Nelson, Erik – Surviving Mesothelioma

Nelson, Erik

Love is Unconditional

James Rhio was an inspirational man and a warrior to say the least. When I think about his story of overcoming the odds and beating such a rare form of cancer I can only think of my own mothers story. His cancer developed in the lining that covers the body’s internal organs, my mothers developed in her ovaries. The questions are countless when you, or someone you love is thrown into such a terrible circumstance. When it came down to doing the research James Rhio fought through the pain and figured out a way to prolong his life. My mother was too weak and had almost lost a sense of hope and looked to her husband, my dad, to research and fight this horrendous cancer. His story correlates very well with my mothers and gives people with cancer hope through the tough times.

For everyone there is that one person that you look up to, that one person who is a great role model for you, that one person who will never let you down. In my life that special person was always my mom. She was a great friend, never lost her temper, and was always strong in her faith no matter what bad situation was thrown at her. I was a momma’s boy and she would spoil me to no end. From making my lunch to coming to every one of my sporting events, she was always there.

When I was in 7th grade my mother got terribly sick. She started out being very tired all the time and not being able to do much. Well this foreign lifestyle was not settling for her because she was always very active. So she went to our local doctor and the inactive medicines she received from him were manifold. They could not figure out what was wide of the mark with her, so my dad had her go to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville because the doctors there are known to be superior. They were stumped as well and kept treating her with just about every form of treatment possible. She was dismal to look at and showed no sign of a fight. Well my dad was not going to let his wife just lie in a hospital bed and die, so he began his extensive research. He spent hours upon hours on the computer researching and asking questions to the doctors to try and find a possible solution. It took some time but eventually they were able to give her a diagnosis, but it wasn’t what any of us hoped to hear. My mom had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

This was a type of ovarian cancer that was extremely rare and there were only 6 recorded cases of this type of cancer. This crushed me. How could it be that the one person I looked up to most in life, and the one person I knew who loved the Lord unconditionally have such a terrible thing happen to her. She was taken away from me and there was nothing I could do to help her. That feeling of being so helpless and so scared for her is one that I will never forget. My typical day of waking up, have my mom take me to school, she packed my lunch, she picked me up from school, she took me to soccer practice, and then she would make me dinner was drastically changed. During the week it was one phone call to say goodnight to her and the weekends was a 4 hour drive to spend a few hours with her. She was so frail and lifeless; it was no way to live for anyone. This lasted for a few months and then by some miracle she got better. It was not by anything the doctors could pinpoint either, they just told her to be thankful the cancer was gone.

Having that close encounter with losing my mom was such an eye opening experience for me. I now see how valuable she is to my life and I am able to appreciate the time I have with her. This incident changed the way I think about life as a whole and developed me to become who I am today. Going through that time made me become more independent and I am much stronger in my faith. I was ready to give up on God because he was letting one of his children suffer and now he comes first in my life because I got a taste of what he can do. I got a glimpse of what it would be like to have my mother taken away from me and I could not handle it, now that she is better I cherish every moment with her.

My mom is back to doing her normal activities of teaching Yoga and Pilates. When people ask her about being sick and what happened she just responds, “God saved me.” So she preaches her testimony to anyone who is willing to hear it and keeps me in line when I fall off my path. I am thankful that this was just a temporary scare and not a permanent tragedy and learned that love truly is unconditional.

It really is hard to say the steps I would take in fighting a deadly cancer. I would do everything in my power to ensure that every measure was taken into account and try to become an expert on my sickness. James Rhio was able to play the role of two people in my story, my mother going through the sickness, and my father studying and researching to find an answer. What an incredible man to be able to achieve such a victory and stare death in the eye and conquer it. His story makes me value life so much more, life is a struggle, life is an ongoing battle, but if we refuse to quit there is nothing that we cannot overcome.

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