Bonnett, Stephanie | Surviving Mesothelioma

Bonnett, Stephanie

Researching for this scholarship has opened my eyes to the many ways in which the patient has control of all the options available to him or her.

While reading about James “Rhio” O’Connor and his courageous battle against Mesothelioma, his will to live became very apparent. Through his example, I was impressed with how much control an individual has on their own spirit, emotions and well being. His teachings reinforced my belief that the patient needs to have a strong will to live when dealing with a prognosis that has an unsure outcome. Everything I have read so far suggests that an individual must stay focused on being positive about beating their illness. From my personal experiences with cancer survivors, I observed the patient must also take exceptional care of themselves.  They need to take the time to rest, or even make an appointment for a relaxing massage. 

For a couple of years I was involved in the “Look Good Feel Better” program. This program is sponsored by the Fragrance and Toiletries Association. A component of this program included having volunteers visit patients in the hospital and presenting classes for the cancer patients. I was one of these volunteers and was responsible for planning, organizing and presenting these classes.

Cosmetologists would show the patients how to style their wigs. We were able to trim their wigs and teach them how to care for their wigs.  We also informed them how important it is to have a wig in their possession before they start to lose their hair. As a cosmetologist, I helped them find new ways to fashion scarves on their heads if they didn’t want to wear a wig all the time. 

Make-up was applied on the women as a way to add a little needed self-confidence and sunshine in their day!  We explained to the women that by adding a little blush and lipstick, it could boost their outlook and increase their positivity.  We had a very enjoyable couple of hours with them. They learned a few things and had fun too!  Most important, it was positive motivation.

What resources would I use to make an informed decision?

Once focused on beating an illness, the next step would be to meet with a doctor(s).  A full understanding of the illness and the treatments available is needed. After meeting with a physician, a second opinion may be a good idea.  A great place to research is the internet in order to find someone that specializes in the illness. This can be a tool in finding other hospitals which specialize in your illness as well.  It is also a good idea to check the doctors’ credentials. Find out what treatments have been done by the physician and the success rate of their procedures.

Another avenue would be to ask friends and relatives about specialists that deal with the same illness. They may have known someone that was treated and had a positive outcome. 

If interested in researching alternative cancer therapies, visit Medline’s National Library of Medicine.   By using this website one can read about alternative cancer therapies studied by scientists and researchers.  Run a search by placing terms such as the name of an herb in the search engine. This search explains what substance was tested, where it was tested and what the outcome was. It may be helpful to know someone with medical background or a medical dictionary.  

Sorting through medical terms can be overwhelming.

Going through cancer bloggs can be helpful as well.  Reading testimonials of people that have a similar illness may help in finding a common denominator.  Finding a common denominator could make the difference in discovering how treatments were administered or when they were administered.  Blogging can also be a great way to communicate with others and dissolve the feelings of being alone.

Homeopathic remedies may become an aid during a journey for a cure.  In an article from the Wisconsin Institute of Nutrition in February 2009, Bruce Semon MD PhD, writes about Homeopathy.  Homeopathy has been in existence for about 200 years.  It can make a conventional treatment easier on the patient, because some of these remedies can alleviate certain symptoms caused by treatment. With Homeopathy, it is believed that thedisease is still present even after the diseased  tissue has been removed. Therefore, the disease can move to other tissue.  To be successful when using Homeopathy, it is crucial to identify the characterized symptoms in order to find the specific remedy.

When looking in Wikipedia, I find that Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used for thousands of years. Traditional Medicine includes but is not limited to; Chinese Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Dietary Therapy, Tui and Shiatsu Massage. This alternative Medicine deals with the observation of nature and the human body.

A last consideration that can have a major impact is diet. There has been a lot of research done on cancer and changing the way one eats. Some foods to consider eliminating include wheat, rye, milk, and even soy.  In regards to healthy eating, James O’Connor leaned toward a vegetarian diet. 

Closing Statement

As I was researching ways to overcome a devastating disease such as cancer, I find myself looking at ways to prevent the disease. We need to be proactive with our lifestyle. I’m not saying that if we are proactive we won’t get cancer.  What I’m saying if we are proactive we can possibly prevent getting some cancers.

During the journey to fight cancer, it is critical to keep a positive attitude.  Be sure to meet with a doctor(s) and ask questions.  Find out as many facts as possible.  If you don’t feel comfortable with the information given, seek out a second opinion. Use the internet to do more research.  Use the Medical Library.  Network with friends and family to find solutions  You are not alone. You have people that care.  Use their love and support to get you to the next level. 

Don’t forget to research alternative medicine. Researchers and scientists are always finding new treatments.  Look at Homeopathy either separately or combined with conventional treatments. Research the cancer bloggs for similarities in patients with the same disease you have. 

Above all, be kind to yourself. 
And don’t forget your lipstick!

References: Cancer Monthly Magazine,     
Wisconsin Institute of Nutrition
Bruce Semon MD PhD
Wikipedia
National Library of Medicine

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