Cancer can’t rob loyal Devilette mom of joy
Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2010 9:31 pm
By: Mike Hutchens
By MIKE HUTCHENS
MURFRESBORO — Chemotherapy has robbed Kim Murray of her hair.
However, those treatments and a rare form of breast cancer have only seldom deprived the South Fulton softball team of one of its most loyal fans.
Murray, whose freshman daughter Samantha has been employed largely as a pinch-runner for the Devilettes in their run to the Class 1A state tournament, missed just her second game of the season Wednesday after making a quick dash to Union City for the last of 12 regimens.
And though now just halfway through a taxing two-round chemo process, skipping the entire tournament while she dealt with the preparation and after-effects of Wednesday’s session was never a thought for Murray, who expects to return for SF’s game tonight vs. Chattanooga Grace Academy.
“I wouldn’t miss this for anything,” a smiling Murray said after the Devilettes’ opening round win Tuesday while sporting one of the many stylish scarfs and/or turbans that she now wears.
“I will not give in to cancer,” she said.
The 47-year-old SFHS graduate said a self-examination in October of last year led to the discovery of what was eventually termed myoepithelial carcinoma, a rare form of breast cancer that is actually not in the breast — but under the arm.
Murray, who has no family history of cancer, had biopsy work done locally in December, but doctors then forwarded her case to Cleveland because “they didn’t like what they saw,” she said. “Nobody around here had even heard of myoepithelial carcinoma.”
She eventually went to the M.D. Anderson Clinic in Houston seven times over the next two months for surgery and follow-up tests before continuing chemotherapy treatments in Union City in March that were actually started in Texas.
Murray said friends have taken her to those sessions every Monday, with husband Jay — whom she referred and deferred to often in detailing her ongoing battle — then picking her up afterward.
She will begin a second and likely even more difficult round of chemo in the coming weeks — a three-times-a-week routine. She then will endure four-to-six weeks of radiation treatment before returning to see doctors in September for a progress report.
To-date through her ordeal, she’s remained a constant at her daughter’s games, missing just one other one before Wednesday.
“Actually, this has kind of been like my sanctuary, to come to the games and watch my daughter and the rest of the kids play and do well,” Murray revealed. “Parents of the other girls, most of whom were my friends long before this, have been so supportive.
“And the girls on the team have been, too, to both me and Sam.”
Samantha — or Sam as she’s affectionately known to her teammates, friends and family — says she visually finds her mother in the stands before every game.
“It’s really a good feeling to look up there and see her and know that she’s so positive and not just laying around feeling sorry for herself,” Sam said after South Fulton beat Forrest 5-2 in Wednesday’s winner’s bracket state tourney game. “She’s just getting on with her life of being a mom and a wife and supporting me and the rest of our family.”
SF head coach Curt Lee insisted that Sam has exhibited the same positive outlook and business-as-usual attitude of her mother in these recent difficult times.
“She’s shown unbelievable strength through it all,” Lee claimed. “She’s never brought up her mother’s condition one time or used it as an excuse to get out of her responsibilities to the team.
“That tells you what kind of person that young lady is and what kind of teammate she is.”
Kim, whose family has already survived another major health issue with now 12-year-old healthy son Slade having undergone two heart surgeries and recovered from a stroke, says she’s been given a good prognosis in her ongoing battle.
“We got it early, and that’s obviously a good thing,” she insisted. “You can’t let it get to you. I believe in the power of prayer, and that anything is possible. And you certainly can’t give up.”
Chemotherapy or not, nothing can take that kind of determined attitude away.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.27.10