1. The presumed flesh-eating bacteria/pneumonia (which could have been, actually, worse things, including but not limited to an infected fungal mass, tuberculosis, or - hey! - cancer) responded to antibiotics and is healed. James will not need further treatment nor will he need scoped.
2. The radiation induced pneumanitis is 90% gone at this point. James's cough is getting better, which reflects that result. Yeah!
3. All of the previous tumors in his lungs and surrounding lymph nodes which lit up like crazy on previous PET scans are GONE. (Yes, ALL. GONE.) No more lights.
Now, for potential problems - which means that you all can't stop praying for us yet!
1. Behind the catheter of James's port he has a small little dot of light (on the PET scan) which could be cancer. It is assumed to be a lymph node, but the radiologists are not sure. This is new. It is also small, for whatever that's worth. (Maybe a lot?)
2. In James's hip there's another little blip of light which means, potentially, that he has metastasized lung cancer in his hip. However, PET scans can also pick up previous trauma to bone, and this "light blip" is in the same location where James had a bone marrow biopsy in Thailand, so we are assuming it is lighting up from that previous "trauma." Also, at this point, whatever this is is not showing up on the CT which again, means small. Small potentially means insignificant.
It's important to note that when something is lighting up on a PET scan it is not conclusively cancerous. Cancerous cells will light up 100% of the time, but other things can light up which are not cancerous. If that makes sense. (As our engineer friend framed it, "Not every rectangle is a square.")
So where do we go from here?
First - we are not going to live under the fear or dread of potential cancer, that much is clear. There's a lot to be said - that has mostly already been said by other, famous people - about faith. For us, faith comes down to believing and trusting God even in the face of an uncertain outcome because we can trust who He is. Thus, even if it does turn out to be cancer, then what? At that point in time, God will still be present, powerful, and sovereign. What He wills will be accomplished. He has healed James, and He can continue to do so. We trust firmly that this is His will for James and have no reason to doubt that. So we are free to live freely, unencumbered by fear, worry, and "what-ifs." What a gift!
Secondly - James will have a repeat scan in early August. (I vied for July, but the doctor told us that we need to give "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" time to change or grow or die or whatever.) At that time, hopefully, doctors will have more conclusive results.
In the meantime...we are going to be here at least until James's scan in August. We are hopeful that at that time we will be released to head back to China. We are thankful for God's leading and trust that this further "delay" means that James will be healed and healthy by the time we return.
As we left the doctor's office, he apologized to us, saying that in light of the two spots on the PET scan he knows he had to deliver less than perfect news. We shook his hand, smiled, and said, "Well, hey, not to worry! Just a few months ago James was a dead man. Now look at him!" The doctor could do nothing but smile and nod in agreement which made us smile, because when patients make outlandish comments, doctors are supposed to correct them. He didn't correct us, because we did not overstate the truth. James's current state of health is nothing short of a divine miracle. He alone is worthy to receive glory - because it is by His will that all things exist.
What more shall we say? For time would fail me to tell of...women...who through faith...received their loved ones back from the dead.