Rahman, Tahera | Surviving Mesothelioma

Rahman, Tahera

A Hero’s Hope

I tend to think of myself as a strong person, always in control of my life and working hard to achieve my dreams. If I face a roadblock, most often that not, I work through it, find a solution, or an alternative route. What I refuse to do is give up. That is why I find James “Rhio” O’Connor’s a hero whose story is so inspiring. He embodies so many of the character traits of a hero—ones that I can relate to. Although I have been fortunate to have never faced a serious illness, I have been around those who have terminal illnesses, and I often contemplate what I would do if I was in the same situation.

My mother complains that I am stubborn—that when I have my mind made up, nothing can stop me. I believe that is a compliment, not a flaw. I believe it is the same stubbornness that helped Rhio as well. He did not accept the doctor’s prognosis of only a year to live, nor did he decide that the medical field was the last word on mesothelioma cancer. While traditional medicine has a place in treating illnesses, I do not believe it is the only solution. I am a strong believer in alternative medicines, holistic approaches, and most importantly, faith.

Being well informed and educated about your condition is the best first step one can take. When Rhio did research, he made sure to get his information from the most reliable sources, such as www.survivingmesothelioma.com. Websites such as these give thorough information that is easy to read, broken down clearly and give the reader many of the options that are out there. There are even testimonials and real-life stories, as well as the hard facts. With this information, it would make it easier to make an informed decision on what road I want to take.

The medicinal road I would take would be a mixture of homeopathic medicine and natural herbs. In my Indian culture, herbs and natural foods are taken for sicknesses before traditional medicine is given. My mother rarely gave me aspirin when I had a cold or flu, because a teaspoon of turmeric in warm milk did the trick. A chest cold was cured with a tablespoon of warm, dark honey and lemon. The remedies go on and on. If she didn’t have a cure, then she would turn to her uncle, a homeopathic doctor. He is ‘famous’ for his cures for such things as asthma to fibromyalgia; he has even been credited for curing a relative’s son of leukemia. I would turn to these practices regardless of whether or not doctors tell me there is no hope.

When I was in High School, I had read that patients who are ill recovered faster when they had a support system, whether it was family, friends, a therapy group or a God. I was curious to know more, so that year I decided to do a science fair project that I called “The Power of Prayer”. I grew some alfalfa seeds and my only variable was that I said a prayer aloud to one plant every morning and evening. The prayer plant grew faster, bigger and overall healthier. I won in my school and went on to win State Gold! It is that same belief that has gotten me through difficult times and given me peace in times stressful situations. It would not falter to seek support in illness, either, whether it is a common cold or a terminal illness. Regardless of whether the support came from family, friends, or a higher being, it would be my most important medicine.

A hero doesn’t have to have superpowers. He or she is one who fights the odds and doesn’t give up. Hearing stories of people who survive the odds and live miracles is uplifting and give hope to all. In a time when people need that hope, it is important to continue to spread the stories of such heroes as James “Rhio” O’Connor.

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