Unfortunately, I was at one time in a situation where I considered what I would do if I had cancer. My grandfather was diagnosed with Melanoma skin cancer when I was young and as a result lived with my parents and myself for the entire year before his death. His slow process of dying raised many questions in my mind: What were his doctors doing for him really? Why did he continue the chemotherapy if it was clearly not working? Most importantly, however, I asked myself what I would do if I ever had cancer. My grandfather followed whatever plan that his one cancer treatment doctor mapped out for him; the rather basic plan of surgery to remove the cancer, followed by exhausting chemotherapy and crossing your fingers, hoping for the best. While I am well aware of the fact that this course of action works for plenty of various types of cancer patients, I never understood why my grandfather never questioned this method. He had been through all of it once before when his cancer was spotted for the first time, so why was he so comfortable with doing it all over again? This never settled well with me.
If I was given the news that I had a cancer in me, I would first ask the doctor delivering the news what he or she thought the best way to attack it would be. Realistically, it would most likely be a plan much like my grandfather’s, and after hearing what all is generally recommended to cancer patients I would look up the phone numbers of different cancer specialists across the United States to question them on my particular kind of cancer, and the course of action they would recommend. Hearing all of these from whatever doctors I could successfully get hold of, I would then look into alternative forms of treatment. The thing about cancer is that it gives you two choices; you may choose to lie down and allow the disease to take you slowly but surely, or you can somehow find the will to fight. You have to dig deep don into yourself to find a reason to keep living. You must find that extra little bit of strength to put what little bit of energy you have into finding some way to heal you, be it chemo, diet change, or even something that seems as ridiculous as clown therapy. When we see someone with cancer of any kind, or someone who is a survivor, we automatically see this person as strong and brave, because they are there, alive and in the flesh. What we don’t always realize is that there are undoubtedly countless times that they were so tired, and so sick that they just wanted it all to end. They were so weary that they couldn’t even find the will to get out of bed. What makes a strong cancer patient and a strong cancer survivor is the ability to summon and re-summon that will to keep going and searching for a cure, despite all the times they hurt too much to get out of bed, and were too nauseous to even eat.
If I was told I had cancer, I would know these two choices placed in front of me all too well. My grandfather was faced with the same two choices, as is anyone with cancer. If I was diagnosed, there would not be any stone left unturned. I would search high and low for anything and everything until I found the stone that had yet to be turned over, because if I was able to survive, I wouldn’t just be saving myself I would be saving millions of people that maybe couldn’t dig deep enough to find that strength that Rhio O’Connor had. It is that strength that saves lives, in an essence, because it is that strength, that desperation, that hope and overwhelming amount of faith that one must have to be able to research treatments, to look under every rock out there. Even if the only resource you have is the Internet, search treatments like crazy. I would do just that, because there is always something to be found; a treasure left for the explorer who thought to look somewhere new for it. Rhio O’Connor’s story proves that you have to be motivated in saving your own life, and hope that you can help bring answers to save someone else’s life as well. His story inspires that sort of motivation and hope; the doctors gave him months to live, and he chose to have years, and so he did everything in his power to make sure he got his years, turning a one year death sentence into seven and a half more years of living.