James “Rhio” O’Connor had been given the most devastating news a person could receive. He was told he had a deadly cancer (mesothelioma) which would take his life within a year’s time. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs. This form of cancer is almost always caused by exposure to Asbestos. The symptoms present like so many other conditions making it difficult to detect early on. A person with Mesothelioma may present with a cough, wheezing, fatigue, shortness of breath and possibly chest pain.
Many people in his position would have given up. James could have taken his diagnosis and just waited to die. He didn’t he took his diagnosis and turned it into the most important research project of his life. James began a personal quest for knowledge and this knowledge gave him the will to live. His courage to face this disease and what he didn’t know about it shows strength beyond what I can even imagine. I am inspired by his optimism that he would find other beneficial treatments outside of what medical staff had to offer, I am humbled by his dedication to educating himself on the alternative treatments that worked for him and his ability to make the decisions that would alter his destiny. Many people in his situation might not want to share such personal experiences with others but for James it kept him motivated and driven to beat the cancer.
I am not sure that if I were in the same position as James that I could look past the illness and diagnosis and see that I could help myself the way he did. I hope that I would have the strength and courage to compose myself in such a manner that would allow me to focus on the positive. I believe I would be devastated at first and take time to cope with the news. After I believe I would try to learn more about treatments outside of what the hospital offered as well as consider those treatments. I am a believer in doing what works for you not what others recommend, so my very first goal would be to find a treatment that worked with my body. Although no one can really put themselves in that position and know what they are going to do until it happens to them. I agree with James “Rhio” O’Conner in that being educated on what is going on with your body.
I would begin my research with the basic knowledge that the medical staff offers. With that knowledge in mind I would then begin to research past victims of the same disease, and what they did. When it comes to deadly diseases its best to not limit yourself to one resource. I would use the library, internet, medical books, and so on. I would use the advice from family, friends and peers. It is not an option to keep and open mind.
A decision has to be made. After discussing it with my loved ones and considering all my options I would have to choose the treatment that fit my needs the best. While choosing a treatment that works for me, I would also keep in mind how it would affect my loved ones as well, because having a good support group helps one get through things easier. To be clear though, a situation like the one James “Rhio” O’Conner was put in is not something that was all medical. I would be aware of my limited time, and want to spend every second with my family and friends, and do the things I wish to do before I die. Giving up was not an option for O’Conner, and his story has reached out to me, and allowed me to never consider giving up either. O’Conner taught me strength, positive outlook, and education are a key to survival.
By: Murray, Lyndsay