Reading the story of Mr. James “Rhio” O’Connor is very inspiring. His determination of spirit during the most difficult life experience is moving. Many people who had been given the diagnosis of terminal cancer with a year left of life would have gone home, cried, and waited for their life to expire. Mr. O’Connor took his challenge head on and did not stop. In the question is posed: What would I do if I was presented the diagnosis of terminal cancer that Mr. O’Connor had?
When I was 17 I heard the word “malignant” escape from my doctor’s lips. My thyroid cancer was only in stage one and was completely operable. The operation went well and I have had no adverse effects from the cancer or the surgery. I am so thankful for this blessing but sometimes can’t help but wonder about what I would do if the diagnosis was less optimistic. This most serious scenario has played out in my mind times before. Would I choose the path of least resistance and choose to let my life end without medicine? Would I go through traditional treatments such as chemo and battle with the side effects which are sometimes worse than the cancer itself? Would I rely on natural or alternative treatments? The most important question was would I fight for my life.
The answer has always been unequivocally, yes. I would fight. I would fight for myself and I would fight for my family to survive. My first step would be to educate myself just as Mr. O’Connor did. My doctor would probably put a call block on me! Searching for answers about the specific cancer diagnosed, seeking out stories of success from experimental treatments, and doing a lot of time in prayer. Reaching out to other cancer patients would be my next step. Asking them what works and what doesn’t work would be something that could help a lot because they have more experience.
I hope that if I am ever presented with this challenge that I can rely on my medical knowledge which I am receiving now to become a registered nurse would be comforting to me. I would have worked with patients with cancer and know what to expect. I find with most things that with a little light of knowledge and guidance, things aren’t as scary. It’s the blackness of the unknown which is terrifying. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Mr. O’Connor fought so hard. He valued his life and wanted to know what to expect. He valued this brief time on earth, as I do.