Open Possibilities


In understanding the incredible “self-determination” and “intellectual curiosity” of James “Rhio” O’Conner to find a cure for cancerous mesothelioma, one has to put themselves in his shoes. In addition, exercising therapeutic alternative treatment, experimental therapies, and clinical trials outside the box can produce positive results unthought-of  in illuminating the bigger picture.

As I pondered about Mr. O’Conner’s  “dire prognosis” as well as the challenges set before him, I envisioned what a tragedy but yet an optimistic approach to beating the odds of a diagnosed “incurable” cancer. Facing these challenges would require intense educational research on the history, the cause of, and treatment available for mesothelioma. While doing this research, I would ask myself:

1.   What are the warning signs of mesothelioma ?   How is it diagnosed ?
2.    What causes it ?
3.    What types of mesothelioma cancer are there ?
4.    What are the treatment options ?
5.    Are there other types of alternative and experimental therapies to cure this disease, and if so, am I eligible ?

These five questions would weigh heavily in my decision on what steps to take in dealing with this deadly disease. Taking into consideration my doctor’s dire prognosis, in conjunction with alternative treatments, I think this would be an open-minded, stepping stone towards the triumph over beating the odds of a dreadful cancer supposedly believed to be “incurable.”

Through extensive research of my own, in preparation for writing this essay, I acknowledged that mesothelioma is caused by years of exposure to asbestos, “a family of fibrous minerals made of solicate.”

More so, individuals either inhale or ingest the dust particles which  begin the process of elongated exposure and undetectable traces. In addition, diagnosis is hard to pin-point because of symptoms similar to flu-like ailments. Nonetheless, mesothelioma can be diagnosed but only
after many years of exposure, an initial physical exam, followed by a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

Mesothelioma appears in stages throughout the human body.  Depending on what stage a person is in when diagnosed will decide whether or not a curable treatment is sustainable. The stages appear to
exist as follows:

“  Extent of the spread of the main tumor.
How much cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Whether the cancer has spread to other organs of the body.”

If this disease is detected early enough within the outer walls of the lungs (pleura), it is determined to be non-cancerous and can be cured by surgery and chemotherapy. However, if not caught in time and this disease travels beyond the lungs and chest, heart (pericardium), and abdomen (peritoneum), doctors believe enough damage is done to the human body that prevents repairable and curable treatment.

Faced with the dire prognosis of  “unrepairable” and “incurable,” intellectual and educational research towards alternative and experimental treatment would be my driving force to outmaneuver the
medical profession in defeating malignant mesothelioma.  Moreover, in evaluating the previous five questions associated with embarking on thorough research about mesothelioma, investigative and clinical trials from various medical entities would weigh heavily on my “informed”
decision to undertake successful treatment.

In addition to conventional treatment and therapies, I would go beyond the scope of preventive medical care if coming to the realization that this treatment had little to offer. My research, consisting of investigative drugs, technological medical advancement, and approved clinical trials would lay the foundation for alternative treatment in turning the clock back on bringing mesothelioma into total remission.

Taking into consideration the potential drawbacks and side-effects of alternative therapies, the cost-benefit analysis would decide whether this undertaking outweighs conventional treatment with a prognosis of a year or two to enjoy life. More so, complementary medicines such as dietary
supplements, vitamins, herbs, green tea, and acupuncture, in conjunction with biological and gene therapy, could signify the basis for investigative and stimulating medical advancement. This discovery might impact the quest towards developing prosperous treatment options to combat the decisiveness of mesothelioma.

While concluding my research on the cost-benefit of finding a cure for mesothelioma, the accumulation of informed data consisting of a second doctor’s opinion, alternative treatment, experimental therapies, clinical trials, investigative drugs, and articles & abstracts would enable
me to decide on an informed  decision as to the best treatment. Conventional treatment consisting of surgery and chemotherapy would be of little significance. Therefore, in answer to one of my questions,
“Would I be eligible for alternative treatment ?”  I would hope my doctor perceived the most productive form of recovery pertinent in my best interest.

Detection and treatment of mesothelioma is an area of great importance. If faced with the prospect of a dire prognosis but yet investigated my own regiment with other doctors for a cure, I would have many questions to ask. The first and foremost question would be, “What happens now that treatment seems to have been a success ?” The most obvious answer would be uncertainty and follow-up care. Upon the advise of my doctor, keeping all appointments, asking questions, and providing additional blood tests would confirm that I am cancer free.

Another positive factor to consider would include lifestyle changes that improve wise, healthy choices. In addition, focusing on diet and nutrition as well as rest and exercise would enhance and improve my overall physical health and emotional well-being.

Moreover, the uncertainty and fear of recurrence is a realm of cautious concern. The reappearance of cancer is not guaranteed. Daily physical and emotional changes contribute to self-esteem or lack of it
as well as potential side effects. Therefore, it is important to have a sponsor and/or support system in place to coordinate coping-skills to stay open-minded and resourceful.

In summary, Mr. James “Rhio” O’Conner suffered a debilitating and decision-making illness that changed his outlook on life. Through determination and educational acknowledgement, Mr. O’Conner was able to attain his own niche in the medical governance of a curable treatment.  Besides, by conversing with various medical doctors on the best treatment and side-effects of alternative treatment, “Rhio” was able to define a therapeutic regiment sustainable to outlasting his prognosis.

Mr. O’Conner inspired me to research malignant mesothelioma thoroughly as well as identify alternative treatments and therapies outside the box of conventional treatment.  Experimental therapies such as gene and multimodality therapy are fields of interest still in infancy but with positive possibilities. Investigative new drugs sets in motion thepathway for clinical research trials to commence and measure the effectiveness and benefit to cancer patients. Moreover, complementary
medicines such as herbs and vitamins  in conjunction with alternative therapies consisting of acupuncture and meditation may prove to be effective as a therapeutic tool.

Moreover, Mr. “Rhio” embraced educational, fact-based alternatives to prove the medical profession wrong. Even though his cancer was in its final stages, he found a stringent, remedial, etiquette to outlast the cancerous mesothelioma. This sophisticated and intellectual approach has influenced as well as motivated me to be more determined and resourceful in understanding the effects of  malignant mesothelioma.

By: Jones, Bobby

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