There are many different diseases out there that are being fought every day. There are the more notable ones such as AIDS, HIV, and heart disease but there are the lesser known ones such as mesothelioma which can be just as deadly as those mentioned above. Mesothelioma does not have a known cure which makes its mortality rate fairly high. Most people who find that they have the disease would be devastated and succumb to grief and misery. Others would do whatever they wanted, with the thought that they were going to die any day. That is except for James “Rhio” O’Connor. He decided to take his life into his own hands and used alternative forms of medicine to live years past what anyone thought. Because of his success, many are now considering turning to alternative forms of medicine.
Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that attacks the lungs and the chest cavity of the individual before it begins to spread. If it is caught in the early stages then it can be cured through removal by surgery and chemotherapy. However, there is no way to do early detection, so it is not caught until its later stages. By that time it is too far advanced which makes mesothelioma nearly incurable. James “Rhio” O’Connor was 62 when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given one year to live. His doctor even wanted him to go on a cruise and go immediately into hospice care when he returned, to prepare for the inevitable. James, though, didn’t want to succumb to that idea. He wanted to live. So instead of following the doctor’s advice, he began to study medicine and talked to physicians about vitamins and taking care of your body. In the process, he began to develop his own supplements and ways to beat his cancer. He changed his diet and began to study mind-body medicine which worked out to his benefit. James O’Connor lived six and a half years past his diagnosis. He died at the age of 69.
Although this story has a happy ending, there is a lot of controversy surrounding this. Most alternative medicines, like what James O’Connor used are not FDA approved. Doctors try to advise patients to not use things other than what is prescribed because those drugs have not been tested and could pose a more serious risk or make their existing condition worse. In James’s case, it worked to his benefit but would it necessarily work in other people’s favor? People respond to various mixes of drugs differently. Some people could be allergic to the types of medicines that James made or any other alternative medicines or it could make things worse. There are a number of reasons doctors advise their patients not to do alternative medicines.
The bigger controversy that doctors can’t seem to understand is why patients choose to use alternative forms of medicine. Doctors compound the problem when they give numerous reasons of why they would not recommend it. There are those patients who accept their doctor’s advice, and then there are those like James O’Connor who won’t give up. The patients who choose to use alternative medicines are looking for hope. No one likes to hear that all hope is gone and there is no other choice. Our nation was built on people being able to make their own choices and that is what people love. They want the freedom to be able to choose.
Alternative medicines give people that hope they are looking for. It gives them peace of mind. When everything looks bleak, it gives people the right to choose to take their lives into their own hands. James “Rhio” O’Connor did just that and the medicines he made helped him live way past his diagnosis. If doctors and the FDA were to study alternative medicines and test them, they would probably find ways to improve their current methods of treating cancer without the harmful effects of radiation and chemotherapy. There is a lot of time and money that goes into testing drugs and most experts feel it would be a waste of time and money to test alternative drugs but if our main goal is to eliminate cancer and give people hope, it should be worth the effort. Any and all means necessary should be used.
If there is anything to take from James “Rhio” O’Connor’s life and his battle with cancer it is to not accept what is put before you. Even in the bleakest situation, keep hoping for the best. Alternative medicines may not be approved by the professionals but in the end it may be a cancer patient’s best hope.