Stevens, Nathan – Surviving Mesothelioma

Stevens, Nathan

Facing Cancer Courageously

When Mr. James “Rhio” O’Connor was diagnosed with cancer, he came face to face with his own mortality. He was given only a year to live – only a year to live out his dreams and hopes – only a year to say goodbye. But even in the direst of circumstances, Rhio was able to overcome fear and even death, becoming his own medical advocate and a champion for cancer patients everywhere. I am only 33 years old so it is very difficult to imagine what I would do if I were faced with the same situation; 33 years is such a small portion of the life that I hope to live! But using Mr. O’Connor as an example, I can only imagine how I might defy all odds in order to conquer my illness.

If my doctor determined that I had terminal cancer with a prognosis of only one year to live, I would initially go through a state of denial. I would first seek a second and possibly even a third opinion to be certain of what I am dealing with. In order to come to terms with my illness, I would seek assistance, not sympathy, from my family. I know that they would help, support, and encourage me to become honest and courageous — not guilt ridden or sorrowful — about my prognosis.

I would be as forthcoming as possible about information about my illness and treatment with my family and friends because they would be the basis of an information network. I would encourage them to talk to and inquire of as many people as possible, and encourage them to share the details of my illness and my contact information. Through all of these new contacts, I am sure to gain the perspective of others who have traveled this same path. I could also increase my number of contacts by using existing social networking sites. Hopefully, my network would grow to include medical personnel, current and previous oncology patients, and even non-profit organizations.

In addition to the information I would gain from individuals and organizations, I would utilize the plethora of information that the internet has to offer. The worldwide web is constantly being updated and would place news, information, and technology at my fingertips.

I would search for remedies and treatments – both holistic and medical – in other countries where there are not such stringent guidelines. I would travel to meet with the developers and experts in these techniques. I would hold conferences and think-tank seminars to gather further information and a new perspective on modern medicine. Hopefully these alternative, unproven, or perhaps US-prohibited methods would prolong my life until a cure for cancer is discovered.

With my large social network and this large amount of information I have collected, I will create a small organization consisting of research specialists and data analysts to sort, categorize, and evaluate all of the information about my disease. This extensive analysis would weed out bad or outdated information and enable us to focus on the newest, most radical, and most effective technology.

Of course, I would still take time to pray and to meditate. I would not forget about one of the most influential aspects of healing and strength — the spiritual and psychological. Hope could be some of the most aggressive medicine that would fuel my fire to survive.

My travels, information gathering, and search for a cure would become my new passion in life. I would hopefully become an advocate for cancer patients throughout the world and also a symbol of hope for those who are suffering from a terminal illness. I would not rate the success of my project only by the possibility of saving or extending my life, but more importantly by the progress I make towards helping others and prolonging the lives of terminal cancer patients. Through knowledge, research, and hope, we can find the answers we seek.

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