My Personal Hero And Role Model

James Rhio O’Connor was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Mesothelioma. His doctors offered little hope giving him only months to live. His personal response was to research, study and seek out any and all potential sources of treatments that could in fact increase his life span and offer quality of life while he fought this deadly disease.

We all need to use James Rhio O’Connor has a role model and use his strength in character and persistence in our every day life to tackle whatever obstacles we need to overcome. To research his approach to fighting his personal cancer visit

I have my own personal hero and role model. At the age of 76 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Unable to be detected by traditional mammograms, it was allowed to secretly grow undetected into a 7.8 cm tumor, stage 4, with lymph node involvement.

Our family was devastated and petrified but my mother was determined to fight the cancer and not let it beat her. We were fortunate that we had a cutting edge physician, who was very active in the medication trials and on the panel with other Oncology Surgeons. He prescribed medication to help shrink the tumor before the surgery, which was successful. She adjusted her diet to include natural foods and herb teas. Her oncologist prescribed aggressive chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy. We also included her in numerous prayer vines and her own personal prayer. She never lost faith. She is cancer free today and has been for 18 months. Many thought this would be the end of her life, she felt it was only the beginning. I was with her when she told Dr. Bauer “I am going to fight this doctor, whatever it takes”.

I firmly feel that when people are dealt the hand of cancer they will fall into two distinct categories, those who chose to give up and those who chose to fight it. I would be the type of person who would fight the cancer tooth and nail.

I feel when fighting cancer you must have strong faith in the physicians, surgeons and nurses who are caring for you. If there are communication issues and they are not listening to your wishes, you need to find someone who you can communicate with and will encourage you to fight not give up. People also need to have faith in their own person and in whatever higher power they believe in. Lean on people you love and trust.

I would research all herbs and medicines through books in the library, online and in your physician’s medical libraries. Find an advocate in the physician’s office who would loan these materials to you. There are so many cookbooks and eat healthy magazines with proven results in adjusting your diet and lifestyle. I would also research American Indian Culture, Eastern Medicine, the original Colonial Garden therapies, and other Foreign Country approaches to learn about natural herbs and plants to fight the cancer or make you feel more comfortable and healthy.

Pharmaceutical companies are constantly researching and developing new drugs to fight cancer. Cancer research centers and facilities are seeking new and more efficient ways to fight the disease. By staying in the loop and seeking out contacts within these industries I would stay informed of what is currently available.

Medical Journals, Prevention Magazine, Woman’s and Men’s Lifestyle Magazines all offer articles that detail various forms of cancer treatments, and cancer patient’s own stories of personal success. We are so fortunate today to have access to the Internet. It is a window to the world. Type in a word such as “Mesothilioma” and look at all the hits you receive. By researching these hits, more information could be obtained. By screening this leads more options can be addressed. Knowledge is the key, and using the knowledge can be a cancer patient’s survival technique.

Exercise is a big key in keeping up your strength and momentum to fight this disease. I would always try to wear makeup, nice clothes, get a manicure, anything to keep my spirits up. I realize along with this disease and the treatments there are times when you are just plain sick. In those situations I would try to be in a sunny spot in a favorite place with a good book, magazine, nice music in the background or a favorite movie on television surrounded by my family, my favorite pet or a special friend.

Medical advances occur everyday. I would make an effort to keep in touch with all the organizations affiliated with the cancers and keep abreast of all new treatments. I would also contact any facilities and all hospitals to investigate their success rates and their treatment approach. Network with other cancer survivors and their families to discuss what worked and what didn’t work. Never give up the fight and always have faith in yourself. Cancer does not always have to be a death sentence.

By: Wonder, Colleen

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