Remember when we told you about this year's Alaskan Bush People Christmas Special? Well it happened and, despite the fears of many fans and members of the Brown family itself, Ami Brown was able to participate.
In doing so, we got a very hopeful update on Ami Brown's battle with cancer. For one thing, she was done with that round of chemotherapy.
But was the good news -- or "Christmas miracle," as it's been touted by some -- really what it seemed?
We're not going to ask anyone to test their belief in miracles. That's a matter of personal religious convictions (not every faith believes in miracles, and not every person of a miracle-friendly faith believes in them).
Instead, we're just going to question whether the beautiful story of Ami making a recovery, as told on the Christmas Special, was misleading.
In other words: is she actually cured at all?
Ami's doctor said this:
"There’s every single reason to be hopeful and absolutely optimistic."
This was, of course, after Ami Brown's second round of chemotherapy. Hope and optimism can't fight cancer alone, but studies have demonstrated that they can have a powerful effect on someone's odds of surviving cancer.
The doctor also said: "You were pretty sick. You got through it!"
Now, reality shows are often edited, and editing can lead to very misleading statements.
Was the doctor talking about Ami's serious and possibly terminal lung cancer in the past tense?
Or was the doctor talking about Ami's adverse reactions to chemotherapy?
Billy Brown also spoke about Ami's health, announcing:
"Her lungs are clear!"
Sure ... but does he mean clear of fluid, like a person might get if they are sick? Or does he mean clear of cancer, which would be positively miraculous after only two rounds of chemotherapy?
"She’s still weak and has a cough and all that, but if you look at her eyes it’s the best part because Ami’s back inside there and she wasn’t for a while."
When he says that she "has a cough," that sounds like a very delicate way of referring to lung cancer.
Chemo can cause people to zone out. Have you ever known someone on chemo? They nap a lot. They seldom eat and they have no energy.
Billy sure sounds optimistic.
"We’ve been in California for so long, and up until recently we haven’t been able to look out and see if there’s a road going out of here or not. But now it’s a good beginning!"
Ami's reply is a little vague:
"Life is a gift."
Bird did confessional segments during the Alaskan Bush People Christmas Special.
She gave it in front of a backdrop meant to resemble a simple cabin, even though we all know that they're living in L.A. and Bird even acknowledged their location:
"It still feels unreal that we’re celebrating for Christmas and doing our tree in like, a desert."
(Fun fact: the use of actual Christmas trees is not commonplace in L.A. because it's a desert)
Bird and the rest of her family used that element of surprise to their advantage, to Ami's delight.
"She won’t be expecting Christmas at all."
Well, to be fair, nobody expects Christmas before Thanksgiving.
Billy Brown seems eager to point to the bright side of things.
"It’s been a hard road," he says. "But to know that it’s been worth it and to know that it’s better than it was, no matter what it may be, makes it all feel very good."
The non-fan page, Alaskan Bush People Exposed, had their own commentary about the Alaskan Bush People Christmas Special.
"Last night's show was filmed before Thanksgiving and Ami was doing fairly well after finishing chemo."
That much, we knew. (Though it may have been less-than-obvious to your average viewer that this was filmed so far in advance)
"Shortly after Thanksgiving she suffered a brief setback and was very ill."
That is crushing news, but Alaskan Bush People Exposed has been pretty reliable about this sort of information, so we're inclined to believe it.
"She is doing better now and back on the mend. They are still in Los Angeles, and she is recuperating."
That, at least, is good news. But not all of the news is good.
"There has been no miracle cure and unfortunately this will be a long battle for her."
We figured as much, because that's how cancer works. Even the page administrator feels sorry for Ami.
(The page may not like Alaskan Bush People, but they're not cheering for anybody to have cancer)
"She has lost a lot of her hair, wears a hat most of the time and very frail."
Some of that was apparent, even in the special.
"Hopefully, after the holidays she will get strong enough to start filming the upcoming season."
Remember, folks, even Rain Brown doesn't know if her mom will survive.
If it sounds like somebody's cancer went away like magic, you're hearing optimism and editing.
We all hope that Ami pulls through -- even people who can't stand the show are hoping that.
But we need to remember that, best case scenario, Ami has a long, long road to recovery.