The Choices Are Yours

James “Rhio” O’Connor was a man who was diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer, pleural mesothelioma; his cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos.  Surgery was not an option because of the location of his tumor in relation to his spine; chemotherapy would significantly decrease his quality of life but would not extend the length of his live.  He was told he had approximately one year to live; he should get his affairs into order, enjoy a vacation with his wife and contact hospice to die.  He fought a courageous battle and was able to outlive his diagnosis.  He took matters into his own hands and researched every possibility to save and extend his own life.  He extensively researched his disease and made informed, educated calculations; the key change was the combination of food and nutrition in his diet. Rhio wrote a book “They Said Months, I chose Years: A Mesothelioma Survivor’s Story.” This serves as documentation of his battle and his alternative healing was an inspiration to others.  The sharing of his story was a blessing to others and his inspirational life reminds people that there may be other ways to deal with cancer and lengthen life beyond chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Mesothelioma is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body.  It is composed of two layers of cells:  one layer immediately surrounds the organ and the other forms a sac around it.  The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers and allows moving organs to glide against adjacent structures like the expanding and contracting lungs.  Mesothelioma cancer is a rare form of cancer; cancerous cells are found around the protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs. Cancer of the mesothelium is a disease of the cells that become abnormal and divide without control or order.  They can invade and damage the nearby tissues and organs.  Exposure to asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma.  Millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust since the early 1940’s; this exposure has been recognized and OSHA sets limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. People who work with asbestos wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure. They symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleura are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.  There are over 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age.   To learn more about this disease visit:

James “Rhio” O’Connor’s story is extremely inspiring because he never gave up nor did he surrender to the disease.  He took control of his destiny.  He did not accept the original diagnosis and worked hard to research and make informed decisions about how to proceed with an illness.  Time would suddenly come to a screeching halt when someone would hear those dreaded words “you have cancer”.  That would shake a person to their very core; it would turn anyone’s world upside down.  The original diagnosis of cancer would be one of the greatest challenges of any person’s life.  The darkest day would be the day of the original diagnosis.  There would be many dreadful days and fear filled nights experienced by the person as they pondered what their future will hold.  Rhio’s story was so much more than that, it empowered and inspired people to fight and find a better alternative. This story hits home for me because cancer has hit my family.  My brother in law passed away from cancer and he had worked hard to find natural remedies to heal him and ease his symptoms.  It was a common practice to gather stinging nettle as it was one of the ingredients along with barley greens that were used to extend his life.  These remedies were obtained from a local Amish woman, Mrs. Snook, who actually fought and won the battle with cancer through a combination of modern medicine and homeopathic remedies and concoctions.

If given this dire prognosis I would research all of my options and never give up.  The first step would be to do discuss alternatives with my doctor.  I would contact the American Cancer Associate to understand the diagnosis.  I would then contact the Hershey Medical Center and Geisinger Health Cancer programs to understand the disease and the treatment and the rates of survival.   Then review the current cancer studies and their results; review the most recent medical advances.  The next step would be a second opinion which would be scheduled after thorough research had been completed to understand all options.  There would be continued research with Penn State Hershey Health Information Library, American Association of Cancer Research and the National Foundation of Cancer Research.  I would consult with my best friend who is an RN and review the results of clinical research studies.  I would gather all of the information available about the illness in order to make an informed decision.  The entire body is comprised of cells and those cells contain DNA, so I would be proactive with my research. I contact every known resource to establish the best course of action.

The next step would be to schedule appointments with a natural herbalist and healing professional in my area to build whole body immunity during the treatment regimens.  There are two excellent resources in my area; I would also explore additional alternative options such as acupuncture.  I am a strong believer in natural healing.    Some of the supplements that exist for cancer therapies are: Bee Pollen :  Complete nutrition that is easily assimilated by the body.  Helps stress and supports the immune system. Cancer Therapy Tea:  This formula has a base of red clover it helps a person get through chemotherapy without nausea or hair loss.  Other herbs in this formula help reduce tumors, slow unhealthy cell growth, purify the blood, improve quality of life, and help put cancer in remission.  Vitamin E:  Antioxidant.  A division of hematology/oncology at East Carolina University School of Medicine in Greenville, N.C., looked at the effect vitamin E on cancer cell lines.  Specific Types of breast cancer, prostate cancer and erythroleukemia were looked at—conclusion was that this supplement could inhibit cancer cell growth.  *Selenium: Daily Dosage. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that a study conducted at the University of Arizona, Tucson, showed a 50 percent decrease in cancer deaths, 63 percent fewer cases of prostate cancer, 58 percent fewer cases of colon cancer and 46 percent fewer incidence of lung cancer for the group given selenium.  *Maitake D-fraction:   This mushroom extract contains a substance that inhibits the growth of cancer.  It is also an adtogen, helping the body adapt to stress and cancer treatment.

There is also a documented anti-cancer diet that would include wheat, bran, brown rice, grains, seeds and nuts.  Vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, pumpkin, squash, yams, and cantaloupe.  Other foods that help prevent and fight cancer are cherries, apples, Brazil nuts, grapes, chickpeas, onions, garlic, red beans, plums and lentils.  Drink spring water or steam distilled water.  It is recommended that people avoid animal protein, especially hot dogs, lunch meat, and smoked meats.  Eliminate junk foods, saturated fats, refined foods, white flour, salt and sugar.  Sweeten foods and drinks with honey or maple syrup.

The most important thing to remember is that it is your life — the choices are yours.  Don’t let anyone tell you not to follow your doctor’s advice.  Each person is responsible for their own health.  Use the nutritional tools available so that immunity is strengthened to fight the cancer.

Rhio’s inspiration helps people to realize the precious miracle of life and how people should be determined to preserve life.  He focused on living each day to the fullest.  His story inspired me to open my heart and realize the value of life.  I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to embrace life and imagine world from a different perspective.  His story is one that makes people realize they should not waste precious time or energy on negative people or things.  The focus should be to live each day to the fullest.  His story has been enlightening and life changing; his inspiration lives on through his book and his positive outlook on life.  His story is one of encouragement and passion to support others with their journey of cancer and the recognition of the vision of life.

“They Said Months, I chose Years: A Mesothelioma Survivor’s Story” by James “Rhio” O’Connor
There is a good read “February Light” written by Heather Remoff.  It will inspire and delight; Heather is a naturalist, author and cancer survivor.  It seems like an inspiration for anyone who is fighting cancer.

By: Davidson, Sherry A.

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