Close to seven years ago, I was jumping out of a car with my dear cousin. As we were racing up to the front door, my cousin wondered if our grandpa was still alive. He had been diagnosed with cancer and death was imminent, we were told. My mother and I had been staying with him and as we approached the door, I thought, “No way, he can’t be.” I didn’t want to fully comprehend the inedible and instead chose to deny it. As we walked through the door I saw my family, with tears in their eyes. Looking down the hall, to my grandpa’s room, my mother came to me and cried on my shoulder. Her dad had just died, my grandpa was dead. The man who had filled my life with laughter and adventure was gone.
Cancer is a terrible diagnosis for any family to hear. We have heard about so many cases of cancer in the US that have ended in death and many of us have even tasted the experience of cancer, whether it be ourselves personally or a loved one. Cancer has become a death sentence, despite our knowledge of medicine and the human body. Good people have lost their lives to cancer. But I wonder how many stepped up and took on the battle of cancer? How many choose to do all they could to fight it? How many let it shape them and make them stronger, even though their bodies where growing weaker? I know Rhio O’Connor was one of those people who faced cancer head on, and didn’t take no for an answer. I never knew the man but after reading about him I am amazed by him.
Let me ask you, how many times, when something bad or some hardship has come along for us, whether it be cancer, the lost of a job, or a divorce, all we wanted to do was give up and not deal with? I know there have been times when I didn’t want to face something, like my grandpa’s cancer, I kept denying it. Yet, the best thing we can truly do, is not deny it, but face it, head on. We may not be able to stop the inedible, but we can stop it from conquering us to the depths of our souls. We can choose to let the experience shape us for the better. Rhio O’Connor was diagnosed with Mesothelioma cancer. The doctor told him he had a year to live. But that wasn’t good enough for him. He chose to learn about his disease and what he could do to fight it. He looked it in the eye and didn’t mince words. He knew the prognosis but he didn’t accept it and because of that, he lived another seven years. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that involves the protective sacs that cover most of your body’s organs, and still one man was able to fight this cancer and gain many more years of happiness. If you are interested in learning more about Rhio O’Connor’s cancer, please check out https://survivingmesothelioma.com.
It takes a brave person to do what Rhio O’Connor did. He fought with all he had, and even though he died 7 years later, I believe that he, not the cancer, won. As a woman, I am harped by many to take the required preventative steps for cervical and breast cancer. And, as a nursing student I know how important preventative check ups are for women and men. Yet, I have never really thought about what I would do if I was diagnosed with cancer.
Life is a blessing and a miracle, created by the hands of God. Life isn’t an accident or something worth throwing away. Life is something worth fighting for. Even our constitution tells us it is our right and is protected. Life is something amazing and precious. How many parents cry at the wonder of their child’s birth? Life is precious and should not be taken lightly or given up. Even if you have cancer, do not give up your life. Do not let it conquer you. I know I will not give up, no matter how dire the prognosis is.
I have had family members with cancer and Alzheimer’s and friends who have committed suicide. I have seen death and know that one day we must all face it, but I am not willing to face it prematurely or without a fight. We were given life and I do not intend to throw mine away just because of a prognosis of cancer. If Rhio O’Connor can fight a deadly cancer like Mesothelioma then I believe I could fight whatever cancer may came my way.
Cancer will not have victory over me. It may take my life, but it will not have victory. I will fight it with all I have in me. I will follow the example of those who have gone before me to fight that battle. I will research all that I can about my type of cancer and the possible treatments. My family will have my back and will support me, as I climb that mountain to find the answers that are right for me. As a student nurse, I know how important it is to tailor treatments and care plans to the patient. Everyone patient is different and you can not use the same care plans and treatments for every patient with cancer. You need to tailor it in a way that it will benefit each specific patient the best it can. Therefore, I will research and learn what treatment and plan is best suited for me personally.
Once I graduate I hope to be able to educate women on preventative health care. It is one of the desires of my heart to help women and to educate them on the health care they need and what they can do to protect themselves now from future health problems. I have a desire to help and educate. Even if I had cancer I would still want to do this, but instead of preventative care I would focus on the care of a cancer patient. I would reach out to others who had cancer so we could discuss, learn and encourage one another. We would both know what the other one is going through and that goes a long ways. We could encourage each other not to grow depressed and give up, but to continue to live life. We aren’t dead yet, we are still living and we should live that life to the fullest. I will not let, what may be our last days or years, be the worst time of our lives. We should do all that we can to make it the best. I will not give up on life anymore than I would give up on theirs. It is a battle and we need to come together to fight it. We need each other to help us through it and to not let us forget to live. For it is often times like these that make us truly appreciate life and all that we have been blessed with.
By: Gardiner, Kylah