Ritchie, Natalie – Surviving Mesothelioma

Ritchie, Natalie

Cancer is deadly. Not only to the patients but everyone surrounding them. It takes over your loved ones, it slowly yet painfully eats away at your insides. Once it’s diagnosed as terminal, there isn’t much more to do. Or is there? Rhio O’Connor lived past his dire prognosis. He continuously did research about his diseases, which was taking over him. He took care of him self, he exercised and even went through with a therapeutic protocol. It was said he beat his prognosis for years. If he could do it, anyone else can. All you need is motivation from your friends, family and doctor, but mainly from yourself.

I’ll be honest, if I was ever diagnosed with cancer; I’m not sure what I’d do. Eventually I would expect to die. I would have to think about the choices ahead of me. But I would worry constantly about how others were going to be affected by this sudden statement; I’m sorry but Natalie, you have terminal cancer. I would have to go through the rest of my short life wondering why it had happened. I know my loved ones would also have a difficult time dealing with this. I know this personally having to go through it. My grandfather, whom I didn’t get to know as well as I got older, died when I was twelve. My step dad’s mom got breast cancer when I was seventeen. And my dads ex girlfriend, my best friend, my second mother’ just recently passed away last summer. Jennifer’s death had the largest impact on me. Bu one thing I got out of it was to not let the simple things in life get to you, but learn from them.

Jennifer had Colon Cancer. She had gotten rid of the tumor before her and my dad started dating. Her friends, family, and children all though she was finally cured. About a year and a half ago, I received the occasional phone call from her. She asked how I was doing, I told her. I asked how she was doing, and she told me; She’d been better. The phone conversation struck me hard. Harder than I thought it would. The cancer had come back only this time it was worse. It was diagnosed as terminal. I didn’t know what to say. I was scared, upset, but I also felt alone. We got off the phone. It took a minute before the word terminal sunk in. I cried. I didn’t know how to go through this. I didn’t know how she was going to get through it. All I know is we both wanted to see each other and have out last grand moment together.

Months had passed. We e-mailed each other talking about school, guys, her kids, and her cancer. She talked about the chemo, how it was making me feel like shit,or how her hair was starting to get thinner. She couldn’t do everything she used to. You take what comes, she had said in one of our e-mails. She still worked, hung out with her children, called her family to let them know how she was doing.

Over the next year and a half we didn’t talk as much. We both got knew phones so we lost each others numbers. She didn’t get on the computer as often because she was tired or not feeling good, but we still talked. Towards the beginning of the summer, I got a massage from her daughter Kayla, saying Jennifer as in the hospital. The next day I picked her and went to visit her mom, our mom. I had never been afraid to go into a hospital until that very moment I walked through the doors. It had hit me then. I was going to see her dying. I walked slowly behind her daughter. She went up to the desk, and then walked to the room down the hallway which Jennifer was laying in. We went into the room. Kayla talked to Jennifer as if nothing was wrong. I stood there, silent; still, unable to move because I was afraid to. Kayla looked at her mom. Look who’s here! Jennifer looked at me, but she didn’t recognize me. She said hi then talked to Kayla again. Mom That’s Natalie. She then turned and saw ME. I gave her a hug, told her a few things then went back to my corner. I dropped Kayla off at home after that.

The month of July was a very strange month. My mom had called me one day asking if I had talked to Jennifer lately. I said no. I messaged her on facebook a few days after, saying I hope your doing ok, and that I loved her. Soon after that I had dreams. Dreams about Jennifer. I didn’t know why but they concerned me. I would daily check my facebook to see if she had contacted me. No response. July 23rd I was sitting with my friend Desire while she talked to people I didn’t know well enough to call my friend at the time. I checked my facebook on my phone. Desire went outside to smoke a cigarette. I saw Kayla had updated her status; 07/23/09 RIP Jennifer Leslie Harris I love you. I stopped and just stared at that. I didn’t cry, not then. I got up and told Desire what had happened and I had to leave. The whole ride home all I could do was cry.

At her memorial, I realized how high-spirited she had been throughout her prognosis. She the life she wanted, not the life everyone else wanted. She let her children, family, and friends know how much they meant to her. I learned a lot from Jennifer. I learned how to love my life and the people in it. I learned to appreciate the smaller things. I learned to love and appreciate myself. I know I’m talking a lot about what she did and what had happened to her, but if there was one way for me to deal with a diagnosis of terminal cancer, I would deal with it the way she did. I’d let my loved ones know how much they mean to me, I’d do and accomplish thing I want, and I would live my life to the fullest, never regretting the small simple things in life.

Get your free copy of
“Surviving Mesothelioma” Today!