Unexplainable?! We Know Better!

Getting her chemo started 

Still able to smile!
 This morning at 2:00 a.m., Anna received her last two hour dose of Busulfan, which has been administered four times a day for four days. Today she will begin her two days of Cyclophosphamide, a more extreme chemo drug that is given only once a day. After tomorrow, Anna will be done with "conditioning". Conditioning is the term used for the six days of intense, high dose chemo therapy that prepares or conditions the body to be able to accept the bone marrow which will be given on Friday.
After a few days, not feeling so well..but still smiling!

Thursday will be Anna's "day of rest"; however, Daniel will be busy with appointments at S.C.C.A. all day. Daniel will get the last minute check-ups and blood draws to make sure he is ready for the marrow harvest. He is so excited! People keep asking if he is nervous, and I honestly have to say that he isn't!

Anna has kept a positive attitude throughout this process though she has been feeling worse as the days go by. Her vision has been blurred making it difficult to be up walking around as well as to read. This has been a source of frustration for her.  Also, her nausea has been pretty bad, making it difficult to eat food. Some of the anti-nausea meds make her really sleepy.

Yesterday I stopped in to deliver a couple of books to Craig and give Anna a kiss and hug. Emotions ran a bit high, so I stayed longer than I had expected. I held my baby girl for as long as she needed. I was able to help her get freshened up and then we sat on her bed together and watched as a storm passed over us. It was beautiful to watch. From the strike of lightening to the down pour, to the sun breaking through once again. I told her how beautiful a picture that was for us. That through the storms of life, God is always there shining His light.

Anna was excited to get gummy bears from Irv (at church), delivered by Michael. She eagerly opened them and had a few~ an amazing feat since food is not very appetizing right now. Thank you Irv!!  We sat and enjoyed each other's company for a little while until she got sleepy. Again tears, I laid down next to her in her bed and held her in my arms, promising to stay by her side for as long as she needed me. Sometimes a mommy's arms is the best place to fall asleep. I am thankful for that time. Right now we live life moment by moment. A "quick trip" to the hospital can easily turn into a couple of hours or more. But that's okay. This is just for a season, and though it's difficult for the younger children to understand, they do know that their sissy is very sick and has extra needs right now. I hear it in their prayers as they ask God to "help Anna not have cancer anymore".

~"The effectual fervant prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16
I must share about the doctor's rounds yesterday..... Dr. Woolfrey and the P.A. come in the mornings for rounds. They read off Anna's numbers from the blood work that has been done and Craig asked about Anna's liver numbers. The Dr. said that Anna's numbers were amazingly perfect! She said it was completely UNEXPLAINABLE! (you see, we know that her enzymes had been bad back in January due to the TKI's, or cancer drugs, but her bilirubin remained elevated and actually climbed a bit while her liver was supposed to be "cooling off". Well, this made them think she may have something called "Gilbert's (pronounced jheel-bahyers) syndrome" which is actually common and just means her liver has issues processing the red blood cells. This was not a concern regarding the transplant so we had gotten the green light to move forward.) Well, Craig responded to Dr. Woolfrey's comment of the "unexplainable" perfect liver numbers with, "This is totally explainable Doctor, we literally have people from around the world praying specifically for Anna's liver! God has answered those prayers!"

What a great testimony of God's handiwork through the prayers of righteous people from all over the world! Thank you all for your diligence in praying for Anna! This brings great joy to my heart knowing we can share such things with the doctors and nurses whom we hope to spread the light of Christ with at every opportunity!

My exhortation to each of you today is to seize the moment! Take each opportunity to vocalize God's goodness to all you come in contact with! Share the light of Christ, pray for lost souls to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus! Especially in the storms of life, the darkest clouds can cover that light, but you don't have to let that happen...you can allow His light to shine through you and spread that hope to everyone!

Enjoying her gummy bears!
**Please pray for my father-in-law, Larry, he is currently in the hospital in Astoria, OR. We are unsure what is wrong with him, but know that he received 3 units of blood last night. Pray for wisdom from the doctors and for Craig in knowing when he may need to head down there to see him! Thank you all!**
Asleep in her mommy's arms.


  1. Praise the Lord for this answer to prayer!

    I continue to be amazed by Anna's joyfulness in the midst of this. I don't think its any coincidence that her name means "gracious". Her gentleness and kindness is so sweet to watch. I love you, Anna!

    Sarah S.

  2. What an encouraging post! I love how God is using your testimonies for his Glory! His light is shining through your family just like that sunshine after the storm! Her body is in the savior's hands, and there is no better place for her.
    Wow, I just realized that "Praise You in this Storm" by Casting Crowns is playing on Pandora as I type this comment. God is so good! Love and prayers for Anna, Daniel, and the entire family!


  3. Praise the Lord for the liver numbers! Our prayers continue for Anna, your whole family, and now for Dad Larry, too.

    Love to you all,
    Suemes :-)

  4. We are Praising the Lord for the answer of the prayers of God's people and rejoice with you all. It is such a great thing that our God loves us enough to answer our prayers. I love the beautiful smiles in the pictures. So thankful that you are nearby to be with your girl and your family. So many blessings amidst this trial. I will be praying for Janet and for Larry. We are praising the Lord in the storms with you.
    Love Jackie Harper

  5. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust." Psalm 91:1-2. I love you guys and won't stop praying! By the way, that is a really great song, Gilead!

  6. I love you Anna

    Michael Houston

  7. I love you Anna! I am praying for you! Stay strong! Keep shining the light of Christ!!!! I hope I can come visit you soon!!!

    Love, Julia H.

  8. I love you Anna! I am praying for you every day! Maybe I can get you more gummy bears! =) I love you, love you, love you! I want to visit you a lot of times! I pray that you will be strong!

    Love, Abigail H.

  9. There is no greater healing than a mother's arms wrapped around her child no matter what age...Continuing a vigilent prayer for all of you and now grandpa Larry...God's blessing on all of you thank you for keeping us updated! God is ALIVE and He is healing one of His children day by day!
    Together in this journey with the Houston's!
    Ron and Kathy Isom~Astoria
    P.S. Did you hear we became grandparents on April 9th to a early and healthy little girl Meira Louise Sapir she is a blessing to our lives.

    1. Yay! So happy for you, GRANDMA and GRANDPA!!!!! What a sweet and precious blessing!

  10. Hi Anna! I miss you and love you! I can't wait for you to be better! I hope to see you soon!

    Love, Lydia H.

  11. Thank you so much for your continued updates, Emily. We know how easy it is to be consumed with all the busyness of times like these, and we so appreciate your taking the time to keep us all informed of what is happening and how to pray. You are all continually in our prayers. Special hugs to Anna, Craig, Emily, and all those at home who long to be with their dear sister!

  12. Thank you for sharing this! We love you all!
    God is good!
    C, for the Youngs

  13. Love to you all and yes a mommies arms are the best place to be especially in a time like this. Love to you all lots and lots. and we hope to see you all sometime maybe this summer. We need a break from here and would love to make a visit your way. Tell Craig and all the kids we love them and our family is praying for you all daily. God can do all things and we all know that. Love you again. Teresa

  14. My husband and I met Craig when he was in Moscow this spring. Our oldest son was diagnosed with leukemia in August, and we are all too familiar with much of your family's trials. You are all in our prayers. We will pray especially for a successful transplant without side effects. We, too, have seen God answer prayers in astonishing and unexpected ways! What a comfort to know that the names of our sick children are constantly being brought in prayer to the ears of the God who hears.
    Hannah Grieser

  15. Dear Sweet Anna (and Emily),

    Thank you for keeping us all updated on what's happening with Anna through your blog. Please know that all of the Tanakas are closely following what's happening each day and that our hearts are with you all through this difficult time I just spent 3 weeks in the hospital with my Dad, and Rich and I have spent sleepless nights with seriously ill children in the hospital on numerous occasions, so we feel just a tiny bit of what you must be going through. . I'm so sorry that you must endure all of this, but I also rest in the sovereignty of God and we will be upholding all of you in prayer

    Know that we all love you, Anna, Emily, Craig, and everyone!

    Lori Tanaka.

  16. Praying for all of you during this time!! Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help! Love, Brian, Amelia, Chantelle, Alexis, and Aubrey Rogers

  17. Dear Anna, We're thanking the Lord for His "unexplainable" gift! I share in your frustration with your blurry vision and have been praying that this too will pass soon. I know God is using your testimony there in the hospital to share many things about Christ, but, Anna, He is also using you mightily here during your absence. Thank you for shining brightly for Christ, no matter how terrible you feel physically. You are teaching me MANY things about yielding to God's plans for my life with the right heart. Things I should have learned and applied before. Thanking the Lord for you and His lessons even though I do not understand His ways!! Learning to smile for Him,♥ Mrs. Potvin

    P.S. I had similar thoughts too when I watched the storm yesterday. Did you notice that the sun always seemed a little brighter after the storm clouds than it did before they were there for a while?? I wonder, is it really brighter, or is it just that it was appreciated more after the darkness? Makes me think of another application. Love you!

  18. I know all of children were willing to be "the one" and it blesses my heart to see such love between siblings, but as I sit back and hear the stories... I am blown away! Thank you, Daniel, for showing your unselfish love for your sister. You and your brothers.... well, let's just say, you make me wish I had brothers like you when I was growing up. (Well, maybe not like the goofy side of you LOL) Love , Mrs. Potvin

  19. Praise the Lord that Anna's liver numbers are down! I love you, Anna!

  20. Praying for you sweet Anna and for the whole Houston family! You are all in our daily prayers.

  21. Praise the Lord!!! It is so encouraging with the answered prayers about Anna's liver count. Contiuing to pray for her during the chemo and also that Daniel will stay healthy. Thank you Mrs. Houston for sharing and it is wonderful to see Anna's smile through all of this. Anna continues to be an excellent witness. I'm very thankful the Lord has allowed your family to witness to the staff at the hospital as well.

    God Bless you,
    Rick Potvin
    Pr. 3:5-6

  22. You have encouraged me so much as a moma. I love how you love on your children. Your relationship with God is just shining through your testimony. Thankyou for being so open in your posts about everyday life in this. I know it has helped me and I'm sure many others.
    My daughter wants to send a letter so I'm wondering if I should send it to the hospital in her name?

  23. Anna,
    You are such an inspiring young lady. You are absolutey beautiful and seeing you smile in these pictures brings the biggest smile to my face:) Anna you are amazing!! keep staying strong you too Emily and Craig you are all amazing people!!

    Lots of LOVE and prayers
    Lena Ann Clark

    P.S. Friday May 17 is going to be a good day not only is it transplant day for you!!! But its also my 18 birthday!!

    Many Prayers!!!

  24. I'm rejoicing that Anna's liver numbers are perfect. What an answer to so many prayers!
    You're attitude Anna, continues to inspire and encourage me. You are a very good witness for Christ!
    Continuing to keep you all in prayer,

  25. God is so Good to us. Even in the worst of storms

  26. Emily, you remind me of the blog writer Ann Voskamp( www.aholyexperience.com ) who wrote the book One Thousand Gifts. Your love for The Lord is evident in your writing and what a witness for all the readers! Thank you for sharing what Anna, you and the family have been going through! Your thankful heart in the midst of difficult times really encourages me!

    I'm bringing mom (Hannah) back to Seattle next week. Can't wait to see you and the family!
    Love, Duhi Schneider and Hannah Park

  27. Tears of joy and tears of sadness back and forth as I read. Thank you for keeping us all posted. Wednesday the boys and I were watching the video from Harvest Night when Anna was 3years old. Her face was beaming as she leaned into the microphone and sang with confidence when it came to the words "His Sheep Am I !" Precious memories. Please give Anna a big hug from me ....I wish I could give you a big hug too! Our family is praying for you all. We love you!
    With much prayer and love from Ohio,
    Linda Fehlen


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