I was completely inspired when I read Rhio’s story. The will to live in which he had gave me chills. I simply could not believe that he took it upon himself to look at different ways to extend his life. If you lined him up with people whom were told the same devastating news, I must say he would have truly been the only one to give an award to. People seem to block out the simple facts of life, they let go of everything in which they believe when such news as “you are going to die” is given to them. I also commend Rhio’s family for supporting him in his quest for a better answer.
To help you further understand Rhio’s disease, let me give you a little back ground on this particular cancer. Mesothelioma is common in people whom were exposed to asbestos in the 1940’s-1970’s. Asbestos is a true killer and can be found in older homes, childrens toys, and thousands of household items. Mesothelioma is a malignant cancer that lines the abdominal cavity, heart, lungs and several other organs. You can be exposed to the disease in just as little as two months, however not be diagnosed with this deadly cancer for up to 60 years later. Research is being conducted at various cancer centers all over the United States as well as by pharmaceutical companies. Asbestos is a true killer and can be found in older homes, childrens toys, and thousands of household items.
In today’s day in age, there is not enough will to live. There are mentally exhausted people whom take their own lives, just to find something better. This is not the answer and it saddens me that everyone just overlooks how precious life actually is. What Rhio did was well above the norm. He learned of the devastating news, fought through the pain and suffering and was able to extend his life an extra 6 months. There are so many individuals whom suffer from such a terrible disease and they just have no will to live once given the news.
I myself was affected by cancer first hand, my mother after a 13 year fight with cancer. I was only ten and was left to be raised by a hard working, widowed father. The cancer took quite a toll on the whole family. I being only ten years old, can still remember my mother lying there in complete agony. She still fought the inevitable though. I believe that more people should be aware of Rhio’s story. The fact that he was able to spend all of his time searching and learning was amazing.
Should I ever receive such news, I am not sure how I would react. The first thing I would want to do is figure out a way that I could live until my daughter was old enough to raise herself; just as my own mother did. I know that Mesothelioma is an absolute horrible disease and I personally would not want to learn that I had it. I truly believe that I would not have had the sense to look into my other options, however reading Rhio’s story brings a new light to me. I would reflect on his memorial page and read his story again. I would then try my best to push through the pain and contact as many people and organizations as I could to seek out my options.
If I would go to the doctor and have him tell me that Chemo, radiation ,or surgery would do no good, I would definitely not put myself through the agony of this treatment. Chemo-therapy can make people extremely ill, tired and even exhausted. It sometimes causes anemia and can cause increased infections. Radiation is also a trying treatment its side effects include skin damage, mouth and throat damage and fatigue. Surgery can only prevent the disease for a limited amount of time. There is always the risk of opening someone up for surgery and the cancer just spreading. I know first hand how sick these make a person, and I would not want to let my family see me in such a state. I am sure that I would spend as much time as I could with my family, this wouldn’t be something to take advantage of. Once everyone was sleeping, or at school I would continue my search to help myself, I would be contacting the American Cancer Society, as many oncologists as I could, and research as much on the internet that I could find. There are so many support groups and websites with very helpful information on cancer and Mesothelioma. I read a lot about Rhio O’Conner and his struggle with mesothelioma on www.survivingmesothelioma.com. Before reading Rhio’s story, I am certain I would have been just like so many people are now a days and just lay down and give up.
I am a strong supporter of the American Cancer Society, and I believe that this organization is over looked a lot of the time. We need to face facts that among to mortality rates in the United States, Cancer is in the lead. The government is trying their best with the smoke free buildings and so on, however the large industries whom encourage cancer need to be shut down. The tobacco industry is one of the leading industries in the US they even rank high above the auto industry. When I researched this I was amazed that a human being would go with out eating lunch in order to buy their next pack of cigarettes. I believe that a law should be passed to make tobacco illegal. There are so many more deaths from cigarettes then there are other street drugs. Why won’t someone wake up and do something about it. Furthermore I feel that since these large tobacco companies are making so much money at the population’s expense, they should be required to fund the American Cancer Society and the many other organizations that are trying to cure this deadly disease. As the saying goes “an eye for an eye” right?
I would love to see a poll on how many people have been affected directly or indirectly from cancer, I am sure the numbers would be phenomenal. I also believe that parents of today’s children need to do some self reflecting just as Rhio did. It is proven that if a parent smokes and makes unhealthy decisions, their children are ninety percent more likely to smoke. Children learn everything from their parents, and I myself learned that life is truly a fragile thing and should be handled with care. I would give anything for one more day with my own mother , if for nothing else just to tell her that I love her and that I am trying my very best to figure a way to help cure cancer.
If you take nothing from this essay and even if I don’t get the scholarship, please know that if you are a parent your children no matter what age, depend on you and please make healthy choices for them. I would never want to meet a child whom had a cancer related experience as I did. I further encourage you to read about the effects of mesothelioma, and get checked even if your great-great grandmother/father had this disease, an insurance copay could mean your life.