Halpenny, Barbara – Surviving Mesothelioma

Halpenny, Barbara

Cancer what a small word this. What a big impact it has had in my life. From an early age, cancer has always been present in my family. In the early sixties my grandmother was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. People of that era only went to the doctor when they really had to. By the time my grandmother was detected to have breast cancer, it had already spread through her upper body. From learning this, her time was little and she passed. In her time not much was known about early detection, or treatment of the cancer.

In the seventies, my mother was discovered to have the early stages of uterine cancer. The treatment prescribed was a complete hysterectomy. My mother who always had a cheery outlook on life was upset for about a day, then said “Let’s get this over with.” She had the surgery and, recovered 100%. The waiting to make sure it was completely gone, was the hardest.

The eighties once again brought that little word back into my mother’s life. This time it was breast cancer. The treatment plan this time was as before, surgery. She had a double mastectomy, and some lymph nodes removed. Again she recovered 100%.

This astounding woman would have one last battle to fight before she left this world. In 2002, she was again diagnosed with cancer. This time it was stage IV large cell lung cancer. The prognosis was not good. Surgery was not an option this time. The doctor prescribed chemo and, that is what she had. When the doctor was asked how long she had, he replied with the best answer I have ever heard. “I am not God and, I can’t tell you.” My mother once again drew on her optimistic attitude, took the chemo and, went on with her day to day activities. The chemo did help a little, but in 2005, my mother had fought her last battle with cancer and, it had won this time.

Much later in my life, I would come across a story about a man named James “Rhio” O’Connor. His story is an inspiration to me and, I hope many others. Mr. O’Connor was diagnosed with a cancer called mesothelioma and given a year to live. Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen. It can take up to thirty years to develop.

James for many years worked in the oil fields of West Texas and, in National laboratories in the Silicon Valley. These places along with many others, once used, or are still using a substance called asbestos. You can find it in sheetrock, adhesives, roofing shingles and, many other materials. When James received his diagnose he was not about to do as the doctor recommended, to get his affairs in order and go to Hospice. He instead decided to take his treatment into his own hands. He was fierce as he took on the disease. In order to understand the health problem more clearly, he did a bit of research. Along with some reading he used the medical science library to find out what causes it and, how it grows in the body. Contacting scientist and, talking to other patients that had the same disease helped.

Weighing his options he decided that maybe a holistic approach might be the correct course of action for him. James believed that each person has their own natural healing power inside himself and, one must search to find the right path. Along with the help of a few chosen physicians, and a regimen that included taking 100 supplements a day, changing his diet, practicing mind-body medicine, and relying on his own discipline, James was able to live, and thrive for over six more years.

In facing my future, I know there is a real possibility that I may face cancer at some point. In the time of my grandmother, and mother there was a standard course of action to treat cancer, chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. James story was a very enlightening, and uplifting look into what can be done to help yourself when you are facing a difficult enemy like cancer.

Should I find myself in a similar situation as James, I would let my doctor tell me what his course of action would be, and the side affects. After seeing the radical approaches that my mother went through, I would consider it but, I would get a second opinion now, and do research on my own. Like James I might also talk to other patience’s that have the same type of cancer I have. I would learn about the treatments they have chosen, and ask how they arrived at the decision for their treatment. Like James the therapies, and treatments used on one may not be right for another. When I would be ready to make my decision, I would know that I had done everything possible that I could to make a well informed choice into my care.

Especially with such a devastating cancer as mesothelioma, information, and research are your best options to helping to gain the right protocol for you. If you or someone in your family would be diagnosed with mesothelioma a good place to start your research would be https://survivingmesothelioma.com. At this site you could read about the cancer, its diagnosis, treatment, and stories of survivors.

“Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;… and not today’s pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of man.” James H. West

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