Calderon, Eva – Surviving Mesothelioma

Calderon, Eva

An Unknown Experience

Shock…Numbness…Anxiety…Fear…Depression…Anger…These are some of the initial emotions a person feels after they have been told they have cancer.

Rhio O’Connor was diagnosed with Mesothelioma (www.survivingmesothelioma.com), a deadly cancer. This cancer is almost always associated with exposure to asbestos. Given only a year to live, he outlived his prognosis by six years by finding his own path to health. Rhio O’Connor is an inspiration to all cancer patients. He informed himself of all the types of treatments and their side effects. He talked to different doctors, patients and researchers.

What would I do if I had been given a dire cancer prognosis? That is not an easy question to answer.

There are many different cancers that affect people. Each person reacts differently to each cancer. But if I did have cancer which one would it be? One that commonly affects women is breast cancer in which I fall into that category. The steps that would follow the cancer prognosis for me are four.

The first step is to let the news sink into the mind. The word “cancer” frightens most people because of the fear of not knowing their future and of death. I guess the next feeling would be of anger, of why me? What have I done to deserve this? Rhio’s story inspires me to not give up. The cancer prognosis is another challenge in my life. If other people have outlived their prognosis of breast cancer or any other cancer, why can’t I? If I can survive one more day than what the doctors expected, then I can fight the cancer. One day at a time, one treatment at a time. Just like Mr. O’Connor did. The second step for me would be research and treatment.

They say that knowledge is power. The more information I have on the cancer I have the more power I have over my cancer. One doctor does not know everything there is about a certain cancer. I would want to see various doctors and see what they have to say about my cancer. Each opinion counts and can help me in deciding what the best treatment for me is. The internet is one of the best tools for looking up information. By using the internet I can see the local or state foundations that are available to me. The National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc. website is a very helpful tool to begin learning more about what type of breast cancer I have, which treatments work well with which type of breast cancer and also for contacting people who understand what I am going through. The only people who can truly understand what I am feeling are those who have cancer as well. Meeting people who have gone through the same thing as you, makes you feel better because at least you know that you are not alone.

Treatment is not only physically, it is also mentally. I have to fight the cancer not only for myself but for those around me, for those that I love and care about, and for those who care about me. If I have their support then I am not going to fight alone, my family and friends will be right there next to me helping me cope with everything. Visiting a foundation in person can help me find the up-to-date technologies for battling the cancer. After I have learned of the treatments that are out there, I have to decide which one is the best for me. This is my third step.

Breast cancer treatment range from surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapies. Surgery is usually the first line of defense for breast cancer. What surgery I would decide on depends exactly on what type of breast cancer I had. One surgery would remove the tumor and tissue around the breast area, while another would remove the all the breast tissue. Surgery seems as one as the best options for starting the cancer treatment. After the removal of the tumor, the second line of defense would be radiation therapy to damage any cancer cells that the surgery could not remove, making them unable to multiply. To clarify radiation used to treat cancer is very different from the radiation that people associate with nuclear bombs. The radiation used to treat cancer affects more the cancer cells DNA since they are the one’s busy multiplying than normal cells who will otherwise recover. Chemotherapy is one of the many treatments used to fight cancer, it stops cancer cells from growing and spreading, but the side effects weigh a lot as well. Since the medicines used to treat chemotherapy cannot tell which is a cancer cell and which is a normal dividing cell, the medicine affects both. This affects the hair follicles, nails, the mouth, the digestive tract and bone marrow. Chemotherapy would only be an option for me if I was at an early-stage invasive breast cancer or an advance-stage breast cancer. Like I said before it all depends. The targeted therapies are less likely to affect the normal dividing cell than chemotherapy. There are three targeted therapies used to treat breast cancer. These therapies affect the proteins in the cancer cells that are used to divide.

My final step would be to fight. Fight till the end and never give up. The time that I have left I want to live it to the fullest, and be with those I love. I want to have no regrets and die with peace of mind knowing that I fought till the end. Cancer does not control me, I control it. Rhio O’Connor story is very inspirational. He was a man full of spirit who did not accept his death sentence. He fought all the way. I want to be like him. I know understand more of what cancer is and what it does. Of course writing about something is nothing compared to living it. That is why my philosophy on life is live and let live, when your time comes, even if you move out of the way it gets you, and if it is not your time, it doesn’t matter if you put yourself in front of it, it’s not your time.

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