Klassman, Taylor – Surviving Mesothelioma

Klassman, Taylor

The Legacy I Would Rather Leave

Rhio O’Connor and his relentless plight against a deadly diagnosis lights a flame of hope and endurance in my heart; however, if ever I am given this same diagnosis, I do not think I would follow in his profoundly cavernous footsteps. I am not a woman of science, in fact I often find myself at odds with scientific ideals altogether. I fear that science has become a practice that I feel has become more a lifestyle than a study. Science has played a huge role in my life and I dare not deny that impact; however, when it comes to my livelihood and the ends of that mean, I am a woman of spirited and professed proliferation of emotional and theological integrity.

I admire Rhio’s extensive research and his dedication to altering his lifestyle, not only changing his diet and implementing a strict vitamin regime, but also his centering of body and mind. This harmonious discovery would be the foundation of my research. My research would entail an intricate dialogue within myself; my treatment would involve an intimate reconciliation between my soul and my anatomy. If I am given a diagnosis of an “untimely” death, I cannot imagine spending my last moments absorbed in a bitter battle that will inevitably end in my passing. Rather, I would spend my days educating; educating about my cancer, educating about faith, and educating about human kindness. Maybe the humanities college student is monopolizing my voice, but the most profound impact I can ever hope to leave involves these messages of promise. There is an undeniably epic revelation that occurs in marginal situations (ex. a deadly diagnosis), and I believe in the power of this revelation. Rhio found stability and comfort in his scientific regime; I rest assured in the plausibility structure of a well-developed spirit. That spirit consists of a well-rounded personification of familial values, generous works, and a proximity to nature. All of that being the case, I would prefer to spend my final days, weeks, months, etc… surrounding myself with people that embrace all of the things I stand for and leave them with the hope that my aspirations may be carried out. Whether or not I am given a time limit on my days open for fulfillment, I will spend my days “researching.” I do not see it as research, but rather, life. Again, I respect Rhio’s dedication to beating cancer, but I think I would feel more empowered if I spent my days beating up racism, sexism, heterosexism, and the devaluing of education. My farthest reaching goal in life is to start a school that is founded on the fulfillment of all of these oppressive ideals.

I would start campaigning against the overturning of the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule. This overturning means that our consumer market is still circulating products that contain (very small amounts) of asbestos, the cause of most cases of mesothelioma. How can a compassionate heart stand idly by as the same carcinogen that has ruined the lives of so many people, two thousand more every year, infiltrates the bodies of our friends, family, and children? It is a shame to me that science is implemented so heavily as a “curative” method, when the power of humans to cure is much more prominent. This notion fuels my quest to implement and normalize a movement for such a cure; a cure not only from physical disease (a cure that seems out of my hands), but also a cure from the spiritual disease that blinds us from our dignity.

The resources for patients living with mesothelioma are bountiful and encompass a wide variety of realms from medical to law, spiritual to financial; many of these resources and other can be found at https://survivingmesothelioma.com/. That being said, my efforts in research would be more suited towards the endeavors of the ally community around cancer patients. The allies will be the survivors, as dismal a realization as that is it is also incredibly promising. I think one of the greatest beauties of being human is our freedom of expression. Through our voices, words, and inspiring messages, we can leave a thesis for others to study that is more potent and more relevant than a scientific hypothesis.

Rhio’s story has inspired me, enough to succumb to an age old cliché, to live everyday as if it is the last. I have spent many months convincing myself that college is not real life, my daily work has not felt influential, but in truth it is profoundly meaningful. Rhio embodies the persistence of a struggle without earthly resolve; he continued his fight for a promise beyond his human limitations. I do not that Rhio survived for seven years for himself, he did it for the thousands of others that will follow in his pain. That blossom of humanity is what compels me to plant the seeds that will one day provide the cure of humanity and till the beautiful earth that sustains us to reach a day of purity.

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