In this world of technology, stability, and efficiency, new ideas are constantly being conjured up and thrown into action; the repercussions of such ideas are often overlooked. During the mid-nineteen-hundreds, inventors of the time found what they called a “miracle mineral;” asbestos. Its versatile qualities and flame resistant material made it an ideal ingredient for anything from brake pads and shoes to flame-resistant fire fighter garb. What engineers failed to realize were its harmful, even deadly, affects.
Regardless of the known dangers of asbestos, in 2002, over 2,000 Americans were diagnosed with mesothelioma; a tumor in the lining of the thoracic cavity due to asbestos exposure. One particular case involved a sixty-one year old man; James Rhio O’Connor, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2001 and given the prognosis of one year to live. Despite the said timeline, O’Connor was convinced that it wasn’t yet his time and chose to outlive the disease by seven and a half years.
Often times it is easy to allow the haze in one’s mind to accumulate and ignorantly follow the direct paths set forth. James Rhio O’Connor proved to this industrial society that he, unlike so many others, was not a mere sheep in the pasture, he was an engineer himself. Through ideas of detoxification, supplementation, and nutritional healing, O’Connor set aside the traditional methods of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery; all of which are detrimental to the homeostasis of the human body, and created his own plan of survival.
It’s difficult to imagine the idea of being diagnosed with such a deadly cancer. One may find it easy to say that he or she, like O’Connor, would outlive their said departure. I like to believe that I would be a bit rebellious of the Grim Reaper myself. However, it is easier said than done. I am currently studying the field of nutrition directly based upon the dream to become my own boss as a holistic practitioner. I own many encyclopedias of natural and herbal medicines and spend hours upon hours attempting to cure my family’s minor sufferings. Because of this, there is no doubt in my mind that I would keep my nose amidst a series of books until I found anything that even resembled a cure. I have been told countless times that there is no money in holistic medicine. Perhaps that is true, but I find it hard to continuously treat people with chemicals like chemotherapy, when chemicals may very well be the cause of so many diseases running rampant today. James Rhio O’Connor has inspired me to continue with my dream to provide individuals with alternatives using diet, herbs, mediation and detoxification. Even if I can’t reach the world with the words of nutritional healing, O’Connor has convinced me that there are, in fact, some people searching for it themselves. I would like to be one that ends their search.
If I were somehow unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with such a disease, I, like any other woman, would take a moment…or a few weeks…to immerse myself in tears and self pity. After finally collecting myself I’m sure I would find comfort in the prayers of my loved ones. Unlike many medicine-based individuals, I could never underestimate the power of prayer. I believe the next important step would be to sit down with O’Connor’s book, “They Said Months, I Chose Years: A Mesothelioma’s Survival Story.” One important subject stressed in O’Connor’s book was that of detoxification. I too have dabbled in the idea of the Candida, and several heavy metal cleanses. I find it somewhat difficult to comprehend the idea of taking over one hundred supplemental pills in one day. However, life cannot be summed up by what has happened to us, but rather, how we choose to overcome it.
Having taken several anatomy and nutrition courses, the idea of chemotherapy makes me wonder which would actually be worse, an overactive group of cells or the death of any tissue touched by such a treatment. I would quite possibly choose the overgrowth. As far as finding individuals to consult, I would first find myself traveling as far as my money could take me to find a traditional acupuncturist. I have heard many positive things about the practice of acupuncture and pressure points to maintain the bodies balance, and have longed to try it myself. I would then strive to find a holistic practitioner to aid me in my research of alternate cures. Above all, I would bask in the warmth of my family. If my attempts at life should fail, I would want to spend my last days with the people who have influenced me the most.
Some entities in this world remain undefined. Disease may forever in my mind linger in the depths of the unknown. For some time I could not understand why someone like James Rhio O’Connor would be cursed with such a fatal disease. Then it occurred to me that perhaps it is because he possessed the ability to overcome it. O’Connor has truly become an inspiration to all those out there who don’t believe that they also possess the ability to overcome the obstacle of disease. I now understand that even though our fast-paced, technological society calls for computers and chemical radiation, the basics of the land may prove to be just enough.