Artie Vangampler

Hoping and praying. Fight Fight Fight. Never give up. Enjoy each moment.

Before this melanoma nightmare I was living a pretty good, happy, comfortable life. On and off back pains for 30 years. The biggest was Nov and Dec of 2012. On May 14, 2013 I woke up with a bulge on my side. On May 29, 2013 it was diagnosed as a seperated right external oblique muscle. So they put me on physical therapy. On June 11, 2013 I went ahead with a CT scan because I just wasn't feeling well. It was like having the flu for weeks. Sometimes I was fine then twenty minutes later the flu and twenty minutes later fine. Also even when it was sunny and was kind of warm out I would sometimes be shivering sick like. Anyway, the CT showed something with my spine and spinal cord. June 15, 2013 the MRI showed something really wrong with my spine. Basically on June 10 I was at work and during lunch I walked a mile ok. By June 15 I couldn't even walk to the MRI - they had to use a wheelchair. That's how fast this cancer hit me. But with diet change and my parents help and the physical therapy splint, I was up and walking some by June 17. June 20, 2013 biopsy and June 21, 2013 diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma in my T10 vertebrae. Started curative radiation on June 21. Plan was 10 treatments and 4 weeks for it to continue working. June 25, 2013 PET scan showed lots more cancer in other bones so they changed radiation to palliative. The plan was after the radiation to get into the Mekinist/Tafinlar/Yervoy trial. That never happened. So went to Mayo in Rochester and they said do not do the trial but do Zelboraf. So back home switched to a melanoma specialist the first hospital recommeded and did Zelboraf. Apparently I was only his 2nd of over 1000 patients it did not shrink any cancer. Plus over 20 or so Zelboraf side affects. The radiated tumor did hold staying at about 20% of it gone. Now I'm on Yervoy started Nov 18, 2013 and hoping and praying it works. So far side affects are minimal and feel pretty good all things considered.

Even in May I knew something was wrong so I radically changed my diet. With the nutritionist's help in June learned a fairly good diet. Also on June 14 2013 my parents came up to take care of me. I would not be here without their help. Basically nutrition needs to feed your good cells. So lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and for me lean meats like sirloin steak. Lots of juice, milk and water.

So in January 2014, I'm still here. Doing pretty good and feeling pretty good.

Still hoping and praying.

Wed, 2014-01-08


Jayjame - (5/9/2014 - 2:48am)
Thanks for your story.
can you recommend what kind of fruits, vegetables and juice?
My dad just found out he has stage 4 melanoma. Doctor said the disease already spread from his rectal to liver and I saw a lot of spots in his liver that doctor can't do the surgery. I'm so worry. He has only one option for treatment is ipilimumab (yervoy.) Doctor said that medicine only 10%-15% response. If the medicine respone, he can live 6-7 years. If not, he is done.

arthurjedi007 - (7/14/2014 - 11:12am)

I hope your dad has had great success with ipi. I also hope you have gone to the forum and found all the information you need. The ipi did not work for me but I'm now on Merck's PD-1.

As far as fruits and vegetables I recommend a variaty of all of them if they are fresh. Especially raw Okra. For juice either juice them yourself like a combo of oranges, carrots and apples. Or they have good juice drinks by the brands of Bolthouse, Naked and others. They are 100% veggie and fruits.

liberty04281 - (1/19/2016 - 8:41pm)

It think the picture and the whole thing should be removed from the site.