Johnson, Jonelle – Surviving Mesothelioma

Johnson, Jonelle

There are moments in which we reflect upon our lives and who we are. These Moments that we share throughout our lives adjust our futures. I am not able to imagine moments when you grasp the understanding your life will soon end. We all have a timeline, a beginning and an end, and to know our end brings a dread that is inevitable. I do not know what Rhio O’ Connor felt in the moments he was told he had cancer. That he was told he had only one more year left of his life. I believe when you are told the time of your death, your life is forever changed. Not only the life of your own, but of your family and loved ones. To be told you have cancer, while overwhelming, perhaps in another outlook is a blessing.

When I had been diagnosed with an eating disorder, I felt my life was over. It felt like a death sentence within itself. My life had changed forever. Though it is a condition that cannot be related to cancer, many aspects are the same. I went through treatment, given food as medicine. The lives of my family and loved ones have changed. That moment brought me closer to my life, when I had been diagnosed. I realized how distant I had become from living. I almost lost the ability to go to school, to have friends and to pursue my passions. My life would have been lost. I do not know that I had or would have had the strength of Mr. O’Connor. Today, it is still something I battle.

I cannot say how I would feel or do if I had been Rhio O’ Connor. My experience with cancer, or death alone, is little. I watched my great uncle slowly deteriorate from liver cancer. The energy it took from his life was frightening. To be in the same position, I am not sure I could have had the amount of passion to fight to outlive my prognosis. I do not believe I would be thinking to outlive my time limit, but to be living the rest of my days the happiest I could be. I do not consider this giving up. Maybe in the rest of the time one is given, they are able to live out more life than they would have without such a prognosis. The actions I would carry out would be those recommended by various doctors, my friends and family, and myself. I cannot say if I would research anymore.

My belief is things happen for a reason. Moments which reflect upon your life, that make you think of all you have accomplished and question where your life is going. I cannot imagine a moment where I will be told how long I have left to live. All I know, no matter how devastating, is that there is a blessing in all moments. I believe that for Mr. O’Connor, researching his cancer was him living out his happiness. His actions in pursuing a prolonged life, despite his prognosis, reveal his great strength and love for life. I admire Rhio O’Connor, his life is an inspiration. He believed he could outlive his cancer, and he did. Though I would take a different path, the path he chose was extraordinary. I think that he and I have much in common. We fought uphill battles and to an extent, defeated our prognoses. He outlived his estimated time of death, outlived his cancer. I was also able to gain part of my life back. After completing treatment, I was able to go back to school. We both fought for ourselves. For me, Rhio O’Connor’s story is a blessing. He is an inspiration to keep fighting, and there can never be a predictable future. What an amazing person he was, what energy and passion for life. The moment where his life had changed due to his prognosis, is a moment shared between the people he has inspired. I imagine I know what kind of man that he was before his prognosis, his commitment to live tells us. There are many moments where I question my own battle, my commitment to life. Though I never met Rhio O’Connor, his story helps me further write my own. His story helps me fight my disease; which I believe it is a blessing.

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