They say life goes by fast, “in the blink of an eye”; one minute you’re an innocent child licking sweet vanilla ice cream off a cone, and the next, a 40 year-old parent who can’t seem to find their teenager’s missing sock in the laundry pile. Yes, life has its moments, yet no matter how tough the circumstances, one should never lose their passion for life.
Rhio O’Conner was a man who appreciated life to its fullest. At the age of sixty-one, Rhio was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a severe cancer in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and attack the organs and tissues of the body. Joining the 2,000 individuals that are diagnosed with this incurable cancer every year, Rhio was given only a year to live, however Rhio’s powerful spirit did not diminish. Instead of turning his diagnosis into something negative, Rhio made the rest of his days on earth meaningful, positive, and memorable.
Instead of relinquishing to the cancer, Rhio battled his prognosis by methodically examining his disease and dedicating himself to gaining knowledge of the different therapies and treatments available. He devoted much of his time to researching and making inquiries alongside his chosen doctors, clinicians, and specialists. Rather than lament his condition, Rhio celebrated it and took full advantage of informing himself and others. Rhio made the impossible, possible. Due to his strong-willed attitude and unhesitating efforts, Rhio outlasted his prognosis by six years; a truly, remarkable accomplishment.
It is very hard not to admire this man’s perseverance and creativity, nor his honest thrill and thirst for life. Rhio O’Conner truly defines the word role model and continues to serve as an inspiration to many around the world, including myself. Having struggled to see many of my loved ones fighting cancer, I understand why Mr. O’Conner was so determined to fight back. If I were diagnosed with mesothelioma, I would follow in Rhio’s footsteps by educating myself about this specific cancer and, with any luck, motivate others to do the same.
If faced with “Mr. Meso”, as Mr. O’Conner liked to refer to it, I would challenge myself by imagining that I am not the ailing patient, but rather the medical doctor new to medical school, determined to discover all about mesothelioma. Using this approach would place me in a position where I would not have to confront my disease in a negative manner. I would work alongside my selected, trained physicians, entrusting their intellect, and would allow them to guide me towards a specific treatment or therapy based on the results that we collect.
When regarding traditional therapies, such as chemotherapy and surgery, I would not head in this direction. All studies show low survival rates and little progression towards improvement in these treatments. Most specifically, many lethal toxins are contributed by chemotherapy and radiation and serve as a danger to many patients; this is a risk I would not be willing to take. In addition, there is no evidence that this treatment prolongs survival.
According to recent studies and experiments, modern alternative approaches illustrate positive results. At the same time, there are many limitations when using these specific advances and very little is documented. However, these treatments utilize natural supplements, instead of artificial, toxic enhancers, providing a much healthier and riskless approach.
With this base of knowledge, my efforts would strive to focus on exploiting more information and research on alternative approaches and thus exercise them into my healing of mesolthelioma. I would first begin by introducing specific vitamins and supplements into my diet. Studies prove that Vitamin C, as well as Vitamin A, assists in strengthening the immune system and aids in the production of collagen- a protein matter that fortifies the skin, bones, and muscles. Maintaining a healthy nutritional diet benefits the body by inducing healthy growth in specific blood cells and sustaining energy. Another alternative approach which I would utilize is Iscador, a European genus of mistletoe. Considering that this plant has been around since the ancient times and has been proven to support survival, the immune system, and most importantly, the deterioration of cancerous cells, I would certainly incorporate this into my treatment.
Aside from working alongside my doctors, I feel one of the most reliable resources are the other mesothelioma victims. I would meet with willing patients individually and discuss with them about the specific therapies they have chosen for themselves, documenting their experiences and opinions on which treatments provided the best results for them. With this record of patient information, and my personal research findings, I would construct a new healing treatment of my own involving both perspectives.
I believe with these specific treatment ideas and continuously aiming to seek and discover more alternative cures for mesothelioma, I could provide not only a healthier, extended life for myself, but perhaps for others as well. I feel with the right, positive attitude, a pinch of hope, and the desire to succeed, anything is possible. Rhio O’Conner serves as a perfect example of this.
In the words of Randy Pausch, we cannot change the cards we are dealt with, just how we play the hand.
By: Serricchio, MariaAnna