreciate what you have been given. I would want to volunteer my time to raising money for other people who were suffering like me. I would spend some of my time in activities such as Relay for Life and raising money for St. Jude’s. In the end I think the best thing I would have done is leaving behind some good that could possibly lead to finding a cure.

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