Hartwick, Brandon – Surviving Mesothelioma

Hartwick, Brandon

Conquering Cancer

Cancer is one of the hardest illnesses to conquer. There are countless cases of this sickness that do not end well. Some of these instances may occur from not enough treatment or not catching the signs of cancer soon enough. Doctors are here to help us not only get better from our sicknesses, but to be comforting to those that only have a determined time to live. What if a patient wanted to do everything in his/her power to conquer this sickness and beat the odds of death, would the doctor’s help the cause? In the case of James O’Connor, he was determined enough to beat the death sentence with his own knowledge and free will.

In the spring of 2006, my grandpa was diagnosed with lung cancer. This diagnosis was one of the hardest instances to conquer for our family. During the past 6 months before his diagnosis, I had been able to become closer with him and learn more about his past. This was extremely hard for me because just as I was becoming close, the obstacle of cancer came in the way. The doctors gave him a very short time to live because the cancer was caught at such a late stage. In their early diagnostics, doctors gave my grandpa 4-5 months to live. Even some other professionals were giving him the 4 month life expectancy. As the months wore on, my grandpa still lived. I remember one day in early summer where he pulled me aside and told me that he was going to beat his life expectancy. He also told me something I will never forget, “Doctors can tell you how long they expect you to live, but what they can’t tell you is how long you actually want to live. If you want to die, then the cancer will win. If you want to live and fight everyday of you have remaining, then you should expect to exceed their life expectancy and thus, creating your own.” My grandpa fought every day, not just for himself, but for the many family members that looked up to him for strength and encouragement. As the cancer grew worse, he fought harder. My grandpa fought until the cancer finally won the battle. In August of that year, he passed away peacefully and I believe that is how one fights for his life. If I was diagnosed with cancer and given a certain amount of time to live, what would I do? Would I fight everyday to live as long as possible? Would I let cancer win the battle? My heart would be set on living to my full potential, which includes fighting for my life.

Most doctors say that the best cure for cancer or a “better” end of your life is best served by surgery, or taking chemo and radiation treatments, but is it? Is there a better way to fight for your life? There are many instances where a person has outlived their expectancy to live by years, just as James O’Connor did. He took matters into his own hands and lived the life that would be inspirational to others. The best case, as proven by Mr. O’Connor, is to take matters into your own hands. The chemo or radiation treatments may not look promising, so taking your life into your own hands may be the best solution available.

If I had an unfortunate diagnosis, I would take matters into my own hands if technology could not give me the results I could hope for. My first steps toward recovery would be to research my cancer and find out as much as I can about it. I would look for previous cases and how those patients handled the disease and what treatments they tried. I would research the cases that had success and the one’s that failed. After retrieving as much evidence as I could about my diagnosis, I would meet with my doctor and see what he/she thought would be the best steps to recovery. Even if I still went on the chemo treatments, I would try my outside steps to make sure I was doing everything I could to save my life.

James O’Connor fought for his life. He did what he thought was the right decision to save his life, which worked. James O’Connor proved science wrong by extending his life by 6 years. The heart and determination shown by James “Rhio” O’Connor can help anyone fight for their life.

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