Koeppel, Heidi – Surviving Mesothelioma

Koeppel, Heidi

Rhio O’Connor was an extraordinary man who has motivated many with his story of hope and optimism in the face of life-threatening illness. While many sweep the ashes of death under the rug quickly after the passing of a loved one, it is valuable spiritually and intellectually to consider one’s purpose in this life. A truncated lifespan heightens awareness of the fleeting nature of our time on earth and makes superficial priorities painfully obvious. While Rhio understood that he would eventually die from cancer, he used the time he had left to leave a legacy of inspiration. If faced with a similar situation, I hope that I would utilize my time at hand as wisely as Rhio.

If faced with a similar situation, I would do all that I can to educate myself on the known treatments and possible causes of my condition. There is a wealth of information available online and it would be necessary to discern research based on clinical evidence from opinion. I would couple this independent research with meetings with oncologists and radiologists. Health care professionals vary based on personality, specialty, and belief. Therefore, it would be beneficial to meet with various professionals in order to find a good match for my condition and planned treatment. I am definitely open to alternative treatments and strongly believe that the American pharmaceutical industry has little to gain by publicizing possible benefits of a more homeopathic approach to cancer treatment. The industry is a proponent of aggressive chemotherapy that may work for some, but fails many. Therefore, I would intensely research this approach to cancer treatment and most likely seek a health care professional with expertise in the subject matter to guide me in this direction.

In the event of uncurable illness, it would be necessary to attend to my spiritual needs. Death is imminent for all of us and it is only when faced with death that many of us remember how beautiful life is. All too often we fill our lives with harried obligations, never taking the time to contemplate the meaning of it all. In a strange way, an illness such as cancer can be a catalyst driving one to live to his or her potential. Therefore, our notion of viewing death as a troubling and negative event is inaccurate. Illness opens a golden door of sympathy and compassion for others who are suffering. Through suffering, we are forced to let go of preconceived notions of stability that are illusions of the mind. When we are able to accept change, we can move forward and grow as individuals through our efforts to help others. Therefore, an essential element of my purpose in the face of life-threatening illness would be to help others.

There are many children born into unfortunate circumstances every day in America. I have enjoyed all of the privileges of a supportive family who pushed me toward educational excellence. Many children do not have these advantages and face an uphill battle in trying to better their own lives through education. I would like to mentor needy children in urban communities where there is severe poverty and little hope. I strongly believe that there is great potential for excellence in all communities, but without resources it becomes difficult to break the cycle of poverty and despair for too many of our young people in America.

I have been fortunate to have had many broad experiences in my life thus far to give me perspective and appreciation of the opportunities at hand. Similarly, Rhio O’Connor saw cancer as an opportunity to better himself in this life. Rhio was able to see beyond the traditional scope of fear and hopelessness and turn his last days into a journey filled with purpose. In this spirit, I wish for the strength to dedicate the rest of my own life for the betterment of humanity through inspiration and learning.

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