Sheley, Cassandra – Surviving Mesothelioma

Sheley, Cassandra

Live Like You Are Dying

I have not given much though as to how I would die, or plotted out scenarios. It took me a few months of thinking for this essay. When I first read the topic and what I had to write an essay on, it stopped me in my tracks. I wanted to make sure that I had a reasonable answer, but more importantly an honest answer. In order to get an honest answer from myself, I had to take time and truly think and reflect on what I would do given the situation presented. I even went as far as to talk to people about it, without hearing what they would do because I want my answer to be my own and true to me. For this situation of theoretically getting cancer, I reflected for a few weeks on what I would honestly do.

If I went into the doctors office today and was given a week to live because of a rapidly progressing cancer, I honestly do not know as though I would believe it. I think at first I would be in a state of shock. I would probably go home and make appointments with three other doctors in order to get an accurate diagnosis. If, after meeting with them, the cancer is confirmed, I would go to my mom and cry. I would tell her what it was all about and we would cry together. I would cry probably for a few days. Then knowing my mother, she would be looking up every option I had for therapy or any solution either of us could find. I would be doing the same thing.

We would, together, lay all of out options out before us. I know that this may sound strange, but my mother and I are freakishly close and I would not go through this alone. We would look hard into the pros and cons of each treatment, and then from there we would deduce the best treatment for me. We would conduct our research by internet, asking doctors that specialize in the area, medical books, etc. If chemo, radiation, and surgery had little to offer, you bet I would look at other options. The option I would choose is one that would let me be around my family longer. If this meant staying near where I was and not getting the fancy treatment in New York, then that is what I would do. Here is my reasoning, why would I want to spend the last months of my life going from hospital to hospital, getting tested and having multiple things done to me, when I could be with my family and spending time with the people who matter most. I would not want to be away from them for very long, I would do what I could within a few hours of where I was.

I would defiantly be working on getting right with God, getting to know him and what I truly believe. This would be me coming to terms with my own mortality. I think at this point I have a fairly close relationship to God, however, I know it could be a lot better. This is one of the “people” who matter most, that I would be spending time with. I would also be doing things that I was always to scared to do, such as sky diving or seeing Europe. I would not do this alone, I would spend all of my money bringing the people I love with me and spending quality time with them. For example, I would bring my 5 year old sister to Disneyland with me, and then my mom and I would go to Europe. I honestly do not think that I would spend my time searching for answers when there is little hope. Those answers might make me live longer by a few months (or in James O’Conner’s case years), but why would I want to spend my time prolonging death and not doing the things that I love, rather then doing and being with who I love and letting fate take over? I am aware that this is probably not the answer that you are looking for; however, this is the most honest answer that I could come up with.

This is a hard essay to write because it confronts peoples own immortality. No one wants to think about this; however I am glad that I did. After reflecting on the essay and my own mortality, this has brought me to a few realizations in my life. First of all, life is precious; I used to think that I had centuries to go before I would have to deal with death, however in all reality it could happen any day. So that brings me to the question, what am I doing to live me own life right now? Am I truly living? Should I be doing something different to live my life to the fullest? The answer is yes I should, I am not saying throwing all responsibilities I have out the window and focusing only on fun. But I am saying that I need to stop sweating the small stuff, instead of getting angry because someone spilled soda on the cushion of my couch, adore and cherish the person who did it. Instead of working all the time, take time out to spend time with the people who matter most to me. And instead of dwelling on the past (which I am known to do), I need to start looking forward to the future, trying to make the most of that.

I know that you are probably inundated with a plethora of applications, and I thank you for taking time out to review mine. I thank you even more for the opportunity and the motivation to take a step back from life, and realize what is truly important to me and how to appreciate the life that I was given, and live it to its fullest. I will take the lesson that I learned from this scholarship application and reflection with me for years to come, and I thank you for improving the quality of my life.

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