Sunday, December 13, 2015

Artie...a beautiful soul, an amazing knight. Merde!

In the longitudinal study that followed 1 million British women over 10 years, recently published in the Lancet, despite looking at smoking, drinking, diseases, hormone replacement....the main outcome found was this:  Being stressed and grumpy and generally miserable does not shorten your life just as being happy and sweet fails to extend it! Study finds happiness doesn't guarantee longer life

The researchers were not surprised by this finding.  Much prior research has proven this notion already. The popular adage, "My PMA (positive mental attitude) is going to save me" not withstanding!  And don't get me wrong....I like positivity.  Hell, it gets me through a lot of days....if only because it keeps other people from strangling me!

But, as I noted here:  Oh, the people you'll meet

David Rakoff, the incredibly funny, journalist and writer (1964-2012), who experienced 18 months of chemo and radiation at the age of 22 when diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, only to have a tumor that eventually took his life recur in his shoulder and metastasize, said it best in an interview with John Stewart:  "There was a study that showed that the long term mortality of people with lousy attitudes is no different from people with great attitudes.  So, you can be the worst bastard on the ward and you will not die at any greater rate than the other people.  People will simply be gladder when you do!"

Meanwhile, my heart is broken once again at the loss of one of the planet's sweetest, dearest souls.  Artie Vangampler lost his life to melanoma December 9, 2015 at the age of 48.   He experienced back pain in Nov/Dec of 2012.  Was told he had a pulled muscle.  By June of 2013 he was in a wheelchair with melanoma in his vertebrae.  Despite radiation, multiple bone mets developed rapidly. Zelboraf didn't help.  He completed ipi by Jan of 2014. Progression and incredible pain continued.  Additional radiation and Taf/MEK staved off his being paralyzed. By April of 2014, things had at least stabilized, he was able to walk again.  He started Keytruda that May.  By December he was dealing with choking, pressure and pain...again losing the ability to walk and thus losing access to many trials and treatments.  More radiation.  By April of 2015 he was doing some better, but scans showed more growth and tumors on his kidney. He switched from Keytruda to Opdivo.  He sought trial participation in Chicago, NIH and MD Anderson...but was turned down. July brought more radiation.  In October of this year, his local doc switched back to Keytruda, but added Abraxane.  And all of that is not even the important stuff.

Artie, arthurjedi007, to those of us who loved him on MPIP....was amazing.  He endured more pain and treatments and radiation (a misery all its own) than almost all of us.  He joined the forum as a really bright, but unassuming computer programmer who knew nothing about his own disease or the treatment options.  He quickly became a knowledgeable, kind, and generous expert.  No matter what he was dealing with personally....he was ever present with a kind word, a gentle, accurate suggestion and his trade-mark "I dunno..."  But...he did know.  He knew how to be there for people.  How to give of himself.

No...being the kindest, most positive guy on the ward did not save him.  But, he did save us.  I hope he knew that.

For a knight whose bravery and courage shown ever so much brighter than any Jedi, British agent or one of the round table. I am honored to have lived in your presence.  You made your mark my friend.  I will miss you.  But, I wish you peace.  - c

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