Dixon, Nichole Marie – Surviving Mesothelioma

Dixon, Nichole Marie

Optimism; a Faith that Leads to Achievement

Mesothelioma, a cancer once known to be incurable has been making many medical advances in recent years. Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that has been linked to Asbestos which is classified as a human carcinogen. Exposure to Asbestos has been found in many cases of those diagnosed with Mesothelioma, but not always. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the Mesothelium. The Mesothelium is a protective sac which lines the body’s internal organs such as in the lung and abdominal area. When cells of the Mesothelium mutate, they divide abnormally and rapidly leading to Mesothelioma cancer. (www.survivingmesothelioma.com) This cancer is rare making treatment for Mesothelioma widely underdeveloped. That is, until some patients took it upon themselves to look beyond their prognosis and conduct profound research which lead to new findings in treatments and extended their life. For example, a man named Rhio O’Conner was diagnosed with Mesothelioma and was only given one year to live. Instead of waiting out his fate, he did his own intensive research, creating his own treatments and extended his life by more than 6 years. Rhio O’Conner is a role model for all of us and we are grateful for the new ideas and medical treatments that he has provided us with for Mesothelioma. Many patients are now living longer, fuller lives because of his hard work, dedication, and extraordinary view of optimism on life.

Rhio O’Conner’s character showed a man of perseverance. It is far too easy for one to accept the fate that is handed to them and not take it upon themselves to change it. When Rhio was diagnosed with this deadly cancer, he took action which is something that is greatly admired. Rhio has become a role model and he has inspired me by showing me how a man who is dying from cancer can have faith in finding a cure. Rhio didn’t wait for the doctors to do the research, he did it himself. Rhio wrote a book called They Said Months, I Chose Years: A Mesothelioma Survivor’s Story. In his book he expressed the idea that a healthy diet and life style can help manage the effects of living with a chronic illness. If I were to face the same challenges as Rhio, I would first learn as much as I could by doing countless research on the topic. I would change my diet and lifestyle to reflect my bodies need for being nutritious and I would do my best to not be discouraged. I would also persevere through out the entire experience and hope to be an inspiration to others the way the Rhio has been to me.

If I were to be diagnosed with a deadly cancer and given a short prognosis, I would take many steps to inform myself and make sure that I am receiving the best health plan for my body. First, research would have to be conducted and the information would have to come from credible sources such as doctors, researchers, and specialists. I would read books, articles, and search the internet for findings on the related topic. I would explore the necessary treatment options such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy if needed. I would also learn the long and short term side effects of these common treatments. If after these treatments didn’t work, I would look beyond these regular cancer treatments and see what other patients have advised and done. Understanding other’s philosophies behind these theories is important as well. Doing my own research would help me become better educated in the specific illness and help me understand why doctors and researchers believe in these practices and therapies. I would also like to look at other patients and survivors of the cancer to see which treatments worked for them and how they take care of themselves after recovery. I believe that survivors offer the best resources because they have personally experienced it and have persevered through the illness. As for accredited resources, I would trust survivors, researchers, clinicians, and doctors. These are the people who take the time to educate themselves and specialize in certain areas of cancer and would offer the best information.

Lastly, a most important step is to make sure that you are available for others to talk to. Sharing knowledge is essential because there are many others who will share the same fate that we do. The secret is not to keep quiet about what we go through because the experience of us enduring and surviving a deadly disease builds our strength and we can then offer strength to others facing the same circumstances. We need to be proactive as a community and help others who face the same challenges. What Rhio O’Connor went through fighting Mesothelioma was nowhere near easy and he had to make many tough decisions like we would have to if facing the same conditions. The importance is to keep faith in yourself and keep your perseverance. If we are not moving forward we will move backward, so we cannot give up and lose hope. Being with other survivors and making yourself available to those in need can help encourage one another through this very emotional and hard process.

Many cancers have been known to be “incurable” for a long time. It is with the help of dedicated people and researchers who can change these cancers from deadly to being able to extend your life and live with them. Rhio as well as many other Mesothelioma cancer survivors did just this. They did not accept their prognosis of only living for one year. They went beyond the scope of average treatments and conducted intensive research to see what other options they had. Though this task was not easy, they had a love of life and an optimistic spirit with hope that they could do something more. Many survivors such as Rhio O’Connor persevered through Mesothelioma and because of them, many others have hope of living with this cancer and life is the best gift that we can give to others.

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