Viramontes, Jorge | Surviving Mesothelioma

Viramontes, Jorge

Rhio O’Connor and Mesothelioma

I was in the doctor’s office sitting down anxiously with my parents, waiting for them to come in with the diagnosis. Nothing can compare to the cold surges that ran down my body as I was sitting there—every second felt like an hour. After what seemed like an eternity, the doctor approached the door and came in with no particular emotion on his face. He opened his mouth, and the only words I heard were “I’m sorry.” Everything after those words was drowned out with the sound of my heart beating. A surge of heat went through my body and tears started to rush out of my eyes. I was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

After I received this devastating information, I did not know what to do. My life had completely changed and would never be the same. I thought of any resources that I had. I currently attend the University of Michigan, so I would try anything in my power to get in contact with the medical staff present here. I would collect hundreds of phone numbers to ask for the best methods and best doctors who practiced with cancer patients. Hopefully, any doctors that I came in contact with would provide me the best information for my disease and plenty of options for me to take.

To make the most informed decision that I could, I would conduct research on the statistical success of the treatment, the process of the treatment, the risks involved, the patients who went through the treatment and the doctors who performed the treatment. All of these things should be taken into consideration when hoping to get a successful treatment. Research is a vital part of that success, and any information that one can gather to make an informed decision can potentially lead to a successful treatment.

Aside from medical assistance, I would have a dire need for someone to talk to and someone to help me cope with the situation. I would rely on my friends and family to be able to listen and guide me through my situation. Sometimes, all we need is a close friend to share a laugh with to make our problems go away. Eating comfort food, being with close friends and confiding in those closest to me would be the best way for me to find peace of mind through a difficult time such as that.

Medical research and support from family and friends would both be very important to a successful treatment, but there is one factor that I believe is most important. Motivation is one of the most important factors of achieving anything—ranging from achieving a life long goal or getting an “A” on a midterm. Motivation can help a human being achieve so much more than they ever thought possible. I can relate with a first hand experience I had while trying to apply to college. During the end of my senior year, time was running out to decide on which school I wanted to attend in the fall. My heart was set on the University of Michigan, although there was one small setback: the amount of money it cost to attend there. My family had very little money to spare and the university was providing all that it could but we were still short by a large amount.

By motivation, I searched the Internet for scholarships, used resources that were available to me, talked to family friends that knew of any scholarships, looked for the best loans I could take and anything else that would help me in my situation.

My friends through the church also helped me out great deal by helping me apply for a scholarship that was about community service in the local community, and thankfully I received that scholarship. With perseverance, anything is possible. Motivation is the key that unlocked the doors and that allowed me to attend the University of Michigan and hopefully walk out of here in four/five years with a degree.

I can relate to Rhio O’Connor’s drive and hopeful spirit, because we were both taking part in a fight for a longer and better future. If it was not for my dedication to academics, I do not know where I could have ended up. I came from a poor neighborhood in Chicago, which is plagued with gangs and drugs, which make everyone’s expectations of me lower. These low expectations did not limit me, yet they inspired me to become more than just an average working-class minority stuck in a ghetto. With my motivation I knew that anything was possible, and Rhio O’Connor proved this theory by doing the unthinkable and outliving the prognosis for this disease.

Motivation is the only thing that can keep us going in life. Humans have an instinct to survive and persevere, and James O’Connor was no different. Mr. O’Connor not only possessed this motivation, but also had a gifted mind and researched his particular condition and came up with the best possible treatment. He outlived his prognosis by six years because of his sheer hard work and dedication to finding an effective treatment. If I were placed in a similar situation, I would have the same motivation that Mr. O’Connor possessed and hopefully have a similar outcome. My motivation through high school and my ambition to attend a university is what has led me to where I am now, so if I was faced with the same challenge as Mr. O’Connor, I could be prepared. Mr. O’Connor has become a hero for me in the short time that I have known about him because of his perseverance, knowledge, resourcefulness and wisdom. I hope to match his achievements in my own way, by starting a scholarship fund to help underprivileged teens in my community have the same opportunities I had. It is with this I hope that they can achieve their maximum potential and that they can become doctors, researchers, engineers, etc. to possibly find a cure for mesothelioma and other diseases.

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