Overcoming The Odds
Putting a time frame on life always seemed almost prophetic. Doctors tend to have a general time frame for life when one is diagnosed with a debilitating disease or when one has suffered a nearly inalterable accident. Doctors cannot possibly fathom the strength and will an individual possesses, no one but that individual can. Doctors can only recollect how a disease usually permeates through the body at any given stage, and the degree of swiftness it generally takes over and consumes a person. Rhio O’Connor was a man who was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer that comes from being in the vicinity of asbestos. Mesothelioma (www.survivingmesothelioma.com) is a cancer that can affect the linings of the stomach, heart and liver, among many other areas of the body. Rhio’s triumphant story started with a doctor estimating his life expectancy to be one year and as time went by, his conviction to find different opinions, treatments, and a new lifestyle yielded a life far beyond what his original prognosis said. Educating himself brought his life to newer heights that no one ever dreamed he would see. Filling myself with empathy toward Rhio’s life, I can firmly say that educating myself to be more familiar with my diagnosis and studying everything meticulously is how I would treat the news of a deadly cancer in my body. There is no subject bigger than my livelihood, no subject more important than my mortality, so educating myself on ways to be healthier is absolutely necessary, regardless of being diagnosed with a deadly cancer or not.
Philosophy has a lot to do with health for me. I already lead a life of great tranquility because I am fully aware that stress, literally, makes a person’s existence less fun and even more transient than it already is. Recognizing that some things are just out of my control is an important part of my personal philosophy. Holding on too tight to things in life that inevitably must change isn’t healthy or productive. Treating life as a privilege and keeping optimism is healthy; consecrating my happiness makes my life much more tolerable and eventful.
Extricating oneself from vices that deteriorate the body and mind is an important part of adding longevity to life. Smoking, drinking, doing drugs, eating unhealthy food and not exercising is a plethora of different ways to make life more ephemeral, more mortal. Having a deadly cancer, I would become very fastidious about creating good health for myself. Studying nutrition of all different types of food, asking friends for good ideas on lowering high levels of any substance, consulting nutritionists, exercising regularly and cooking everything fresh are several of the different things I would do to make my life more palatable, again, with or without cancer. Eliminating the harmful elements that only destroy physical, mental and emotional portions of a human being is absolutely necessary to thrive, regardless of stature or position.
Accepting one doctor’s prognosis is not enough to make an informed decision on how to live the rest of one’s life; I doubt any amount of doctors is enough, at least not for me. For example, doctors often have prognoses that reveal a person may never walk again but in rare instances they do, and strangely enough those people are usually the very adamant, strong willed ones who make the most amazing recoveries; it says something about the will of human beings. Oftentimes recovery is psychosomatic for people who have lost the ability to do certain things. The human body always constantly impresses me. Having cancer and being told that I had one year left to live is something I would genuinely not want to accept or acquiesce over. Keeping a different frame of mind, namely the mind of a fighter or someone who imposes their will is important in learning to fight disease off, at least for some time.
Family support is helpful in giving one the tools to fight for their lives. My brother is someone who pushes me to be better and stronger, so I would look to him for support in treating myself. My brother Tim has been my best friend since I can remember anything, really. Being in good company would be an essential tool for me to survive with mesothelioma. Many of the edifying things I have learned in my life have been in the company of my brother and father. Having someone that understands me and can empathize with any situation I’m in is especially rare, which is something, undoubtedly, my brother can do.
I can never truly know what it’s like to be in a position like Rhio’s unless I experience it, but all of my senses tell me that I’d act just as Rhio O’Connor did when diagnosed with mesothelioma. Following a path of personal enlightenment and eradicating all the things that bog me down are, what I feel to be the best steps in achieving a longer life span, with or without an incurable disease. It’s devastating to know something like that, of one’s impending mortality, of one’s imminent demise, relatively speaking. I take comfort in the fact that, hypothetically, life up to that point of being diagnosed has been a real joy for me. There is no reason to let a diagnosis ruin the rest of one’s life when everything that preceded it was benevolent and filled with glee. I would always keep my head up high in the shoes of Rhio O’Connor, just as he did for himself.
By: Crowe, Nicholas