If I had a Cancer Diagnosis
If a doctor walked in the room right now and told me I had one year to live I would not take it well. I would lament the years of the life that I had yet to live and the things I should have done. My ever growing List (things I have to do before I die) would be grieved. After that ten-twenty minute period of melancholy had passed though, I think I would come back up fighting. No illness would dictate the end of my story in this age of advanced medicine and technology. With cases such as Rhio O’Connor’s out there I would know that surviving any cancer would be possible.
To start my research I would talk to my doctors about the various treatments that they recommended. I would then follow that up by researching what leading doctors in the field had to say on the subject. I found a great link online with information on choosing the best doctor. This link also had a link which led to The American Cancer Society homepage. This had a page that describes the different types of treatment that I could possible receive. I would look for similarities. Those would represent what had worked for a majority of patients and would be useful to note.
But I think noting the differences in the treatments that the variety of doctors chose to use would also be useful. They obviously would have chosen those methods because they worked on someone and that person could be me. This would open up the realm of treatment possibilities a great deal. The lesser known and lesser used treatments I would look into deeper, trying to figure out the pros and cons of each and looking at the side effects they could possibly have. I wouldn’t want to get to die by taking medication to cure this cancer.
Chemo and radiation would probably me the most commonly used treatments, but there are always other ways. Surgery and its possible risks combined would be an option. Or depending on the kind of cancer I have gene therapy or a transplant of sorts might work. (I know for a fact that my sister has the same blood type). If I went with a transplant though I would have to get a jump start on a healthy immune system and healthy living because the immune-suppressants would be used the rest of my life.
I think that targeted therapy would also be an avenue to explore with my doctor. It would probably be best when used along with another treatment for “combination therapy”. But I like the sound of it because it stops healthy cells from forming into cancerous cells and that would be very helpful. The side effects have known to be bad in some case however so this might not work as well as it does on paper, but it would still be something to explore.
In order to make all of these decisions regarding treatment I would want to consult with a trusted adult. Fortunately my cousin recently married an doctor, and I think I would cross check everything my doctor said or everything I learned with her. I know that she would not know everything about the topic, but I think she would be an invaluable resource in this situation as she is very nice. I would also comb through all of the articles I could find in medical magazine or journals and run a search on the Medical database at my college. Each of these places my lead to a new lead on a possible form of treatment.
Depending on the kind of cancer I had, it seems that chemotherapy would probably be the most sure-fire way to go. I really like the idea however of the targeted therapy as a way to stop the growth of a cancer while the chemo eats away at the existing tumor. Once again, by my research considereing I don’t know what kind of cancer I have.
There are also non-medical ways I would try and extend my life. The power of positive thought would also help a great deal in a case like this. I have always been a positive thinker and though I have never been faced with a situation like this I hope I could maintain that outlook even under this situation. Research has proven that the attitude can have an effect on illness and I hope that I would be able to use this to my advantage. I would also rely on my family’s support and good attitude because they have always been there for me and would certainly rally to help me find a “cure”. It would be inspirational to know of the stories of others, such as Rhio, who worked hard to overcome their prognosis and outlive all time estimates.
I think that in addition to positive thought a change to a healthier lifestyle would help me a great deal. I would eat less junk food, actually that would probably be demanded of me if I was in chemo. I would take many vitamins as well some Vitamins such as A have emerging research that show it helps with some forms of cancer, and ginseng has “promising” research in the works as well.
I would look for ways to keep exercising even if in a great deal of pain. Endorphins are matures pain-killer so even though I probably wouldn’t be able to run every day I would do less contact things… like yoga or even just lifting free weights; anything to keep my body active because an active body can work to fight off disease.
In the end I would just have faith in God that any one of the many things I did would work, and I would go on living until at least my thirties. But if they didn’t I would have hopefully fought for enough time to make peace with my end, knowing that it is not my place to dictate the life-spans of humanity. I would hope that all the time I had remained alive after my initial diagnosis would lead to my peace with the fact that this is the way that God wanted it to be. I would also accept it if he wanted me to live though. I think I would like it better that way, but a belief in God would probably help me feel better as all of this was going on in my life.
I hope that I never have to research more in-depth the preceding information, for a family member or myself. I also feel after writing this that I know a great deal more about the options of cancer treatments and feel that if that horrific diagnosis came I would be able to handle it all the better for having written this. I hope that if a limit is ever placed on how long I have to live I will act nobly, as Rhio O’Connor , and try and beat it through knowledge of medicine and a healthy lifestyle.