Burgos, Angelique – Surviving Mesothelioma

Burgos, Angelique

The story of James Rhio O’Connor is one that is not only inspiring, but also intriguing. Instead of doing what most people do after being diagnosed with Mesothelioma, or any other type of cancer, Rhio decided to find out as much as he could about the cancer and the different options towards surviving the cancer. Although the doctors said he only had a year to live, Rhio showed everyone how wrong doctors could be in this sense, by living for more than six years. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer found in the mesothelium. The mesothelium is a membrane or protective sac that covers a majority of our body’s internal organs.

This story of James Rhio O’Connor truly inspired me because it showed me how dedicated and strong Rhio was regardless of his condition, and it reminded me of the dedication and strength it would take for me to continue on the path towards my dreams regardless of my circumstances, or any obstacles I may face. I am currently an 18-year-old mother and wife. I face failure everyday and have to fight to be better than the many statistics around me. I dream of becoming a lawyer one day and owning my own firm, and just because I had a child, I thought these dream was no longer possible. However, after reading the story of James Rhio O’Connor, I realized that this was not so, my dreams were not only possible, but they were still within my reach. The dedication that Rhio showed towards finding out his options and researching his disease, reminded me of the dedication I once had towards achieving my dreams.

If I had faced the same challenge the Rhio faced, I think that at first, I would not have been strong. I would have thought about giving up and just enjoying the rest of my days. However, after the initial shock wore off, I believe that I would have done what Rhio did. I would have researched as much as I possibly could to find out what my other options were. I would have fought with all my strength to surpass what the doctors and everyone else expected and done my best to make sure that after I was gone, anyone else who faced the same challenges would know about the different options and not have to give up.

I would first find out as much as I could about the diagnosis. I would talk to different doctors; maybe even get a few different opinions. Then I would look into the different options and treatments that were available. I would look into old methods, new methods, and even those methods that were still being studied or tested. I would look to my family and friends for support both morally and physically. I would find the best treatment offer based on its effectiveness, side effects, and its outcomes. Not only my closest family and friends, but also my doctors and my research would inform my decisions as well.

This story also intrigued me because in 2003, my father was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He did not give up, but he also did not try to find out as much about his disease as Rhio did. He simply did what the doctors told and still is. His condition has gotten worse every day, but he continues to go along with what he is told. The story intrigues me because it makes me wonder what gave Rhio the strength to go about researching and studying his disease as he did. It also makes me wonder what could I do to help me father see that there may be other options. When my father was first diagnosed, it was I who tried to do the research, but as I was only 12, I could not fully understand what I was reading.

In conclusion, this story of James Rhio O’Connor has truly inspired me to continue on the path towards my dreams regardless of the obstacles I may face. It has also intrigued me to want to continue researching my father’s disease and understand what other options he may have. If I were in the same situation as Rhio, I would have panicked at first, but then would have taken the same route he did. I would have wanted to know everything I could about the disease and its possible treatments.

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