Cancer…such a small and harmless word can have such a huge impact one one’s life. Just imagine all of the thoughts that can run through a person’s mind when he or she is told, “you have cancer!”? It is a life-changing experience! Then to add insult to injury the doctors give what you have a name…they call it mesothelioma! How dare they? How dare they give this disease a name? What gives it a right to have something so precious? How about we call it what it is…cancer!
So many questions, so many emotions! What do I feel, how should I feel? Do I get angry? Do I cry? Do I yell? Do I just sit and stare into space? What do I do? Then, in that moment I see my son’s face! His beautiful smile and his bi brown eyes! I am not going to let this cancer take me away from him, not without a fight! But in order to fight against it, I have to know my opponent!
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which cancerous cells have grown on the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs. There are two types of mesothelioma- pleural and peritoneal. Pleural mesothelioma starts in the chest and peritoneal starts in the lining of the abdominal cavity. There are many different forms of treatment which include chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, surgery and biological therapy. Each treatment option is different for each individual. How much a person is willing to fight and go the long run is only something that person can account for. I have studied it all and I want to fight! I know it will not be easy and there will be times that I will want to give up but I cannot. I must show the world and myself that I can do this! And that is what I did. I fought, I developed my own treatments, I did what was best for me and continued to live my life for six more years! I may not have won the war but I won every battle for six years!
This is not my story; this is John “Rhio” O’ Connor’s story. I just took what I knew about him and put my life into it. Nobody is the same so what he did and what you would do are two completely different things. But I am pretty sure that everybody would take that opportunity to learn about what it is that is going on inside his or her body. Mr. O’ Conor was a very courageous, strong and caring man because he did not give up. Cancer can kill you and in some cases it will but as long as you don’t let it consume your life, you can still live! As long as you put some effort in, study it, learn it, and fight it, in the end it will not matter that you will die because you will die with pride in your heart! You will die with dignity and grace!