26 February 2010

Essay for James “Rhio” O'Connor Memorial Scholarship

This essay is in response to the question, “What would I do to find out about treatments and other sources of help and how would I respond if I found myself in a similar situation to what Rhio faced.

Rhio O'Connor was diagnosed with mesothelioma and was given a year to live. Instead of giving up Rhio did his own research and lived for a total of seven more years. This man did his own research and chose what forms of therapy he would use. Rhio also had an optimistic spirit and a belief in something greater than himself which also helped him through the time.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is formed in a protective lining over many of the internal organs of the human body. The most common cause of this cancer was from asbestos exposure. Up until 1981 asbestos was used as the main heat shield fire resistant covering over many heaters, boilers, and heating/air conditioning combo units. In the most advanced stages of the cancer tumors on and around the abdomen or the lung may collapse.
Honestly, I am not sure that I would live my life any different than already do. I try to make a habit of being an avid researcher and a student of life, look for other ways that I may be able to approach the same issue, and try to live everyday if it was my last. Ultimately my trust is placed in something greater than myself and what his plan is for my life. In the end of life the one thing in common that seemed to be important to people was not what they did or did not do, it was who they had or didn't have around them. Its the relationships there were built, not built, or destroyed that weigh heaviest on the mind. At the end of my life I don't want to be concerned about the things I did, the money I had, or the the toys I had; I want to know that I enjoyed every moment of it with the people that were put around me.
The research I would do though would be from most any source possible. The hokey things like psychic surgeons and demonic exorcism would be out of my realm. Exploring things like humor, natural remedies, diet, and environmental changes would be on my list. I would not throw out prayer or some of the more invasive treatments either. I would make sure that the people around me knew that they were loved and that I had the support that I needed. There is nothing that can help any situation more than honest love.
I would also continue to pursue what was in my heart. Although I may throw jobs to the wind and just travel. One thing that I haven't had the chance to do and I would love to is to be so far out to sea that I can no longer see any land left. My tendencies would increase even more in helping others' pursue their dreams and goals. Being the encouragement and counsel that they need when they need it. I would make sure that on my head stone it would read, “This man did not go gentle into the night.”
With these things in mind reading just the little I have about Rhio has given me hope that this attitude is not isolated; that I am not alone in that thought process. It gives me hope that others out in the world today also embrace some of the same ideologies and that they too embrace life to its fullest. Part of me wants to say, “Its sad that some people have to wait until they know their time is almost up to truly live life.” But that really doesn't matter when they do, just that they do. It is like a light suddenly turned on in a dark room, the darkness flees and everything is seen the way it was meant to be.
I can hope and pray that even in this short response to some good questions can inspire maybe one person to live life a little fuller. Live with no regrets and keeps others' well being at heart. May the light shine on you all.

For more information please visit, http://www.survivingmesothelioma.com.

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