Bettencourt, Christina – Surviving Mesothelioma

Bettencourt, Christina

James O’ Connor a remarkable man indeed! He beat all the odds and lived a full six years after he was diagnosed with a deadly and incurable form of cancer. His determination is the kind of strength and flawless motivation that I hope to obtain one day. Through is effort his was able to make a one year life span into a six year life span. He truly was a person that was determined to find a way to survive and make his own decisions based on his knowledge and not that of the health professionals. His memory is truly worth honoring and through his studies he developed his own mode of survival and gained intellectual understanding all while battling a deadly disease. For his efforts and strong will that I hope to emulate one day I applaud him.

Mesothelioma is rare type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart and abdomen. It is caused by exposure to asbestos which occurs when fibers are inhaled and ingested, this in turn causes an inflammation and infection in the body cavities. James was diagnosed in October 2001 with Pleural Mesothelioma which develops in the lining of the lungs and he was given less than a year to live. Surgery was not possible due to the position of the tumor near his spine and chemotherapy was not an option as well as it would decrease his quality of life and not improve his life expectancy.

It is really difficult and psychologically emotional to be in a situation such as the one that James had to endure. It puts demands on a person’s body as well as mental health and it affects everyone involved. To be told you have a year to live has to be one of the most horrific moments of a person’s life or unimaginable event. To be able to overcome this a person needs to be very strong willed as most of us know that news is enough for a person to maybe even die earlier due to stress buildup.

In a situation such as this and I were told that I had a year to live there are many things that I would like to do. In order to stand a chance at maybe combating this disease I would first and foremost be realistic. By being realistic I will be able to handle the situation better, instead of being in denial which will get me nowhere. By doing this I am also able to make swift and sensible decision such as allocating my belongings to someone in my family and make other important decisions. Being optimistic is also an important step to recovery; it is never over until God is ready for you. If it’s your time it then it’s your time and as they say the Lord works in mysterious way.

Optimism can mean that living longer is possible, being depressed will only quicken the symptoms of the cancer. Also doing research and being aware of the different treatments can also help and exploring can also help. A huge step that is really important is ensuring that when the time finally comes that you leave this world, you leave having a full life and with no regrets. This means that any squabbles that you may have had with someone are laid to rest as it really isn’t worth it. Because a lot of us are alive and health we fail to understand that people that we are at odds with are also humans and have the same problems that we ourselves have. Besides the person that gets left behind will forever be haunted by the fact that they were unable to lay the grudge to rest.

There are so many information pools available today that a method to find a conducting research is readily available. But since there are so many dedication is the method by which all that research can be put to good use. The library has wide array of books that have boundless amounts of information about various cancers and different treatments that makes it a good place to gather resources. The World Wide Web is also a great resource, today it is the corner stone for information at the press of a button. This is a great source as many articles are published or studies that were conducted are on the internet. It may take time to search the sites but family and friends can be a great help here.

A very important fact in the decision making is consulting with other doctors as well as other health professionals. This is really helpful because while your doctor may be doom and gloom there may be another doctor that has a different opinion of your condition. There advice can go a long way to making survival possible as through encouragement you are able to carry on fighting. Talking to cancer survivors can also be helpful from them you can gather data on how to cope with the psychological issues that come with being diagnosed with a deadly disease. Their experiences can encourage you and help you to cope with the unbearable fact of life that you are going to exit this world soon.

In order to beat all the odds a person has to think outside the box such as James did, he did not rely on modern or tradition medicine alone. He found new and interesting ways to stay alive. Modern cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation are all well known but they pose a high amount of risk. By using these methods a person intakes a moderate amount of radiation that in the long run will not help to improve the quality of a person’s life. Surgery is by far the safest and most reliable option but if surgery is not possible where does a person go from here. In my opinion I would look beyond these treatments but being honest I would not really look beyond the treatments. I base my decision for this on something that I was always taught, being grateful for everything that you are able to receive in life no matter how small. Despite all the risks and low results it is better than not having any treatment at all or relying on treatment that in the long run you were too discouraged about to make a difference in your condition. Unlike James who was able to accomplish this from sheer determination.

Resources that are available as well as the love and support of my friends and family and my own thoughts, would be the bases upon which I would make my informed decision. Personal beliefs and careful consideration about the quality of my life would be most important to me. If I was to survive but constantly suffer or make others suffer then that is something that I would base my decisions on. I would also leave everything to the Lord as I believe that when it is time for you to depart this world then you are ready to go.

At the end of it all I believe that life is one of the most beautiful aspects of being human and that while you are present on this earth that it is important to make the most of it. By being able to beat the odds and survive longer than expected is one of the things that James accomplished in his life but just being able to remain positive at maybe the worst period in his life is what being human means to me. It is all about enjoying the here and now and not worrying about tomorrow, thorough this and other schools of thought I am sure that James was able to survive. Nothing in this world can be accomplished unless a person puts there heart and soul into a belief that they have and working to make sure it comes true. Thanks to having written this essay I am again motivated to achieve my goal and become a pediatrician no matter what may stand in my way. If James was able to survive with a deadly disease and never give up than I who have no medical condition should be able to achieve also. James’s courage as well as my families especially my Mom’s is something that I will always treasure and try to emulate and look upon with great respect. God bless James “Rhio” O’Connor.

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