I Believe in Hope.
Two years ago, I was an average teenager. I lived each day like tomorrow was promised. I lived each day like I was invincible. My times were spent in front of a television watching shows like Greys Anatomy, the OC and 90210. I would imagine being part of the cast, one of the characters playing a role. Sadly, I never stepped out of my role. I lived a life based on fiction. Reality was a foreign concept. In this fantasy land I had it all. Life was not just good, it was amazing. I was one of the luckiest teenagers alive. What could possibly go wrong?
Everything was as it should be. Saturday mornings my friends and I would go to the mall and spend hundreds of dollars. Saturday evenings were evenings of movies and parties. Except, tonight was different .Tonight everything that I used to believe in would become false. I would be forced out of the fictitious life that I created since I was a little girl, based on television and the media. I was turning 16, and this was supposed to be the best time of my life.
“Gaby, are you okay,” whispered my best friend Angie. “I don’t know,” I told her. The stomach pains were getting worst by the minute. I had to tell somebody .I couldn’t hide it anymore… “Gaby, Gaby wake up,” screamed Angie. No matter how loud she screamed I was deaf to her voice.
It’s been 7 years since I found out that I had cancer. It’s been 7years since I made it my mission to fight for not only myself but all other human beings who has being given a death sentence. I have appealed to fate, and I won. If I can do it, so can they. I embarked on this journey believing that I would fail. I was never an optimist. I didn’t know fate could be so cruel. The options seemed less of an option, rather, a white flag to surrender to the hand that was dealt to me. One man changed my life by simply choosing to save his.
James Rhio O’Connor was an average guy, living the everyday life .Until he found out that he had cancer. He was diagnosed with Pleural Mesothelioma, a type of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs. Mr. O’Connor was told that the caused of his condition was due to the exposure of asbestos. Asbestos is a fiber that is naturally occurring but hard to detect with the naked eye. Like asbestos, symptoms are invisible to the human vision. Similarly to any other human on this planet, Mr. O’connor had dreams, plans and goals. He never expected to be told that he had less than a year to live. To accept what doctors deemed to be inevitable was impossible to comprehend. His supernatural courage and determination gave me hope. Hope to take the necessary steps and to learn the art of what Mr. O’Connor termed “Mind-body medicine.”
I didn’t want to die, especially when I had so much to live for. I needed to train my mind to think positive. There’s never one choice to any matter. I had two choices, and I chose to live, but I couldn’t do it by myself. I sought the help of anyone who believed that there are miracles. My team eventually included doctors who have spent their lifetime creating an alternative to chemotherapy and radiation. It further includes Students from various medical backgrounds filled with new ideas and hypotheses. Monks, pastors and priests were included for their spirituality. Natives from various countries who grew up using herbs and plants for medicinal purposes were also part of the team. Last, but not least, family because without the support of mom, dad, and siblings there is nothing to fight for.
I believe that every person is a resource. Our experiences are experiments that prove again and again that we are more than our physical limitations. We are what our minds deemed us to be. The power of the mind is unfathomable. The decisions that we make each day is based on faith, experiences, and our resources. Over the past years I have use these resources to formulate a plan.A plan that gives me the power to live. I have learned to listen and to be open. I no longer live a fictitious life but one that cherishes each day as if it was a gift from God. The true blessing is to be able to organize the suggestions of various sources, and to swallow them like the 100 pills that I had to take for the past 7years.
“Gaby, are you awake?” whispered Angie. “I’m okay,” I said. I was just reminiscing of that day.” It’s a day I’ll never forget. I was turning 16, and it was supposed to be the best time of my life. Then, cancer happened. Suddenly, I wasn’t Gaby, the young starlet. I was the cancer girl, and a victim to a disease that has plagued many. That was then, but now I am Gaby, the cancer survivor, activist, and spokesperson. I am alive, not because of luck but because I believe in something greater than myself. I believe in faith. I believe in hope.