What would you do if somebody tells you that you have no more than a year to live? Would you cry and get depressed? Deny and hide the facts? Give up? Find all your forces and fight? James O'Connor chose the last option. O'Connor was diagnosed with a cancer known to be fatal, mesothelioma, and was told he had no more than a year to live. His cancer was due to an intensive exposure to asbestos when he was younger. A surgery could not be done because the tumor was located close to the spine. Doctors suggested that O'Connor should enjoy his last moments with his wife and accept his "unchangeable" fate. But he was too passionate for life and wasn't about to give up.
Determination is what it takes to be capable of battle such a strong disease that cancer is. O'Connor was a strong man, he used his time and dug himself into studies and researches. He gathered as much information as he could to help him understand his cancer, mesothelioma. His perseverance lead him to live six years longer than what doctors expected, he died at the age of 69 as an example to be followed, an inspiration to the community.
A cancer diagnose can bring the best and worse in us. I think of it as if a big timer is put in front of you, and you are in a countdown "tick, tock" "tick, tock" every minute passed is putting you closer to the end. No one could help but get anguish in a situation like that. We are capable to live our lives in peace, because we are not frequently thinking that one day it will come to an end. I think that this "tick, tock" in my mind would move me towards an excessive exercice to try to live and find the cure. I am sure I would not be willing to give up my life so easy. It is part of human instinct to fight for survival. I would dedicate my time like O'Connor did and search for what is best out there, look for other people facing the same problem, get in touch. Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery might be a good option, but I would also look for other kinds of therapies and I am aware that there are many avaiable.
My sister at the age of 3 was diagnosed with Leukemia; it was a shock for our family to know that we could lose our little child to a cancer. Fortunately her disease was in the beginning and there were treatments availabe, as well as a very good center for kids with cancer in our hometown in Brazil. An infant of 3 years old does not know what cancer is. We were the ones to know what that meant, and together we stood to believe and do whatever was necessary to make sure our loved one was going to be all right and have a great childhood.
It's been almost two years since her first chemotherapy session; she is reacting really well to the treatment and is going to finish it soon. It's valid to say it wasn't easy for the ones surround her. There were moments that my sister seemed to be the most optimistic of us all, she would say with a smile on her face: "Don't worry mom, we are going to go home soon to play with the dolls". I guess that's what it takes to survive a cancer and look forward to life: the innocence and the love for the simple things of life that a child has.
Doctors, drugs and all the knowledge involved in the cure for cancer are definately really essencial. But I would not forget the alternative and complementary therapy. For example in the hospital that my sister has her treatment, every wednesday volunteers would bring some small dogs and other small domestic animals to play with the children. The simple fact of seeing a little puppy and playing with it made those children day very happy. They always look forward for the wednesdays. There are several researches that report that children exposed to the "animal sessions" while in the hospital recover in a faster pace.It's a simple action but played a big role in the battle agaisnt cancer in those children's lives. I would certainly make use of some therapy that helped free my mind and relax, after all body and mind work together. Friends and family would also be a huge part in my treatment. After all I would want to be alive to be with them and share our love.
O'Connor life was an example to be followed. He was as much human as me and you are, and he was such a good warrior, we should always look up for his beautiful story, with he could do what he did I believe all of us could do, as long as we have the same strengh and love for life that he had. Whenever we fell like there is no exit for a problem we should think twice and and follow the example of a great man like him or even adopt the position that only innocent children have.