[Home] [Philosophy] [What's New] [Products] [FAQ] [Feedback] [Order]

From The Desk Of Clarence Bass

If you enjoy and benefit from our website and products, tell your friends.

horizontal rule

John North Declares War—On Multiple Myeloma

Audacious, Wonderful, Uplifting  

I’ve written about John North numerous times, most expansively in my book Challenge Yourself. He fits the mold of the positive and upbeat people featured in Dr. Walter Bortz’s insightful book Dare to be 100. “To make 100,” Bortz writes, “you must first believe.” He quotes from William James’ Will to Believe: “Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.” John North believes.

In his mid-50s, North began to experience a sense of physical decline. He was having pain in his joints and often felt tired. His weight was a stable 170, but his midsection was “soft and jiggled a little.” He “hated that.”

He started doing push-ups to help counter the downhill trend; and was soon knocking off 50 routinely.  A year or so later, he came upon Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Education of a Bodybuilder. Inspired by what he saw and read in Arnold’s book—“I discovered that I didn’t have to accept the usual relentless physical decline." 

His weight soon dropped to 150, with a trim and tight waistline. (See photo in Challenge Yourself.)  After a thorough examination, the would-famous Cleveland Clinic pronounced his heart and circulatory capacity that of a 27-year-old and his blood pressure as youthful as a teenager.

Along the way, he discovered my column in Muscle & Fitness magazine, and later my books. We began corresponding in the late ‘80s—and have never stopped. I have two accordion files full of his marvelously detailed and phrased letters. He has visited with us twice, once alone and a second time with Lola, his lovely and sweet second wife.  

John is now 83 and facing Multiple Myeloma, a form of cancer that attacks the bone narrow, most frequently in the ribs, spine, and hips. Intense pain and spontaneous fractures are common. Insidious, it often goes undiscovered until the disease is advanced. If caught early enough it can frequently be managed.

John and Lola were moving into a house that needed a lot of clean-up and repair. Characteristically, John decided to do everything himself; he spent two months scrubbing and refurbishing day after day. The house looked like new, fresh and clean, with beautiful new rugs—but it took a toll on John. He lost 14 pounds and was exhausted. Feeling rundown, he saw his doctor for a check-up. After a long series of tests, the daunting diagnosis was made.

What happened next was remarkable, even for John. In his usual frank and articulate manner, he told me what he was feeling and doing in his precise and flowing handwriting.

“It’s now official: I have Multiple Myeloma, the same thing that killed my father, in 1961, at the age of 62. For some strange reason, [I’m] feeling no anxiety, worry, or concern (even though I’m shaky and my hands trembly). I cannot help feeling love and affection for my poor father; it’s like paying my respect to him by having ‘his’ disease.” 

Unlike his father, however, John’s cancer was discovered early; he also has the marvels of modern-day medicine working for him. His doctor, a cancer specialist, reassured him that MM can be managed like HIV, with proper treatment and drugs. John, of course, resolved to do his part—and more, as he related to me in a fiery battle field report:

“I have been waging war on my Multiple Myeloma cancer; I do not think it expected the response it received when it entered my space and declared itself the new Directeur of all it perceived.  I refused to capitulate, and further, declared absolute war on it, despite what it might do to me. The first, of course, was intense pain; I screamed through clenched teeth as many hands positioned me in the BT scanner for the first of 10 in a row radiation exposures. I think the cancer made a bad tactical mistake when it located itself at the center of my spine and across the lumbar area before it literally exploded my spine. By the time the machine finished frying the invader, my pain was gone, and for the last two exposures, I got onto the table without assistance. I then told the doctors that I wanted to thank the machine for what it did for me. They said go ahead, so I kissed the machine 3 times, said “Dankeshoen!” and “Aufweidershehen!”

“Tomorrow morning I will begin an IV Chemo, guaranteed to cause vomiting and total hair loss. Bring it on, thou malignant foe! Just because I’m 83 years ‘old,’ ye thought I’d be an easy push-over. Hah! I will fight you like a Samurai warrior fought his opponent.  Aregato Kudesai – Banzai!!”

That’s the John I know, audacious, wonderful, and inspiring. He loves living. He’s a fighter. He truly believes he can overcome the invader. My money is on him. If anyone can hold off this beastly disease, our dear friend can.

GO JOHN! We love you. Fight. Fight. Fight.

 This photo of John, taken in 1997 with his step-grandson, conveys his love of life.

horizontal rule

Ripped Enterprises, P.O. Box 51236, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87181-1236 or street address: 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail: cncbass@aol.com , FAX: (505) 266-9123. Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time. FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and add the following: 001-505 266-9123

[Home] [Philosophy] [What's New] [Products] [FAQ] [Feedback] [Order]

Copyright © 2010 Clarence and Carol Bass. All rights reserved.