“If Rhio Did It I Can Do It!”

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. It is a rare type of cancer that typically affects the lining of the lungs, heart and abdomen.

This cancer is a rare type that can develop in the membrane that lines the lungs, called the mesothelium. Approximately 2,000 to 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the United States. Anyone who undergoes cancer is a braver person and should be considered a hero. Having to go through chemotherapy and radiation treatments is almost not worth the fight. But each patient has something to live for and they fight for there life. I could never imagine having cancer. Seeing cancer patients, watching movies about cancer patients, and having cancer patients in my life and hearing their stories. I feel bad for them but they should feel bad for me because they are much stronger people than I could ever be. I do not think about fighting for my life and there pain and hurt reminds cancer patients every day they are fighting for their lives.

James “Rhio” O’Connor was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given a year to live. Instead of giving up he found his own path to health and outlived his prognosis by more than six years. That is a hero to me. He fought for his life and was rewarded with extra time here on life. Rhio survived by intensively researching his cancer. He spent hours in the library and spoke to countless doctor’s, researchers and patients. He learned what various therapies offered, their long and short term side effects, and the theories and philosophies behind them.Through this rigorous educational process, Rhio was able to help create his own therapeutic protocol along side the clinicians that he selected. He also developed the capacity to exercise informed consent that was truly fact based and informed. This extraordinary intellectual effort along with Rhio’s optimistic spirit, belief in something greater than himself, and the ability to make tough choices helped him beat his prognosis and live with a cancer considered “incurable” for many years.

Rhio was such a brave man sometimes I have troubles dealing with everyday life. Really, I do not have problems. If Rhio could survive cancer I can surely make it through everyday struggles. I do not know if I could do what Rhio did. Hearing the doctors say you are going to die in a year would be heartbreaking news. I may or may not have did what he did. I am thankful to God I have never been in the situation. But I can say I was truly touched my Rhio’s story and if I had to go through what he did I would look up to him and say “If Rhio did it I can do it!” And for that reason alone makes James “Rhio” O’Connor a hero.

By: Graves, Kali J.

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