Quick Update about “Lit Up” MRI

From James:

So Young and I talked to Dr. Kristin Redmond, our radiation oncologist, this afternoon to find out the recommendation of the tumor board. As you may recall from a recent post, the latest MRI showed an area of the tumor that is “lit up” (i.e., whiter in the image than the rest of the tumor). This could indicate that part of the tumor is faster growing. It could also be an indication that the radiation is doing its work to fight the tumor.

Rather than another needle biopsy, the tumor board has chosen the middle road and is recommending an MRI a month from now, the exact date TBD. Previously, the follow-up was scheduled for three months from now.  If the lit up area has grown, it is possible that part of the tumor is fast growing, and Johns Hopkins will determine the next steps — possibly a biopsy. If it has not grown, the lit up area is most likely an indication of dying tumor cells, which would be good news.

This is a particularly stressful time. Tense periods of waiting are typical for people with serious health issues. We are praying for peace and the right perspective. We appreciate all your prayers. It seems like we meet people all the time who are praying for us, often people we don’t know. We met someone on Sunday, and So Young met still another person at VBS today. These encounters, along with the many tangible and intangible ways in which so many of you have reached out to us, are a great blessing for which we thank God every day.


17 Responses

  1. The days are passing by quickly. So Young looks better every day. I believe that the radiation is working and the tumor will shrink. I believe that God is healing her.

  2. Hi James & So Young! You do not know me but I recently saw a tweet that Tony Nolan had reposted on his twitter page where you asked for prayer. I immediatly stopped what I was doing and prayed for you. I am now following James on twitter.

    My son is 6 years old and also has a brain tumor. His, however, is a different type. I know first had of all the ups and downs that go with the stress of brain tumors. When he 1st started his radiation treatments his tumor grew some (the fluid sac part) and shrunk some (the hard center).

    I believe with all my heart that if we put 100% of our faith in God that he will take care of us. I put everything in Gods hands. I never asked God “why”, since that is not my place. God knows what he is doing. It says in James 5:16 to “Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” I firmly believe this. He had so many people praying for him, all over the world, and we strongly felt God’s hands around us. He is a completely different child now. He has so much faith in God and even accepted God as his Lord and Savior. At the age of 6 he has such a testimony.

    I will continue to pray for you, that God will heal you and use you for His honor and glory. I pray for His will to be done. There is no other. God will bring you through this, he will provide for you and take care of you. Praying for the doctors to feel God’s presence around them as well. Just always keep your eyes on Him and keep your faith in Him. No task is too large or too small for God.

    In Christ,

    • Tanya,

      So Young says God is trying to encourage her, through people like you, not to be afraid. She says she’s really grateful that you came forward to encourage her with your story. We are so grateful for your prayers. We are praying for your son as well. This is an amazing test of faith for us, but we see much good coming from it. Most of all, as you say, no matter what the outcome, we want God to be glorified. We live each day grateful for the many blessings we have received. We are grateful for you today!

      God bless,

      James and So Young

  3. The waiting is absolutely hell, I know and every minute lasts a year, but I have a good feeling about this, the radiation is working. There is very little anyone can say or do to make you feel better but we can all send prayers and positive thoughts.

    • Charlotte,

      I think it’s ironic that we waited a week only to be told we have to wait a month more! I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of times like this. Thanks for being such a consistent source of encouragement during this hard time!


      James and So Young

  4. I can certainly attest to the stress of wating. I can also attest to the absolute fact that miracles do still occur. James and So Young, I am praying for you. Peace, perseverance. Love. Healing. I have seen God do it. Please, email me and let me send you the name of an intercessor team in Virginia that prayed alongside us for my daughter Naomi. Believe. Plant your feet. Believe.

    • Chris,

      The girls, So Young, and I continue to pray for your sweet Naomi. So Young says the message you posted here really filled her with strength. I cried as I read your latest blog post. We love the picture! The post spoke to me exactly where I am. I really appreciate you taking time to encourage us with everything you have going on. Isn’t it great how the family of God works? We are automatically family. We continue to pray for healing, peace, and perseverance for you and your family.

      I’ll send you an email…


      James and “The Girls” (So Young, Shannon, Lindsay, and Audrey)

  5. As always prayer is continual. I thought about and spent 8 miles with Ruby (So Young) on Sunday. It was a light rain and somewhat sunny skies and it was silent and very calming. This caused me to think and talk to Our God about our Rubster for much of the run. The verse that tells us to be still and know that he is God kept playing in my thoughts that run. Everything around me seemed to be still as I passed it.

    Ruby I can not wait to come to DC and run the MCM this year and if you allow me I would love to run it in your honor!

    • Jimmy,

      So Young says her first thought on reading this post was, “Who did I run 8 miles with?!” (She says some pretty hilarious things these days. Seriously.) “And then when I saw that it was you, Jimmy, I felt comforted and loved by you, my friend.” She feels honored that you would want to run for her. That would be just another thing that shows you have a very good heart, like helping injured Marines or running 10 people in at the finish line. She said she really appreciates the verse you quoted. It has been on her heart, too. She feels a lot of peace knowing the hope God gives her. She says thank you for reminding her of that. She wants to know how your family is doing and when you will be moving back to the States.

      God bless,

      James and So Young

  6. We wait with you, Rubes. As always, I’m in awe of your faith and sense of humour in this as we wait for evidence of the almighty “smackdown of healing.”

    • Firecat,

      Nobody can lay the smack down like God, amen?! (So Young wants it to be clear that James wrote that in this response, not So Young, although So Young really did say the smack down thing.)

      I wish I could post all of So Young’s hilarious quotes. She is very funny these days, but a lot of times I refrain because they seem vaguely irreverent under the circumstances.

      So Young says she was happy to see your post. It was an ordinary morning waking up to “static-y haze, which is my vision,” she says, and it was wonderful to see all these great responses (after she enlarged them to a ginormous size).

      She says she has always loved your sense of humor, too! 🙂 She also says, “You are a blesssing, to me, my dear sister.”


      James and So Young

      • Definitely not irreverent! A sense of humour is one of the most important weapons we have in this fight. Use what God gave you!

        This? This is also epic: “Nobody can lay the smack down like God, amen?!” I’ve spent just enough time in an evangelical church to be absolutely tickled by that.

  7. Hi Dear Ones.
    You are in my prayers, as ever.
    Are you ready for an off-the-wall family ritual for not just merely surviving, but superceding the waiting periods, since as you said, James, this is likely to be one of many?

    Remember Advent Calendars, where one kid gets to pop open a little door every day until Christmas? This has somewhat the same “let’s get the family together on this & make sure no one is left out” wisdom built into it. Get a big desk calendar for the month & each day let the designated member circle the date in the morning with all present & offer a quick prayer on behalf of the family. In the evening, when all can be present again, have a quick “check in” of how the day went for all, a moment of prayer of praise & petition & then the day’s designee putting a big red “X: through that day on the calendar.

    My roommate @ the first college I went to was 16 & I was 15 back in 1970. It was the dead of winter in a dink town with no public transportation. We did not have drivers’ licenses & the most active organization on campus was the SDS (think Bob Dylan’s iconic line”You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”). She cried herself to sleep every night, so I got one of those big calendars & said that if we survived 6 weeks, we would take the train to Chicago & have lunch at Marshall Fields. The daily big red “X”ing of the day together really multiplied our comfort and halved our sorrows. And we made t through finals, getting the grades we needed to transfer to more hospitalble milieus. 🙂

    So Young, I am very optimistic about what you & God are doing inside your head. It is a journey of faith. But like that parable Jesus told about once a house is swept clean, if new inhabitants are not put in place… I think that means ways of doing things… including confidence, how you think about yourself & the world, how you expect God to manage your affairs…then the old ways push very hard to retake what they consider their territory. I know it is completely within our Lord’s plan that you kids be strengthened, not traumatized by the way your family manages & grows through this protracted time. It is so distinctively like Christ. The aroma of life where any other way there would just be death and dread.

    My friends at Jews or Jesus have long said, “Turn a knock into a boost”. For a long time, I did not understand what they meant, although I knew that they often got put in jail for handing out literature & even went to the Supreme Court on a First Ammendment case (and eventually won it…). Basically, it is the activism of St, Paul applied to Romans 8:28 & following. When he got stoned & dragged out of Phillipi, left for dead & found that he was not dead, he went back into town to ask the officials if they were aware that he was a Roman citizen & they were in violation of Roman law. When he got chained in prison with Barnabas, they led a hymn-sing & then everyone’s chains fell off. Why let satan have one second more of our time or attention that he already managed to mess up? And the same goes for however he is managing to pick on our little ones who are “the world’s best observers, but worst interpreters”?

    Keep the faith.


  8. Can. I fix my fractured Bible stories?
    So much for rattling off history without looking it up..m
    Those days are done.
    Too bad they have not invented trifocals for aging brains yet…

    Anyway: see Acts 14 – 16.
    It was Paul that got up after stoning + went back into town, but it was to encourage the “baby” Christians, and it was the town of Lystra where just the day before they were celebrating his healing acts w/ sacrifices + feasts.

    When he was raising the roof of the innermost cell in prison, that was Philippi (one “l”), by then his co-laborer was Silas. That is the episode where he went back in the new day + told off the town officials for violating Roman law by having mistreating him without due process.

    Love you all lots.
    Thinking of all kinds of “Ol Time Religion” songs
    “If it was good enough for Paul + Silas, it is good enough for me”
    “Life is like a mountain railroad with an engineer who’s brave”
    “What a friend we have in Jesus”

    …From a “historic inn” hotel room in Annapolis…. It is no prison cell, but how could it be a 3 star hotel w/ no coffeemakers + wheezy barely lfunctioning air conditioning? What’s next? Dengue Fever? I hope I can find my car that I parked after hours a couple blocks away. The medical meeting has been good though, @ the 4 star place.

    • Hi, Ellen!

      Thanks so much for your posts. They are always so insightful and full of meaning. I like the idea of celebrating each passing day like advent. It’s so easy to let them pass by like only a few are significant.

      Frankly, I think So Young is less anxious than I am. I say, “Are you stressed about the MRI?” And she basically says, “No.” That’s not to say she’s entirely nonplussed, but she’s doing a lot better than I would, I think. But of course there are good days and bad days.

      Anyway, we are really grateful for how you and Mike have ministered to us so much, in word and in deed. I think you should compile your posts and write a book! They are really great.

      Here’s hoping your next 4-star is at least a 6-star…

      James and “The Girls”

      • Oh James! There is a book in your blog: it is So Young’s + your love letter to God as you walk this of journey of faith (Heb. 11.. . I checked) that God has set before you
        + his slowly unfolding more + more how His love + care transforms everything.

        Every comment here is our love letter to you all.
        Every word belongs to you.

        Did you ever heard the Ann Landers story that a reader sent in? He said that he dreamed first that he went to hell. There was one pot of soup in the middle with people gathered round, but each was starving because all the spoons’ handles were too long to get soup into the owner’s mouth.

        Then he found himself in heaven. He was shocked at how similar the arrangements were: same pot of soup, same grouping of needy people with the same long handled spoons. But here, everyone was smiling. The difference? All the people were using their spoons to feed one another.

        Have a good weekend.

        Much Love,

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