It's hard to believe that this journey began for us one week ago today! It started with a trip to our beloved Dr C to have him check out this gnarly (yes! I actually used that word!!) bruise/lump on the back of Anna's leg. It was the second time since August that one like this appeared from nothing. After feeling the lump he ordered blood work.....Tuesday morning we received the call. Normal white blood cell count is 13-15,000..Anna's was at 75,000! Our Doc had just gotten off of the phone with a specialist who wanted to see her that day at 1:00.........his name is Dr. R Irwin and he is in hematology (pause) oncology. I knew without his saying it, they feared cancer. I got off the phone and broke down. My husband and I cried and prayed. Then the tough part- we had to tell Anna. We then spoke with the children about the seriousness of the situation and prepared to go. This was the beginning of our journey. A journey of faith, love, support, tears, laughter, trust, more tears, and courage.
Anna in the above picture was brave, but so nervous! We had all cried together and now we were in a sort of daze as we headed to Marybridge. It was so unreal going to the office with the sign, "oncology". The only doctor's office waiting room we've been in with a basket full of do rags for cancer patients. Tears filled our eyes once again. From the beginning the staff was so sweet and caring. The doctor was compassionate and very thorough as he explained everything. By the end of the day Anna had had blood drawn, x-rays of her chest, a CT scan of her leg, and an explanation that after the look at her blood we could rule out acute leukemia, but her white blood cell count had risen to 93,000. We then had two possibilities. One, it could be a weird infection in her leg (but she had no fever so this seemed highly unlikely) or two, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, but we would have to wait for a genetic test looking for the Philadelphia chromosome. The waiting would be the hardest part......
Below, Anna feeling a bit down at the news that the doctors were about 98% sure it was CML.
Thursday we tried to have a "normal" day. It didn't quite work. That evening we got the call, the results were already in.......we thought they would take until the next week.....100%...CML. Friday we all went to have a chat with Dr. Irwin. He explained things so well for all of us. We discussed a plan of action. We discussed the possibilities of a donor match amongst our troop. We discussed the procedure to be done on Monday. Then Craig, Anna, and I met with him alone. This time to allow Anna to ask any private questions that may be weighing on her heart and mind. More tears.
|Heading out to meet with Dr. Irwin|
|A sister's support is the best ever!|
|In front of Marybridge....together!|
When faced with chemotherapy every girl will dread the thought of losing her hair. Her hair, after all, is given to her as her glory. And Anna has gorgeous hair. But her spirit is even more beautiful. She loves the Lord with all of her heart, mind, strength. She trusts God that His will is perfect for her, no matter what may be taken from her in this life. She believes, as do we, that God's plan for her life is far better than what we could ever imagine. Anna is strong and courageous. Her (our) God is even stronger!
After her appointment, we took her to Bath and Bodyworks to get her the very cute hand sanitizer holder and yummy smelling hand sanitizers as she must try very hard to avoid getting sick from here on out. And then...we shopped for hats, cute hats!!!!!!
Again, sisters are the best of friends and a great comfort in times like these.......Houston's stick together!
We prepared to share our hurt with a very loving church family. We looked online and found that orange is the color for leukemia awareness. The Houston girls all wore something orange in our hair, and Daddy surprised Anna by getting orange ties for all of the Houston boys. The preaching was awesome....about the risen Savior! Then the announcement, amid tears, we are trusting God to get us through. Sunday evening we entered to a sea of orange. More tears. What an outpouring of love and support! Orange ribbons were being passed out to everyone, not one person was without one. Gifts, hugs, tears, offers of help. A flood went forth over Facebook, phone calls were made, prayers were being offered up on our behalf. We spent a good portion of our Sunday evening service on our knees together.
A very special thank you to someone we don't even know. A kind hearted lady who heard of this asked if she could pay for Anna to get a wig...made of Anna's own hair. She sent us a link to a web sight and told her to pick out whatever style she wants. You see, Anna, God loves you so much.....He knows your hair is your glory and has chosen to give it back to you!!!!!! He has a bigger plan for you!
A very early Monday morning, awaiting a bone marrow sample. One week after the first appointment that started it all. A bit nervous, but Anna's got moxie!
|Going to sleep.....|
|Waking up, again...hmm haven't I already done this today?|
Having the love and support of friends, family, and even total strangers is a huge blessing to this family! We got to meet up with two very wonderful supporters....we love you Dave and Jackie!
Who says we can't still have a little bit of fun?! Even with how sore Anna is, she still has her spunk and is viewing life with joy and humor!
|Nice shoes! Haha!|
A very tired out girl. But ready for the fight of her life to begin. We are currently waiting for our Doctor to hear back from Fred Hutch Cancer Center before we can start testing siblings for a possible match. From there we will head toward a very long season. A much more difficult season. Anna will get much more sick before she gets better. But our God is Mighty and He is Healer. We trust that He will, in His time, heal our precious daughter.......................
Thank you all for everything!