"Negativty Kills." So writes Jack Ruda, who has been living with
his pleural mesothelioma since 1991. Jack's story is compelling, heart-warming
and a downright joy to read. He believes in the power of positive thinking
and credits laughter and humor for keeping him happy and alive. Whether
you can actually forge a "non-aggression pact" with your mesothelioma
cancer cells is not the point. The point is the approach. Jack knows that
absorbing his time with gloom and doom can only hasten his demise. He
doesn't see his body as a battlefield with his cancer as the marauding
intruder who must be "slayed" or "killed" or "routed"
at all costs. He wants to avoid all-out, do or die battles, as this kind
of energy engenders stress, depression and fear. Jack's message is
whether you have cancer or not, try to enjoy the simple things, do your
best to relax (or at least try to learn how) and pursue with vigor the
things you love -- like telling a joke that is so corny that you know
that your audience just has to laugh.
My favorite quote: "It's perfecty possible ... that what the mind
can distort, the mind can correct. This is not something that I can prove
with scientific precision, but I firmly believe that can overcome, or
at least mitigate, the destructive consequences of cancer."
If you have questions for Jack or just want to visit with him, his contact
information is below. -- RGW
Here I am with the first two of my five grandchildren. These are the grandchildren
doctors told me I would never live long enough to see.
In 1991 Jack Ruda, a resident of Rochester, N.Y., was diagnosed with mesothelioma,
a lethal, incurable, untreatable form of cancer that usually attacks the
lungs. Doctors gave him "at most" two years to live. Ruda lived
long enough to produce, with a co-author, "Co-Existing with Cancer,
or You Thought Living with Your In-Laws Was Difficult."
Jack Ruda is alive and active today. The book tells the story of his disease
and how he "co-exists" with it. The narrative also contains
his prescription for living well, which can be summarized by his dictum:
"Give yourself permission to enjoy life."
He goes on: "You can't say 'I'm leaving it in the hands
of God.' It's a joint effort between the two of you, and you have
more control of your life than you think. I want people to understand
that it's not only medicine that keeps them alive." While the
book does recommend reaching for all possible benefit from orthodox medical
treatment, the emphasis throughout is on self-reliance and the use of
Ruda's personal self-prescription is based on his conviction that he
was able to conclude a non-aggression pact with his cancer cells -- he
won't harm them if they don't harm him.
"Co-Existing with Cancer" is written with warmth, humor, and
sincerity; it should prove helpful to sufferers from severe illnesses,
cancer and others.
As Jack says to his readers, and anyone else fortunate enough to learn
of his fantastic journey, "As long as I continue to breathe I'm
2 Terrain Drive
Rochester, NY 14618
* * * * * * * * * *
TO ORDER JACK'S BOOK
You can order the book directly through Linda Gold Ruda at:
2 Terrain Drive Rochester, New York 14618
you can order it through
*** POSTED MAY 17, 2001 ***
An Update -- 9/7/01
There seems to be a lot of new people afflicted with mesothelioma so I
decided to re- issue my own story with a little update. I apologize to
the people who have already read it. I can't say that what I have
done to survive is correct. It has been correct for me and I continue going.
I would like to add my message in hope that it might help some or many
of the people afflicted with this disease. Mesothelioma is a disease usually
related to asbestos. But to the best of my knowledge I have never been
exposed to the stuff, however, there is a new thought that the old talcum
powder that was used after shower could have been a cause. We just don't
know. However it usually takes about 40 years or so to develop but I am
aware of younger people getting it. Again, no one knows why. Two people
could be exposed to the same carcinogen and only one may be affected.
No one knows why or how.
First of all as some of you know, I was diagnosed with this disease in
August of 1991. I was told by all the doctors that there was no hope of
survival beyond the year 1993. This was told to me by several doctors
including second opinions. Needless to say, their prognosis was wrong.
I am pleased to hear about a number of other survivors who have beaten
the odds and have survived beyond the two year mark.
Because everything I read back then, I realized that there was no cure
and no therapy that worked. Mesothelioma is a rare disease affecting some
2,500 people each year in the U.S. out of 250 million. So you can see,
it is rare and not among the more common forms of cancer where medicine
can receive large grants. That's not to say that some people are not
doing something about it but it is been done very slowly.
I found out that it was extremely important for me to take things into
my own hand and NOT TO PANIC! Therefore even though I was offered chemo
or radiation or even an operation, I chose not to have anything because
as time went on I felt rather well and decided not to lower my existence
with this kind of procedure especially when it is known that it didn't
work and only made the patient sicker. I believed that mind over matter
was the way to go and that's exactly what I did. After five years
of survival I found that my CAT scan showed significant growth. Needless
to say everything I fought for seemed to end with that diagnosis. For
several hours I along with my family went into deep depression until I
realized that I still felt pretty good and just because someone told me
something, why should I change my on going mind over matter.
This worked up until the end of 1999 with my scans were getting worse,
something had to be done. Fortunately I found something right here in
Rochester, New York. It is an aggressive 3-D radiation technique that
was first produced at NIH. The Doctor in charge had come to Rochester,
making this procedure available. He had had experience with some 65 mesothelioma
patients with significant success.
I went through six weeks of intensive radiation, not an easy ordeal but
now it is over six weeks since my last treatment and significant progress
in shrinkage of the tumor has show up on the CAT scan and I am feeling
much better. This goes to prove if you can hold on long enough, some treatment
will become available and life will go on.
Recent CAT scans have shown new growth in the other lung and some in the
liver. When I asked about the mesothelioma movement (something I thought
didn't happen) I was told that since they had never seen anyone survive
this long, they had nothing to compare me with. I continue to reduce stress
and not worry. That is my survival. Several months ago I became quite
ill. I was unable to breath without the use of additional oxygen. I thought
this was the beginning of the end. This lasted for about a month and a
half and I found that I no longer needed the additional oxygen. However,
I am about to go back on oxygen so 10 months later but only part time.
I tell people I only use it when I inhale. That's how I live today.
I know there are a lot of care givers out there and I believe this disease
is harder on you than on us the patients. The reason is that WE know how
we feel and YOU don't Therefor you have a greater chance to worry.
I experienced pain for a number of months in my chest and even today but
I find it to be mostly stomach acid causing gas pains and that radiates
through out the body causing pain in the most unusual way. If the pain
persists, I might worry about it but fortunately it is intermittent.
I wish I could teach my crazy way of life to others, remember, my philosophy
is only my opinion. It is not based upon fact so I can only offer ideas
that may or may not work.
My Best to all,
Jack Ruda passed away on July 7, 2002