Walking In Memphis

Look among the nations and watch— Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you. 
Habakkuk 1:5

I can hardly believe it has been more than a month since my last blog entry.  For those that have been waiting for an update, I apologize for the long period of silence.  The last month has been very packed full and I am honestly just now stopping to catch my breath.  This is an update to the one I originally published.  Evie gave me her words and I thought they were so good I wanted to add them in!

From Matthew:  So... to bring you up to speed here is what has happened with Esther and our family.    About a month ago we received confirmation that St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis, TN had agreed to treat Esther for her radiation treatment.    This was an answer to prayer because St. Jude's is one of a handful of facilities in the country (I think just 5 or 6) that do Proton Therapy Radiation for children.  This was important to us because Esther's tumor was in her left eye socket and so the radiation will have to be done on that part of her face.   Proton Therapy Radiation does less damage to the exterior skin and should not cause any permanent scarring.   We don't know much more than that.  I did not need radiation for my cancer treatment, so this is new to us.   The downside to being treated at St. Jude's is that her radiation plan is 5 days a week for at least 4 weeks.   Daily treatment at a facility 500+ miles away from our home was not going to allow us to travel back and forth as we have done for UNC in Chapel Hill, NC.  It was going to be a full on commitment.

There was a lot to get lined up before we could go.  We were able to find a furnished house to rent, 15 minutes from the hospital, that had room for all of us in a good neighborhood, which would also allow us to bring our family dog!     October is the busiest month of the year for the Insurance Brokerage where I work so getting to Memphis by the end of September was important.   The last weekend of September is also our biggest church outreach of the year at our local Apple Festival.   The timing was perfect.   Right at the end of September, 3 days after the Apple Festival, we drove 9 hours to Memphis TN to live for a month in a city we had never been to before at our fourth hospital in 3 months, for treatment we knew very little about, whew, I'm tired.... but what an adventure!!

From Evie:  This week has felt like a month.  It's hard for me to believe that just a week ago I was at the Apple Festival painting faces & walking around the fair.  Now I am in Memphis, hours from home.   I miss my house, family, friends, and pets.   We are lucky to have been able to bring Biscuit (our dog) with us and it makes me smile to come back to the house to find her waiting for us.   I am a very homesick person and hate staying away from home for more than a week, so this month will be hard.   I am also scared for our safety in this city, which has a very high crime rate, but I know and trust that God will protect us.  He has this far, hasn't He?

From Matthew:  As difficult as much of this has been I can definitely see God's hand in all of it.   Esther has done SO well through her treatment.  She has had very minimal side effects and her blood counts have held up well in between treatments.   No blood transfusions have been needed so far. On almost every trip to Chapel Hill, NC (I think all but two) we saw a rainbow in the sky.   The rainbow was God's promise to Noah that He would show mercy to His creation.   He has definitely shown mercy to us.  Since our kids are homeschooled, Cherish doesn't work outside the home, we have a GREAT ministry team at church, and my work (which has been VERY supportive) allows me to work virtually it was possible to literally relocate our entire family for a month to be together for Esther's treatment.  

So... we have now been in Memphis for four days.  In that time Esther has been sedated again, had more scans, been fitted for her radiation mask, and we have met most of the team that will be treating Esther while she is here.    The verse at the beginning of this blog was given to me by a nurse in the imaging center at St. Jude's when we went in at the end of our first day there.  She shared how she had been a patient at the same hospital when she was 16.  Doctors said she wouldn't have children, but she has three and multiple grandchildren.  She said that Habakkuk 1:5 was her life verse and that God had done astounding things in her life and that He would do the same for us!  She was such a blessing at the end of a long day.

From Evie:  While being here in Memphis is a blessing, I can see how the devil is trying to hurt us still.   God made it possible for Esther to have treatment at St. Jude's, Satan made the city we have to stay in full of crime.  God helped us find a nice home in a safe neighborhood, Satan tries to make our stay hard by making the dishwasher break.  But those things seem little when I bring to mind all our blessings.  Like being together, having family who are willing to take care of our animals, and being able to take Esther to one of the best child cancer centers in the world.  We are so blessed and I am very thankful.   Without God's help we definitely wouldn't be in such a good position today.

From Matthew:  We have till the middle of next week before Esther's chemotherapy resumes and her radiation begins.  Her blood counts are good and she is feeling strong.  We are not on vacation but we are going to do as much together as a family as we can.  There is a lot to do in this big city, yesterday we got to go to the Memphis Zoo.  We saw Panda Bears for the first time in our lives, that was BIG for Emilie (one of Esther's sisters) as that is her favorite animal!    

While we are here I hope to be more consistent with writing this blog, and hopefully not only Evie but other family members will add to the entries.   I will plan to do this weekly at least during the month of October.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for all of your prayers, love, & support.   Until next time in the words of that great, (not so gospel), song by Mark Cohn, we'll be "walking in Memphis..." trusting our Lord to guide, provide, protect, and heal.   We are in His hands, there is no better place to be.  He "will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you" Habakkuk 1:5


Dan and Tanya Barrow - October 2nd, 2022 at 8:58am

Dan and I are praying regularly for complete healing for Esther. So happy to hear about the Lord's provision. Only he could get you a furnished house near the hospital that takes pets! Ptl!

Matthew Chapman - October 2nd, 2022 at 1:31pm

Thanks Tanya! That man’s so much.

Carol Puckett - October 2nd, 2022 at 2:57pm

Thanks to both of you for sharing your hearts with us. What really touched my heart was the lady who shared her story with you and the scripture from Hab. 1:5. I pray daily for Esther and her precious family. I ask God to put the right people in your paths with words that will encourage you and opportunities for you to encourage others. Praise God He did! He is faithful and He is good all the time! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Matthew Chapman - October 2nd, 2022 at 7:24pm

Thank you so much Carol!! Yes He is always faithful & always good!!

Kathy Wright - October 2nd, 2022 at 2:58pm

Continuing to pray for Esther and all of your family! God is watching over your precious daughter.

Matthew Chapman - October 2nd, 2022 at 7:25pm

Thank you Kathy!

Pam - October 2nd, 2022 at 3:36pm

Hebrews 11

Our Heroes of Faith


By faith, the Chapmans walk into uncharted waters, for you. But, The Wonderful One has gone before you; His voice stilled storms, He will lead you, make the way, and preserve all of you from being overcome in this new way of going where you've never been before.

Still trusting God with you

Matthew Chapman - October 2nd, 2022 at 7:24pm

Pam. Thank you so much. So grateful that He leads us & goes with us.

Sara Kilgore - October 2nd, 2022 at 4:41pm

Love to read your and Evie’s blog! We continue to pray for Esther on this journey and pray for your entire family safety while you are in Memphis.

Matthew Chapman - October 2nd, 2022 at 7:25pm

Thank you Sara!

Stephanie Havens - October 3rd, 2022 at 8:16am

Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. We are praying for you daily. Many Blessings to you all.

Laura Arnold - October 5th, 2022 at 3:31pm

Esther and your family are in my daily prayers. Thanks for the update and pictures. It warms my heart to see the smiles. God is good and in control. Love you guys