James O’Connor is an amazing individual who was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is a deadly form of cancer. He was told he had only one year to live. However, he did not let this earth shattering news defeat him. Instead of accepting his fate, he worked hard at researching his cancer and ways to help treat it. As a result he lived six years past his prognosis. If I myself was diagnosed with any form of cancer and only given a year or less to live, I am not sure I would be able to handle my situation as gracefully as Mr. O’Connor did. I imagine I would be in shock and denial for quite some time. Everyone thinks they are invincible and that this kind of thing could never happen to them…until it does. Eventually I would snap out of my denial and like Mr. O’Connor try to think of any possible way to salvage what time I had left. I know that finding a cure for cancer in the span of one year when so many doctors have failed to is not a very realistic goal so I will not dwell on that. However, researching ways to treat the effects of cancer outside of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery would be my first goal. I would try to stay optimistic and research as many cases similar to my own that I could. I would contact doctors all over the country and talk to them about any special treatments that they may know of. Talking to specialists in the medical field would also most likely be very beneficial because there are so many different ways to approach medical care nowadays with all the natural remedies that are becoming more and more popular.
Of course I would not try doing all this research and decision making on my own. My family would be a huge priority for me. After all, I may be the one with cancer and only a year left to live, but they have to live on after me and deal with my loss for years to come. I would discuss treatments with them and value their opinions. If my family seems doubtful about some “miracle cure” that I may encounter in my research, I would respect their wishes no matter how much I may want to try it. I greatly respect and trust my family and if I had to put my life in anyone’s hands it would be there’s. I would also share any new information about cancer that I find with other doctors that I had previously talked with. I would want to help as many people as I can who receive the heart stopping news that they too have cancer and only a year to live. Even if I do not find any particularly groundbreaking new discoveries, sharing any information I uncover with other doctors could potentially help several cancer patients after me and maybe even one day far in the future find a cure for cancer. No one knows what can happen until they try.
My closest friends would also be high on my priority list. With a terminal illness that will eventually claim my life, I am sure I will have a lot to say to my closest friends. I would patch up any problems I may have going on with friends at the time. I would include them in all my research efforts and take into account their suggestions as well. After my family of course, my friends are the next people I would turn to. I have had many problems in my life that have been resolved with the help of my closest friends. None of them have been as monumental as a life threatening disease but my friends would give a slightly different perspective to helping me through my rough time. While family will be concerned with getting the best possible treatment, friends will be there to keep my spirits up. My friends would of course be devastated with the news but friends have this amazing way to make you feel better no matter how low you may get. With the news that I have cancer and a year left to live, I would desperately need my friends there to balance out my grief and keep me going. I would of course share all my findings and all the information I gather with them and their families because they too could have family members that encounter the same fate as me.
In conclusion, I would go about dealing with my cancer diagnosis in the same manner James “Rhio” O’Connor did. I would persevere to find out as much about my disease as I could and research treatments and cases similar to my own. I would spread my knowledge with family, friends, doctors, and everyone else. I would focus on trying to help myself, but I would also not forget about all those out there who will come along after me, or who have cancer now. A 19 year old may not be able to have that much of an impact on the medical world, but I would sure try and give it my best shot. I am not a quitter and do not go down without a fight. I would not just sit around and mope for a year and wait for my disease to take me.
By: Hildebrand, Rebekah