Saturday, August 30, 2014

Diagnosis - Lung Cancer

Hope this finds you well. We so appreciate all the kind emails, prayers, and love on our behalf. Certainly makes it easier to go through this sort of thing. We feel very much upheld by God's grace on our behalf. 

Things are moving forward for us. We had lots of doctors appointments today. Long story short - James has been diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer (squamous cell, poorly differentiated, for all you medical people! =) ). It is a little unusual, as this is not the type of cancer you usually find in young, male, non-smokers. This type of cancer is somewhat aggressive, but not as bad as some others. 

The amazing thing is that because of the location of the tumor - in his bronchi, which resulted in a cough and a collapsed lung - we were able to get this diagnosed while the tumor is still small. Many times, this kind of cancer would be on the lung tissue, growing for years before symptoms materialize. (And then, obviously, prognosis is not as good.)

The plan is for James to have a full body PET/CT scan, an MRI of his brain, and a pulmonary function test. This morning he had a bone marrow biopsy as well. (Thankfully a lot less freaky than that one they did on House a few years ago!) This is all the doctors being proactive, making sure that James is a good candidate for surgery and that the cancer has not spread. The doctors are hoping that everything will be clear, and are believing that we caught it early. It is possible, though, that the tumor metastasized to his brain or other organs. (It would be very rare for an endobronchial tumor to be metastasized from somewhere else though.)  Obviously we can pray that the cancer is contained!

James will be getting tests over the next 3 days and will be getting results by next Wednesday or Thursday. Our team of doctors want to operate as soon as possible, performing a lobectomy. (The pulmonologist said "For you, I choose the best surgeon." I asked if he was sure he didn't want to find someone off the street, just for fun. He stopped smiling and said, "No, no, we must have good one. I choose the best.") (Sorry, couldn't help myself.) They will remove James's right middle lobe (FYI the best lobe to lose, if you ever have to choose). 

After surgery, James will be hospitalized for about a week and then he'll be able to return home a few days later. (Assuming everything is clean & contained.) The hospital is helping James extend his visa (Chinese only get 2 weeks on arrival; Americans get a month). The visa extension will not be a problem. We are looking into the possibility of living at a mission organization's guest house. And our insurance is working beautifully. James has been able to communicate with his family and miraculously, even though he told them he has cancer, they are doing OK. ("Cancer" is a death sentence in China, so extreme anxiety would be normal.)

Currently our most pressing need is that we need wisdom to know what to do with our girls. I don't yet know enough to feel comfortable leaving James here on his own. But being away from our girls for 3 weeks seems a bit insane/intense for us, our girls, and our friends/family taking care of them. Please pray for us, our girls, and our help as we sort this out. Lydia starts school Monday.

Sorry for a somewhat boring update - a lot of details. But we are so thankful. God's protection, provision, and kindness can be clearly seen through every circumstance of this ordeal. We are amazed. 

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