Story of Perseverance

Rhio O’Connor was diagnosed with mesothelioma and was told he had one year to live. His courage to look for alternatives, by doing substantial research, and speaking to a number of different doctors and patients led him to become an informed cancer patient. His story of perseverance over a prognosis of a year to live is extremely inspiring. If I were diagnosed with such a rare form of cancer, I believe that I would use this inspiration to benefit me as I searched for alternatives.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is divided into three main types, which are based upon how the cells look under a microscope. The first type, which is the most frequent, is epithelioid. The second type is sarcomatoid and the third type is called mixed or biaphasic and is a combination of the first two types. Mesothelioma is found in the lining of the chest and lungs, in the abdomen, and/or in the saclike space around the heart. This cancer is rare and often is not diagnosed until it is in the advanced stages. Mesothelioma is a cancer, which is caused by exposer to asbestos. Those who have a high exposer rate due to breathing in the particles while on the job or even in their homes, have a higher chance of developing mesothelioma. The more one is exposed to asbestos, the higher the risk becomes. For more information on mesothelioma visit

If I were diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, such as mesothelioma, I would look to those who could inspire me to become well informed, such as Rhio O’Connor. By looking at such an inspirational person I would not simply accept the doctor’s prognosis and accept that I was going to die within a very short time. I would instead begin to research my disease, by using websites, speaking with doctors and other patients. I would also be more apt to get a second opinion. However for my second opinion, I would ensure that the doctor I chose specialized in the rare form of cancer that I was diagnosed with. This would ensure that if the first doctor was mistaken in his/her diagnosis, the specialist would catch it.

Once I had my second opinion and my diagnosis was confirmed, I would begin extensive research. I would begin by searching the web. I would start with a broad search, such as typing in the name of the cancer. I would look for sites that were .org or those that were cancer clinic sites. I would also look for sites of those who could inspire me, since I will need all the inspiration possible to continue my research and fight. I would do my best to avoid blogs, since these will not be beneficial to me initially. I may later visit these sites to find others who have been diagnosed and are living with my type of cancer. The .or or other sites should provide me enough initial information to do even more in depth research. A lot of these sites will contain other links that could potentially lead to other patients, doctors, or possibly experimental treatments. They could even lead to alternative treatments.

After I finished with my web research, I would use the information that I found on specific doctors to contact them. By speaking with different doctors I will have a better understanding of the cancer and will be able to make informed decisions on my treatment.

By talking to other patients, I will have a better understanding of my cancers progression. I may also find alternative treatments that I did not find during my initial research. In addition, I may find alternatives that do not work.

Other areas I would look at are different therapies, drugs, and possibly overseas clinics that specialize in my rare form of cancer. By looking into these different areas I may find that I will not want a specific form of treatment, such as chemotherapy or that the evidence for a specific drug is overwhelming in that its effectiveness would increase my chance for survival, that I would be compelled to try it. I may even find alternatives that have been found to work by an overseas specialist. When looking overseas, I would be cautious about the information and would only trust those specialists that I could prove were legitimate.

I would look beyond chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, especially if I would find an alternative treatment that worked without the damaging effects that the therapies may cause. It is important to look at all of the information on a subject, so that you are well informed. I don’t believe friends or teachers would be the best sources, unless they had the cancer themselves or they were providing a link or resource regarding my cancer. I would be more apt to look to those who had my cancer and were able to beat it, even if it was only for a few more years. Those people who could inspire me would be my sister, who survived breast cancer and did a lot of research and found the best treatment for her or Rhio O’Connor who didn’t let his prognosis rule; lived for more than six years, after diagnosis; and who was informed and active in all aspects of his treatment and therapy. These people would provide the type of inspiration I would need to ensure that I could do my best to beat my diagnosis of cancer.

By: Nellis, Amy C.

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