Name: Gary Rudman
Hometown: Columbia, SC
Welcome to my story, and to the “bigger picture”. My long term goals are (1) to increase patient knowledge, and (2) to expand the MMRF endurance events to the Southeast region. I wanted to meet other multiple myeloma patients, share my story, and help a few folks along the way. In April 2015, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
As a result of my work with the MMRF, I was selected to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. The 15 member team will support the life changing work accomplished by the MMRF in oncology and cancer research. Six are multiple myeloma patients. Sharing the summit picture a top Mt Kilimanjaro will show all Multiple Myeloma patients that you can do and attain whatever you want. You set your goals. You achieve your outcome. You are in charge.
“Exercise” and otherwise excellent health were the key components to my successful stem cell transplant. Too many patients become a “plant” and feel pity. With exercise, you can put “away” the problem, even for a little bit. Find something you like, and don’t limit yourself. Integrative Medicine to include exercise, music, and meditation provides valuable stress relief sessions and gives you back what you need the most…TIME.”
Shortly after my stem cell transplant, while at home, I was asked to create a video to help motivate the Ironman Arizona team. It was now my turn to help, with two main points.
First: NEVER QUIT, NEVER STOP, NOT TODAY, NOT EVER. My motto started on a cycling metric honoring emergency services personnel in Gaston, SC. Within 10 miles of the finish, I encountered the dreaded “elephant hills.” Over and over I said the words, “NEVER QUIT. NEVER STOP. NOT TODAY. NOT EVER.” My motto stuck and became the foundation for everything I do.
Second, helping patients in any way shape or form. I’ve met with newly diagnosed patients to provide a game plan and to reassure each patient that a positive outcome is within reach. You are not defined by cancer. You are defined by what you do, how you hold yourself, and how you react to stressful situations. In simplistic terms, helping others “changes the world with one random act of kindness at a time”.
As an Endurance Cyclist, when I ride…my Multiple Myeloma goes into a lock box. For whatever time and distance I ride, an hour or four hours, nothing matters. It’s me, my friends, and the back country roads of South Carolina. I push forward. I am not in pain. I am getting faster. I am free. I am focused.
Over the past year, I’ve participated in 3 clinical trials. My current clinical trial compares Empliciti with Revlimid and Dexamethasone in the maintenance therapy phase vs Revlimid and Dexamethasone alone. In the United States, and now in Europe, Empliciti is approved for relapsed and refractory Multiple Myeloma. There will be sometime before Empliciti is approved for maintenance therapy.
In August, 2016, I had my one-year stem cell transplant checkup. My doctors told me that I am in complete remission. When asked, I let people know I am in complete remission “for now”. For now I say, since there is not yet a cure for Multiple Myeloma. Soon, soon I will tell people I am in complete remission…and CURED.