A very inspirational man named Rhio O’Connor was diagnosed with a deadly cancer called mesothelioma and was given only one year to live. With shear determination and extensive research Rhio was able to beat his prognosis by more than six years.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which cancerous cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs. There are two main types of mesothelioma – pleural which involves the sac that covers the pleural cavity around the lungs and peritoneal which involves the tissue that covers the abdominal area. It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos.
Given my family history of cancer, it’s a concern that is always in the back my mind. What would I do if faced with a dire cancer prognosis? One thing is certain; I would not go down without a fight or seeking as many “second opinions” as I could get first. I have too much to live for, a wonderful husband and an amazing little one year old boy that calls me mom. If children aren’t enough motivation to fight, I’m not sure what is. I would also feel obligated to beat cancer for my mother and father; parents should never have to lose a child let alone two in their lifetime. They lost my sister to a type of muscle cancer when she was only four years old. Seeing the old photos and hearing the stories of the hospital visits and treatments are so much more heart wrenching now that I am a mother myself. Thankfully today we do have greater technology and much more research and understanding of cancer than we did 30 years ago. In reading the story of Rhio it gives me great inspiration and hope that anything really is possible with research and a lot of determination.
The first step I would take, if given a dire cancer prognosis, is get a referral from my family physician to a specialist and see what their plan of action would be. In the mean time I would conduct my own research and first find out the basic statistics of the particular cancer. How many people have been diagnosed with this cancer, what is average the life expectancy in living with the cancer, and what are the minimum and maximum recorded life expectancies? This basic and general information would give me a clear insight on the typical outlook of the cancer. If the statistics seem very grim then it would light an even bigger fire in me to research and find a better treatment regiment. Once I have found some of the statistics I would then research other people who have been diagnosed with the cancer and talk with them. Find out what treatments they have taken, how well it has worked for them, and inquire about what they think their chances are and if they would do anything differently. I would also find out what other research they have done and have they come across any non-traditional or alternative treatments and what their thoughts are on them. Since some people’s inherent outlook on many things can be pessimistic I would make sure to talk with quite a few people. When you find and surround yourself with positive people I believe you become a better more positive person yourself. Power in numbers!
After getting a feel for what other people are dealing with and how they have chosen to have treatment, I would start my long journey of research whether online, in libraries, and at universities to determine where I could go for treatment. What are some of the nations best cancer treatment and research centers and where are they located? What types of cancer do they specialize in? I would contact them and talk with their consulting staff, get referrals to other staff and doctors to speak with and obtain information on where I can read about all their research and clinical trials that have been preformed. Are they conducting any new clinical trials? Once I have access to the various research papers I would start spending my time reading them. Determine the common treatments and how effective they were, what the pros and cons and side effects are from the treatment. What are some of the less common or alternative treatments and can they combined with traditional treatment methods for better results?
I would be open to considering all treatment options, even if that meant going beyond the traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatments to being a part of clinical trials, but would have many questions first. With chemotherapy, is my body strong and healthy enough to handle all treatment doses that are necessary? Is there anything that diet and exercise can do to improve my immunity and strength? Will taking certain foods, vitamins and minerals help before, during and after treatment? I’d be willing to do a strict diet and exercise routine to build my immunity to be in the best physical state I could be in, if it would help.
My grandfather was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma just this past December and passed away in Mid-February. He went through about two chemo treatments but could barely recover in between each to be strong enough for the next treatment. That makes me wonder if you can do anything about that beforehand, can you build your immunity up before treatment and what other research have been done on that? I would definitely do my research and find out.
Cancer is a horrible disease and I truly believe that people like Rhio, who are determined and strong-willed, will be the reason that proper research, testing, treatment and ultimately a cure will happen.
For more information on Mesothelioma visit: www.survivingmesothelioma.com