Your Spirit, Your Own Determination

Your Spirit, Your own Determination

“You have to learn the rules of the game and then you have to play better than anyone else.” This Albert Einstein’s quote is a cent percent true in today’s dynamic world with full of challenges. What we need in overcoming deadly diseases like HIV, Swine flu, chronic disease like cancer are hope, proactive thinking and action. The real life experience of Rhio O’Connor with dangerous mesothileoma and his informed decisions inspired me in how to handle tough situations, even if it’s against us.

A Warrior:
Rhio O’Connor was a great warrior. He was diagnosed with a deadly cancer which is called Mesothelioma and given a year to live. Instead of giving up he found his own path to health and outlived 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 three main types of mesothelioma:

1. Pleural Mesothelioma:
The pleura sac encases the lungs. As you breathe the interior protects the lungs and allows them to expand and contract. Through prolonged exposure, this sac can become riddled with asbestos fibers ( Cancer cells then start developing and multiplying in the tissue of the pleura.

Types of Pleural mesothelioma:
a. Diffuse and malignant (cancerous)
Malignant mesotheliomas are very serious. Fortunately, they are rare. There is as yet no known cure for malignant mesothelioma. The prognosis depends on various factors, including the size and stage of the tumor, the extent of the tumor, the cell type, and whether or not the tumor responds to treatment.
b. Localized and benign (non-cancerous)
Benign mesotheliomas can often be removed surgically, are generally not life-threatening, and are not usually related to asbestos exposure.

2. Peritoneal Mesothelioma:
Peritoneal mesothelioma is found in the abdomen in a thin membrane called the peritoneum. Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rapidly fatal primary peritoneal malignancy with an average survival time of less than 1 year, mainly because there is no truly curative treatment currently available. Peritoneal mesothelioma is a tumor of this peritoneal membrane. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include abdominal swelling, loss of appetite, and weakness.

3. Pericardial Mesothelioma:
Those who have been diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma have developed cancerous tissues around the lining that surrounds the heart. The pericardium is an important function to the body because it acts as a fluid filled ‘sac’ that protects the heart. This lining is important for many reasons because it keeps the heart contained in the chest cavity as well as preventing the heart from over expanding when the blood flow increases.

Cell Type of Mesothelioma:
This refers to the type of tissue where the cancer first developed. For example, “epithelial” malignant mesothelioma refers to cancerous cells that develop in the “epithelium,” which is the membrane lining of the lung, heart, or abdomen. In contrast, “sarcomatous” malignant mesothelioma arises in connective tissue. “Biphasic” refers to malignant mesothelioma that arises in two different cell types. Other cell types of malignant mesothelioma are lymphohistiocytoid and desmoplastic.

Symptoms of the disease:
Many of the symptoms of mesothelioma mirror those of other more common physical conditions. In fact, this is another factor that contributes to the difficulty in diagnosing mesothelioma; its symptoms are often mistaken for the flu, bronchitis, pneumonia or heart disease. Still, patients with any of the symptoms discussed below and a history of asbestos exposure should see a physician. If symptoms persist, you should ask your doctor for a thorough evaluation.

A person undergoing treatment must know the different stages of the cancer or the extent of the disease. Chances of recovering from Mesothelioma and the kind of treatment depend on the stage of the illness. There are basically two staging systems used for Pleural Mesothelioma (lungs):
1.    TNM system
2.    Brigham system.

These staging systems are also used in other kinds of cancers; however, the first is commonly used. There is no established method in determining the stage of the Peritoneal Mesothelioma cancer (abdominal) so the TNM system is used. There are three variables in the TNM system: tumor, lymph nodes and metastasis.

Stage I: The malignant Mesothelioma cells start to grow and multiply only one layer of the pleura. The pleura is the membrane that encloses the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity. However, there are some instances wherein the pericardium (membrane that covers the heart) and diaphragm cover are already affected. In this case, the cancer patient is still in stage I Mesothelioma.

StageII: The two layers of the pleura are already affected by Mesothelioma. Take note, however, that in this stage, only one side of the body is affected. Normally, the pleura produces only a small amount of lubricating fluid that allows easy expanding and contracting of the lungs. The excess fluid is absorbed by the blood and the lymph vessels so there’s a balance between the amount of fluid produced and removed. During the second stage Mesothelioma, fluid starts to build up between the membrane of the lungs and the membrane of the chest wall, resulting to pleural effusion. The increase in the volume of fluid produced causes shortness of breath and chest pain. Other Mesothelioma cancer patients experience dry and persistent cough.

Stage III: Mesothelioma means that the malignant cells have already spread to the chest wall, esophagus and the lymph nodes on one part of the chest. The patient may suffer severe pain near the parts affected. When not treated immediately or when the Mesothelioma patient doesn’t respond well to medication, the cancer may advance to the fourth stage.

Stage IV: Mesothelioma is formidable since at this stage the Mesothelioma cells have penetrated into the bloodstream and other organs in the body like the liver, the bones and the brain. The lymph nodes on the other side of the chest may also be affected.

If I’m affected with the Mesothelioma:
There is an ancient saint called Thirumoolar in India. He said, Food is Medicine and Medicine is Food. This is actually true we can cure or reduce disease growth up to maximum level by Food & Nutrition.

Nutrition is very important and has to include basics nutrients:
•    Lots of fruits and vegetables
•    Whole grain
•    Carbohydrates
•    Water
•    Lipids
•    Minerals
•    Proteins

Is for the best to avoid food like:
•    Fast food
•    Processed food
•    Alcohol in excess
•    avoid tobacco products
•    Bad fats

Mesotheloma treatments can be very frustrating as the diagnosis is made in advanced stages. There are different mesothelioma types. Studies show that when found within either stage I or II, treatment for mesothelioma – usually with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy – is successful in extending the patient’s life for five years at a rate of 74.6%.

I will prefer allopathic as Alternate Medicine for mesotheleoma, many patients have found them to be effective in combating symptoms of the disease. Many of these treatments are what most people would describe as “holistic” in nature. They’ll treat the patient not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Others use these as a complement to traditional therapies, hoping to use every resource available to them to achieve as much success as possible in fighting the disease and its troublesome symptoms.

Not only usual treatments reduce the severity of Mesotheolima but also strong never give up mental attitude and nutritious food does better than the usual methods.

By: Kulenthiran, Miruja

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