Survival Means Different Things

Survival means different things to every single person. Good health is taken for granted by the majority of society. The thought will I die today, definitely doesn’t cross the averages person’s mind on a day to day basis. Imagine that an individual has been diagnosed with a deadly cancer, and that person only has one year to live. Its heart breaking that to have a new perspective on life, that same life has to be threatened to be taken away. If I was diagnosed with a dire cancer prognosis like James Rhio O’Conner was, I would take every opportunity to become as educated as possible about the cancer, how to survive and possibly overcome it. I would be adaptable and I would remain optimistic.

“Mesothelioma is a cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. It is a rare form of cancer in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs. Most people, who develop mesothelioma, have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles.” (1) James Rhio O’Connor was no exception. Mesothelioma is the cancer that eventually and sadly took O’Conner’s life on July 11th, 2009. O’Conner was a courageous man who against his doctor’s wishes rejected the same old recipe of chemo therapy and surgery to fight his cancer, partly due to where the tumor was located, near his spine. Some luck and some circumstantial consequences enabled him to have a better quality of life by not being operated on. He was also a fortunate man who outlived his prognosis by more than six years by simply obtaining a schedule of supplements, a change in diet, and practicing mind-body medicine. (2)Education is an entity that can be controlled, an entity that allows for the person to control the cancer and not have the cancer control the person. Education also enables the family and friends who are involved with the person with cancer. There is no possible way that O’Conner’s wife that she just let James say “Honey, I’m not going to be operated on”, and no more discussion ensued. She must have been hysterical at first until the doctor could clue her in on the how’s and why’s of O’ Connors situation. Education allows for different options to be considered when battling the cancer, because every person is different and what works for one, may not work for another. The number one reason that education is vital when facing cancer is that it allows for hope and that hope leads to strength to face just one more day.

Adaptability is necessary when diagnosed with cancer because sometimes resources may not be readily available and specialists may live and/or work a far distance from where the individual resides. Sometimes arrangements may not go according to plan. When things don’t go as planned with someone with a healthy immune system, additional stress doesn’t affect them that much, but in comparison with someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, this can cause someone who has cancer to add on to their stress levels, making them even sicker, because of their already weakened immune system. The less stressed a person is, the easier adaptability will be to achieve.

Optimism is a state of mind. It allows the person with cancer to live their life to the fullest. It makes that person not take one hour, one minute, one second, not even one breath for granted. Not only does optimism help the person with cancer manage their lives, but allows them to teach their survival methods to others that have been diagnosed with cancer. This leads to a network of people working together with one goal in mind, to survive.

Cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence. It is in essence what each person makes of it. Is it going to bind that person to it, or is that person going to shake it off and move forward, onward to the next realm of possibities. Who knows maybe in the next few years, when someone has the unfortunate news that they have been diagnosed with cancer, the following sentence out of the doctor’s mouth will be, but everything will be okay, we now have a cure. Until then remain educated, be adaptable, and remain optimistic. It will pay off one day in the near future

References 2)

By: Huggins, Angela Dawn

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