James “Rhio” O’Connor Memorial Scholarship Essay

James “Rhio” O’Connor’s story inspires me in many ways. Not only was his determination, hope and drive encouraging, but he decided that his diagnosis with Mesothelioma cancer was not going to control him from living his life to the fullest.  Human beings are born into this world with one guarantee: death. It is a harsh concept to consider; however, it is the only thing we can be completely be sure about. I was a premature baby born 5 months early, weighing 2 pounds, 3 ounces. I consider myself to be a miracle baby, blessed to be alive, healthy, and I am continuing to push forward to excel and reach my goals. Taking a further look into James “Rhio” O’Connor’s story, although the conditions are different, I can relate to the importance of life and keeping hope. When I was born, I was not aware of my likelihood of surviving, but my family was because they kept hope. I believe that John knew his days left were numbered, yet he took a positive approach by rising above that fact. In my opinion, his integrity is inspirational because he chose to be positive and not give up. His story and decisions for treatment showed me that he had already won his battle of beating his diagnosis by creating his own path.

If given a dire cancer diagnosis, I would first find out what my options for treatment were from a clinician. Initially, my first method would be to treat myself with natural remedies.  Another method I would try is Mind and Body Medicine. In regards to cancer care and the multiple side effects cancer has, this type of therapy allows mind-body specialists to take a deeper look into a patient’s mind and emotions. I believe it would be a helpful addition because it  could help to promote health and make me feel good as well as more positive by attending sessions of meditation and yoga. It could also help me to increase my energy and find motivation if I ever felt depressed (Kafin Jill, 2007).

Although radiation, chemo and surgery are the main treatments people diagnosed often take, I would make these treatments my last possible option. When choosing a treatment to conduct research, I would first start by trying to find a way to inexpensively suite my needs. I know that medications, procedures, etc. can be costly, and I would want to find a healthier, less expensive alternative before using the most expensive treatments. I would make an informed decision based on research I learned through reading books and internet research, reading forums to view discussions of people in the same or similar predicaments, consulting with clinicians and other patients, and attending programs that provide more information based on different types of cancer treatments. Most patients who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma choose Chemotherapy as their potential treatment (“Mesothelioma Treatments and Cancer”).  However, Chemotherapy has a plethora of side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, constipation, low blood cell counts and mouth sores (“Helping You Manage”).

The key to becoming healthier when diagnosed with cancer comes from choosing more nutritional options. For example, nutritional treatments can rebuild body tissue, preserve lean body cell masses, support the immune system, improve strength and the ability to handle different treatments, increase energy, decrease the risk of infection, and help a patient to recuperate faster prior to treatment (CTCA, 2007, p.1). The majority of patients diagnosed with Mesothelioma, who have survived more than 10 years, became less dependent on conventional Mesothelioma treatments and depended more on non-conventional options that were offered.(“Mesothelioma prognosis and survival”). “According to the National Cancer Institute, about one-third of all cancer deaths are related to malnutrition. Therefore, it is important to give your body a constant supply of nutrients to use as fuel during the healing process. This supply of nutrients includes calories from all macronutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.” “Your body needs more “fuel” than normal during this time because it needs to repair from the effects of cancer treatments, such as, surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy” (“Nutrition Therapy”).

James overcame his doctors expectations because he chose to take steps that helped him outlive his anticipated survival of one year. If I faced the same challenges he faced, I would have taken similar steps to live a healthier lifestyle. His story, in my opinion, serves as an inspiration to patients who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma cancer, all cancers and to those that are not cancer patients. His struggle of still fighting despite his gradual decline gives hope to others, as well as myself in various obstacles in life.

Sources Cited

Helping you manage chemotherapy-related side effects. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.cancercenter.com/multiple-myeloma/chemotherapy.cfm

Kafin Jill. (2007). Mind-body medicine. Retrieved from http://www.cancercenter.com/complementary-alternative-medicine/mind-body-medicine.cfm

Mesothelioma treatments and therapies. (2005, September 30). Retrieved from http://www.cancermonthly.com/cancer_basics/mesothelioma.asp

Nutrition therapy. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.cancercenter.com/complementary-alternative-medicine/nutritional-therapy.cfm


One thought on “James “Rhio” O’Connor Memorial Scholarship Essay

  1. Pingback: Recruiting Soon: A Pilot Study To Assess Guidance in and Subsequent Use of Mind-Body Techniques on the Quality of Life of Cancer Patients

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