About

Details of my fight with melanoma are below.

The picture above is from our section on 10 July 2010, looking west at Mt Fyffe (5,300 ft), with Mt Manukau (9,000 ft) in the background.  The hut on mt Fyffe that Ailsa stayed in last week when she and Barry & Jenny climbed to the summit is on the flat at the far left of the picture, and is at 3,500 ft.

1st September 2014 200pixels square

1st September 2014 picture of me

I have a homepage on another site Ted’s Homepage.

Catch with nice Blue Cod on Simon & Glenys’s boat

I live at 1 Maui Street, Kaikoura, New Zealand, with my wife Ailsa, our two dogs, and frequent visitors.

I have had many interests over the years, and always a strong interest in systems and long term future for humanity.

For a decade or so I was active in Mensa, but haven’t been since the early 90s.

In 2008 I had a brush with melanoma which by 2010 became a major focus and has seen me go RAVE vegan, eating apricot kernels morning and night for 4 months (which tasted foul, but otherwise didn’t seem to be doing any serious damage) and taking at least a heaped teaspoon of ascorbic acid twice a day (and often much more).  No meat, dairy products, sugar or refined flours or oils.   I was actually grinding my own grains and making my own bread for a couple of months.

This started when I noticed a small lump on my left temple on 5th July 2008, and asked my wife to look at it.  She said it looked ugly, and on 8th July I went to my local GP Chris Henry, who didn’t like the look of it, and wrote a referral letter to the surgeon I have previously used for BCC removal, Stewart Sinclair.

Stewart had a new girl in the office, and despite repeated calls on my part, she would not give me an urgent appointment.  On 24th July I went to see Chris again, he got on the phone to Stewart, and on 28th July Stewart removed the original melanoma (now much enlarged), and booked me in for wider excision and sentinel node biopsy in August.   That went well, and followup checks with Chris and Stewart were clear.

Excised melanoma was:

Histological type – superficial spreading
Clarks Level – IV
Breslow Thickness  – 2.7mm
Vertical growth phase  – present
Predominant cell type – Epithelioid
Desmoplasia – absent
Mitotic rate/mmsq – 13
Tumour Infil. Lymphocytes – Present but non-brisk
Regression – not identified
Satellitosis – not identified
Perineural Invasion – not identified
Lymphovascular invasion – not identified
Ulceration – Present 4.5mm across
Associated Naevus – Absent

In late November 2009 I noticed a small lump in my cheek, and went to my local GP (David Mason – as Chris was unavailable) on 2nd December, who thought it was likely a sebaceous cyst.  I arranged an appointment with my surgeon (Stewart Sinclair) just to be sure, and put myself on high dose (1g per hour) vitamin C – as I do for most infections.

By the time I got to the surgeon on 14th December, he could not detect any lump.

I thought “great – must have been a cyst”, and relaxed my use of vitamin C.   The growth on my cheek grew again slowly, but when I increased the Vitamin C it reduced in size.   I didn’t worry much about it, just a persistent cyst I thought.

In early April 2010 I was on a trip around the north Island, and went out on a friend’s yacht off Waiheke without any Vitamin C.  After a few days noticed a lump in my cheek growing rapidly.  When I got home I found a small lump in my neck, and went to my GP.  The GP (a locum Dr Renee) gave me an urgent referral to Stewart Sinclair on the 20th April.

On 28th April I saw the surgeon (Sinclair), who ordered an immediate fine needle biopsy of the lump under my ear, and a full body CT scan.

Later that day I got the news that the biopsy was an identical cell type to the original removed melanoma – so we suspected the other two neck lumps were similar.

The full body CT scan did not reveal any lumps other than the three already identified, except for a couple of spots on my liver, but liver spots were not that unusual.

Mr Sinclair wanted to remove most of my left salivary gland, and told me that there is a risk that damage to the facial nerve may result in me losing motor control in the left side of my face.  He also wanted to take out all the lymph nodes in my neck, and the SCM muscle.

My personal preference was to remove the lumps and as little extra material as possible while still ensuring that all of them has been removed, and then pursue other remedies to prevent the development of further tumours.

On Friday 7th May I had the surgery and lost the SCM muscle as well as the tumours and lymph node chain.

As at 3rd May 2010 – The previous 5 days had been an emotional upheaval, between dealing with the severely lowered probability of survival, and looking for options, it is a testing time.   My strong background in science, and training in biochemistry helps me, as does the total support of my wife and family.

I have gone back onto high dose vitamin C, and it did appear to be having an affect on reducing the tumour size, and it is very early after only 5 days.

18 May 2010  Had excisions above, out of hospital on Monday 10th, Pete picked me up and took me back to their place.

Saw Jewelz do Stage challenge on 11th, then met with Wendy at Oncology Christchurch Public Wednesday 12th 10:30.   Organised for ultrasound scan 3:30pm that day.  Results indicate tumour.  Home that evening.

Had last panadol evening of 16th.

Back to high dose Vitamin C.  1g most hours, 5g twice daily.

Appointment with David Gibbs 10:30AM Wednesday 19th May, who basically said that there is no treatment which has proven to significantly alter the survival probability curve in the case of metastasized melanoma.  He gave the curve as median 5 months with 2% making 2 years.

4th June – met with local GP Chris Henry, and with Charmaine Hanbury Webber – cancer support (palliative care).  Obvious from the looks on both Charmaine and Chris that they expect me to die soon.  Would love to prove that assumption incorrect.  Had about 5g smoked salmon in sushi 2nd, otherwise been vegan since 29th (actually only had two small helpings of chicken and two small helpings of stirfry meat since 21 May).

Have been on 8 apricot kernels morning and night since May 12.

Also 5g Vit C twice daily and 1g hourly.

16 June  Ordered SAMAP hand mill and 25Kg of organic oats.  Had oats and spinach for breakfast the last couple of days.  Down to 3 – 5 apricot kernels morning and evening, and 5g Vitamin C twice daily.   Started revenol twice daily.

24th June – 3 weeks strict vegan.  Hard going out, nothing I can eat, yet most things I yearn for.

Got the test details below on 12th July 2010:


12 Jul 2010

Mr Thomas Howard

TED@FISHNET.CO.NZ

Dear Ted

Results as requested:

30 Jun 2010 Dr Chris Henry (HE)

phone call – energy better and wt stable


20 May 2010, Letter S Sinclair

Person preparing referral: Stewart  Sinclair

Referred to Provider: Dr Chris Henry

Letter: Letter.  Stewart  Sinclair

5 Naseby St, Christchurch 1

Phone 355.6815

Fax 355.9249

13 May 2010

Dr Chris Henry

Kaikoura Medical Centre

Deal St

KAIKOURA                    (EDI Account: kaikramc)

Dear Chris

Re      HOWARD, Mr Thomas Edward

1 Maui  St, KAIKOURA

Dob  14.07.1955    Ph Home 03 319 6797     Ph Work 027 442 4281

I am aware that Ted has already seen you for removal of his facial sutures – Thank you.  He is coming back on Monday for his neck sutures.

I carried out the superficial parotidectomy and neck dissection on the 5th of May.  I enclose a copy of the pathology report.

I referred him to Oncology Dept to see whether he was eligible – or if he wanted to – enter the multi centre vaccine trial which they are recruiting for.

They pointed out that he needed to have an ultrasound of his liver as the CT scan had shown up some nonspecific lesions.

He has had the ultrasound done and unfortunately these are now reported as very suspicious for metastatic disease.

I have spoken to David Gibb, Oncologist and it turns out that he can see him more quickly at the Public Hospital than privately!  I have phoned Ted to advise him that he should receive an appointment for Oncology after the weekend.

Ted has some generalised facial weakness which is a result of dissecting out the facial nerve. This should recover over a few weeks but I have cut and repaired the upper most branch so his brow is paralysed at the moment.  Facial nerve branch repairs usually do quite well but it will be quite a few months before he gets anything coming back there.

As you will see from the histology all the neck nodes inferior to the palpable ones were negative but in the context of the possible liver metastases this is hardly reassuring.

It remains to be seen whether he or they will want to have a needle biopsy (requiring and anaesthetic) to confirm this.

Yours sincerely,

Stewart  Sinclair.

Observation date:


12 May 2010, X-Ray

X-RAY: This report is for: Dr C. Henry

Referred By:

Mr S. Sinclair

Copies:

Dr C. Henry

ULTRASOUND UPPER ABDOMEN 12/05/2010 Reference: 2997836

ULTRASOUND LIVER:

10 x 9 mm hypoechoic lesion with internal echoes corresponding to the largest lesion within segment 6 of the liver.

Smaller 7 mm hypoechoic lesion within segment 7 and 6.2 mm hypoechoic lesion in segment 2 with ill-defined margins, are not typical of hepatic cysts on ultrasound.

IMPRESSION:

At least three hypoechoic lesions within the liver suspicious for hepatic metastases.

Dr Tony GOH Radiologist/ps

Ordered by: STEWART SINCLAIR

Lab Test Results Interpreted by: TONY GOH

Laboratory: stgeorge

Observation date: 12-May-2010


04 May 2010, Letter Stewart Sinclair 28/4/1

Person preparing referral: Stewart  Sinclair

Referred to Provider: Dr Chris Henry

Letter: Letter.  Stewart  Sinclair

5 Naseby St, Christchurch 1

Phone 355.6815

Fax 355.9249

28 April 2010

Dr Chris Henry

Kaikoura Medical Centre

Deal St

KAIKOURA                    (EDI Account: kaikramc)

Dear Chris

Re      HOWARD, Mr Thomas Edward

1 Maui  St, KAIKOURA

Dob  14.07.1955    Ph Home 03 319 6797     Ph Work 027 442 4281

I saw Ted in December regarding a lump at the angle of his jaw but the day he came neither he nor I could feel it and so I reassured him. However he presented today with a definite lump in his parotid region and another at the angle of his jaw.  Further he feels he can feel something a the upper posterior border of his sterno mastoid that I couldn’t feel today.

However a CT scan has shown all three lumps but nothing inferior to these.  I have had an FNA done today which is positive for melanoma and so I am afraid I must commit him to a neck dissection and superficial parotidectomy.  I have explained all this carefully to Ted and his partner today and have arranged to do this in a couple of weeks time.

Yours sincerely,

Stewart  Sinclair.

PS Op date revised to 5 May because of patient concern.

Observation date:


28 Apr 2010, Renal Function Master

CREATININE: 99 umol/L ( 50 – 110 )

ESTIMATED GFR: 73 ( 80 – 120 ) L

Referred By: SINCLAIR

Ordered by: SINCLAIR&S W

Laboratory: medsouth

Observation date: 28-Apr-2010

28 Apr 2010, Fine Needle Aspirate

FINE NEEDLE ASPIRATE: Accession: 010-1479      FINE NEEDLE ASPIRATE          Reported 30/04/10

Reported by Dr SHONA MCDOWELL

CLINICAL:      Malignant melanoma left temple August 2008. Parotid lump.

SITE:          LEFT PREAURICULAR NODULE

MACROSCOPIC:   Approximately 20mm diameter lump. Four needle passes without complication. 3 DQ, 1 PAP slides examined. Cell block prepared.

MICROSCOPIC:   A moderately cellular aspirate containing enlarged pleomorphic epithelioid cells with prominent nucleoli, clumped coarse chromatin and a moderate amount of cytoplasm. Occasional binucleate cells are seen. The cells are arranged as single cells and small groups and in disorganised clusters. Small mature lymphocytes are present in the background.

Unfortunately too few cells are present in the cell block preparation for reliable interpretation of the immunoperoxidase stains.

OPINION:       Consistent with metastatic malignant melanoma.

snomed:    TC4200 M87206

Aspirated by:   S McDowell.

Authorised by : Shona McDowell

Referred By: SINCLAIR

Ordered by: SINCLAIR&S W

Laboratory: medsouth


Observation date: 28-Apr-2010

28 Apr 2010, X-Ray

X-RAY: This report is for: Dr C. Henry

Referred By:

Mr S. Sinclair

Copies:

Dr C. Henry

CT HEAD,NECK,CHEST,ABDOMEN 28/04/2010 Reference: 2990954

HISTORY:

Melanoma left temple two years ago. Parotid lump and another below the angle of the jaw.

FINDINGS:

BRAIN

No abnormality seen in the brain.

No abnormal enhancement.

No soft tissue abnormality seen in the scalp.

No bony lesions.

NECK

Corresponding to the palpable mass there is a 15.6 mm diameter heterogeneous mass lesion at the anterior margin of the left parotid gland.

The second palpable lesion, further inferiorly, is on the superficial, anterior border of the sternocleidomastoid muscle. It measures 8.9 mm in diameter.

At about the same level, in the posterior triangle, deep to SCM, there is a 6.6 mm diameter lymph node with a low density central area.

No other lymphadenopathy evident.

CHEST:

1.4 mm calcified nodule right middle lobe centrally. No other pulmonary nodules identified.

No mediastinal or hilar abnormality.

No axillary lymphadenopathy.

ABDOMEN and PELVIS

Several small non-specific round low density lesions in the liver, the largest measuring 10.3 mm in segment 6.

No abnormality in the spleen, kidneys, adrenals or pancreas.

No lymphadenopathy in the abdomen or pelvis.

No inguinal lymphadenopathy.

No bony abnormality of significance.

CONCLUSION:

Three abnormal lymph nodes in the left side the neck, suspicious for lymph node metastases.

Non-specific liver lesions. Ultrasound correlation recommended in the first instance.

Dr Scott Wells/ps

Ordered by: STEWART SINCLAIR

Lab Test Results Interpreted by: SCOTT WELLS

Laboratory: stgeorge

Observation date: 28-Apr-2010


24 Feb 2010, Histology

HISTOLOGY: Accession: B10-3613           HISTOLOGY REPORT         Reported 26/02/10

Reported by Dr CHRIS HALLOT

CLINICAL:      Lesion.

SPECIMEN:      SKIN LESION BACK OF NECK

DIAGNOSIS:     PEDUNCULATED INTRADERMAL NAEVUS WITH SURFACE EROSION.

MACROSCOPIC:   A skin ellipse 6x5mm with a 3mm raised light brown, slightly warty lesion. 2/1nk (ch)

MICROSCOPIC:   Sections show a raised polypoid skin nodule with features of a benign intradermal naevus. The surface is traumatised with extensive erosion of the lining epithelium. No residual junctional activity is noted and there is no atypia.

snomed:    T02300 M87500 GA290

Authorised by: Chris Hallot

—CJH

A

Ordered by: HENRY&CHRIS

Laboratory: medsouth

Observation date: 24-Feb-2010

 



 

Lab report from Ultrasound scan on 2nd August showing significant reduction in size of liver tumours.

 

Updated Scan results from 2 Aug 2010, saying original scans mis measured, and all tumours have shown reductions.

Tumours gone from liver, but more in cheek 12th Oct 2010 – seems tumours in lymph system are resistant to dietary approach, but liver ones are not. Yet that cannot be an answer either, as I have three times had cheek tumour reduce in size on high dose Vitamin C. Must have just let the dose slip too low. Seems it may be important to keep it at least a heaped teaspoon morning and night.

More tumours out of cheek 19th Oct 2010.

Again in Feb 2011 I eased back on vitamin C, and started missing occasional days, and then on 11th March I found a lump on my left shoulder. Chris Henry cut it out on the 15th March at 2:50, and histology confirmed that it was melanoma. So since then I have been very strict about taking vitamin C at least 3 times a day, and usually 8 or more times a day – just a quarter of a teaspoon in a glass of water during the day, and at least a heaped teaspoon morning and night. As at June 2011, no more tumours, feeling good, and still above ground.

Here is the histology report:

Date: 16 Mar 2011

Specimen
Lesion left shoulder
Clinical Details
Subcutaneous lesion. Probable metastatic melanoma.
Macroscopic
An irregular fragment of fibrofatty tissue 12x7x2Omm with attached ellipse of skin 9x2mm. Cut section reveals a subcutaneous yellowish nodule 5mm in diameter. (3/1/nr LTB2)
Microscopic
Sections show skin and subcutaneous fat. Towards the deep aspect of the specimen, there is a lymph node showing almost complete replacement by metastatic melanoma showing a spindle cell morphology. Extracapsular extension is not seen, but a lymphatic channel immediately adjacent to the lymph node contains tumour. The involved node extends to within 0.2mm of the closest tissue margin.
Diagnosis:
Reported by Dr Shona McDowell, Pathologist, Medlab South.
Left shoulder: Metastatic melanoma.

Signed by: Dr Shona McDowell, FRCPA

———–

Follow up appointment and CT Scan September 2011:

Clinic Date: 30/09/2011
28.07.08 T3b (2.7 mm, ulcerated) melanoma right sideburn area treated with wide local excision
Dec 2009 Presented with lymphadenopathy in neck
28.04.10 CT head, neck, chest, abdomen: 15 mm mass at anterior margin of left parotid, additional lesion anterior border sternomastoid, nonspecific low-density lesions in liver.
07.05.10 Superficial parotidectomy and neck dissection
Metastatic melanoma in four of 35 lymph nodes
12.05.10 Ultrasound of the abdomen: 10 mm, 7 mm, 6 mm hypoechoic lesions segments 6 and 7, suspicious for metastases
Sep 2011 Remains well, restaging CT scan shows no evidence of metastatic melanoma
Other health problems: Nil
Medications: Nil
Allergies: nil

Treatment plan: Supportive care, follow up with GP

Ted contacted with me again recently, curious to know what the status of his melanoma was. Since I last saw him, he has had an ultrasound of the liver that shows regression of the hypoechoic lesions. He has had another cutaneous metastasis excised but generally, remains very well. He is taking a variety of complementary therapies including large oral doses of vitamin C. I arranged a restaging CT scan for him.

Pleasingly, his CT scan shows no evidence of melanoma progression and, indeed, there is complete resolution of the low-density lesions within the liver.

I have spoken with him by phone today confirming the good news. We have not arranged a regular meeting but obviously, I am happy to see him again should there be any concerns that is melanoma is progressing.

Yours sincerely
Dr David Gibbs
Medical Oncologist
DG:psf (Electronically checked and signed)

———–

My thoughts on how to effectively approach self treatment for cancer are on my Cancer treatment page.

Link to a discussion about the role of different types of foods.

23rd May 2012

I have now removed all odd things from my diet, except Vitamin C in high dose, and CAA mineral supplement.  I am still staying vegan.  None of them seem to have made a significant difference.  Each time I reduced vitamin C I got tumours, each time I increased it, they went.

I suspect that it is basically the Vitamin C in conjunction with the dietary change that has made the difference for me.

It is now over 14 months since the last tumour showed up.

Starting to get reasonably confident that I will survive for a few years yet – perhaps even indefinitely.

5th November 2012 – Still going strong – no sign of tumours, sticking to vegan and high dose Vit C.

29th October 2013 – Still sticking to heaped teaspoon Vit C twice daily, and CAA mineral capsule and RAVE vegan diet. No tumours for over 2.5 years.

5th March 2014 – Still on Vit C and CAA and sticking to RAVE Vegan diet – still no signs of melanoma.

To contact Ted:
ph NZ 03 319 6797 or 027 442 4281
or email either:
ted at fishnet dot co dot nz or
tedhowardnz at gmail dot com
Home is 1 Maui Street, Kaikoura 7300, New Zealand
Location: 42°25.123’S 173°41.626’E

7 Responses to About

  1. holessence says:

    Ted – This blow-by-blow, journal-style documentation is my cuppa tea. I don’t like what I’m reading, not one single bit, but I enjoy how the material has been delivered. I can’t help but think about Ailsa being confined to a wheelchair by the medical community and we know how she blew that diagnosis right outta the water. I see you taking the action steps — body, mind and spirit — to do the same thing. Blow the diagnosis right outta the water!

    Like

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