Home Sweet Home

 Home sweet home....what can I say? There really is no place like home, especially when you've been in a hospital for a month and a half. Saturday Anna was given a four hour pass to go home. The day was sunny and the air a bit stuffy, but for Anna it was nectar to her lungs!! To the right you'll see Anna taking her first step into the fresh air since May!! She was so excited to get home and be with the family! We, too, were excited to get to have our Anna home for a bit of time! Monday, Anna was given another four hour pass and it just so happened that we had already made plans for our dear friends, the Smith's, to come over for dinner. Anna got to hold her little name's sake for the first time. Isabella ANNA Smith! Little Isabella was born on the day that Anna was admitted at Children's. Being told that her middle name was after Anna-Renee brought tears to all of our eyes!! What a sweet gift!

During rounds on Monday, we were informed that Anna would get to come home.....not on a pass, but actually discharged, on Wednesday instead of Thursday!!! This brought smiles to many faces!
 Tuesday, Craig and I went over to SCCA to take a class on how to use Anna's pump. This will be used each night to administer magnesium through her Hickman line until she is ready to take it orally.

Wednesday came, Anna's numbers were........AMAZING!
ANC: 7,275!!! Her white blood cells: 9.7 (9,700...if you remember way back in October, we had a little lesson in white cell counts. Top of normal range is between 13,000 and 15,000. Anna's were at 75,000 and the very next day were at 95,000)
Red cell count: 3.42, Platelets: 129, and her hematocrit: 30.8 (these all without any red cell transfusions! and her platelets came up on their own without another transfusion before her bone marrow aspiration!)
The doctors, PA's, and nurses are all very pleased with Anna's progress. They have been thrilled at Anna's physical activity that has helped in her recovery. They even told her they'd love it if she could give a motivational speech to all of the patients on exercising through even the toughest of days! As many patients get sick and weak because they just lay there.

 It is amazing at how bitter sweet the day we've been waiting for can be. You come to love those who've been there for you and your family for the past six weeks! You build relationships with them. Patty was our first nurse. We had hoped she could be our "last" nurse, however, she was training another nurse in a different area of expertise. But she came in to give hugs and say goodbye anyway. She is a sweet Christian lady that we very much grew to love!!! We will miss all of the wonderful people at Children's!!

Now it's on to another phase. We had thought Anna would have daily appointments at SCCA, but it turns out, she is scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays.

 Some patients do have daily appointments, when they are reliant on transfusions. Anna is not so she will only have extra appointments if her levels drop and she starts taking a downward turn, of course if she takes a bad enough downward turn, she'll end up back at Children's...we may miss the folks there, but we'd rather not have to go back!! Now we are home. We are finishing up on getting the supplies needed for an immune suppressed patient. Bleach, paper towels, hand sanitizer, all necessary for our new way of life. I didn't take a picture, but the line up of meds was a bit overwhelming as I distributed the pills into containers for the week. Though we were assured by one of the PA's that that amount was really nothing! He should know, he not only treats BMT patients, he was one eleven years ago!
 Before, we were pretty concerned over even the slightest stuffy nose, now we are paranoid over it! We have to be for Anna's sake. She must stay away from sickness. You have a headache? Go to your room and stay completely away from Anna until we are assured you are NOT sick. Those are kind of the sad times for little people as that is the time when they want and need a mommy's snuggle, but at this point, I am unable to give that to them as I need to be healthy for Anna. I am more prone to getting sick as I am with child and I always tend to get sick many times throughout each pregnancy....so far God has protected me from it!
Today is an exciting day. Anna woke up in her own bed, in her own room, surrounded by her own things. No beeping, no nurses waking her to do vitals, just mom getting her up for her clinic appointments. I promised I'd let her sleep in until 9 tomorrow! (That's when most of her meds are due) The excitement of being home is still fresh, though it can at times be overwhelming to go from a somewhat quiet environment to the hustle and bustle of a home with eleven children...all excited that you are home! Hopefully the adjustment time will last only a couple of days. We have to remember that she is still not 100%. In fact she is far from it! Naps are a must, and taking it easy while staying a bit active will be a balancing act! We are on day +33. We have until at least day +90, but expecting to be here until day +100. This will be a long next phase before we get to go back to our Bremerton home. But we are together! We praise our Lord for such answered prayers as we have been seeing! We are so humbled and thankful that He has allowed Anna to do so well throughout this bone marrow transplant process! Please continue to pray that Anna will stay on the path of recovery! That she will only see improvements and that she will baffle the doctors at how well she is doing! So we may give God all of the praise and glory! The hymn, "To God Be the Glory" is being sung in my heart today! I pray that you, too will sing this song and truly mean it even in the midst of trial! May you count your blessings and be truly thankful for even the smallest of things! For you too can be thankful to wake up in your own bed, in your own room, surrounded by your own things, and family that loves you...even if you haven't been in a hospital for six weeks!! To God be the glory, great things He has done!


  1. God is truly glorious. He and only He gives us the ability to run the race through a challenging obstacle course. The light of God's Word always brightens our paths. He is revealing His glory through each and every one of you in the Houston household. It is a blessing beyond what words can express to be a part of the many many individuals who are praying. We, the Greens and the Smiths in California send our love.


  2. Yippee!! ~HOME~ I am so excited to hear this news. I'm sure Anna will heal so much better surrounded by the love of her family. Rejoicing with you. God is good.

    We're praying for you all in San Diego!

    "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song I will praise him." Psalms 28:7

    Beth Ledford

  3. Hallelujah! How exciting that you are all together as a family again! We praise the Lord with you! We will continue to pray for not only Anna's health, but for all you to stay healthy. We can relate to having to be paranoid about the slightest sniffle. Our ears have become very tuned in to "coughers and sneezers" around us these last many years. When a cold can end your child's life, it takes on a whole new meaning. How comforting to know that while your job is to do the best you can, that the Lord is the One in control.

    Love you all and so happy that you are together!
    Suemes :-)

  4. Yay!!!!!!!!!!! Home is the best place especially when there is so much love in your home and hearts. I know my children do not like leaving just to have fun or stay at a friends place. We will keep up the prayers for you and your family. We are planning on a trip to come visit Lena made a gift Anna and would like to give it in person. Love you guys and always thinking and praying for you all!!

  5. The Simao FamilyJune 20, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Yay! This is WONDERFUL news! To God be the glory! Congratulations Anna! You and your family are in our daily prayers!

  6. Rejoicing with you all! I'm sure that home never seemed so sweet. It's so great to see all of your things packed up in that wagon, Anna!

  7. Happy dances all around! We are SOOO excited that this day has finally arrived for Anna and the whole family!!! We're also praising the Lord for that extra blessing of not having to make daily trips to S.C.C.A.!! We'll pray that it remains that way. Anna, I'm sure that hustle and bustle (though not so quiet for the much needed rest times) is a welcomed change. You may not have the nurses checking on you several times an hour, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear about the little (and bigger) faces peeking in your door... just to make sure that you are really home. LOL
    You all have been a huge blessing and example to me personally. Thank you!!
    We will continue to pray for all of the friends you made while at Children's.... will you be keeping in contact with them?

    Many hugs and prayers,

  8. YAH!! How exciting!! We are rejoicing with all of you at the reuniting of your family. We are so thrilled that Anna is progressively gaining strength and doing well!

  9. Yay, yay, yay!!!! Been praying all week that she could go home!!! :D Praise the Lord! Still praying for you guys. :) Thank you for your amazing testimony of faith during this time!!

  10. Anna, you look great! May God continue to heal you completely. And you really look cute in the hat!
    Love, Annie McIntosh

  11. Dear Houstons,

    Thank the Lord for answered prayer.... a day earlier even than intially expected... : ). It was great to be able to see you a couple of days ago. As I said when we visited Anna is a big inspiration to many throughout the world. So encouraged that she is able to be at home with her family now. Will continue to keep you in prayer as you adjust to this new phase.

    In Christ,
    Rick Potvin
    Pr. 3:5-6

  12. We are so excited. We have been praying for you to be able to go to your Seattle home and can not wait until you are back in Bremerton. I sure do miss you sweet girl and look forward to the time when you are able to be among your friends again. (I know that will be awhile.)Keep that close walk with Jesus.
    Love Mrs. Harper

  13. So excited for you all! Just to be together again. So special! Praise the Lord!!! Praying for continued recovery.

    Love you all!
    Sarah S.

  14. Praise the Lord! Many wonderful answers to prayer for Anna. So glad you can be home so much of the time now, w/family. It will help keep your spirits up! It will be easy to slip into the needs of the family and began to try to do to much, but remember to space yourself, and replenish yourself with naps, and food & drink. Keep up your exercises so you can continue to regain your strength. We will continue to pray!
    Love from Carole & family in FL

  15. I'm Still amazed at what God has done and continues to do! I'm Very excited that Anna is home and that things are a "little" more normal. I love you guys and will continue to pray.

  16. That is such great news! That is great to hear she is home! There's a lot of people here at LBC praying for your family....
    I tried to post on my phone yesterday but it didn't post..
    I have a question for you about a family at the Children's hospital right now on the sixth floor... I know you have a lot going on, but I Wondered if on one of your trips there you might be able to stop by and give them some encouragement?? Email me at sarahleelud@msn.com so I can give you more details..

  17. Praise God!!! Love you Anna! <3
    "...the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." - Psalm 100:5

  18. Wonderful news! So happy for you all!

  19. The Girl with the Sunshine Smile! Wow! Going home, getting hugs from sissers-n-brudders, and a new hair-do..Such blessings! Your remind me of Paul's writing in In Philippines 4:11: "...I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Two thoughts: Tho racked with pain, God has granted you such a sweet spirit and smile that you are an inspiration to all, AND, you have been in so many "STATES of health" that you deserve "travel miles." I pray for continued good progress in healing. Love ya, Aunt Bea"


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