Nichols, Larissa – Surviving Mesothelioma

Nichols, Larissa

“Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that gull’s life is so short and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed” (Richard Bach, 1982).
What would I do if my doctor told me the following:
You have mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that typically affects the lining of the lungs, heart and abdomen, causing a thickening of the membranes of the chest cavity, fluid buildup and the formation of tumors. The most common mesothelioma treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. You likely have a year to live.
After receiving this news, I would think to myself my life is coming to an end and I would ask myself many questions. These would include: What can I do now? Fight or Flight? If I choose to fight, can I embrace the spirit of Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull going in an unconventional direction, rather than the common accepted path; can I see a different perspective to enhance my ability to live and be creative?
After receiving my doctor’s diagnosis, I would have the same reaction as most of people in my situation, passing though various stages of grieving, as described in the classic work of Elisabeth Külber-Ross (1969). According to Külber-Ross, there are five stages of dying: 
1. Denial and isolation: I would think, “They made a mistake in the diagnosis. Maybe they mixed up my records with someone else’s.”
2. Anger: I would ask, “Why me?”
3. Bargaining: I would ask, “If I can just see my son’s marriage and my grandchildren, I will be satisfied.”   
4. Depression: I would be deeply depressed.
5. Acceptance: I would think, “I did everything my doctor told me, and now I am ready to die.”
In the meantime, I would do my own research about this disease to explore alternative therapies for treating my disease, and to assess the changes for survival and possible cure. One day, I would go to our Community Library where I would find a book “They Said Months, I Chose Years: A Mesothelioma Survivor’s Story” written by James Rhio O’Connor who had the same disease – a pleural mesothelioma. O’Connor lived more than seven years after his diagnosis by (1) working with other professional clinicians, (2) using mind-body medicine and other alternative therapies, and (3) changing diet and nutrition. I would use this book to inspire me to be more optimistic about my prognosis, seeing light in my future. I would also start to think positively about my destiny, using the same curative philosophy and fighting spirit employed by James Rhio O’Connor.
James Rhio O’Connor called this disease “Mr. Meso”; his prognosis was less than a year to live but he was an extraordinary man and a great fighter. Rhio was a real scientist whose investigation focused on discovery a better way how to deal with this disease. His story is an excellent example of a human’s spiritual power that can inspire others. Mr. Rhio O’Connor proved by his personal example, strong spirit, bright intellect, and brilliant ideas that people can find a different way to solve their fatal health problem and be a winner over any endeavor it takes. He chose this difficult, interesting and full of challenges path, and his discovery amazes me.
My personal point of view of health and well-being draws on three key perspectives: Diet, Western Medicine and Eastern Medicine. Diet: healthy food with necessary amount of vitamins and macro- and micronutrients is the foundation of human well-being. Western Medicine based on human anatomy and physiology and has an excellent approaches in diagnostic and surgical techniques, while Eastern Medicine based on human inner resources and bio-energetic concepts and this is a unique source of healing by harmonizing an imbalanced energies that we can not see and we can not touch but we can observe its result.
I had a short-term practice in Eastern Medicine several years ago. My first acquaintance with Eastern Medicine occurred in 1998 when I went to Su Jok Therapy training before that I was familiar only with Western Medicine treatment. Su Jok Therapy is one of methods of the Eastern Medicine. At the beginning of this training, I was kind of skeptical about Eastern Medicine. According to Su Jok Therapy, the cure is done only in the hands and feet unlike the whole body in Chinese Acupuncture. During the training, we used different instruments such as magnets, seeds, needles, etc. After this training, I used some methods of Su Jok Therapy in my practice and observed the healing magic of this certain method. It was extremely interesting to observe the effect of this therapy then I was not skeptical about the Eastern Medicine afterward.
I realized that we do not have enough knowledge about our natural and inner powers. I would prefer a holistic approach in medicine that combines the three approaches noted above. I love to do research. After my graduation and becoming a nurse, I would be interested in working as a member of a team of the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) and help people. I would prefer to fly with the flock lead by Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Mr. James Rhio O’Connor.
Work cited:

Bach, R. Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Hollywood, Calif.: Paramount, 1982.

“Mesothelioma.” Asbestos.com. The Leading Mesothelioma Cancer Resource. 14 Dec.
2009. Retried January 30, 2010.

O’Connor, J. R. They Said Months, I Chose Years: A Mesothelioma Survivor’s Story.
 Cancer Monthly, Inc., 2008.

Külber-Ross, E. On Death and Dying. New York, NY: Scribner Publishers. 1969.

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