Siziba, Getrude

There are very few things that ever make us stop to think about what is really important to us in life. When the occasion does arise where we have to do this introspection, it is usually as a result of either news we have received or of an experience we have undergone. However, the biggest culprit that leads us to take a break from our usually hectic lives so we can try to sort out our priorities is coming face to face with our mortality as humans. Some would opt to deal with this information by being reactive to what are facing as they would rather wait and see what is going to happen then finding ways to deal with it. Whilst, on the flip side there are those who would rather be proactive by anticipating what might happen, and prepare the means through which they would deal with it. In this regard, I would like to cite James Rhio O’ Connor as an inspiration to all because of the way he handled his mesothelioma diagnosis.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs, the mesothelim. This condition is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. When James Rhio O’ Connor was diagnosed with mesothelioma, he used it as a platform to educate both himself and others of the disease. This was a truly remarkable response considering the prognosis that he received, and it really proves that with determination and the right attitude, we can overcome anything that life throws at us. For more information on both mesothelioma and James Rhio O’ Connor, please visit mesothelioma.

On receiving such a prognosis, my first impulse would be to ask whether or not I have any treatment options available because I would want to be cured as soon as possible. This is the self-preservation reaction kicking in that will lead me to ask this, so although I will probably be informed of the options, I cannot employ them as of yet. The only way that I can ever fully know what the disease is about and what its implications are is to get as much information about it. The sources of information that I could use are numerous. These range from visiting libraries to read books on the condition, medical practitioners who have either treated or come across the condition, as well as the research facilities which are studying the disease. However, I feel the most valuable information I would receive on this issue is to get testimonials from the patients who are currently living with the condition, as well as those who at some point in their lives lived with it.

In doing this research, I will come across various means of dealing with the condition. This would be helpful to me as I would be able to, in conjunction with medical practitioners’ expertise, formulate what would work for me as I come to terms with my condition. As I stated earlier, testimonials from those who have experienced the disease are invaluable. This is because human nature tends to believe those who have gone through something as compared to those who have not. So, if I ever find myself in the position where people want to use me as an information resource on the condition, doing this research would help me be a useful as well as a better-informed resource.

After conducting my research, I will be able to weigh the treatment options that I am presented with. As with most illnesses, the treatability of the condition and the methods of treatment would depend heavily on the stage at which it is at, as well as the body organs it involves. If, for one reason or another, I am informed that none of the treatment options – chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery – would be able to offer me much, I would be more than willing to look for other means of coping. As the hackneyed expression goes, “Life is too precious to give up on.” For that reason alone, I would be willing to keep researching on the condition, because for all anyone knows, I might stumble on something that although might not be useful to me, would be useful to someone else. After-all, we did not get to where we are in life today through any intelligence of our own, but because someone was willing to do the research regardless of whether or not they will be able to see that research come to fruition.

Through it all though, I would make sure I include my family: from the time of the prognosis through the various stages of my condition. In spite of all the support I might receive from external sources, my family will be, to me, my biggest form of support. Since I am not the only one who would have to come to terms with my prognosis, including my family from the beginning of the journey, would not only ensure that we reach a point of acceptance of the prognosis together, but also that through it all we might grow closer rather than alienated from one another.

In writing this essay, I have tried to empathize with individuals who have gone through this experience. However, no matter how much I might I might be empathetic, I will never be able to fully know what it is like as there is a whole range of emotions that would be experienced as well as decisions to be made. My one wish though, is that if I ever have to go through such an experience, I would face it with the same dignity, grace, and spirit of optimism that James Rhio O’ Connor did.

Get your free copy of
“Surviving Mesothelioma” Today!