Imagine going to the doctor for a routine checkup and being told everything is fine. Then, two weeks later, you are asking your daughter to take you to the doctor because you feel so fatigued and ill you just cannot make it. This is how the story of 59-year-old Joanne Murphy transpired.
“I had just had my customary checkup and felt everything was fine,” Murphy said during a recent interview. “Then about two weeks later, I started feeling so tired. It was Monday, July 16, 2012 when I told my daughter I needed her to take me to the doctor. She is a nurse and she knew if I asked to go to the doctor something must be wrong.”
They arrived at Urgent Care and medical personnel did not find anything wrong so they sent her to Sampson Regional. At the medical center, the story was the same, that is until her daughter, who is a nurse there, said to “dig deeper.”
“She could tell from the way I was acting there was something wrong, and after further testing they found I had a tumor in my lung and another, a much larger one, on my brain,” asserted Murphy. “They sent me directly to Chapel Hill.”
In Chapel Hill, the doctors were more concerned with the brain mass than the one in her lung.
“The tumor in the frontal lobe of my brain was large. The doctors said it was the fast-growing kind and had probably been there for between two and six months. They could not decide to do a biopsy or do surgery. They elected to do the latter,” expressed Murphy.
Murphy’s family was with her and the doctors did not give much hope that the outcome of the surgery would be favorable.
“I did not know it at the time, but they told my four children that the location of the tumor waswhere so many of the everyday things we do, such as communication skills, are were found. However, the doctors were amazed that I even asked a question as they were rolling me out of the operating room. When I awoke, everyone was amazed that I had all my communication skills. I thanked God because I knew it was a miracle,” remarked Murphy.
As she woke from the surgery and realized that she was OK, she said she offered a prayer to God.
“God thank you for my healing. I claim my healing today. I will go through with whatever the doctors ask me to do, but I know that, as of today, you have healed me,” prayed Murphy.
She shared that she was aware of all the prayers that were being offered up to God on her behalf.
“My children told me that people all over the United States were praying for me. And I could sense the love and prayers that were being lifted up to God for my healthy return,” expressed Joanne.
Murphy explained that because she has her trust and faith in God and his son, Jesus Christ, she had the power to overcome anything — even cancer.
Following the brain surgery, Murphy underwent radiation and will complete her chemotherapy on Nov. 2. She is scheduled to return to work as manager of the College Street Piggly Wiggly the first of December.
“The last treatment I received they told me the tumor in my lung had reduced by 50 percent. They are expecting it to be completely gone when I return for my last treatment. Then I will be placed on a preventative medication,” stated Murphy.
She remarked that despite being a little fatigued for a couple days following the treatment, she has not experienced any pain. The only hair she lost was a plug where they did the radiation treatments. The surgery scar, although it is a rather large one, is not visible without Murphy pointing it out. She is able to hide it with her hair.
“My family, friends, church and everyone have been so supportive, inspiring and uplifting for me. My daughter said to me that she has never seen anyone receive so many cards. The support has, and continues to be, so great,” said Murphy.
She is a member at Andrews Chapel Baptist Church and the Rev. Gerald Underwood is her pastor. Murphy shared that her pastor has been a true blessing through it all as well as her church family.
Murphy explained that the medical costs for this experience have been astronomical and continue to mount. She shared that she would never be able to pay them all even if she sold everything she had. She has applied for some grants to help and also shared the blessings provided through Tim’s Gift. She expressed her thoughts in a letter to the organization.
“So many people do not know what Tim’s Gift is all about. I cannot say enough for how they have helped me.Have you ever thought of what your reaction would be if the doctor told you that you had cancer? How would it affect you? Clearly it would be a shock! This is exactly what happened to me in July. After undergoing brain surgery to remove a mass from my brain, my family and I were informed that the tumor was cancer. The problem was that the cancer to the brain had come from my lung. wow, a double hit — a cancerous brain tumor and lung cancer! I had no clue that I had any type of cancer, especially in the brain and lung, until that very moment. Don’t every think that when we go through times like this that God is punishing us. God sends rain on the just and unjust alike (Matthew 5:45). He is always right with us if we let him.
God performed a miracle on me that day, July 20. The tumor on my brain was so big that it had started to twist my brain. But, God is good! Three days before surgery, my children, family, and friends, along with people that didn’t even know me, all over the U.S.A., started a prayer chain lifting up prayers on my behalf. I know that God heard (and is still hearing) those prayers!
Now I am still taking treatments for what the doctors say will be a short time, but God has healed me! I have always known the Lord, but now I know my relationship with him is deeper than ever as I continually experience his love and power. God has also sent more angels into my life through Tim’s Gift. I didn’t know what Tim’s Gift was about until now, but they are helping me with some of the mounting medical bills that are not covered by my insurance.
It is with much gratitude that I thank Tim’s Gift for assisting me during this time of my life,” wrote Murphy.
“I have been healed. I know that. God is not through with me yet. I am trying to understand what he has planned for me. I am already helping others that are going through similar situations. I pray for God to give the courage and strength to help those who have been diagnosed with cancer,” stated Murphy.
As a result of having gone through this journey that she calls a gift, Murphy said she, in turn, wants to be a tool to help others going through the same type of problems that she traveled through.
“I am a much stronger Christian now than I was before. I am much bolder in my speech about what God can and has done in my life. And what he can do in the lives of others. I have been specially selected to endure this so that I might help grow his kingdom. God has been so good. He is awesome. Healing is not always survival. For some the journey in this world will end but we all will make that journey one day. Our purpose now it to get ready and to help others to get their lives ready too,” cited Murphy.