Warren, Stacey Marie – Surviving Mesothelioma

Warren, Stacey Marie

“Outside the Box: James Rhio O’Conner & Mesothelioma”

“Optimism: (op’te miz’em). N 1.) a tendency to look on the more favorable side or to expect the most favorable outcome of events or conditions. 2.) the belief that good will ultimately triumph over evil and that virtue will be rewarded. 3.) the doctrine that the existing world is the best of all possible worlds. Determination: (di tur’ me na’ shen), n. 6.) the quality of being resolute; firmness of purpose. 7.) a fixed purpose or intention.” ; Random House, New York, Webster’s College Dictionary. December 3, 1990.

These two traits and characteristics are always found in the most successful people in this world. They may be athletes’, business people, scholars, or John Rhio O’Connor. These words describe the person and cancer survivor, John Rhio O’Connor. His optimism and determination have helped him succeed in the battle for his life. His belief to look on the more favorable side of his disease and his fixed intention on beating his diagnosed disease, “Mesothelioma” gave him the courage to not accept his original diagnosis of only have six months to live. His story is outlined on the internet website www.survivingmesothelioma.com . Mesothelioma, is a type of cancer that is believed to be caused by exposure to asbestos in most cases. It is most commonly found in the sac lining of the chest, the lining of the abdominal cavity, or the lining around the heart.

The general prognosis by standard doctors is almost always diagnosed as being terminal and most people only surviving up to a year with standard treatments. The most common treatments are radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.

When John O’Connor, was diagnosed by his doctor, he was given those same options and prognosis. He was told, to take his wife on a cruise and check out what hospice had to offer him and his family. Faced with such a grime outlook, what is a person to do? Should they take the advice of their doctor? This is often the advice given to all cancer patients facing the challenge of having cancer, fighting cancer, and dying with cancer…….. this is often why a lot of people just give up! If Mr. O’Conner had given up, he would likely be dead right now, but instead it has been more than seven (7) years and he is still alive!! Can you believe it?

Faced with this same obstacle: What would you do? What would I do? This is something I have often thought about…like many people in this world, how would you handle your own mortality?

In the United States, we are fortunate enough to have state of the art medicine, a land rich in food and resources, and the internet and research resources within our reach, so that unlike the majority of the world, we may have a chance to live if we use these resources wisely and intelligently.

Mr. O’Connor did not accept the status quo; he made a choice to live. He did this by creativity and his belief that a positive attitude along with knowledge would help him beat this evil malignancy. Encouraged with family support, he used his mind and research materials available to him to find his own way through this weary process.

Through diet, exercise, rest, meditation, homeopathic, and other natural remedies he and his clinical doctors came up with a regimen specifically designed for him. He did not accept only the standard forms of treatment but used well informed information provided to him from multiple sources to help him beat his own mortality.

My hope would be that I too could do this. I would take certain definite steps to help ensure that I could extend my own life. First, I would take (2) straight weeks to research and reflect, (probably non-stop), to come up with an outline and list of questions for my doctor. I would also search out as many experts as I could in the area of my particular cancer. I would consider new approaches, palliative care, clinical trials, and cancer fighting strategies like oxygenation and detoxifying. In addition to websites that are available, which today number as high as 17,600,000 on the world-wide web, I would visit cancer research centers and interview as many people as I could. I would probably treat this experience, as an Olympian or athlete treats preparing for a race, with training, rest, diet, and mental attitude.

While I have not faced a terminal illness, I have known others who have had cancer, and they experienced mixed results. What I have been faced with this year is a chance of not walking again and this obstacle forced me to look within myself and find motivation, determination, and optimism and I am now walking. My prognosis was the remainder of my life using a cane, which I am not using at all. These are characteristics and strengths enabled me, like Mr. O’Connor, to overcome challenges in a positive manner.  John O’Connor certainly arouses people in general to be motivated not to accept fatality, his enduring spirit help him transcend to a higher level of living.

Cancer is an evil and exhausting disease that often steals its victim’s energy, spirit, and soul. It is a death sentence that many doctors are the messenger of; although it doesn’t have to be. We all face the end of our own humanity; death is a natural and inevitable part of life itself and the process starts at birth. Having cancer or Mesothelioma doesn’t have to be a death sentence it can be a life sentence if we choose to take the path of optimism and risk of accepting new prognosis’s rather than standard treatments.

As is often the case, it takes an event such as being faced with a terminal illness, to make people think about or do what they should be doing anyway: which is to live healthy and make the most of life. Let Rhio O’Connor’s courage motivate you to “think outside the box.”

Bibliography Page:
1)    Dictionary: Webster’s College Dictionary: New York, Toronto, London, Sydney, & Auckland, 1995.
3)    https://survivingmesothelioma.com. 16 – February – 2010.
5)    Cancer Monthly Website. 10 – February – 2010

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