Karn, Matthew

In trying to understand life, we must be prepared to continuously learn. When we enter college we face the first challenge, to open our minds to allow for new ideas to enter. Facing the unknown is essential in order to succeed. But it is only by combining it with our spirit to live, that we will truly be ready to know life. The true test will come when we are faced with our first real challenge. Although at times we will, most assuredly, find the going tough and we will experience the discomfort of uncertainty. We may seek solace and inspiration in hearing of the successes of others who have shown indomitable determination to beat the odds to survive. I cannot help but wonder if my new skills will provide adequate preparation to face my future. Would I be able to face what cancer survivor James Rhio O’Connor had to experience when given less than one year to live?

James “Rhio” O’Connor was a courageous man, who when given the dire information of an inoperable tumor due to pleural mesothelioma, chose to survive. He planned and implemented a complex plan that included changes to his diet, the inclusion of herb therapy, and methods of spiritual fortification. As a result, he lived for an additional 7-1/2 more years. His disease was pleural mesothelioma. It is caused by exposure to asbestos. It normally can be treated by chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery, and in severe cases a combination of all the three. In Rhio’s case the tumor’s location made it inoperable. His story and more details regarding this cancer can be found by visiting www.survivingmesothelioma.com.

I feel that he embraced the true spirit of the inspirational teaching of Buddha, “Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others. “ He did not want to accept this as an end to his life. His desire to continue was far more powerful. If I were faced with this dire eventuality, I would first seek spiritual assistance from both the divine spirit then from the inspiration of others who have successfully healed themselves. Our doctors can help us to understand the physical machinery of our bodies, but they will be quick to note that there is also a bit of something else, something that is intangible and opens the path of human survival. Clearly we have seen this very instinct in the response from mother elephant as she places herself between danger and her calf, thus ensuring the future of her progeny. She does not think about the danger she must face, but accepts the responsibility for ensuring its life without hesitation. Unlocking this spirit will be the first step on my path to healing.

With this internal power driving me on to survive, I would begin my study of the science of cancer treatment. I will need to understand how our bodies become invaded, and the mechanism by which we heal. Once I understand these inner workings, I will begin to research the chemistry of healing. I will seek the guidance from the more unconventional doctors who are committed to holistic practices. There are many individuals who may be found in oriental medicine and with our Native Americans. These are old healing practices with ancient origins. I will need to link with a mainstream doctor, who will be willing to support my endeavor by offering periodic progress assessments. His role will be pivotal in my journey. Regardless of my improvements, he must be supportive, accepting and nonjudgmental. He will provide the milestones of my progress.

Regardless of my success in reversing the cancer, my goal will be to improve my quality of life, as a reach my final days. I do not wish to be seen as a pathetic waste. I also hope that my research might help others. I will document everything in a personal journal. In addition, I expect that my involvement with others will help to bolster my bravery and provide a reason to continue even when I am feeling my lowest. Our spirits will be further strengthened from each others convictions.

In conclusion, while it would be my goal to move my cancer into remission, my undeniable ultimate goal is leave this world with dignity. My time with my friends and family would be precious, but I would leave proudly, if I could leave behind a legacy of hope. Being seen as a leader of others, may make me a healer of others. I know that in passing on this story I am already helping to fulfill Rio’s wish to be a part of something good. There is no greater gift than life, and no greater reason to persevere.

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