Shingleton, Bryan – Surviving Mesothelioma

Shingleton, Bryan

What I Would Do With One Year To Live

Rhio O’Connor was diagnosed with Mesothelioma in October of 2001. He was given one year to live. Rhio started doing research, started a very large variety of supplements each day, talked to many doctors, and through his determination to beat his cancer he lived 6 ½ years longer than his doctor said he would. He passed away on July 11, 2009 at age 69. Rhio’s story is one of determination, self-discipline, and a willingness to think outside the box. 

My Grandfather was diagnosed with Mesothelioma in 2003. The factory he used to work in was filled with asbestos, so it was no surprise what the cause was. The doctors said he didn’t have long and that he should get all of his affairs straightened out. Through the next few months my grandparents sat down with lawyers, and spent countless hours in the hospital for chemo therapy and surgeries. As time progressed everything the doctors did to try to help my grandfather appeared to be in vain; he was in a lot of pain, and he was now basically living at the hospital because the treatments were being done so often. Eventually, the bills became too large and the treatments were having no effect at all; so he came home to wait out the rest of his life in a hospital bed in my grandparent’s living room. 

My Grandfather died in 2004. His quality of life was very bad. He spent his last year in a hospital bed. After watching the pain that my grandfather went through and hearing the story about Rhio O’Connor; I now know that if faced with this same decision, I would follow in Rhio’s footsteps. 

If I found out today that I had Cancer and was given one year to live, I would immediately start doing research. I would read some of the books written by other survivors, like Paul Krauss and Rhio O’Connor. I would seek out professional help from specialized doctors. I would begin looking into alternative treatments that I could be doing both by myself, and with a doctor. I would pray more, and become more involved in my church. Also, I would become involved in, or start, groups for cancer survivors. 

My top priority though, would be to make sure that the rest of the time I got to spend with my Fiancé would be the best time we ever had. I would get married. The most important thing in the world to me, more important than me or my life, is her and the love that we share. We would get married, and I would take her on a honeymoon somewhere tropical. I would spend every free minute I had with her. I would not want her memory of me to be one like my grandpa’s: lying in a hospital bed hooked up to machines for the last bit of my life; but rather one that when she thinks about it would make her happy. The rest of my time on Earth would be spent making other people happy and helping other people.  

I believe that there are three basic reactions that people have when faced with a decision like this. There is the: “I am going to live life to the fullest and push all the limits.” There is: “I am going to spend the rest of my life in the hospital trying to cure this.” Then there is a balance of the two. I would be right in the middle. Trying to extend my life would definitely be a priority, but living my life and not letting my cancer get in the way of being myself or showing the people I love that I love them would also be a major priority. You must remain positive. If you become negative and let your cancer run your life, you will end up like my Grandfather. But, if you step up and take control of your cancer and remain positive, you will end up like O’Connor.

If told I only had one year to live, I would go sky diving, learn to snowboard, try to do some missions work overseas, spend more time with my family, and finally finish reading the Bible. I would tell everyone exactly what I think, and never let a chance pass me by. 

In short, the rest of my life could be summed up in that famous saying found on a magnet on your mother’s fridge: “Live well, Laugh often, Love much.” I would live my life like I have always wanted and do the things I always dreamed about. My disease would never get the better of me. I would be positive and try to help people. And, as stated before, the most important thing to me is love and the people I love. This is what I would do with my last year on Earth.

Works Cited

“Surviving Mesothelioma: A Patient’s Guide.” Surviving Mesothelioma. 
       2009. Cancer Monthly, Web. 19 Feb 2010.
       <https://survivingmesothelioma.com/>.

“James Rhio O’Connor.” Surviving Mesothelioma. 2009. Cancer Monthly,
        Web. 19 Feb 2010. 
        <https://survivingmesothelioma.com/rhiooconnor.cfm>.

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