Cancer. It gives people shivers when they hear this word. Why is that? Majority of people fear cancer because of two reasons. One, people fear of cancer because it is a foreign topic to them. Due to the lack of understanding about this disease, it leads people into having this false conception that all cancer is deadly; therefore, it should be feared. Two, people fear of death itself. Indeed, death is unpreventable, and many, but not all cancer is incurable. Even though there are many victims of a deadly cancer, they should prohibit this disease from putting limits into their lives. Rhio O’Connor shows that this is possible to achieve when having the right attitudes and actions in place. He was able to outlive his prognosis by more than six years even when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is currently an incurable cancer that occurs when an individual had exposures to asbestos. “Asbestos are tiny fibers that may become airborne. Once being inhaled, they can be embedded in your lungs and/or travel to the pleura, other organs, or to the lymph nodes” (Mesothelioma Network). As a result, mesothelioma causes pain, uneasiness to the body, shortness of breath and many other symptoms to the body which are all incurable and will only worsen. Being one of many patients who were diagnosed with a deadly cancer, O’Connor never allowed this disease to take over his life. His key to survival was keeping a positive attitude and taking different actions to understand about his condition. He then took what he learned through his research and talks with various people who are experts in this cancer, and then accommodated his life accordingly by creating his own therapeutic protocol that best suited him. As we can see by O’Connor personal experience, everyone (whether it may be cancer victims or not) can learn from his determination and optimistic spirit to overcome fear, which in returns allow us to live our lives to the fullest.
After reading Rhio O’Connor’s case, I was amazed by his actions and attitude. Even if today I was being told that I am diagnosed with a deadly cancer, I will be able to approach it in ways that are more different than what I would have if I didn’t know about O’Connor’s experience. First, I will not take this disease as being a limit to my life, but rather, a chance for exploration and self discovery. Indeed it would be hard to accept the fact that I only have a certain amount of time to live due to cancer; but, it is an unpreventable fact that everyone will die one day. Once this fact is being accepted; all fears will no longer exist. At this point, I will be able to reach out to doctors, patients, and researchers, like what O’Connor did, to further help me understand my condition. After learning about my condition, I will be able to progress and decide what steps I am going to take next. Honestly, if the cancer I am diagnosed with is incurable, I will actually not choose to go through any surgeries or treatments that involve continuous hospital visits. I would; however, request for medication to ease pain and reduce the speed of the spread. Not that I am afraid to go through procedural therapies, but as a Buddhist follower, I believe that our lives are predetermined. For that reason and my understanding that death is unpreventable; therefore, I will try to just enjoy the remainder of my life. I will make a list of all the things that I want to accomplish in life which I may never got the chance to so that I can tell myself at the end that I have no regrets. In addition, I will reach out to the community, hold public forums and share Rhio O’Connor and my own experiences to the people about cancer. The goals of these seminar is to informed the public about cancer, and explain to them that there are different approaches that one may take when facing this disease. The important message that I am hoping that everyone will be able to get out of is not to fear cancer. Even though I am not a victim of cancer; ultimately, O’Connor has inspired me to face my problems with a positive attitude. Instead of letting my problems controlling my life, I should be the one to control the situation(s). Only then will I be able to live my life without any limitations. If I can do it, then you can as well.
Mesothelioma Network. Brayton Purcell LLP. 26 February 2010.
By: Chu, So-Ying