A Father’s Determination
The year was 2014 and I remember myself sitting in the doctor’s office with a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach.
The doctor had just informed me that I had been diagnosed with a rare cancer called mesothelioma, and he had given me only 12 months to live. In four months my son would have his first birthday. I quickly determined in my mind that no matter what happens, I will pull through. Not only to be with him on his birthday, but to be there with him when he leaves for his first day of school. I will be there for him.
The decision had been made in my mind, I am going to live. It doesn’t matter that the doctor says I may only have four months, what matters is being there for my family. And that means I must live.
The doctor recommended chemo therapy to slow the growth of the cancer but I was still in a state of shock and unable to process everything he was saying. Realizing that I wasn’t very capable of thinking at the moment the doctor sent me home and wrote down some information for me to think about when I came out of shock.
I vaguely remember coming home and telling my wife the news but don’t recall much of the rest of that day. The next day I had overcome the initial shock of the prognosis and was ready to fight for my life. I started researching everything I could about mesothelioma and how it was going to affect me. In my research I actually came across a man who had once been in a very similar situation to me.
James ‘Rhio’ O’Conner had been diagnosed with mesothelioma and had faced the same prognosis that I had just faced. Rhio inspired me because he faced the same thing I faced, had the same desires I had, and he ended up living for over seven years after being diagnosed. He did it. The knowledge that someone else had been able to accomplish what I longed to accomplish strengthened me in my battle against cancer and gave me the fuel I needed to keep on going.
Naturally I started reading on his website survivingmesothelioma.com about the process that Rhio went through and how he was able to fight off the disease for so long. What really grabbed my attention was when I saw that Rhio actually decided not to use the treatments that his doctor recommended. Being an average person who didn’t know much about medicine I had trusted my doctor to recommend suitable treatments for anything that may harm me so I was shocked when I saw that he had thrown it all aside.
Now I was very skeptical of products not recommended by a doctor but I had documented evidence that these alternative treatments had, in fact, already worked for at least one other person before me. So I started to actually look at the treatments the doctor had written down for me to take home and think about. The doctor had recommended chemo therapy but had advised me that the chemo was only expected to slow the growth of the cancer cells and was unlikely to cure it. The therapy would also be demanding on my body and could cause several unnatural side effects which would drastically lower my quality of life. In contrast, Rhio had chosen to follow a very natural plan that was focused on proper nutrition, mind-body medicine, and determination to live.
After doing some more research to make sure I had covered all my possible options I sat down to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment plan. The decision was obvious in my mind. If I wanted to truly fight through this battle then there was no way that I could adopt a losing attitude and follow a treatment such as chemo that was only designed to slow it down. I was determined to beat this thing and therefore I needed something more long term. Like Rhio, I made my own decision to not follow the recommended treatment and instead chose to fight by using a very similar approach to his.
Well, that was over two years ago and yesterday my family celebrated my son’s third birthday. I’ve been following a natural approach to fighting cancer and I’m still going. The cancer isn’t gone but I’ve already surpassed the 18 month life expectancy that the doctor told me and I certainly don’t plan on giving in anytime soon. But that said, I’m not going to lie—some days it has been pretty tough to wake up knowing that I have a deadly disease inside me, but I just look at my son and remember that giving in isn’t an option. He needs me.
American Cancer Society
American Cancer Society