Former Testament and Death guitarist James Murphy fought off a brain tumour in 2001 but now he reports it's come back.
And while his current medication can keep it under control, its side effects will leave him unable to keep working as a producer.
His only option to stave off descent into a vicious debt cycle is a switch to drugs which won't knock him off his feet. But that would cost $1000 a month for six months.
Murphy played on Death's third album "Spiritual Healing" in 1990 and later appeared on three Testament records. He's also recorded with Obituary, Steve Morse, Nevermore, Warrel Dane, Agent Steel and dozens of others, along with releasing two solo albums.
His SafeHouse Productions is behind records by Lazarus AD, Aborted, Abigail Williams, Rise, System Divide and more.
He says a recent MRI scan showed his tumour had "only grown a little" meaning surgery or radiation therapy was not necessary in the short term. Doctors have increased the dosage of his hormone inhibitor drugs but the side effects make it nearly impossible for him to work and he admits he could face bankruptcy if he stops.
However, his only alternative is a more expensive medication which he can't afford.
Murphy tells Rock News Desk: "Simply put, five pills of my current med per day, spread throughout the day for maximum benefit, keep me fatigued and nauseous."
"The alternative drug is much, much more expensive, but it's meant to work better, have less side-effects per pill, and I'd have to take far fewer pills per week to get the same benefit."
"Changing is a no-brainer: it would return me to normal functionality, more or less. The cost is the issue."
"I have another MRI in six months and they want me to take one drug consistently during that time, to gauge its efficacy accurately. So I have to be able to afford six months' worth of it to make changing work from that standpoint."
Murphy credits World Under Blood and CKY mainman Deron Miller for raising the funds to pay for the MRI scan and associated lab tests. He says: "Actually I had no intention of telling anyone about the situation, but Deron leaked the story. I'm grateful for great friends like him, but I never would have spoken up myself."
And he vows: "I'm determined to make the change, to regain control of my life, and keep my career going."
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Thanks for the report to RockNewsDesk.com.