The man that changed my Life….
I’m very honored to write an essay for the “James Rhio O’Connor (“Rhio”)” Scholarship. I love hearing life stories good or bad, even though the disease took James life, it didn’t take his spirit. Through his story and book, he will live on in our hearts forever. I’m proud to add James Rhio O’Connor (“Rhio”) to the list I keep of the greatest people in history I will never get a chance to meet.
In his story he tells of how he once was a teacher, opened a bookstore and later a health food store. I believe everything happens for a reason in life. James ended up with more then just a health store. He ended up with the answers he needed to help heal his body. Even though he retired from teaching, he never stopped being a teacher. He gave the world his greatest lesson, how to live, not die.
Only you know what is right for your body. Doctors can tell you that you have Months, but you can say; I Choose Years as James did. James did not stop at one doctor’s diagnosis or opinion, but chose to look into many. He asked everyone he could think of who might know anything about cancer. He read book after book, he talked with anyone that would listen. He was a fighter not a quitter. I want to thank him for his fight, because of him, we all have more information then we could ever have learned from a single Doctor’s visit.
If I was diagnosed as James was, I would first be very angry that my body allowed this and angry at the place I contracted it from. Cancer runs in my family and has taken many of my loved ones. I’m a very strong person with a positive out look; I have always said, “I refuse to get Cancer. I’m not allowing it to take me, the way it has taken others I have loved and lost”. However, as we all know it picks and chooses for itself whom it will take and whom it will not.
After I had time to calm down and really have it sink in, I realized that getting angry does not help. I would need to start taking action. There wouldn’t be a book, web page or clinical research I wouldn’t read. Depending on which of the four types of Mesothelioma I had and at what stage I was at, would determine the treatment choices I would have. Unfortunately the disease itself kind of puts you on its own course and you do what you can to change it.
However, as James did, I would do everything in my power to hopefully stop it or at least slow it down. Every persons body, no matter how much the same we are, we are just as different. Everyone’s body responds to different medicines, vitamins, minerals, Chemotherapy, Radiation and surgery differently. It’s just a matter of finding out what works for you.
Diet plays a big part in anyone’s heath and most people don’t watch their diet the way they should (including myself). That would be the first thing I would start with. First would be more “raw” type foods such as fruits and vegetables. For me this would be a (hard) good thing. I would also try and grow my own that way I know they are as organic as I could get. I would also get chickens for the freshest eggs I could get. I would read up on vitamins and minerals to see what I could take that would help.
My entire life as I know it would change. (No more, greasy pepperoni pizza) I would look at the world as a different place. I would have to become a different person. I would be wary of anything that could possibly damage my body. My mission would be to learn everything I could. I would be at war with this disease, I would build myself an army with a proper diet, vitamins, and minerals and as much as I hate the idea an exercise plan. I would work with a team (not just one) of Doctors for discussing and trying medical treatments that they thought would work and that I agreed on.
I would also look at the world around me. It would become a different place. The things I take for granted everyday would no longer look the same. I would etch every tree, flower, sunset and peoples faces into my memory. I would tell people things that I thought and not just keep it to myself. I would compliment people for the little things I loved about them, I would not be just saving things anymore I would be using them. I would give people things that I wanted hem to have. I would never go a day without telling my family I loved them.
I would become the person; I should have been all along and will now be. Thanks to James Rhio O’Connor for changing the way I think. Once again he has taught yet another lesson.
Also, in just writing this essay I have learned that the government knew about the dangers of Asbestos as far back as 1899! In an abstract (Curious Bodies) written by M. Murray (1899) he describes the first reported case of “asbestosis” an illness linked directly to asbestos exposure. This just infuriates me that the U.S. Government and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waited until 1978 to ban it’s usage. Why so long??