Keeling, Catherine – Surviving Mesothelioma

Keeling, Catherine

Rhio’s story is truly amazing to say the least. I was in awe as I read how he was able to live longer than the doctors said that he would. The fact that he was able to remain strong and research his disease to the best of his abilities is courageous and shows willpower like I have never seen. I wish that I could tell you that I would remain strong and seek more advice or information if I were to be told that I had cancer of any kind. However, realistically speaking I would probably crumble. It would take immense amounts of courage, strength and will power to try to gain more knowledge on the condition and all of the options that you have. My main reason for saying that I would crumble during this process is that I have two teenaged girls and I would not be able to stop thinking about what they were going to do without me since I am a single mom.

My family and I have battled many things together, including divorce, lack of food, clothing, and shelter due to poverty, and abuse. Most people say that I am a strong willed person because I have been able to persevere, but with all of the things that I have listed there was a way out. I had a choice that I could make to change it and fix it. With cancer, it is very different.

I know that I would take at least some steps though, beginning with asking my doctor. I would get as much information from him/her that I could. Rather than take the doctors word (no matter how good of a doctor they are) I would seek a second opinion. Medicine is a science after all and so it can be wrong. Once I receive the same diagnosis, I would ask that doctor some of the same question that I had asked the first. The way I see it everyone “see’s” things differently and maybe the second doctor could explain things in a way that the first could not.

My next step would have to be let my family assist me. The more people you have helping you to find information, possible treatments, and diet and exercise therapy suggestions, the better off you will be. I know that my family would want to be as active as I am in researching the disease. I would not just be looking into the proven techniques, but also the experimental ones. Let’s face it most of the “cures” or vaccines that we have today we have because someone researched it, created it, and tested it. The sky would be the limit for me; I would be willing to try anything to save my life.

The next step that I would take would be to simply review all of the data and make an informed decision. Many things would have to be taken into consideration, such as I don’t want to try an experimental treatment first if radiation or chemo therapy would help. Also sometimes there are treatments that if done may make it so that you can not do another option. I don’t want to put myself in a position that limits me on my treatment options. The last thing that I would want would be to “jump the gun” on a treatment and find out later that because I took that treatment I can’t do some of the others and therefore would be out of options. Checking resources for validity would also be of the utmost importance. There is too much scam material out there that gives false hope and false testimonies. I don’t want a snake oil type of treatment, but rather real, good, solid evidence type treatments.

The most important step that I believe that I would take is to spend time showing not just telling my family how much I love them. I don’t want what could be my last days on earth to shut out my family and just be consumed by non-stop research. While I would fight as hard as I could to beat the disease, I would also want to prepare for the worst case scenario. To live life as if I were dying is not an option, but rather I want to live life like I was living. I would begin to tie up any loose ends that were still present in my life, fix any problems that I could fix, and enjoy what time that I had with my family. In my opinion we should live like that anyway; we don’t know when we are going to die. Even when told that we have a life threatening illness, we still don’t know the exact time of our death.

All of the lists of things that I have described are things that I would love to do if faced with a deadly disease such as cancer. The reality though is I can’t say for sure what I would do if this were the case. Do any of us really know? I do know one thing and that is I would be scared, but I would prevail and I would do something to find help. I would not just lie down and die, my life is too important to me and my family. Giving up is not an option!

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