What Would You Do If You Were In James “Rhio” O’Connor’s Situation?


Let me tell you my story of my life-changing encounter with cancer. It was a Friday afternoon when I pulled into my Doctor’s parking lot, thinking to myself this will be a quick visit, probably only to check my breast biopsy site. I flashed back to the memory of the month previous to the biopsy, when I found a lump in my breast. After sitting in the waiting room an eternity of 30 minutes a smiling nurse lead me through the winding corridors, stopping at a door labeled Dr. Johnson where she informed me; “the doctor wants to see you in his office”. I sat thinking about all the things I needed to get done to be ready for Christmas in two weeks. The doctor entered the room, sat behind his desk and gave me the news, “the biopsy results came back and it shows breast cancer, I am going to refer you to an oncologist for aggressive treatment, I will get you an appointment for next week”. All of a sudden my breath was gone with a cracking panic in my voice I ask, “What did you just say?” I felt numb; I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

After leaving the office I sat in my car with my heart pounding and I feeling nauseous. All I could think about was what would happen to my babies if I was gone, they were only 7, 5, and 3. I had dreams of their first dances, first football games, graduations, and weddings, I envisioned growing old with my husband. It is not suppose to be this way, the longer I thought about things, I start to get mad and found myself yelling out loud “No, I am not going to let this happen, I am going to beat this!”

All weekend I was thinking about, what are the chances this is a false diagnosis? What can I do? That Saturday evening I gathered enough courage to go online and start my research quest. I found web sites for different treatment centers, medications, surgeries, and other non-traditional therapies. As I read thru the good and the bad of the cancer journeys, I commit myself to beat the cancer by not eliminate any options.

The next Monday morning I took action calling and making appointments with a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, spiritual healer, naturopathic practitioner, and nutritionist. That week I enroll in a meditation and yoga class, started a vitamin, dietary supplement and herbal remedies regime.

Over the next month I read everything from the evidence based research findings to the folk story remedies. I watched DVDs, videos, and shows on public television about cancer treatments traditional and alternative. I made plans every night to snuggle on the couch with the kids, watch funny movies, and tell silly stories and laugh. Not only did I need the support but also I had heard of cases where people “laughed their way to health” I thought what could it hurt. I was determined I would find an answer but also was afraid to not try traditional cancer treatment, so I started with the oncologist’s treatment plan while continuing my new lifestyle changes and search for any new ideas.

One of the most important factors that kept me strong was my family they were supportive and helpful, and kept me ”living” my life. I told myself everyday “I am going to make it”, counted my blessings and focused on happy positive thoughts. Through out my treatment I went to preachers, shaman healers, and prayed.

It has now been 6 months from the live changing news and I am in remission. I will never take my blessings for granted or neglect my commitment to the maintaince of my health. The belief, support, research, and dedication had given me a second chance at life.

By: Skultety, Cynthia

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