Laughter And Smiles In The Face Of Death

James “Rhio” O’Connor was diagnosed with pleural mesothelimoa in October of 2001. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. It is likely that James was exposed to asbestos during his working years, as is often the case with many who are diagnosed with this disease. Mr. O’Connor was informed at the time of his diagnosis that he would live less than a year. James rejected this idea entirely and managed to survive for seven and half years after his diagnosis. His story of perseverance is remarkable and inspiring and most importantly he offered hope. To read more about James and his journey please visit

What would I do if faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis? There is no easy answer to this question. Every person on this earth has a different body make up, and the same treatments that may work for one person will not work for another. The standard treatments for cancer are chemotherapy, and radiation, these are the same treatments that were used twenty years ago. Have we not advanced beyond the poison your body era? The answer is yes and no, there have been some advances in the preferred treatment of cancer, as new and different forms of chemo have been developed, and the same is true for radiation as well. I however believe that God supplies all that we need to live happy healthy lives and that the key to the cure of illness lies in the food and plants we consume. Whole foods contain the nourishment that our bodies need to repair themselves and to grow strong and healthy. I am not saying that the doctors should be cut out of the picture, absolutely not. It is however so very important to learn as much as possible about any disease that one is afflicted with. The more knowledge that is gained the more questions come to mind, but this is a good thing, I think it is important to know as much as possible about something that may be killing me! There is a myriad of treatments available, and sifting through what works and what does not is a huge task. Because as I have said everyone is different, we do not all respond to treatments the exact same way, what works for one person may not work for another. The internet is an excellent place to start, followed by the library, the book store; and people that have been diagnosed with the same disease would be an excellent resource as well. There are also many different holistic healers to talk with. I think that the most important thing to do would be to select someone to help you muddle through this journey that you trust and have a good rapport with. This is the way my father selected his oncologist, as well as his herbalist. He did not base his decision on who was touted to be the best in their field although he did take this into account as well. But more importantly was his connection with these people who were going to be his warriors. I too would choose this path.

In addition to the research, herbs, and faith, I would make sure that my attitude was in a good place. I believe laughter is universal, it makes our bodies feel better, and having a positive outlook can prolong ones life. My father, Charles Chumley, Jr. was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 2004 and given less than two years to live. I do believe I would approach a diagnosis of this magnitude much like my father did. I would endeavor to keep a positive attitude, and do my utmost to keep a smile on my face. I would laugh as often as possible, even at my own expense, and I would make it my mantra to find humor in every facet of my life. There are far too many things that do not require near the seriousness that it seems the majority of people use to approach their lives. There is always something to laugh about. This is my father’s legacy, one of laughter and smiles in the face of death. He lived with his brain tumor for five years, and is dearly missed.

By: Chumley, Kelsey

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