Beginning to Outlive the Prognosis
It is late in the evening. I have been sitting in the waiting room for quite a while. At last I get called into the consulting room. My eyes close with fatigue. My worries increase as my doctor walks toward me. There is no yesterday, no tomorrow, only the moment that has consumed my thoughts for the last two weeks. Finally, I hear the words that I never imagined I would hear. That I would experience. That I would confront. “Mesothelomia” he said, and I did not understand. “Cancer” he continued, and reality fell on me like a bucket of cold water.
A complete new environment was presented to me, and I felt as if I was a little kid trying to spell my name correctly, a feeling of wanting to do something but not knowing exactly where to start. Mesothelomia? The doctor explained to me that it is a rare type of cancer in which malignant cells grow in the protective lining that covers most of the body’s internal organs. Their prognoses are usually not very promising. Main causes include exposure to Asbestos, and sometimes smoking. The doctor referred me to www.survivingmesothelioma.com to find some basic helpful information, and gave me all his support. I left the room wordless, but also fearless.
Here I am now, wondering what I can do to change all those statistics in my favor. And here, I find the most stimulating story that I can rely on. Rhio O’Connor, an outstanding individual, who like me, was diagnosed with mesothelomia. His intensive research and his incredible willpower inspire me not to give up. He turned adversity into a learning process to outlive his prognosis, and what impresses me the most is his determination to find a better solution to his diagnosis. Just like him, I believe in this force greater than me, and as I lay down on my couch, I gather strength to take this energy to the next level. The first step is taken, I must reject any negative thought that can discourage me, because there is no worse battle than the one you do not fight. So, what is next?
I have heard of chemotherapy, radiation, and some other treatments. I have a family member who decided to dedicate his life to caring for the welfare of others, and whose conversations always share knowledge, my uncle. From him I know what cancer is, how you are diagnosed, how you may treat it. And even thought the mere idea of considering chemotherapy (or any of those options) terrifies me, I believe that nothing is more worthwhile than making an effort to stay next to the people I love most, my family, my friends, my colleagues. But this effort has to start with consciousness, with knowledge, and I want to gather as much information as I can before I make a decision. I have a few first resources, my uncle, my doctor, and the website he referred me to (www.survivingmesothelioma.com), but I must not limit myself to that. There is a school library just 15 minutes from here, where I can find more information. There is the medicine university even closer, where I can conduct a research with the people specialized in cancer treatments and alternatives. I have options, plenty of options.
In fact, I do not want to limit myself to only medical treatment. As I mentioned, I believe in that inner strength that is stronger than our hearts, that mental force that makes us achieve extraordinary things. Many things come to my mind now: meditation, relaxation, even keeping my mind busy and away from moments of worry, this is all part of improving statistics in my favor. Is like seeing a glass of water half full instead of half empty.
This idea of getting ahead and the example of Rhio, motivate me even more and make me want to go beyond my own benefit. I want people to be aware of the delicacy of treating cancer, any cancer. I want them to know that cancer is, in occasions, confused with other conditions. But more importantly, I want them to know that there are ways of preventing it once you know what the main causes of cancer are. My family and friends are a good start for this, and I am pretty sure that those who are in my situation would want to spread the message too. Whether I had been diagnosed with mesothelioma or not, I think that a little more education on the issue can help prevent or prolong a dire diagnosis.
And so this is my statement. My promise of not letting myself down in this situation. My promise of diffusing cancer awareness. This is the beginning of a long road full of obstacles, unknown encounters and challenges. But as I rely on the life of Rhio, I motivate myself to change these words into actions. Knowledge, positivity, connectivity, and my inner strength shall be the tools to continue and find a way to outlive my diagnosis.
By: Mejia, Marina