Ridenour, Katlyn

When I first saw this scholarship online my first thoughts were about how easy it would be to write it because I knew I would say that of course I would not give into the disease and that I would keep fighting. After reading the story of James “Rhio” O’Connor however, I realized that it would not be as easy as I thought. The story of James “Rhio” O’Connor is more than just inspiring it is truly indescribable. Faced with such an impossible challenge instead of giving up he met his adversary with zeal and perseverance. He beat all the odds by surviving his original prognosis by more that seven years; this is truly a remarkable outcome and one that no one expected. Only by placing ourselves in his shoes can we begin to understand what he had to endure and the difficult decisions he was forced to make.

Being given a dire cancer prognosis is almost incomprehensible but for James “Rhio” O’Connor it was reality. If I were faced with the same hurdle my first step would be to make peace with myself. Although this might seem odd considering the amount of research you would want to conduct to weigh your options in an informed manner, I feel that this would be most appropriate. The feeling of hopelessness and grief that one must deal with would be overwhelming. Before you can begin to organize your approach and make a plan of action you must first fully understand the situation you have been placed to you and accept it. Only then would you be able to efficiently conduct yourself and make reasonable choices.

My next step would be to know exactly what was happening to my body, and what I could expect in the times to come. In any war you must know your enemy. By knowing what the road ahead holds it will not surprise you or throw you off, if anything it would just make it easy. By knowing all of you symptoms and ailments you will then be able to determine the best way to go about researching treatments. The obvious first options would be the recommendations of doctors. In the case of Mr. O’Connor however, the popular treatments like chemo, surgery, and radiation would have done more harm than good. If the circumstances were the same for me I would take a systematic approach to research and treatment. I would target each symptom and issue individually while focusing on my body’s natural defenses as my main ally. After gathering the list of every possible effect the cancer would have I would go through one by one and research each. For every health ailment there are natural remedies some that have been used for hundreds of years and others that have been discovered more recently. Although the effectiveness of these remains skeptical research has shown that most natural remedies have a proven basis for aid. By then end of his period of study James O’Connor was taking over one hundred supplements per day and had drastically altered his diet. I believe that my final treatment would be very similar to his own.

Being familiar with the studies of the Darwinian Medical Perspective I would have treated not only my symptoms but focused on the body’s remarkable abilities to heal itself. The body is evolutionarily designed to fight infections, diseases, and general malfunction. A cancer is caused by the loss of contact inhibition within the cells. The effected cells begin to grow exponentially and thus lead to tumors and various other problems. What most people do not realize is that at any given time the average person has about 400 cells that lack contact inhibition in their body. This is not because we have a cancer or any other health issue it is just a simple mistake in the translation of our DNA during actual cell production.

Our body functions like a machine, every piece playing a role in the final product. Just like with any machine, upon occasion, one part might make a tiny mistake that affects the end result. Evolution has accounted for these mistakes and equipped us with defenses. These exponentially growing cells are recognized, targeted, and destroyed before they can do us any real harm. The problem arises when for some reason either our defenses shut down and stops recognizing these cells and they gradually grow out of control, or our body begins to make to many mistakes to be kept up with. Either way, by boosting our immune system we can help the body correct the problem. James O’Connor also new that his health and longevity would be aided by proper diet. In the world of today we fill ourselves with extreme amounts of sodium, fat, hydrogenated oils, and excess sugar that we were never met to process. In order to keep the bodies systems, including immune defenses, operating at full capacity a completely natural diet must be maintained. I would of course conduct a necessary amount of research on my own and speak with multiple dietitians and doctors to determine the type of diet that would be most appropriate for my unique situation.

Spirituality and faith in God would also play a major part in my experience with disease. I truly believe that confidence in a higher power would greatly benefit my outlook and my success in fighting such a horrible disease. Doctors and experts can only do so much for a person going through this. They would of course provide adequate information and do there best to aid in recovery and the process of finding medicinal cures but there is a deeper healing that is needed. I would be very important for me to be very open with my friends and family and to have their full support. Having people who care about you and how you are doing emotionally would be a great help. By having a strong faith in God I would know that regardless of what happened everything would be alright. Once you have surrendered yourself spiritually you will have the strength to take on anything.

James “Rhio” O’Connor was definitely an amazing man, and his story has truly inspired me. The thought of having to go through what he did was an awakening experience and it made me realize what is important to me. Faced with difficult decisions and a life altering situation he was able to prove everyone wrong by battling his disease and expanding his horizons. I think that we can all learn a great deal from him and his life.

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