Updates & Prayer Requests for the Week of March 22nd

This post will be updated throughout the week. Check back often for the most up-to-date information and requests for prayer.

March 28, 2020

3:03 p.m. – My vitals have taken a turn for the worse overnight, putting my Sunday discharge in jeopardy. The chemo isn’t leaving my body quick enough. In addition, I continue to take on and retain fluid, putting strain on my kidneys, which is the main consideration right now. I’m also experiencing some light-headedness, mild nausea, and severe fatigue (been in bed all day so far). Please pray that my vitals return to normal, without any damage to my kidneys, and that I can recover quickly.

March 27, 2020

4:42 p.m. – Looks like I will be able to be discharged on Sunday sometime. I will be finishing up my last chemo treatment tomorrow morning, then as long as the chemo is leaving my body at an acceptable rate, and my vitals are good, I should be able to go home on Sunday.

Got some new beanies today!

I gained seven pounds from yesterday to today, all from the fluids they are giving me. After losing so much weight, this may sound like a good thing, but it’s actually pretty miserable. I can feel the fluid, especially in my stomach and down my right leg, and will case me to stay away from food today.

I actually had to do something this morning with my medical team that I never thought I would: ask for a “pee shot.” That has historically helped me shed excess fluids quickly, even though I have to go pee every 10 minutes. So please pray this fluid comes off my quickly.

The nurse gave Keri and I a quick demo this afternoon on how to care for my Hickman port (the catheter they put in my chest to help deliver chemo and draw blood easily).

Many, many, many “thank you’s” to Graham Stoll and the Woodland Heights Community for cleaning or house yesterday. That has been a huge blessing to Keri and I, especially with my pending return home on Sunday. Also, many, many, many “thank you’s” to Andrew Hawkins and his crew for looking after or yard today. Our yard has never been this “leaf free.”

Currently listening toFriday I’m in Love by The Cure

March 26, 2020

5:21 p.m. – Got back to the room about 2:00 p.m. from my latest lumbar puncture, and I am thankful to report that it was probably my easiest one to date. Thankful to God for his presence in the room which I have continuously felt that past number of these. Thankful that he answers my prayers. Thankful for ALL your prayer on my behalf in regards to these spinal taps. Here’s what immediately came to mind:

Philippians 1:3–5
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you [Redemption Hill], always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

I’ve learned throughout all this that not only does God want me to bring EVERYTHING to him in prayer (Philippians 4:6), but he also wants to make sure I make my requests known to those I’ve “partnered” with in the proclamation of the gospel. I’m robbing you of the opportunity to proclaim Christ in word and alongside me, suffering alongside me, and pleading to the Father on my behalf by not making my request known to YOU as well.

I don’t want to be a Lone Ranger Christian, and neither should you. So today I am thankful for you. Thankful for your prayers on my behalf. And I pray that both I and we would CONTINUE to come alongside other believers as they go through trying times and hardships (which we currently seem to going through right now).

Currently listening to – the Eyes Open album from Snow Patrol.

11:30 a.m. – Day 2 of round 2 of my “even” chemo treatment schedule. So far so good. Should finish up the first set of drugs this afternoon, then start another drug this evening for 3 days. The Kancer Killers are happy with all my vitals and results so far. Both my platelets and white blood count are higher than they should be at this point. I found out yesterday that lumbar punctures are gonna be my weekly reality going forward, and the ones administered outpatient will be bedside. The ones in the hospital MIGHT be up in Radiology. My next one is this afternoon, so please keep me in prayer for that. They will once again draw samples and administer chemo to my spinal fluid. The good news is that they don’t have to pump me full of platelets this time since they are so high now.

Many thanks to Donna Reese for my first beanie delivery! I am grateful for not only her generosity, but all the prayer she sends my direction. It is felt and appreciated.

Currently listening to – a playlist of every Of Monsters and Men album on shuffle.

March 25, 2020

3:28 p.m. – Another quick update today on the weird, wonderful year 2020 has been so far: we just bought a house! This was something we had been planning on for the past few months now, so for the past few weeks I have been going on FaceTime home tours as Keri and her mom have visited house with our realtor. Yesterday, we found a home in our ideal location that was priced well below what we were aiming for. We put an offer in, bish boom bah, they accepted this afternoon. Thank you Jesus!

Murphy New House

2:47 p.m. – Been a quiet, but busy dreary morning around here. Dr. Barret and the Kancer Killers are optimistic with all my vitals today. Also, come to find out, I have two Redemption Hill’ians on my current team (the team changes every 2 weeks or so). It’s been exciting to connect with them and to hear how they had been praying for me before even being assigned to this current post. God continues to surrounded me with a terrific team here.

I have officially begun my second round of chemo today. They started me on some fluids about 5:00 a.m. this morning to help my liver and kidneys process what is about to come their way with the chemo. They then hung my first bag of chemo, which will last for about 24 hours. They also did an ultrasound of both my legs just to check for blood clots. What prompted this was my right leg (knee down), which has still been a little puffy for a few weeks now, ever since I started taking fluids.

I was the recipient of some fresh bone broth yesterday courtesy of Megan Clinch, and have been enjoying that the past two days. Really thankful for it going into this next round of chemo.

Lastly, this guy dropped by earlier to deliver the first of what will be many care packages to the doctors, nurses, and staff here in the critical care unit. they have been nothing but wonderful. He shaved, his hair and face fuzz, for me!

Been thinking and praying a lot today about contentment and God’s protection and provision for me and the Murphy fam throughout all this. Reading through Philippians again yesterday, what stuck out to me this time was the famous Philippians 4:13 passage:

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

We like to apply that verse to any and everything we (wanna) do, but you really need the preceding verses to make sense of it:

Philippians 4:11–12
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

Paul is talking about the very real oneness that the gospel has brought between him and the Philippine church. He’s also explaining the very real HUMILITY that has resulted from this. He has learned the secret of facing both plenty and hunger. He’s content either way.

I pray that my contentment throughout all this will continue to rest in the fruit of the gospel working in me, including moving forward during times I will “feel better,” even beyond into a more remission-type diagnosis. In some ways, it’s easier to do this whole contentment thing when I’m struggling health-wise. So I want to continue to look beyond my current circumstances, whether I have much (health) or little (health), I want to continue to rejoice in Christ. In him, I have all I could ever need or desire as it is HE who strengthening me.

Currently listening to – my I Want What You Got playlist on Apple Music.

March 24, 2020

2:12 p.m. – My mouth has been significantly better the past 2 days, so much so, that I was able to taper off the morphine yesterday (my last dose was 11:30 a.m. yesterday). I have been able to eat additional “soft foods” today (eggs), and plan on trying out some mashed potatoes tonight (!).

My medical team was in this morning, discussing the end of this current antibiotic treatment (supposed to end tomorrow), as well as my mouth almost being completely healed. They mentioned that IF I wanted, I could be discharged tomorrow for a few days (through the weekend), then come back on Monday to start round two. As Keri and I had already discussed this, we told them that I would prefer to go right into round two ASAP. So beginning tomorrow, I will begin round two of my chemo treatment. It will be an “even week” sorta treatment for me, featuring different chemo’s from my “odd week” ones. They anticipate about 3-4 days of treatment, then a few days to get it out of my system, then I would be discharged to the Coronavirus. So best case, I may be home on Sunday for a few weeks. Worst case, perhaps Monday or Tuesday.

So please pray for me these next few days:

  • Pray these treatments will accomplish there purpose and continue to kill the leukemia in my body.
  • Pray that my body would respond well, especially my liver and kidneys as they would have to process these drugs.
  • Pray that my lungs would continue to stay clear from fluids and any side effects from all this.
  • Pray for my medical team that they would continue to have clear wisdom and direction in how to move forward (Dr. Barrett and the Kancer Killers).
  • Pray that I wouldn’t experience any side effects from this next round.
  • Pray that I would continue to know and experience the comfort and peace of God in here. Pray against any fear, anxiety, or discouragement.

Currently listening to – The new album from John Mark McMillian.

March 23, 2020

5:30 p.m. – Had a pretty good day today. Beginning with CBR and the reminder that when fear, anxiety, and uncertainty grasp my heart and mind, my prayer should be that God would open my eyes by faith to the FULLNESS of reality found only in Jesus, from which I continue to receive grace upon grace throughout all this.

I also woke up to my mouth feeling significantly better, so much so, that I could open it wider and move my tongue around more so the docs could continue to look at it. While I was worried that it was simply the morphine, the medical team meeting in my room confirmed that both my platelets and white blood counts were up significantly, contributing to my Mucositis healing faster. The docs said at this rate, it should be clear within 48 hours. I celebrated by eating vanilla pudding.

They scheduled me for another Lumbar Puncture on Thursday, so please begin praying now for that now. It is unclear to me right now whether that is simply to make sure my spinal fluid is still clear of cancer, or if another chemo treatment will be involved.

They said that once this current round of antibiotics is done (fighting the infection and fever from a few days ago), and once my mouth is healed of Mucositis, we will talk about going directly into my second round of chemo. This naturally means a longer initial stay here at the hospital. They could send me home for a few days before coming back to begin, or I could just go right into it once this round of antibiotics ends. Given the state of the Corona World outside my window, Keri and I are heavily leaning on me staying put and just knocking out this second round right now.

Another huge blessing today. I was able to take a shower. For the past few days, I have felt like Pigpen from Peanuts, with a trail of hair following me everywhere I go. It’s been all over my clothes, all over the bed, all over my computer and books. It’s been pretty gross. So in the shower this morning I took the opportunity to basically scrub all the loose hair off my head. It was glorious. Keri brought me one of the kids toboggans to wear for now, but I am actively looking for beanie donations. I don’t want to do the bald thing, and I don’t want to go the skin cap route either…I want to fully embrace my inner RVA hipster and go all in on the beanie. So hipster me up Redemption Hill!

Currently listening to – a playlist of every Josh Garrels album on shuffle.

March 22, 2020

11:00 a.m. – Better past 2 days. The regular morphine has allowed me to continue to eat (soft foods) and drink (water and protein shakes). The water thing is huge at the moment, as fluid was starting to build up in me again. Once I was able to start drinking again (I have a drinking problem?), they wanted to start drawing some of that fluid out me. One “pee shot” and three liters later, I was right as rain. My medical team this morning was talking specifically about how to move me past this mucositis quickly so as not to impede any upcoming treatments, which I really appreciated and expressed my thanks for. They are going to try some things the next few days to speed this up. Really appreciate the wisdom assembled around me helping me through this. Please lift up prayers to them, Dr. Barrett specifically. That came on the heels of Gregory reading Proverbs 3 to me this morning, which caused me to break down at verse 7:

Proverbs 3:7–8
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

As I continue to be broken (physically/spiritually/emotionally), this “plurality of wisdom” theme keeps coming back to me, which maybe why I’ve always been attracted to Proverbs. It was just good to be reminded this morning that “wisdom” isn’t just something ethereal between you and God. It’s a REALITY that has personal and relational consequences.

Currently listening to – the new “Pandemic Playlist” we pushed out yesterday. Hope you’re enjoying it too!

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3 Replies to Updates & Prayer Requests for the Week of March 22nd

  1. March 25: Your new home is GORGEOUS!!!!!! If it needs any painting, Timus and I are good, careful, experienced painters, and we would be happy to help! We can help you move too, whenever that happens. It was a delight to see Keri and one of your sons today. They both gave me “air hugs,” since we had to stay 6 feet apart. Sigh. But air hugs are better than no hugs!!!! We love you and continue to pray for you, Shelby!

  2. Love the picture of you and Preston together! Was reading through Psalm 119 this morning and asking God to help you meditate on his wondrous works and strengthen you according to his Word. Love you, brother!

  3. Praying that you WILL be able to go home today, Shelby. It will be SUCH a comfort to be in your own home with your precious family. I am asking the Lord to remove the excess fluid from your body, to give you grace and strength, and to give your medical team great wisdom and insight as they take care of you.

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