Rendo, Matthew | Surviving Mesothelioma

Rendo, Matthew

The endeavour James “Rhio” O’Conner undertook in order to prolong his life in the face of a cancer deemed incurable is truly remarkable. The intellectual stamina and self-determination required to pour over countless journals came from a strong heart. It is apparent that the man knew he would have to make a change if he was going to live, and so he did all that he could to fight his disease. His story is awe inspiring, and it sets a tone for all students interested in doing research. One must research as if each day was their last; giving everything one has to their cause. In looking at what “Rhio” did, one realizes that nothing should ever be taken for granted, for each day is never guaranteed, and each day must be lived out as if it were the last.

In putting myself in Rhio’s shoes after hearing that I have an “incurable” cancer, the fear accompanied with the distraught in knowing I am dieing would be unbearable. It would be very easy to be full of self-pity, displaying a “Woe is Me” sign on my heart, knowing that I have been stricken down while others around me are still well. But there is another, harder choice I could make, and I feel I would take that path. An undertaking in which I devote all of my time to researching possible ways I could beat my cancer. Working around the clock to find anything to slow the disease as it slowly coerces it way through my body. However, cancer is a disease of the body, not a psychological sickness inhibiting the mind. There is no cancer that could ever break a mental will dedicated to the proposition of recovery and a brighter future ahead. This idea of recovery would be the life blood by which my intellectual stamina would thrive on; a belief that I can overcome this “immovable” obstacle in my path.

The decision to take on a disease that is considered “incurable,” would be incredible intimidating. Where to start, or who to talk to, would only be a few of the plethora of questions that would need to be answered. I would attack this cancer first by learning everything there is to know about it. The more that I know about my enemy, that better equipped I am to fight it. I would then search the current ways medicine has been able to battle it. I would look at all of the treatment options, specifically the clinical effects that they have had on patient’s cancer. If surgery was not an option, I would turn to chemo. If chemo was not an option, I would turn the literature, and learn about the different types of research regarding the disease. If none of the current treatment options possibly looked to be able to cure the cancer, I would then turn to studying theoretical treatments that have not yet been researched. My days would be spent in the library reading journals and studying the disease, and my nights would be a continuation of my efforts in the day. I would correspond with physicians and researchers about how their field may help me in my fight.I would make sure that I find a cure; I would not let myself down, and neither did Rhio.

Fighting an incurable disease by mself would be a very tough personal undertaking, and would require a great amount of psychological and intellectual stamina. Having to read journal after journal, formulating an original hypothesis, and doing any other research required, would be on the equivalent level of a graduate student pursuing their PhD. The process of learning all of the information about the disease would take too long to do just by taking classes, so I would do all of my studying independently. I would consult health professionals working on the cancer I have, or cancers like it, and form hypotheses about how to fight this cancer. A full time devotion to understanding a biological process (the cancer and its effects) and trying to find a way by which that process could be slowed would be a full-time job. This new job would be more important that any previous career, and would now have a higher priority than my previous career. If I could not find a way to fight this disease that will kill me, I would not be able to carry on the career I have. My relationships with family and friends might have to go on hold, as all of my mind, heart, and energies would be devoted to finding a way to fight this cancer. However, the time spent with my family and friends would be cut even shorter compared to a typical life span, if I did not find anyway to slow this cancer. Finding a cure would always be on my mind, and the sole basis of whether or not I live would be dependent on finding that cure. I would have to work conscientiously by placing the search for a cure above my inclinations, working methodically, without ever shrinking from any weariness or difficulty to work.

James “Rhio” O’Conner’s journey was not just to prolong his life, but to serve as a story of dedication and will power to future generations. He was told he was already beaten by his enemy, and that if he was to fight, it would be a losing fight. Yet Rhio never gave up, he never threw the towel into the ring. His strong heart kept him fighting, and is a symbol of perseverance in the face of defeat. We must never let our heads hang low in times of trouble, but use the abilities we have to their greatest potential to overcome the adversities at hand. Rhio did not allow this obstacle deemed “immovable,” from inhibiting him to continue on the road of life. His story is an inspiration to us all, showing us to never take anything for granted, and that if we set our hearts and minds to an undertaking, we shall overcome.

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