Volpentesta, Erin

Rhio O’Connor’s story is very inspiring because of his fight for his life and his mind set to never give up. Rhio was diagnosed with a type of cancer called Mesothelioma and given a year to live. “Mesothelioma is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade or damage nearby tissues and organs” (www.survivingmesothelioma.com). Many people who are diagnosed with this type of cancer have the option of receiving radiation or chemotherapy and or having surgery, but unfortunately some forms of this disease are incurable. Rhio spent so much time researching and learning about his diagnosis and trying to find therapies that could help him. His positive attitude, strength, and his findings helped him to outlast his prognosis by six years. I find Rhio’s story to be very encouraging to those who have been diagnosed with any type of cancer, especially me.

This past October I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma disease, even though I do not have the same type of cancer as Rhio, I can still relate to him and some of the things he may have gone through. Although my cancer is highly curable, thoughts of dying and having a dire prognosis did pass through my mind before I was given more information about my type of diagnosis. I remember thinking about what if I only had a year to live or even less, I was very scared. I kept thinking if I were to receive a dire prognosis what would I do with the rest of my time here on earth. I soon found that with six or eight months of chemotherapy I would soon be cured of this disease. Since being faced with this scary diagnosis I know what I would have done if I was given a dire prognosis. I knew if such a thing happened I would first and foremost not let it bring me down because I would not want this to ruin the rest of my life. I would turn to my faith and pray each day for a cure. I would spend as much time with family and friends. My friends and family are what get me through the toughest times in my life and are what make me happy. They bring me comfort and I would want to just enjoy my time with them. I would go on living my life as normal as possible, spending time doing what I usually do. Like, Rhio, I would also, search through different resources to learn more about my diagnosis and see if there are other places out there that had other options that would help to outlast my prognosis. I would go about conducting my research by exploring the web, books, health magazines, as well as talk to others to see if they could give me any information. I would visit different doctors and hospitals as well to see if they could give me any more insight on my diagnosis as well as prognosis. By doing this research it would give me a little more comfort in choosing my type of treatment, but if the doctors were to inform me that the most basic options such as radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery would have little to offer me, I would most definitely look beyond them. I would at this point continue searching by going to websites of those who may have gone through what I am going through or are currently going through it. I would want to see what they have done or the treatments they have decided to go with. I would not just let my doctors tell me that there was nothing I could do or that these options were the only ones out there. I would not give up in my search because I would have hope as well as faith that there had to be something else out there that could help me in prolonging my prognosis. When it would finally come time to make my decision about my treatment choice, I would look for support and opinions of my friends, family, doctors, my research, as well as other patients. Having the support as well as opinions of these different groups of people would give me the reassurance that my decision would be backed up and that it was fully researched and thought about.

Going through such an experience is life changing and has really shown me that with the world we live in today anything is possible. Faith and hope are two important components to acquire when life throws something challenging your way. I have learned that by staying positive and happy days go by quicker and easier when going through treatments such as chemotherapy. I also feel as though having a good support system that is by your side every step of the way can really bring a lot of courage to the one going through such a tough time. After reading about Rhio, I can see how brave and courageous he was. His story and his research will and probably has helped many people who are facing the same challenges that he once faced.

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