Life is something that is precious. Eventually life does end, but it is up to us to live the most fulfilling life we can. James “Rhio” O’Connor was a man who did just that. He lived his life to the fullest, and he did it with cancer. Rhio O’Connor was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is a cancer that spreads rapidly throughout a victim’s lungs, heart, and abdomen, causing the formation of tumors. Rhio O’Connor was told he had a year to live. Rhio O’Connor literally fought for his life, and strived for happiness and health. By doing so, he outlived his prognosis by six years. I heard his story, and was inspired. I asked myself what I do if I was diagnosed with a deadly cancer. If I were told that my life would be ended by cancer a year from now I would do all I could to fight the cancer, not take life for granted, and never stop believing in myself.
I have always believed that life is decided much more by choice than by fate. If I was diagnosed with cancer I would choose not sit around and wait to die, but instead ask myself, what can I do to change this? I would find out what is exactly wrong with me, by meeting with cancer specialists. Once what is wrong is known, I would find what I could do to not only prevent further sickness, but reverse side effects and get better. I would take not just one doctor’s advice, but meet with multiple doctors, and find the path that is best for me. That path being long-term, as I would let them know that will not die in a year. I would meet other patients whom share my diagnoses. Talking with them, I would ask how they are doing, and I would become even more informed. Knowing that I’m not alone, I would find inspiration in their strength. I would find my own strength! I would own the situation my cancer has put me in, by knowing that ultimately it is up to me to be healthy. I would eat well and exercise, and not let my cancer take over my life. I would continue to achieve goals, I would continue to love my family and friends, I would continue to be happy, I would just continue.
We never know what we have until it’s gone. It is unfortunate, but not often enough do we count our blessings. If I were told my life was ending because of cancer I would stop taking life for granted. Not because it’s over, but because it is the beginning of something new, a new realization of what is important. I would appreciate the little things. I would hug my friends and loved ones just a little longer. My life isn’t just my life; there are many that need me, just as I need them. Knowing that my life is bigger than just me, as I have others counting on my perseverance, I would appreciate life that much more. I would find more reasons to smile, and look forward to tomorrow. My attitude and my family and friends would keep me going.
If you tell me I can’t, the first thing I am going to do is tell myself I can. If I were told that I had one year to live because of cancer, I would prove them and my cancer wrong. The mental side of healing is just as important, if not more than the physical side. My optimistic attitude would keep my chine up looking at years to come, not just my one last. I would never stop believing in myself or other cancer patients whom are fighting for their lives right with me. I would never give up.
Through the years Rhio O’Connor was fighting cancer he wasn’t dying, he was living. I am not diagnosed with cancer, but Rhio O’Connor has taught me to live like I am. He has taught me to live a life where I fight for what I love, don’t take anything for granted, and never stop believing in myself. Life is something that is precious, and just like Rhio O’Connor, I’m holding on to it as my greatest gift.