James Murphy Update: Recovering At Home, Website Revamped

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Wednesday, January 9, 2002 @ 12:19 AM

James Murphy Website Updated W

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The James Murphy (Testament, Death, Obituary, Cancer, Disincarnate) official website has been revamped and updated with several new features. Click on "Donation" and you will be taken to a page where you can read a detailed synopsis of what exactly happened to James, what surgery he underwent and when, and how it was discovered. Click on "CDs" and you will be taken to the page where you can order autographed copies of one or both of James' two Shrapnel Records solo CD's, Convergence and Feeding The Machine. If you specify it in your order we will have James personalize your autographed CD(s). All proceeds from donations and CD sales go directly to James' medical fund to help pay for his medication and mounting doctor and hospital bills. We also hope, if enough donations and CD sales come in, to help finance the replacement of equipment James lost due to his illness so he can get to work on the second Disincarnate CD as soon as he has recovered enough to do so. Make sure to stop by regularly and check for more updates and new sections as the webmasters hope to add some of the usual artist site features such as Discography, Equipment, Sounds, Photo Gallery, and Links sections very soon. Also look for news about the new Disincarnate album James was set to record for Nuclear Blast shortly before his illness.

As for his health these days, the webmasters released the following information:

“James has been healing well and with proper care should recover enough to resume normal activities before too long. It is just nearly impossible to give the exact amount of time it will take since every person heals differently. He is, however, currently plagued with a post-surgical condition known as "peripheral neuropathy" which causes his joints and muscles to be stiff and partially numb from time to time, particularly after periods of inactivity such as when waking in the morning or sitting for too long. This does not seem to be that serious of a complication and it is our understanding that it will get better as time passes and should eventually go away.

His vision has improved significantly since the surgery. It is apparently even better that it was right before the surgery but it appears that it is still bad enough that his Ophthalmologist has stated that he may never be able to drive again due to some of the visual field defect caused by the tumor's pressure on the optic nerve possibly being permanent. He is not blind by any means though. Additionally, due to the location of the incision made in his face, the tear duct of his left eye is swollen open very wide causing the eye to be drained of moisture far to quickly. This, combined with the incision having caused his left eye to not be able to close quite all the way, has led to an extremely dry eye condition that caused a bad calcium deposit to form on his eye. Calcium deposits are a serious problem that cause intense pain and can lead to erosion of the eye. James' was directed by his doctor to begin an aggressive eye-drop treatment designed to keep his eye moist at all times, which includes constant use of a special lubricant eye-drop during waking hours and a very thick version of the same fluid, along with an eye-patch while sleeping.

Thirty percent of the tumor remains inside James' head and it is being treated with medication (Parlodel) meant to shrink it and reduce the dangerously high hormone levels that became elevated as the tumor grew. Although the tumor was putting pressure on James' brain and optic nerve, it began growing from his pituitary gland and so adversely affected the hormones normally secreted by the gland. Additionally, since all of one's glands work together, it caused deficiencies and excesses in the other major glands. As a result of this James has recently been found to have somewhat elevated "free T4" levels from his thyroid gland, for which he has been prescribed a drug called synthroid, and cortisol levels from his adrenal gland which are somewhat on the low side, for which no treatment has been prescribed at this time. Male hormone levels were found to be normal.

Currently James is staying at his parents' house in Florida and following all of the instructions of his endocrinologist and neurosurgeon and awaiting his next MRI scan in March. His doctors will use the results of this scan to decide if the tumor is shrinking well enough with the medication or if he will have to have radiation treatments. We are obviously hoping that he will not have to undergo any radiation.”

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