Smith, Nicholas R. | Surviving Mesothelioma

Smith, Nicholas R.

To Live is To Love

The fear amounts in the eyes of the marine as he creates the suicidal distraction for his comrades but which ultimately brings thousands of refugees to the light of the world. The surgeon’s hands tremble in anxiety as they begin the procedure, not realizing that only a few hours of precision will give life to a young father of four. A timid mother dots the I on her final signature of the adoption papers, allowing not just for the child to have a home and a mother but a new beginning full of limitless potential. Society today has created a realm of acknowledgement that stretches so thin that recognizable names can be synonymous with film, music, or television programming and the human heroics in the reality of daily life disappears into oblivion. Life, as cliché as it may be, should always be considered fragile, showing that no amount of fame and fortune can amass the true heroine of high morals. Of such a instance, one man only strives to become victorious over one of the most detrimental diseases to ever hit mankind and to see his children again, to touch his wife one more time, and to give back to a world so unworthy. Such a man is a hero in my eyes, a hero to the fortunes of people that have been hurt by such an adversity, a hero by the name of James “Rhio” O’Connor.
    
In 1776, the founders of a nation based their beliefs on the fact that England created an unruly system of dictatorship and made certain to never allow such an occurrence to happen again, providing that the people have the will and courage to overrun a government, in which these men of politics gave the freedom to act upon. Not only is this a representation of political strategy but should be the assumption of integrity of all individuals, contributing all beliefs into a central accumulation of ideas, and was exactly what James O’Connor was at no hesitation to test.  O’Connor pushed to massively change the doctor patient relationship as never done before, choosing who he would like as an advisor to his own system of treatments, and would ultimately extend his years of living on Mother Earth by his own willpower. In admiration of such a noble being is only a scratch into the relevance of the name, but that the persistence and support that O’Connor received and presented should motivate people across boundaries to realize that destiny is one of many beliefs, but to care for a common goal is of another stature…

“This is the hardest part of the job” the doctor claimed as he entered the narrow clinical room of only a few feet wide, “but your test showed a malignant growth on your lung that has spread to your brain and heart.”

“No!” the patience in my body running thin as though I’ve not waited but hours, “I came in to get a routine physical examination for my new research opportunity at St. Jude’s. This can’t be happening.”

Outside, the snow began to fall as though the Gods of Olympus were taking out their yearly trash and the clouds formed gray spheres as hearing my diagnosis was of worldly importance. The slugging of my feet as I began home swished the snow in all directions and as I approached the simple starter home with green grass covered by the blankets of white and a tire swing tied to a dying oak, a beautiful young lady was ready to greet me with a congratulatory party and hot tea, my wife. The end trance was nothing other than a spectacle, a crowd full of beloved friends and members of my firm sprawling the bar scene. I couldn’t wait; nothing was as painful as celebrating the best worst day of my entire life.

“Could I get everyone’s attention please” I asked as though no one expected it, “I have an announcement to make that I was just informed of only minutes ago. I have a late stage of lung cancer that has become malignant and has spread to my brain and heart… Thank you.”

Stunned faces filled the room as every set of eyes directed their gaze towards my racing heart and every conversation ceased to exist. My wife couldn’t hold her ground, my brother broke down in silence as to seem strong, my mom held onto what was left of her tea which fell instantly to the floor, and my mindset was changed forever.

The next day came as quickly as the night before became a realization and new destination for the rest of my life. Yes, the worst day in many years and what many consider to be the worst in any lifetime has occurred but the death card is not the only option in today’s world.  My wife has no awoken from her deep sleep after a night of trauma but the day was young and I was ready to conquer such a journey, the first stop, grandma’s. My mother of 94 lives on the edge of town in a what many would consider a shack but what I called home for over 10 years of my childhood, never respecting my parents for how hard they worked to bring me up in a civilized manner. Today was the day to finally give back, I couldn’t help but struggle to engage myself in every miniscule task that there was to do, just to see my mother have her moments of happiness with her ever-grateful son. After I was able to make my mother smile, a rare occurance that hasn’t happened since the death of my father almost 20 years before, I was ready to provide my assistance at the neighborhood soup kitchen. As I looked across the rundown warehouse across from the city park, I felt the agony and torture that many of the homeless women, men, and children had to deal with almost every day of their lives. I gladly gave my aid wherever I was needed and gradually became accustomed with a adolescent girl who didn’t seem to belong to anyone. Her beautiful blond hair was hidden behind a Dallas Cowboys hat that seemed to be worn down through the years and her low ride pants didn’t seem so fit her anorexic body. Without any hesitation, I ceased the opportunity to take this infantile to a warm home and loving family that would hold her as if she never was an outsider.

The end of the day was drawing near, Dakota and I were already having a mini feast when my wife came home from her day of mourning. She couldn’t but be surprised by the young girl opposite me at the dining room table. I explained to her the situation and continued to embrace Dakota as if my wife just found her long lost daughter. After getting Dakota down in the guest bedroom, I had to describe my new beginning to my wife.

“This is exactly what I needed” I explained, “ not that I’m saying I was happy to hear my terminal diagnosis but I have done everything I’ve wanted to in life and more all in one day. To live like your dying should be experienced by everyone at any time in their lives and not when something dramatic comes along.”

My wife and I were collapsing in our bed but I couldn’t help but I the energy of a third grader when I imagined how my life is going to be from now on. It is the time to live my life how I’ve always wanted to and to express the love that I so enjoy giving to my family and even my daughter, Dakota. Tomorrow will be the day of more adventures and lessons that will bring my life to fullment as I continue to learn of more opportunities. The night became long but I knew I had to shut my eyes, so I slowly fell asleep, for the last time.

“I’ll always be beside you until the very end, wiping all your tears away, being your best friend. I’ll smile when you smile and feel all the pain you do, and if you cry a single tear, I promise I’ll cry too.”
                                        – Leighann

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