Chase, Natasha R. – Surviving Mesothelioma

Chase, Natasha R.

Cancer. No other word incites complete and total panic of mind, body and soul. In a split second, everything you know to be true – isn’t. Life as you have known it, is now over. Every person in your life, from family members to friends and co-workers are affected. The stages of grief begin: Shock and Denial, Pain and Guilt, Anger and Bargaining, Depression (Reflection, Loneliness)…

Your existence becomes an entourage of Oncologists, Surgeons, Radiologists, Hematologists, etc., etc…Now comes the trust. Do you take, at face value, each piece of information from each doctor? Does the “standard of care” necessarily pertain to you? James “Rhio” O’Connor said “no” when diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer called Mesothelioma. This is a cancer which occurs in the lining of the lung and is caused by exposure to Asbestos. It affects less than 3,000 Americans each year. One of the more deadly forms of cancer, the life expectancy for an average person from the time of diagnosis until death is usually less than 24 months. Treatments for this particular disease include surgery, where the inflicted tissue is cut out; Radiation, which involves the use of radiation therapy to kill off the cancerous cells and Chemotherapy, which is the use of drugs in the body to kill off the affected cells. Oftentimes a combination of these treatments along with a series of drugs is used. Mr. O’Connor was not satisfied with these “standard” treatments. He spent hours researching his own particular form of cancer. He spoke to many forms of clinicians, from doctors and researchers to other patients. Ultimately, Mr. O’Connor discovered his own treatment path, one which led him to outlive his prognosis by more than six years.

I agree with Mr. O’Connor’s advocacy of his own disease. I believe each person’s body, mind and soul will feed them different instincts. What is “right” for one person is not always “right” for another. If I view Chemotherapy and Radiation as a “cure”, then these therapies are probably “right” for me. However, if I view these “standards of care” as something that will ultimately do my body more harm than good, then it is prudent for me to research other alternatives. . Radiation, though standardly effective, also results in secondary cancers. Oftentimes these cancers do not manifest themselves for many years. How does anybody really know if this secondary cancer would have appeared anyway? Is it worth the risk? Chemotherapy is a systemic poisoning of “bad” blood cells. How do we really know if it can differentiate between bad and good? Tamoxifen, often used to treat women with Breast Cancer, is an Estrogen blocker. Wouldn’t it make more sense to remove the ovaries (which are the primary Estrogen producers in women) for an Estrogen – positive tumor? Each person’s circumstances are different. Each person’s body reacts to drug therapies in a different way. There are so very many incredible alternatives available today. There are so many places in which to find other possibilities. Incredible amounts of information are now available online. Granted, it is sometimes difficult to discern opinion from fact, but the more you read and learn, and the more information you gather, the clearer your decision becomes. Every cancer patient you speak with will have their own story. Every doctor will have their own medical opinion. Most will be right. But only you can decide what is actually right for you.

New research is finding that many people who have cancer suffer a lack of Vitamin D in their system. Many people are shown to have low levels of Co-enzyme Q10. Suzanne Somers has written several beautiful books about her struggle. She discusses her own misdiagnosis and interviews several pioneers in alternative cancer treatments. Those doctors include Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, who has seen remarkable results working with antineoplastons, Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, who specializes in cancer treatment focusing on the use of pancreatic enzymes, and Dr. Jonathan Wright, whose successful strategies involve bioidentical hormone replacement. All of these doctors have broken away from traditional treatments and are exploring the possibilities of curing cancer through unconventional and homeopathic methods. All have success rates surpassing those doctors who blindly administer the recommended “standard of care.”

Please do not misunderstand. There are many, many circumstances for which these standards would and should be applied. Many times these can work in conjunction with alternative methods. Eating raw foods, taking additional supplements to possibly head off recurrences and making informed decisions about your own treatment plan are all an integral part of finding the best solution for you.

I do not have cancer. But my life will forever be touched having witnessed the challenge several personal friends, friends of my parents and my own Aunt have endured. My hope for these people is that their journey takes them to the farthest stages of grief: The Upward Turn, Reconstruction and Working Through, and finally, Acceptance and Hope. My thoughts and prayers are now and will remain with Mr. O’Connor, and all other cancer patients – that they may find comfort and solace with their journey, their decisions and a hope for brighter tomorrows.

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