Kozofsky, Stephanie | Surviving Mesothelioma

Kozofsky, Stephanie

The day a doctor diagnoses someone with a terminal illness is a scary day. The person may feel hopeless, helpless, and scared of the future. They will worry about their family’s reaction, how much time they have, and how painful death might be. Some people fall into a deep depression and let the illness take over. But not everyone reacts this way. Rhio O’Conner was a different man. He showed strength, courage, and perseverance when no one thought it would be possible.

One day, Rhio O’Conner wasn’t feeling right, so he went to the doctor. It was very bad news. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma and was only given a year to live. Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that is caused by an excessive amount of exposure to asbestos. Treatment options for mesothelioma are standard therapies, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. More information can be found on the website https://survivingmesothelioma.com/. Although these procedures work with some forms of cancer, mesothelioma is not very respondent to these “common treatments.”

Rhio knew that he had a short time to live and that he was very ill. However, instead of getting depressed and worrying all the time, he put all of his life’s energy into surviving. He was in the library reading endlessly, and talked to doctors, researchers, and patients to try and find suggestions on how to survive longer. He found out about various clinical studies and therapies, and researched their aide affects, theories, and the philosophies behind them. Mesothelioma is a cancer that has been considered as “incurable’ by many people for many years. Rhio, however, with his optimistic spirit and endless intellectual effort for finding a cure, was able to outlive his prognosis by more than six years.

Rhio’s story is incredibly impressive in my opinion. This man was so brave and so passionate for his life that he was able to expand it by many years. His story inspires me to never take things for granted and to ALWAYS go after what you want, utilizing every resource available. If I was given a dire cancer prognosis, similar to that of Rhio O’ Conner’s, I would be very upset at first. I know I would be scared, and very worried. I know, however, that with the support of my friends and family, I would become stronger. I would remember how beautiful life is, and how much I love to be alive. I would not let the pain of cancer interrupt my life. I would look into as many treatments as I could, and I would stay positive about every single one.

Everyday, I would wake up and tell myself that I feel great and that I deserve to live. Even when you don’t feel good, eventually you can convince yourself that you are fine. I would channel the optimism I found in Rhio’s story and use it in my own life. I would have my friends and family help me research different studies and trials of new medications. If any had crazy side effects, I would not utilize them, but those that didn’t, I would go for. Each treatment, I would bring a friend of family member with me to help me stay strong and positive. If chemo, radiation, and surgery had little to offer, I would definitely look into other options.

Every weekend, when I wasn’t receiving a treatment, I would go speak to other cancer patients and their families about the power of staying positive and exploring non- conventional methods of treatment. I would share Rhio O’Conner’s story with them, and spread the joy that he was able to live so long even though his prognosis was only for under a year. I would then tell them about my grandfather, who died from classic lung cancer when I was under ten years old. When he received news that he had less than a year to live, he was not happy at all. He fell into a pit of depression and did not know what to do. He did not seek non-conventional treatments, and he did not research other possible cures. He died within the year, just as the doctor had predicted.

When my grandfather passed away, my father was terribly upset. It tore his life apart, and he was very depressed and angry for a very long time. Also, I had never really gotten a chance to meet my grandfather, and I have always been disappointed by this loss of such an important relative. I think if he would have looked into more types of treatments, he could have survived a lot longer. Seeing the pain of my father losing his father makes me more willing to look into other treatment options because I would never want my family to go through the same type of pain that a cancer- loss causes again.

Rhio O’Conner has inspired my life. I view life as a more precious thing, and I cherish little things that I would normally overlook. His story is incredibly inspiring and shows the power of determination and fighting for what you need. If I was ever diagnosed with any type of cancer, I hope to channel Rhio O’Conner’s spirit and succeed like he did. His personal drive made him live much longer than expected and let him live a happier life. Rhio O’Conner is a wonderful person to look up to, and I know that I sure do.

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