Not only is it incurable, but it is one of the hardest diseases to diagnose. A positive result after a biopsy and rigorous tests is never what anyone wants to hear. Especially not an incurable cancer like Mesothelioma. Yet this was a harsh reality for Rhio O‘Connor; although, his positive results and grim prognosis was not to be his destiny. He didn’t let his life waste away or the cancer that ravaged his body take life away from him.
Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related disease which occurs with the Mesothelia cells which surround the chest, abdominal and heart cavity and form the Mesothelium tissue. This tissue can form Mesothelium tumors which break down the Mesothelium membrane and can be placed into four categories: Pleural mesothelioma which is the most common form that affects the lungs, Peritoneal mesothelioma which affects the abdominal cavity, a rare form which affects the cavity around the heart known as Pericardial mesothelioma, and tunica vaginalis occurring in the lining around the testicles (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research).
To be diagnosed with mesothelioma is enough to make my heart skip a beat. I would rather hear anything else than to be diagnosed with cancer. But once the diagnosis is clear and sinks in- it is time to take action. I will not mope around and let cancer determine my destiny. I am determined to fight cancer head on with the support of my family, friends, and faith. Before jumping into modern medicines of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, I would first do some of my own research on the type of cancer within me. I would not only look at other people’s treatment methods but also the mortality rates with and without modern treatments. Still modern medicine is not the only way to turn. Some of the nontraditional methods include: Photodynamic, Immunotherapy, Gene therapy, and medications such as Alimta. These methods may not be as evasive as the traditional, but any treatment that can be tested is one step closer to halting the spread of the disease.
I believe the importance of knowledge is not always found in the doctors who give the diagnosis but in the other patients who have used and exhausted treatments that may or may not have been successful. One of the most resourceful tools which I would put to use is the internet. I would use it as my guide to finding doctors around the world who may be willing to take a risk and try something which no one else would try. That something could be found by Dr. Jiri Neuzil, a Czech cancer researcher. Working along with “The Apoptosis Research Group,” an international group of researchers who focus their studies on a vitamin E derivative known as alpha-TOS and its anti-cancer properties. Alpha-TOS seems to have an inhibitory effect on proliferating endothelial (blood vessel) cells, which would indicate an anti-angiogenic role (Gold). This approach is not only nontraditional but also natural and with the extraction of alpha-TOS from Vitamin E, that is naturally occurring in everyday foods such as: peanut butter, broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes. It is amazing to think that many cures may come from naturally occurring sources that we take into our bodies’ on a regular basis.
By taking a step back from the world and looking around, you can discover many solutions to the problem that plague so many. Yet, you must still be leery because there are those that prey on the weak and the desperate. Not all people, including some doctors, are out to help you. So at the time of diagnosis and planning, you must be mentally alert of cures that sound too good to be true- most times they are! And yet with all the scientific technologies of today, there are still those who won’t have successful treatments. Through the chemo, radiation, gene therapy and surgery- everyone does not get mercy from the disease. And it is that feeling of hopelessness which comes after treatments have failed that leads to the downfall of many patients. But not me, because everything happens for a reason; like Rhio O’ Connor, who might have not been able to see the reason for his circumstances. Yet for the people who will be diagnosed after him, they might find comfort in his words and inspiration in his journey to help them along the way in conquering their battle.
Gold, Mikhal. The Gazette. An Eye- Opening Experience in Australia. Oct. 2006.The University of Arizona: Undergraduate Biology Research Program. 14 Feb. 2010.
Mesothelioma. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 2008. 30 Jan. 2010.
By: Crockett, Whitney C