Cisneros, Alicia – Surviving Mesothelioma

Cisneros, Alicia

Mesothelioma cancer, like many other forms of cancer has no cure only treatments such as: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. It can only be imagined how hard it must have been for 61 year old James Rhio O’ Connor to hear the terrifying news; that he had cancer. “Rhio” was diagnosed with pleural Mesothelioma and was given a prognosis of a year to live. James Rhio obviously believed in a form of a higher power and had a strong desire to live. His story inspires me on many levels.

First of all, the way he was able to stay strong when given such hard news is heroic. Rhio was able to combine his intelligence and his faith and come up with his own treatment. It was obviously more successful than the options the doctors had given him, since he outlived his disease by seven years. It is inspiring to know that he didn’t let Mr. Meso, as he called it, bring down his sense of humor and his love for life. “For example, I believe that the subconscious can affect our body processes for good or bad. I also believe that this type of control is part of what makes us human, but that most of us have forgotten how to use this important ability.” When I read this quote it really stood out to me because, like Rhio I believe humans have more abilities than meets the eye. For Rhio, believing in something more besides what he already knew was of great comfort and help. His story is not only inspiring but a miracle.

If I was faced with the same challenge I am sure my first reaction would be of distress. Like many other patients, I would feel scared and alone. However, once that was said and done I would resort to my faith for answers. I would take many steps in hope of outliving my disease as long as humanly possible. The first thing I would do would be to talk to my loved ones. I would try to surround myself of positive thoughts and positive people. It would be a great wake up call to find my inner peace and strength. To do this I would like Rhio consider meditation classes, worship sessions in my church and anything else that promised a chance at life.

One thing I would not do is make the hospital my home. Being there for me would be a sign of resignation and failure. I know I would have to go for exams and such, but I would not become attached to a bed and simply wait to die. I would fight for my life and choose the treatment that had fewer side effects. It would be of great importance to be active and to try and enjoy life reminding myself that God has the last word. I would also practice light exercise in hopes that it would help my health.

I know overall my biggest strength would be my faith in God. It has carried me through tough times in the past like the death of my father. For me, believing in something higher than fragile humans is very important, therefore finding God has given me strength when I couldn’t find it in myself. It is not a myth or a fairytale but rather a reality and I know that going through a situation like that I would recourse to him. My church is also a safe place and so I would also find refuge in my parishioners searching for hope when my illness worsened. The Holy Scripture is also a book I enjoy to read not only because I find answers in it but, also because it has promises and hope for those that believe. I think when you are coping with a disease such as Mesothelioma your spirits definitely weaken and you falter in terms of staying positive and that would be a great time to bury myself in his word.

Overall James “Rhio” O’ Connor was a strong man and fought to the very end and for that his memory should be cherished. I can only say what I think I would do, but I cannot say for sure. The one thing I do know is the type of person I am and that is why I can stand firm and say that I would not give up. Together with my family, my doctors, and my community I would give “Mr. Meso” like “Rhio” called it a fight till the end.

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