Pitt, Alyssa – Surviving Mesothelioma

Pitt, Alyssa

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart, and abdomen. It is a rare cancer that makes up about 3% of all cancer diagnosis in the United States. It also occurs more frequently in men than in women. James “Rhio” O’Connor was diagnosed with this type of cancer and was given one year to live but with his dedication and intense research he lived six years longer than he was expected to live. His story was a great inspiration to me because even though he was given a dire diagnosis, it gave him motivation to beat it.

I can really relate to this story because my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was a sophomore in high school. It was very difficult for me emotionally to watch my mom come home from the chemotherapy treatments and just have to lie in bed the rest of the day. But one thing I did learn from this experience is that even though this disease can bring you down physically it can not stop you from being who you are. My mom was so strong even at her weakest point. Seeing that my mom could survive this cancer give me the encouragement to know that no matter what is placed in front of me, I can succeed if I truly try my best.

What is really amazing about my mom is that this was actually her third cancer. She’s also overcome skin cancer and thyroid cancer. If my mom can overcome three cancers in her life time, I can handle anything. Just like James “Rhio” O’Connor, who had the strength and determination of prove that being diagnosed with cancer was not going to bring him down. I definitely am inspired by his story. It shows that when you put your mind to it you can over come any obstacle, no matter how impossible it may seem.

If I was diagnosed with cancer I would definitely turn to my mom for advice because of her experiences. She would be the best person to talk to about how to keep a positive attitude and how to handle the every day sick feelings. She would give me the motivation I need to keep pushing through. I have so much respect for my mom, and for anyone who has had to deal with any type of cancer. While working with her cancer my mom tried some alternative methods like some herbal teas and drinks. She would also drink BOOST energy drinks to keep up her energy and her weight. I would definitely do the same thing, by trying different methods to see which ones helped me the most. I would want to do thing that would make me most comfortable since I was able to see how miserable my mom felt on bad days.

This would include doing a lot of research on alternative methods. Researching sites, seeing their ratings, researching information about the type of cancer and what other people with this type of cancer have done. Researching website and trips to the library would take up most of my free time. I would strive to learn as much as possible about the situation I am faced with. The best thing to do when faced with a difficult problem is to get informed about the problem and get informed on what other people have done when faced with this problem. Just like James “Rhio” O’Connor had done when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

In conclusion, Rhio O’Connor’s story was very easy to relate to and also a very inspirational story. He reminds me so much of my mom, with his courage and his perseverance. I don’t look back on that time in my life with sadness and I don’t think my mom does either. It was a time of growth that made me the stronger person I am today. It also gives me the opportunity to be there for others who may face this same difficulty in the future. I think Scott Hamilton said it best: “Adversity, and perseverance and all these things can shape you. They can give you a value and a self-esteem that is priceless.”

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