Somewhere But Here

Somewhere but here

I have learned life is continuous. In as much as I know today there is more to learn and face for tomorrow only with strength renewed. It is my belief, we start life once we understand that it is life, at that moment we live. The interconnectedness in all things is education that extends beyond the classroom, into every aspect of our lives. The test is how one leans toward something that has been kept, the journey to find the truth for ones self. How will one become a blessing to self and another with a broad understanding of blessing. I am in deep reflection, inspired, and encouraged by James “Rhio” O’Conner and his life as one who lived life, and had the illness of Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer, which attacks the lungs, heart and abdominal cavities. The disease is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. When the fibers have been inhaled or ingested for periods of time the fibers are left in the cavities which causes inflammation and infection. In turn the mobility of organs to produce their desired functions are limited (American Cancer Society). My first encounter of cancer was with my grandpa who passed away within four months of his prognosis. Most of my grandpa’s life he worked in warehouses and construction. I made every effort to understand why my grandpa had passed. I was told my grandpa was ill, yet no one even hinted toward cancer. I had learned from a young age not ask many questions when others are sick. It was somewhat hushed in my family. I was deeply grieved and upset. I could not understand why it was hide from my self and others. Further into my college years my dance professor had passed away as a result of breast cancer. I remember asking a fellow instructor how my dance teacher had passed, she said softly in a whisper “she had cancer”. I remember reflecting on why it was whispered. I couldn’t understand why it was hidden that she passed of cancer and or why others behaved as if my grandpa had did something wrong. I asked myself over and over in deep contrition “how will we heal and how will we help when we are silent”. I am inspired by James “Rhio” O’Conner’s life because he understood the importance of not becoming silenced. His seven and a half years of fighting against all that threatened who he was, in so many ways revolutionized the image of cancer and gave strength to others. O’Conner used many weapons to fight his battle. They included becoming his very own professor by asking questions, doing his own research, not believing everything that was told to him but educating himself in resources. O’Conner researched diet, history of cancers, spoke with professionals, patients, peers and more so than any of these was – a spirit that lifted and healed himself and others around him. Mr. O’Conner did ask or expect life to level to him instead he leveled to life.

As I reflect on the decisions I would make with regards to treatments and where I would obtain courage, had I been given the prognosis of cancer and a limited time frame to live. I can only imagine the thoughts that traveled through Mr. O’Conner’s mind on a daily basis. I can only visualize the day he may have grown weary and skated the thin line of wanting to throw in the towel and give up. My only wish is to have had a conversation with Mr. O’Conner. I would ask so many questions about his illness but also about life, courage, strength, love and the power of knowledge.

Like O’Conner I believe highly in all things being connected spiritually. Physical attributes and an illness do not reflect the internal, but it is the spiritual and the internal that will reflect the illness. However, all must admit that the continuous emergence of science has brought man very far, yet there is so much more with respect to science we do not understand and in many aspects may never be able to explain or conceive. Yet it is common knowledge that the spiritual being and awareness inside us all can do more healing in ourselves and the world around us than what one can begin to make sense of with the use of science. Although Science may not explain the benefits of the spiritual connection to a higher being or holistic approaches it has done greatness in detailing and proving to the benefits of chemo therapies, diet, radiation and surgeries. However for many the risks may be more than the gain, offering little hope and extensive risk in side effects as well as no guarantees. The importance of utilizing all resources is an understatement, just as important as becoming both the teacher and the student. Because one of the hardest decisions to make will be the treatment that is best, utilizing all resources suggest an understanding , a theory and application. There is great importance in the ability to have autonomy and not be influenced by professionals or others in the field. My research would include speaking with others who have similar experiences. Outlining their approaches with an open mind. Outlining perspectives include: ethnic practices and holistic approaches, as well as medical, holistic doctors. My research is not limited to an areas but I am passionate about applying the techniques of other professionals with eastern, western and global practices. Because we are at an age of information and new discoveries are uncovered every day my research would be most effective in fighting time by the testimonials of others, those who have undergone chemo or surgeries and or holistic approaches. These practices and approaches would not become limited to introduce solely to an illness but as way to live. Education in this aspect is key. Gaining knowledge was one of the most powerful weapons used by Mr. O’Conner. Thus life to Mr. O’Conner did not become a destination after his illness but a journey, he choose victory during the test.

By: Morris, La’Shay

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