Pope, Victoria – Surviving Mesothelioma

Pope, Victoria

My Road: Beating the Odds

How would it feel to live one day where you are making plans to go on vacation with family and then wake up the next day to find out you only have a year to live? Would you cancel your plans or would you try to improve your current state of health so that you could be around for the vacation plus other future life events? Personally, I would try my best to beat the odds. That is what James ‘Rhio’ O’Connor did. He learned that Mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer, was present in his body and only a year to live was the expectation. However, James O’Connor did not concede to this verdict. He researched and studied different techniques and lifestyle changes that would help extend his year into something somewhat of a miracle. This was evident by his life expansion, after that point, which stretched six years beyond what was expected.

This story truly touches my heart because of my grandfather, who had lung cancer. Shortly after my grandmother passed, we discovered his illness. I thought this event would cause him to reach an endpoint. In addition to that, the cancer had traveled so far up his body, that it blocked his throat to the point he could not swallow food or drink water. As a result, he had surgery to insert a feeding tube. The doctors and nurses said he would only live for less than a year because of his age, but he proved them all wrong. He lived for almost three years past diagnosis. As young person experiencing this circumstance, I saw a great amount of courage from my grandfather. He was the one that cooked and cared for me every day, and kept the house together. After learning of his prognosis, he continued to commit to his daily living tasks no matter how he felt. This was important because he was determined that he would not be defined by his disease, but by his actions. He wanted to beat cancer, and not let cancer beat him. This gave me, as a loved one, the comfort to know he was not giving up and he contained some hopes after all his tragedies.

Therefore, if I were in a circumstance similar, having little optimism from others on my life expectancy, I would take into consideration some of the things both of these men did. I would first put my pain and worries in the Lord’s hands and ask him to help me through my illness, so that I may be the best individual I can be. I would not let my illness get me down to the point of depression. I would not let it affect the way I am involved with my family. The reason behind this is that I do not want to burden them. Just because I’m given an expiration date, doesn’t mean I’m dead, so nothing I plan for the future would change. I believe it is important to live your life. You must keep on living, you never know when your life will end, only one person knows that, and that is the creator.

Now that I have my spiritual and emotional steps are complete, I would start to conduct research on the internet, in books, magazines, journals, perform personal interviews with people who have went through various treatments, communicate with medical professionals, review alternative medicines, and consult with family and community members. The results found from all these sources would benefit me in my quest to beat the odds. Everyone’s opinion would affect my assessment of the paths to take. Nevertheless, the ones who matter most in my heart will have the greater effect. I would look beyond chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, not because they could possibly offer little results but because I want to know everything besides the popular remedies.

The way I would decide on my options, is to look at my present state, like age, weight, physical abilities, mental capabilities, and financial condition. After weighing all my options, I would choose the best procedures for to me to follow through on. Then if all worked out according to plan, I would continue on the lifestyle changes that would make to make me healthier. For example, I would eat more foods that are organic and exercise regularly. If I chose to proceed with a type of medical course of action, I would keep regular check-ups and/or therapy appointments.

However, if the treatments of lifestyles I picked attest to being ineffective I would still try my hardest to with other opportunities. You may travel many valleys in life when a fork is in the middle of your way. Moreover, maybe this fork could ultimately change your life as you know it, or when you attempt trial after trial to end up in disappointment. You could travel down a path of guilt, depression, and loneliness. The alternative is to change your route to a side that holds all the answers and results you have been looking for. That is why I decide to take the road laid in bricks of faith, cemented with hope, and supportive winds surrounding me. I will never give up on my body, my God or myself. I want to thank James ‘Rhio’ O’Connor for his inspiring journey through a purpose-filled life.

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