de Quero, Christina | Surviving Mesothelioma

de Quero, Christina

Rhio O’Connor’s story of how he deterred his prognosis by six years I find truly inspiring. The medical specialists had only given him one year to live.

These kinds of true stories warm my heart, Rhio’s especially since I had an aunt who went through a similar fight against a different form of cancer.

While Rhio suffered from mesothelioma, my aunt was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Uterine cancer affects the uterus with cancerous cells and causes infection of the intestines and bladder. Mesothelioma on the other hand is a disease that causes fluid to build up in the lungs mostly after exposure to asbestos, which causes mutated cancer cells and eventually malignant mesothelioma. I would be especially interested in researching the detailed biology of the disease since there are not concrete findings on how exactly asbestos causes mesothelioma and what exactly happens on the molecular level. Being a science major it is my first interest to find out how exactly living organism function and change. If diagnosed with mesothelioma, I would consider surgery such as pleurectomy for reduction of symptoms even though it is a very invasive and dangerous surgery aimed at removing the tumor. However, in order to make a crucial decision like this I would want to be as informed as possible.

Even though diagnosed with different cancers, my aunt and Rhio dealt with it in a similar way in doing extensive research about their illness. My aunt had most of her tumor surgically removed, followed by chemotherapy. She suffered greatly from it and decided to stop against the doctor’s recommendations. When she went home she bought a laptop and started intensively researching her illness. During her research she found the best solution for herself, which has its roots in anthroposophy. She read about homeopathic medicine, which offers a natural approach to health and does not use chemicals to treat an organic problem. She also found a successful homeopathic cancer deterrent made from the mistletoe plant which she used therapeutically. Because her mother had battled successfully with breast cancer 10 years using a homeopathic medicine called “Iscador”, she felt even more confident and comfortable with the homeopathic medicine. Alongside that, she conscientiously watched her diet, meditated, rested often, avoided stress and used a form of therapy called curative eurhythmy, which also has its roots in anthroposophic medicine. She wanted to fight for her life and try out everything she could to prolong her life even just one more day.

Just as my aunt and Rhio, if faced with such a dreadful diagnosis of an incurable cancer and the prognosis of only a year left to live, I would research the cancer deeply to be able to make an informed, sensible decision. I would try and find as much information about the cancer, its cause, its symptoms, its history, its treatment options and its current research in the field. I would reach out and try talking to as many physicians as possible, see if there are specialists in the field, cancer support groups and speak to other patients, research the subject both online and in the library, but most important of all I would definitely try to find an alternative to chemotherapy and radiation. This is because they are so harmful and dangerous however successful in cancer therapy they might be for some people and some forms of cancer. The fact that my aunt refused this kind of therapy and got worse only after finally being talked into it broke my heart. Being raised in an anthroposophic family with homeopathic medicine, finding or using a chemical solution to a physical problem will always be my last resort. So when my aunt refused this kind of chemical therapy and got worse only after finally being talked into it, it broke my heart. What I experienced through my aunt’s fight against cancer makes me strongly believe that one has to be informed and aware of all the options and different opinions and findings when facing decisions such as cancer treatment options.

Even though cancer is a terrible and devastating disease that requires a physical fight when your body is already weakened, I have experienced my aunt being as positive and beaming as ever throughout her struggle. I believe she only held up so long because of the fact that she believed in what she was doing, that she went after what she found to be the best solution for her. That her decision gave her the strength and confidence to smile and still be optimistic when doctors constantly told her the opposite. Rhio’s story in a similar way makes my heart beat faster, by sending the beautiful message of how when we have trust in our self, stay optimistic and sensible, have a source of support and acquire knowledge, we can do anything we want.

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