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The Longest Living Mesothelioma Survivor
Paul Kraus is well known for being the longest-living mesothelioma survivor. With the guidance of his physicians, Paul decided to take a holistic approach to his disease. He did not receive standard medical therapy or surgery. His experience is remarkable and has led to him being a source of both inspiration and medical curiosity.
When Paul was diagnosed in 1997, there were no standard treatments available for mesothelioma. He was told to prepare his affairs for what his doctors considered an inevitably short amount of time left. But Paul refused to accept his prognosis as something out of his control.
More than two decades later, it’s obvious this mindset was the foundation for doing what was thought to be impossible – beating mesothelioma.
Snapshot of Paul Kraus’s Mesothelioma Survival
All holistic and natural (with medical supervision)
Getting Diagnosed in 1997
When Paul was 52 years old, he went to the doctor for a hernia. It was perceived as a relatively minor issue, and he was referred to a surgeon. However, during the surgery to repair the hernia, the surgeon discovered tumors on the lining surrounding the organs in Paul’s abdomen. It was diagnosed as peritoneal mesothelioma.
In the year Paul was diagnosed, there weren’t any treatments available that were considered curative. Additionally, survival rates for mesothelioma hadn’t reached the point where they have today. Given the stage of his disease and his age, Paul was given less than a year to live.
“When I was diagnosed and there was no conventional treatment considered curative … I was told to get my affairs in order,” Paul said.
Once diagnosed, instead of getting his affairs in order, Paul decided to take a different route of action. He and his wife began by researching the disease. They learned everything they could possibly learn about mesothelioma, the treatments being used, and the treatments not being used.
Paul’s Treatment Plan
There wasn’t much hope for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma in the 1990s. Doctors didn’t understand the disease the way they do now and radical treatments like surgery were riskier. Paul, with the help of his holistic physician, worked to completely restructure his lifestyle and diet almost immediately as a way to try to keep the cancer from getting any worse.
Paul became a vegetarian and along with the research he and his wife did led them to create a diet that touted healthy benefits. His hope was to both detoxify his body and increase his overall health.
According to Paul, with the guidance from his doctor, he used a plant-based chemotherapy replacement along with high doses of vitamin C in conjunction with his new diet.
Now that there are standard treatments for mesothelioma, Paul advocates for the use of both conventional and alternative treatments. Surgery is safer, chemotherapy can extend survival, immunotherapy is providing new treatment options, and radiation can pair with therapies to make them more potent.
“Conventional treatments now offer more options,” said Paul. “But there is still the necessity to understand what is [offered].”
The heart of Paul’s philosophy on cancer is keeping an open mind.
It’s All About Attitude
One of the things Paul finds most important to surviving mesothelioma is having the right attitude. He puts a lot of stock into how feelings of fear and hopelessness, although normal, can be a detriment to a patient’s recovery.
One of the best things about molding a positive mindset is that patients can start working toward finding peace of mind immediately. It’s one of the things that is directly under the patient’s control, and that sense of control can be empowering.
Paul believes fighting emotional stress and anxiety is a must for anyone hoping to overcome their disease.
“In many cases, peace of mind is a precondition of healing,” Paul said.
Practicing relaxation techniques and meditating are two ways proven to significantly reduce stress.
The effects of stress reduction on cancer patients isn’t completely understood. Some people, like Paul, believe it has a direct effect on the body’s self-healing ability and symptoms of pain.
Inspiring Future Mesothelioma Survivors
In many ways, it’s a wonder that Paul Kraus has survived so long using his unconventional methods. Yet, he obviously did something right to achieve remission for a disease he was told he wouldn’t live with for more than a year.
His advice to “accept the diagnosis and reject the prognosis” serves as a poignant reminder to all patients with mesothelioma. Paul felt a need to reach out to others struggling with mesothelioma as a way to show them there is hope after a mesothelioma diagnosis.
We at Mesothelioma Guide urge anyone with mesothelioma to find a mesothelioma doctor and talk with them about treatment options. Foregoing medical therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy or immunotherapy in favor of the holistic approach Paul used is not recommended. The progress of cancer treatment in recent years has made many options safer and better for improving survival.
However, as the patient, you must make whatever decision you believe is best for your peace of mind, comfort, quality of life and happiness. While we do not recommend the holistic approach over the option of medical treatment at world-renowned cancer centers, we respect every patient’s choice for their own individual case of mesothelioma.
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