Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Judy Clabes: Kevin Murphy survives cancer he didn’t have, bares soul to help victims
By all appearances, Kevin Murphy is the consummate tough guy. From a family of New York City union truck drivers and cops, he made his way to Northern Kentucky where he became a top trial attorney, often swimming against the current and always standing his ground. He was invincible, polishing that tough guy image and the tough guy demeanor and walking the tough guy walk.
He married the girl of his dreams and for three years, accepted the long honeymoon as his due. Then, the cancer struck and suddenly he faced an enemy that makes even tough guys quake in their boots.
But it wasn’t his cancer. It was hers.
Still, he — and their relationship — were as much victims of the invasive killer as her body was. Now, years after “surviving” the cancer, he has written a book about the horrific “survival” experience — and the tough guy has bared his raw emotions to help others who have walked through the shadow of this Valley of Death.
It is not an easy book. It is painful, emotional, riveting, honest – and spiritual. Whether or not you are a cancer survivor or the loving survivor of a cancer patient or a casual reader who can actually feel the raw emotions of an honest book be prepared to be drawn in – and moved.
Surviving Cancer After Surviving Cancer can be pre-ordered in paperback on Amazon.com. It’s $19.95 and eligible for free shipping.
So about the story: The lumps appeared unannounced in her neck. Shaken, the couple went for a biopsy a few days later. Benign, they were told, but they were told wrong. When correctly diagnosed with cancer six months later when more lumps appeared, she was four months pregnant with their first child. Staging tests and the treatment would kill the child. She refused treatment to protect her baby, risking her own life. And creating a real-life drama fraught with the threat of death and worry for an unborn child with every breath. When the baby is delivered, she immediately undergoes dramatic life-saving, aggressive treatments for the cancer.
Meantime, tough guy goes broke from the cancer and pours himself into his work, burying his feelings and fears as deep as he possibly can. She buries herself into motherhood, fighting the demons of the lurking threat . . .and neither of them come face to face together with their mutual fears or feelings. Pretending normality was easier . . . and ultimately deadly to a relationship. Which became another innocent victim of the cancer.
There are twists and turns to Kevin’s story — but the story now is that he wants to help others avoid the mistakes he made. He wants to help other “victims” of this scary, life-changing, life-threatening disease skip the behaviors that led to the death of a relationship. That just shouldn’t happen, he says.
“I did not handle the emotional side of this disease well at all, and I paid a heavy price for it,” he says. “I made a lot of mistakes that can easily be avoided. I hope my story, and the lessons gleaned from it, will help keep relationships intact and help others learn how to interact with loved ones during this horrible time.”
Significant others believe the book is one that needed to be written. Dr. Bernie Seigel, an internationally known physician, cancer expert and author, wrote the Foreword for the book, and Dick Vitale contributed the cover blurb.
It’s a compact book, as books go, but a powerful one. It is raw emotion, pain — the joy of not one but two miracle children — and a hand out and up for those looking cancer or any type of crisis in the eye.
Kevin Murphy ends each chapter with lessons learned and penetrating questions that engage the reader in the introspection necessary to find real understanding — and a better way to deal with the awful hand Fate can sometimes deal.
Judy Clabes is editor and publisher of KyForward.com