How One Story Can Affect Many

How One Story Can Affect Many

Cancer is a devastating disease for anyone who has to cope with it. It affects not only the patient, but also there families. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that can be very deadly. It is defined as “a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum” (Mesothelioma, 2002). The following essay explains how one man did whatever it took to fight what his body was going through.

Rhio O’Connor was diagnosed with Meothelioma and given one year to live. Rather than following the traditional way of life for a cancer patient, Rhio did his own research and pushed through obstacles to outlive his diagnosis by over six years. He was not going to allow this terrible disease to run his life.

In order to obtain the information he needed, Rhio spent hours in libraries and meetings with doctors and researchers to learn about all available options. Because of him educating himself, he was able help the doctors he chose come up with his treatment plan. He was optimistic throughout every step of the way, and his decisions helped him to live much longer than anyone ever expected.

After reading Rhio O’Connor’s story, I was deeply touched. Growing up, all I have ever wanted to do was help people. In my opinion, the first step in helping people is helping them help themselves. Rhio did more than just help himself. He pushed farther and harder to make sure he had every fact available to him. People like him are an inspiration to me. I believe that you cannot depend on other people to give you all of the answers you need in life. You must be willing to go out and do the work to find the answers yourself. I truly think that hard work will pay off.

Personally, if I were diagnosed with this type of cancer, or any other, I would do my best to act just like Rhio O’Connor did. While the doctors would tell me what they think is best, that is simply their opinion. I do not believe that chemotherapy and radiation are the only, nor always the best, options. I would begin my research the day that I found out about the cancer. I would start by looking at libraries and legitimate online databases. From there, I would contact every medical researcher and specialist that I could find. One thing that is also very important is the opinion of others. Friends, family, and other patients may shed valuable insight on the possibilities of what I would be going through. After research and contacting, and consulting my family, I would carefully choose the team of doctors to help treat my condition. I would want to choose doctors who are willing to work with me and value my opinion, as well as be open to non-traditional methods of treatment. Throughout the course of my treatment, I would continue to observe and monitor my own changes so that I could research what is happening. I would want to continue to be an active part of my treatment. No matter how badly I felt, I would still want to learn more. I would use the testimonies from those like Rhio O’Connor as motivation and support, and encourage others to do the same. Also, I would try to raise community awareness of the disease. Finally, I would do the best that I could to keep a record of what was happening and what treatments were being performed. This may help doctors with further treatment of other patients in the future. All in all, I would attempt to model my life like Rhio O’Connor’s life. He is an inspiration to me and to anyone who is dealing with hardship. He lived his life exactly according the beliefs I have and in the way that would help me fulfill my goals personally and professionally.

In conclusion, Rhio O’Connor was a strong and inspiration man. He worked hard to learn about his disease and contribute to fighting it. I try to make sure that no matter what happens in my life, I will continue to learn and be able to help others. If I were faced with the same diagnosis as Rhio O’Connor, I hope that I would have the strength to keep pushing forward just as he did. In order to keep motivated and inspired, testimonies have been put together to help people who share this feeling. These testimonies can be read by visiting Through the help of books, the internet, and people, a patient can fight their disease just as Rhio O’Connor fought his.

Mesothelioma: Questions and Answers. (2002, May 13). National Cancer Institute. Retrieved

February 14, 2010.

Cancer Monthly Inc. (2005-2009). Surviving Mesothelioma: A Patient’s Guide. Retrieved

February 14, 2010, from

By: Tunell, Heather

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