Britvar, Paul – Surviving Mesothelioma

Britvar, Paul

An individual Story

When any hardship or challenge for example in Mr. O’ Connor’s situation, Mesothelioma Cancer presents itself, there are limited number of options that are available about what to do next. It is decisions like these, that are especially difficult especially when confronting a doctors forecast, predicting you have less than one year left to live. What would one do in spite facing such a merciless reality? I am sure that the same question went through patient’s minds like Mr. O’ Connor, Paul Kraus and any other survivor faced with similar challenges. These individuals demonstrate prevailing over the odds, and conquering the impossible, and although their cases are involved with unfortunate illnesses, the trial of their optimism and their vitality should act as the outlines according to which we all live our lives; and what we do when faced by any conflict.

Cancer survivors are strong people. It is impossible to imagine the feeling one would have upon hearing of a definite number of days left that you will have left to live. The question, ‘what to do next’ would arise, and any person would weigh the options. But depression would surely set in, and any rational person would feel overwhelming sorrow to know of immediate fate. I know I would. I have asked several friends the same question and have found the responses to be comparatively similar. After they imagine the predicament they would finally respond “well I guess I would do all the things that I have always wanted to, or at least as many things as there would be time for.” But, how could it be possible to smile the same as always, in spite knowing that within a determined amount of time that your own time will be up? I wouldn’t be able to. It would be hard to ignore reality and live without feeling depressed to leave the world, your family and friends behind.

Yet, nothing is impossible which has been proven by cancer patients like Scott Hamilton & Peggy Flemmig (Olympic gold-medal winning figure skaters), Arnold Palmer (winner of 92 professional-golfer titles) Tom Green (comedian) and Lance Armstrong (Tour de France champion 7 consecutive times), all who fought through the depression and who ignored reality, in order to avoid limiting themselves to enjoying what few things on the bucket list that there was time for. These individuals not only took their fates into their own hands, but they demonstrated a valiant effort of optimism, hard work and determination – traits we should all adhere to. When Mr. O’Connor was diagnosed with the Mesothelioma, it was explained to him that there would be one year left to live. For me, the thought of this would be crippling, because one year certainly isn’t enough time to do all the things I have dreamt of doing. One year isn’t enough time to show my family how much I dearly love them. And the same was true for Mr. O’Connor who became motivated not to leave his family and dreams behind either.

After his sickness was confirmed to be “Mesothelioma” which is a rare form of cancer in cancerous cells is found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs, instead of accepting the fate that had been promised O’Connor fought the obstacles, conquered the challenges and ultimately extended his health to outlive the once seemingly insurmountable prognosis by more than six years. Mr. O’Connor’s success was reached by countless hours of research and through an undying effort to discover what more could be done to defeat something that was once deemed as undefeatable. He spoke to countless doctors, explored various therapies, interviewed researchers, sought out patients, and over time developed his own curriculum to overcome the illness.

From this trial, it becomes apparent that anything is possible when you combine hard work with the type of motivation which drove O’Connor’s investigations to find a cure. However, it’s important to remember that optimism and hope were equally as important in enabling him to surmount the challenge.

It is that same optimism and hope that have helped me to live over the past four years as well. I have been confronted by a comparable challenge, and it wasn’t until reading of Mr. O’Connor’s story that I became aware of how important it is to exercise the same fundamentals of hard work and determination no matter what the circumstances. Personally, I have a father who has been alcoholic and a drug addict all throughout the entire amount of time that I have ever known him. He is currently in jail and is unable to give financial support, and more importantly is unable to play the role of a family member. This has been the insurmountable challenge for me and is comparable to Mr. O’Connor’s story because, my father has become worse and worse over the years – and like a severe case of cancer he seemed helpless. Without having a dad to look up to, it as if there is a part of me that is missing. However, just like all cancer survivors, I’m not going to give up! I will keep working hard to earn an education, I always be there for my mother and my brother, and I will never give up the hope that someday my dad will become sober. Until that happens, I will smile with hope and will fearlessly confront each challenge – because that is what Mr. O’Connor would have had done.

In the end, it’s not a matter of averting the challenges in life, because they are going to happen and that’s one thing that just won’t change. But what’s important is that when those conflicts do arise, whether it is Mesothelioma cancer, a family problem, a scholastic or athletic challenge – is what you do when you face the problems. After you fall down, the question is how high will you bounce back up? It is from accounts like Mr. O’Connor’s that show us that the sky is the limit. It is individuals like him, as well as well as the other cancer survivors who I look up to with hopes to emulate, when faced with any challenge. Whether I am faced with cancer or some other hurdle, I will optimistically hope for and work toward the brighter days that are to come.

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