Platt, Abby – Surviving Mesothelioma

Platt, Abby

People are faced with moments of adversity everyday. We must make difficult decisions on a regular basis. It is how we respond to those decisions that make us who we are. We will either be cowards afraid, afraid of the future or we will be courageous and face the future head on. After being diagnosed with mesothelioma, Rhio O’Connor made the decision to be brave and face his prognosis with his head held high. He took his chances and spent countless hours researching and learning and proved his doctors and everyone wrong. Out living his prognosis by six years, Rhio O’Connor proved that cancer isn’t a death sentence; it’s a setback.

After being diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer, Rhio O’Connor decided to go against the grain and fight the mesothelioma. He took the matter into his own hands and did everything he could to fight and survive. His perseverance paid off. When someone needs a source of inspiration, Rhio O’Connor should come to mind. I for one believe that Rhio O’Connor is a huge place of inspiration. He proves that you should never respond to bad news by retreating and fearing your future. He is an inspiration to me because there have been different instances in my life, where I was faced with a difficult decision and/or something didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, and instead of facing it head on I chose to close off from people and deal with it on my own. I had to make a really hard decision when I had to choose which university to attend. It was between one, which was closer to home, and I had numerous friends attending this school as well. My other option was a school in a different state, where I didn’t now a single person. I chose the easy way out, and picked the school closer to home, where I would be comfortable with people that I already knew. Rhio O’Connor’s bravery is an inspiration because it is something that I wish I had when I had to make the decision of which school to attend. I know the two situations are incomparable because fighting cancer is extremely difficult compared to choosing a school to attend, but bravery is something that everyone should have. And it was something that I didn’t have at the time and wish I did.

When I hear of people being put through rough situations, I try to imagine myself into heir shoes and wonder what I would do if I were faced with the same things. When it comes to Rhio O’Connor’s situation and his diagnosis and trying to put myself in his situation, it isn’t that hard for me to imagine. For two years, I was constantly sick. There seemed to be always something wrong and I couldn’t eat much and never had an appetite. For two years I went to every doctor imaginable. They all ran numerous tests and drew pints of blood to try and figure out what was wrong. A big turning point was when a doctor finally suggested that I go see a hematologist, who specializes in the study of blood and see what he could find. When I arrived at the doctor’s office that day of that appointment, the door said something very different from what I was told. Apparently I had an appointment with an oncologist because it was now a thought that I was sick because of some form of cancer. Reading the door of that doctor’s office, was the most terrifying moment of my life. In the end, I was never diagnosed with cancer and it was a different doctor that finally figured out what was wrong with me, but the thought of that hematologist telling me otherwise is a scary thought. Rhio O’Connor wasn’t as lucky as I was. He had to hear the hematologist tell him the bad news, and it was from there that he had to move on. If I were in Rhio O’Connor’s shoes and was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, I would have lived my life the same way he did. When it comes to my life and my health, there is no sitting back. During the two years of countless doctors appointments and medical tests, I never once gave up hope. I always thought that there was some doctor or some test that would finally figure out what was wrong with me. I made appointments and I drove around, sometimes attending three appointments in one day, until I knew what needed to be done to help me get healthy again. I was not going to be content until I felt good. Many doctors didn’t believe that I was actually sick. Many thought it was all stress induced and I was some how doing it to myself. They believed that there wasn’t anything wrong internally with me. No matter what they thought, I knew they were wrong and wasn’t going to stop until I showed them. It took two years but a gastroenterologist finally figured out what it was my gallbladder that wasn’t functioning correctly and that I would need it to be removed to correct stomach issues that I had been having. I think that those two years of uncertainty prove to me that if I were given the same diagnosis as Rhio O’Connor, I would have taken the same actions that he did. I would do research and would definitely looked past chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, if the doctors thought that those were the only options. I would ask questions whenever I could. I would just try to understand the disease and know everything about it. When it comes to picking resources to receive my information from, there would be many different people that I would turn to. Of course, the first resource would be my doctors, because whether they think I don’t have options or not, they do study the disease and know more than I do. But other than the doctors, the most important resource that I would turn to is my parents. They are the people that I trust more than anyone, and I believe that they know what is best for me. Their opinions matter more than anything that a doctor would tell me.

A person’s health is never something to take lightly. Every option should be explored. Rhio O’Connor did just that. He did absolutely everything he could to extend his life. Rhio O’Connor is an inspiration in every sense of the word. He inspires others to strive and prove people wrong. He inspires people never let bad news be the end of you. Never sit back and let someone tell you that it’s over and there is nothing that you can do. He inspires others to take control over their own lives. Rhio O’Connor’s story is an incredible story of perseverance and he didn’t let cancer be the end of him. It was just a minor setback in the final six years of his life.

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