The Past Week......

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!

With Dad

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!

Whatchya think?

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! 


  1. Constantly praying for Anna and your whole family!
    Love you guys!!!

  2. Thanks so much for the update and all those wonderful photos! It is amazing and humbling to see Anna's bright and happy face even in the midst of some scary moments. What a beautiful example of the joy of the Lord shining through despite difficult circumstances!! Thank you, Anna for being such a wonderful godly example to all of us! God is truely being glorified. :-)

  3. Anna, you are beautiful, inside and out, and always will be. I love you so much! Thank you for your precious friendship.

    God is good,

  4. Love you all and have been praying for you alot today as I will continue through this whole process. Sandee Ragsdale

  5. Amazing! You are a very loved family and God will work wonders through this new challenge and journey. We will continually be praying and thinking about all of you.

    And Anna, love the pink hat on you! Very cute!

  6. What a beautiful post to read. Tears in my eyes the entire way through. Thank you for allowing us to walk right beside you as you face this journey. Praying for you all.

  7. Emily,
    Mom and I are praying for all of you through this.
    Dad lost his battle to his heart and MDS (radiation
    induced leukemia) in July. It was a very long battle.

    He walked up until one week before. He was very
    determined he wanted to be with the Lord.

    I was privileged to be his nurse for the last two years.
    There were so many blessings, joys, and miracles.

    Praying for His Sweet Presence in every moment as you
    walk through this,

    Miss Connie

  8. Love the orange. I to cried while reading but just because how precious we all take the simple things for granted. I know how important family is and we as a family have stood with each in times of need. I watch my girls at how they love one another and sister love is so much different than any other out there. My girls cant stand being away from each other and we all send our love to your family.
    The love from you two are what had gotten us to know the lord and he is a wonderful strength. And I thank you for that.
    I look at our simple things such as a little one having a tough time at school. And earlier that took over my life and seeing this story is why i cried that is nothing compared to what it could be. I Love your family and so does my family. Lots of Love The Clark family

  9. The pink hat looks so cute on you! You're such a beautiful person, and I know you're going to come out of this stronger. Praying:)

  10. SO precious. My heart aches for you all, and I will continue to pray and follow this heart-wrenching journey that you are on. Thank you for sharing and the testimony of your precious family and sweet daughter. Please let Anna know we are praying for her.

  11. Beautiful post to read about Anna. I pray for all of you, especially Anna, to get through this. God is good and will provide.
    Bekka and Matt

  12. Thomas and I are the first ones up and gone before any one else in the Simpson house is up, so we have committed to praying together every morning for you Anna (not that the rest aren't).
    We decided that 6 am would be our time before the throne of grace on your behalf. We love you Anna (((Hugs)))
    -Mrs Simpson

  13. What a wonderful and beautiful family. We will be praying for you, Anna, and the family as you face this scary road. God is good and may His goodness comfort you all and may you find strength in Him. If you need anything, please please let us know. We want to help in whatever way we can. We love you all so much! The Kalnbach Family

  14. Dear Anna,

    Please know how much our family loves you! You are in our prayers.

    May the Lord give you comfort and strength. May the GREAT PHYSICIAN perform a mighty work in you.

    Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"

    ~~Praying in San Diego!~~
    Beth and the Ledford men too

  15. I will be praying for you guys and keeping you in my heart! I don't know if either Anna or Naomi remembers me, but I remember playing with them as kids during pastor's meetings in Washington and I hope they might remember me! (I am pastor Tyree's granddaughter, now married with two kiddos and different last name!).
    I will definitely be keeping you in prayer and mind.
    Sarah Poole

  16. You are an AMAZING family!!! I pray God's strength and peace for you as you begin this difficult journey. God bless...You are all in our prayers especially sweet Anna.
    Christy Hohenstreet

  17. You are in my prayers and my churches as well...

  18. Emily, What a great--and touching--post. Anna's smile tells the story of her relationship with Jesus and her family. You know Anna and your entire family is in our prayers. We love you all. Keep the Son in your eyes. God will do great things with these terrible circumstances!

    Love, the Postmas

  19. Anna, and the girls, i keep popping back on here to leave a comment, then cant think of anything... words cannot tell how strong you all are, and how great God is! just know i love you! all of you! call me with anything! ps... making a little gift for you Anna :)

  20. It is a tremendous blessing and encouragement to see your whole family handle this with such grace and faith. Christ is being glorified through you. Anna, I believe God is going to do wonderful things with your life! It is precious to see you still smiling and caring for others the way you do. You are very blessed to have such a wonderful family and so many people who love you, although I have to say, you are easy to love! We will be standing with you in your courageous fight and will not stop until you are healed. You are an inspiration to our family, as well as to many others. We love you beautiful lady (and your beautiful family too)! Love and hugs, Russell, Sasha, Savannah, Noah, Nathan, Samuel, Jeremiah, Victoria, and Sophia Smith

  21. Emily thanks for the up dates I know they can't be easy to wright but they are truly loved and tears are shed as we read them. We love you all. We will keep praying and if we can do anything else to help just ask. Love you Anna Love & Prayers John & Theresa Pennington

  22. Praying for all of you as you take this unexpected journey. May the Lord give you the strength and wisdom that you need every step of the way.

    Thought Houston Family would enjoy reading this.


  24. You are so strong, Anna.I l love you so much and am praying for you.

  25. Dear Houston family (and especially Anna),

    Thank you for sharing all the details of Anna's diagnosis with us! I prayed for you folks this morning and will continue to do so. I am confident God will give you grace for each and every turn of this journey.

    Lots of love!

    Julie Brownfield

  26. I have never met your family but was directed to your blog (and to pray for Anna) by Rosa S. Please know that I will be keeping Anna, and your whole family, before the Throne of Grace.

  27. Anna for starters I want you to know that you are absolutly BEAUTIFUL!!! Although you probly already know that lol. You are in my prayers along with the rest of your family. Anna stay strong I know your a fighter and you can DOOO ITTT!!!
    I wish we lived closer so I could give you a HUGEEEEE hug:)
    I guess the whole familly will just have to give you a huge group hug from me!!! Love all you guys!!

    p.s. Do somthing silly and crazy every day! And Laugh as MUCH AS YOU CANNN!!!
    (This is a challenge from me soo DOOO ITTT) LOL

  28. About 6 years ago I did the swab testing and got put into the database for potential bone marrow matches. I hadn't really thought about it since then. On Sunday night, after I heard, I updated my contact information. Who knows, maybe I'll be the match you need. We're praying for Anna, and your family. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

    The Fullers

  29. Tears are flowing and hearts are stirred because of you, Anna...because of the situation in which God has placed you, but even more importantly, because of your steadfast love and hope in Him. God is good...ALL THE TIME! We are praying with you and your family in this journey. God has a plan and a purpose! How exciting about a wig out of YOUR OWN HAIR...incredible.

    I love that you have a blog, Emily, so that all of us can keep up with what is going on and know how to effectively pray. We love all of you dearly and wish we could wrap our arms around you and pray over you.

  30. Thinking of you and praying MUCH for you and your family today, Anna. I talked with my sister today and she said that my niece called her to tell her about you. Did you ever imagine that in just a few days, God has spread your story to people you don't even know and in places you have never even visited before.... nationwide, as well as worldwide??? Not just about your sickness and the fight you have before you, but your testimony for HIM!! It is your story... your family's story... but it's also HIS story.... He's just using you to tell it. An awesome... yet truly a sobering thought. Makes me ponder how well I tell the "story" He's given me to tell. ~~~I've added my stick to your bundle! ~~~
    Many prayers for you.... and hugs too! Love you, Mrs. Potvin

  31. Constantly praying for you Anna.... My family and I wear our Orange ribbons we received at church on Sunday night and have had many opportunities to share your story because of it. This morning while at the Dentist office the receptionist asked about it and shared a story with us and told us you'll be added to her prayer list. I'm sure many people in our church and around the world are praying that a miracle will happen. You and your family are a true witness to us.

    With much love and prayers,

    Bro. Rick Potvin
    Pr. 3:5-6

  32. Emily,

    We just heard the news (Tues. 10/16). We are deeply grieving for Anna, you, and Craig, as well as for the whole family. We just had a time of prayer around the supper table for all of you...we're in shock and we share your sorrow. But sorrow not without hope! We treasure our friendship and want to walk through this with you in the coming weeks and months, for as you said, it will be a long, hard battle. We love you all very much! Sweet Anna, we love you!! Love, Lori, for us all

  33. When asked what he wanted to pray for tonight, Alton (3), said he wanted to pray for my friend. Then he prayed for her. After saying goodnight he wanted to pray for her again because he didn't say her name. So I told her that her name was Anna. And he laid down and prayed for God to help Anna get better.

  34. Anna the black hat looks really cute on you, love you, praying for you.

  35. Tragic news to hear from WA about our young friend, Anna. So many happy memories w/her & her family, and the church there! We are committed to praying for you Anna, for strength to cooperate with all that is going to be required of you in the next months, for grace to endure, and for wisdom beyond your years to understand, and help your family thru this time also. You probably don't remember, but when we lived there, one of my bosses in the ER had a son that went thru something similar, and he & his parents know Marybridge and Fred Hutchison Cancer center inside out. Eventually his little sister became a donor for him. Today he has been cancer free for two years. During this entire time my grand daughters & the rest of us prayed several times a day for him, and though he is now cancer free, the girls still continue to pray for him. This is also what we are committing to do for you! Love you guys. Be brave our young friend, & know that God is beside you & He knows the plans he has for you! Know that many people love you & will be praying for you & your family each step of the way! Carole Binder & family

  36. Dear family, We have been praying for you and asking our church family to pray as well. Reading this blog has made it more real and there are tears in my eyes. I love you so much.
    It is so great to see the encouragement that God is going to show his glory through this trial. It will be so hard though at times. In those times you will know the comfort of God. What a great thing to be comforted by our great Creator and Redeemer! I love you all so much.


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