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Welcome to our CaringBridge website. The purpose of this is NOT to raise funds, but to ask for your prayers. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. God has been providing for us according to His riches in glory.
Our story starts on November 22, 2017 -- the day before Thanksgiving. Murray had been seeing a rheumatologist about some joint issues. On this day, she called to say she was alarmed about his recent blood work; his hemoglobin was quite low. She was concerned that he might be bleeding internally, perhaps a stomach ulcer. She urged him to go to the emergency room if he had any stomach symptoms. We were confused. He'd had none of the symptoms of a stomach ulcer. He promised to see his GP right after Thanksgiving.
Murray's doctor ordered tests to rule out GI problems, and when none were revealed, he referred Murray to a hematologist. Suspecting lymphoma or myeloma, she ordered a CT scan (which showed no masses) and a bone marrow biopsy (which told the story). On January 5, Murray received his diagnosis: myelofibrosis, a rare form of blood cancer. The hematologist sent his biopsy to the Mayo Clinic for analysis and referred Murray to an oncologist at UNC who specializes in leukemia and has published several pieces of research on myelofibrosis. In our first meeting with her, the oncologist discussed the results of the analysis, as well as her findings from looking at his medical records for the past several years. She found that Murray's hemoglobin had been dropping since 2015. The biopsy showed multiple mutations in his red cells, indicating that Murray's disease was advanced. She immediately recommended a bone marrow transplant.
Since then, Murray's hemoglobin has continued to drop. He has had two infusions of red blood cells. He is on medication to help manage symptoms like enlarged spleen, stomach discomfort and difficulty eating, night sweats, chills, bone/joint pain, and chronic fatigue. We are working to stem his weight loss, which has been significant. We are waiting for all the pieces to fall into place for the bone marrow transplant. Murray's sister Brenda was tested and turned out to be only a 50% match, but by the grace of God, several perfect matches have been found on the donor registry! We are still waiting for final insurance approvals, health clearances for the two donors who will provide stem cells, and other final steps before Murray is admitted to the hospital. We expect him to enter the hospital in early April, and he will be there for about a month.
We ask for your prayers. Please pray that Murray's body will be strong for the tough process ahead. Pray that he will accept the transplant, and that he will not experience graft-versus-host disease. We thank God for the many prayers that have already been answered, for the wonderful stem cell donors, and for the prayers that get him through each day of waiting. The next update will contain more information about when Murray will enter the hospital. Thank you for your prayers, concern, and friendship.