Ravenscroft, Stephanie – Surviving Mesothelioma

Ravenscroft, Stephanie

I Choose Life

James Rhio O’Connor was intelligent man who had optimistic view on his approach to the life threatening disease called Mesothelioma. If I had the same diagnosis with an approximated 1 year life expectancy rating I would be first devastated. I would be crushed because I wouldn’t have had a chance to complete my destiny. I wouldn’t even know what I would say to my daughter Haily especially my mother, Barbara and my best friend, Amanda who was always supportive during my challenges in trying to find a better treatment process, spend as much time and energy with my daughter and live life as graceful as possible.

Since I was young girl I always had a kind heart towards people and always wanted to help the sick father, child, mother, or anyone that needs help. At the age of five I always wanted to be a nurse practitioner. I want to be able to be there not only as a nurse who prescribes whatever stops the pain. I would follow through with the research on the medication that I would be prescribing. I would discuss with the patient and their family before prescribing any medication. I want to show my daughter that there are people that care, and I am one of them. Also, I would handle my authority of the position with care. I would make sure that everything is accurate and review the patient’s chart carefully. Though, with having Mesothelioma I might not be able to achieve my dream.

I would think of my 7 year old daughter who is a star in her class. Haily reads very well at her elementary school. She has two loving parents that are there for her on holidays and birthdays. Haily is a little dragon in her karate class and she already earned 2 stripes for remembering her code of conduct and her round house kick. Not only is she in karate but she is in soccer as well. She is on the soccer team. She is one of the best girls on her predominantly male team who tends to be rough at times. If I told her that she wouldn’t have much time with her mother it would crush her in so many ways. She wouldn’t be able to handle it and would not do well in school. She wouldn’t be able to manage playing well at soccer games because she would think about me and wonder if I’m ok. But I believe that a parent’s role in a child’s life is to be their shoulder to lean on, give them the knowledge to see through peoples’ fallacies and the courage to follow through with your dreams, which right now for Haily it is to be a police officer.

My mother, Barbara is a good person who taught me how to be kind and not be selfish toward others. She taught me not to cut myself short and the only way to make it through society is by earning a degree. She said a degree is your passport though life and to never think that knowledge stops when you feel like stopping, but to keep an ear out for changes and new knowledge. My best friend Amanda would be very sad if I died. I have been friends with Amanda for 8 years and we have never had a serious argument. I remember when she moved to South Carolina with her fiancé. We stayed in contact by phone the whole time. She told me about how she had a greenish blue Taurus car and drove 90 miles an hour down a dirt road. She also told me about how she was walking from work when she was invited by a resident who lived on that road to a cookout and the food was so good there that she kept going for seconds and thirds and fourths. We are very close and if I were to pass due to Mesothelioma it would crush her.

First, I would conduct research about my illness by going to a public library, going online, and even interviewing many previously diagnosed patients about the types of treatments used and their side effect to see if the different types of treatment are effective. My case of Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that develops around the lungs in the pleura which is the outer lining of the lungs and inner chest wall. One of the most common symptoms is shortness of breath because of the pleural effusion. In the pleura space there is an accumulation of fluid which if the lungs expand the extra fluid would push against the chest wall causing chest wall pain and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include fatigue, anemia, wheezing, hoarseness, coughing, blood in the sputum, and weight loss. To treat this late stage of Mesothelioma I would chose chemo therapy and surgery because using these two types of treatment together would drain the extra fluid out the pleura and would help prevent the growth of tumors in or along the chest wall. But, if the tumor isn’t treated in time the cancerous cells will break away or leak into the blood system and cause tumors to grow on other parts of the inner body.

I would also look at radiation therapy as an option for treating my case of Mesothelioma because of the positive feedback I have heard about it from a co-worker at my college. Ms. Ragan, who has been a survivor for over 5 years, expressed to me her heart ache and her desire to live due to her situation. She went through chemotherapy; surgery and radiation to stop her tumors from growing. The forms of radiotherapy that are offered are brachytherapy, external beam radiotherapy, and seal source radiotherapy. I would choose brachytherapy because the oncology specialist uses a high energy of x-ray which is pointed at the direct spot of the tumor and reduces it. This procedure is more convenient than external beam radiotherapy treatment because it uses mega voltage x-ray that not only targets the tumor but other areas that are not affected which can cause healthy cells to die. brachytherapy side effect of radiotherapy is fatigue and skin irritations like a moderate sun burn due to the gamma rays. Sealed source of radiotherapy isn’t an option for me because of the high level of radiation exposure that is involved with the therapy.

Finally, I would meet with my primary doctor and other doctors that specialize in the treatment of mesothelioma and discuss treatment options. I would discuss the different treatment options with them and decide to go through the radiation treatment and brachytherapy. Even though this road will be a hard one I believe that if I keep faith, and continue to pray with uplifting words from my family I think I will have a good outcome.

Reference Page Santoro , Ceresoli. “Mesothelioma”. Jan 29,2010 www.survivingmesothelioma.com

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