Florida-based guitarist-turned-producer James Murphy, who is best known for his guitar work with TESTAMENT, DEATH, OBITUARY, CANCER and DISINCARNATE, recently expressed concern that the tumor he “battled and defeated” nine years ago may have recurred after discovering that the hormone indicator was 20 times higher than the low it reached as recently as one year ago. He has since issued the following update on his condition:
“After meeting with my doctor yesterday, I finally have the results of my recent MRI, and the prognosis for my immediate future: the tumor only grew a little, so no surgery is needed, and radiation therapy has been, at least for the moment, ruled out. We will treat the new growth pharmacologically by increasing my dose of the hormone inhibitor I currently take, or switching to the other (better but more expensive) drug that can treat my particular condition. So I will have another MRI in Six months to see if the pharmacological treatment has worked. In the meantime, the dose they want me to take of my current prescription would leave me wiped out for most of each day… Five pills per day is just too much of that particular drug, so i hope to be able to upgrade to the better drug, of which I’d have to take far less, and thus suffer far less side-effects, and be able to function normally. The really good news is that the funds raised by my good friends Deron Miller and his wife Felissa Rose Esposito Miller has paid outright for the MRI, bloodwork, and other lab tests I’ve had to have in relation to this so far, and whatever else they raise from here should allow me to afford the switch to the more expensive prescription, which will in turn allow me to function normally, keep working, and not go bankrupt. I owe a huge thanks to them, as well as to all of you that have reached out, contributed, wished me well, and sent me your good vibes…. thanks to you all!”
In August 2001, Murphy was discovered to have a massive tumor growth near the base of his brain and was quickly scheduled for an urgent life-saving operation. James underwent surgery on September 17, 2001 at the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida. Neurosurgeon Dr. Frank Vrionis and head and neck surgeon Dr. John Song, performed the operation using a Maxillary Swing procedure that made entry through the left side of the face. An incision was made underneath the left eye, along the side of the nose, and finally through the middle of the upper lip. The facial tissue was then pulled back and the cheekbone removed. They then cut through James‘ sinus and made entry below the orbit of the eye to remove a portion of the growth. More was removed through an incision made in the soft pallet inside the mouth. About 70% of the tumor was removed, the remainder being too close to vital structures to risk further damage. The sinus was then packed with fat tissue taken from the lower abdomen via an incision below the navel and reattached. The cheekbone was set back in place and held with two small titanium plates. The facial tissue was then sutured closed along with the soft pallet. His mouth was fitted with a prosthesis to protect the pallet tissue while it healed. The remaining 30% of the tumor was treated with a medication to shrink it called Parlodel (Bromocriptine), which James was told he would have to take for the rest of his life.