The Ups and Downs of it....

Bringing the party to the others
 Here are the pictures I promised you all of Anna's birthday. She started the day out with delivering a bit of cheer to the other patients' rooms. Since she is not allowed to be with the patients in the patient lounge area, she decided to bring a bit of her party to each of them...she brought smiles to the faces of many! Next, the time she anticipated the most....her family walked through her door! Everyone was so excited to get the opportunity to see their Anna! She was lavished with gifts and love, and in turn, she lavished them with a special surprise of party favors! (aka candy galore!) Once the family left, Anna took a long nap. When she woke up, we had another surprise for her! You see, before Anna was ever admitted to the hospital, she had requested coconut cream pie for her birthday. I promised her that even if she couldn't eat it, I'd make sure she had her pie. So I called on the master....Paulie Howe! She makes this amazing triple coconut cream pie!! Yum! Is the only word to describe it! We invited the nurses to partake, and they did very willingly!

The family has arrived!

So happy to see Anna, but also anxious to see what's in the bags!
 Anna's birthday was a very special day filled with fun and laughter. We are all thankful we could spend that time together!

Now for updates on the last few days........

The last I wrote Anna's ANC was just over 600. Sunday her numbers had jumped to 1053. And yesterday she was up to 1196!!! All of her numbers are looking great! I got to spend the day with her and she was quite perky! A relief since she had gotten really sick on Saturday and Sunday! She was still nauseous, but had some energy to burn off nonetheless. Anna walked a whole mile, then jogged four more laps! She also went down to the first floor Starbucks...twice. She is now allowed to be unhooked from her "shadow", or her IV pole, for long periods of time...this is quite refreshing to her! During rounds, the doctors discussed her tummy issues and said that they are pretty sure it is GVHD (graft versus host disease). Anna had some scoping done today to see what's going on and to get biopsies done, we will have the results on Thursday. At that point, she will get started on prednisone and other meds to treat the GVHD, if indeed that's what it is. The team of doctors are all pleased with Anna's counts. They even said they are looking at POSSIBLY discharging her mid to late next week!!!! Of course, we know that could change very quickly, but it still made us super excited! When she is discharged, she will be allowed "home" to our Seattle house. She will then be on outpatient status with SCCA. This will mean daily (sometimes multiple times daily) appointments. But it also means we will all be together...under the SAME roof!!
Reading cards and opening gifts...always fun!

And now for Anna's surprise to her siblings! Candy!
And now to today...Anna had to have a platelet transfusion before the endoscopy. This is not because her platelet numbers were low, but rather because they are still so new and would all rush to heal the tiny little biopsy spots that it would decrease the level; therefore, they wanted to boost her numbers before lowering them with the procedure. Anna's numbers dropped off a bit today, her ANC went down to 753 and her hematocrit to 27, just above the need for a red cell transfusion. We think maybe she over did it a bit yesterday? But how do you tell someone who has been sick, "chained" to an IV pole, and has spent weeks in one room that she simply must go back to bed and rest? Yeah, exactly! I didn't have the heart! We knew she would probably rest a lot today. The doctors were not the least bit concerned over her numbers....I am thankful for that! And her liver numbers are perfect! Another praise! Just so you all know, I didn't push her, it was HER pushing me! "Mom, come on, you can do another lap!" I promised her to start bringing my walking shoes so I don't kill my feet while doing those laps! (Although tonight, I think I'll be the meanie and tell her no! I'll just sit with her and let her body work on getting those numbers back up!)
Balloons sent from the Goetsch family in Yuma

 We are still very thankful and humbled by the

prayers of many around the World! It is evident that God's hand has been and still is working a mighty work in Anna's body! We are also so thankful for the understanding from our dear church family who have sacrificed time with their Pastor so he can be where he needs to be for this season! Also, while we were getting things situated with his dad!

Our Princess!
An update on Grandpa: he is now in Astoria, living with Craig's sister, Lori, and her family. Craig and Lori were able to go to his first appt. Monday morning to go over the plan for his care. Craig is very encouraged and really liked the doctor! (on a funny note..) She asked Craig if he was in the medical field! He then quickly explained that no, he is not in the medical field, but has just been going through a daughter with leukemia and bone marrow transplant! It is interesting how much medical "lingo" you learn while going through something so major! Well, we had a wonderful two weeks with Grandpa in our home. It was a privilege to be allowed the opportunity to honor our father in this manner! And it was great for the little ones to get the chance to get to know Grandpa a little better! As well as a time to teach our children how to honor our aging parents through caring for their physical needs. I pray that even this short time will have a lasting impact on our children's minds and hearts!

Many have asked how my pregnancy is going. So far, so good. I am almost to the "half way" mark as far as normal people go....ahem. Those who know me well, know that I typically go 2 1/2-3 weeks late every time! I did the math and figured my average time is 16 days, with some going 20, 21, and 22 days late. But if we calculate the 16 days, well, that should land us right on Thanksgiving day!!!! Oh well. Maybe they'll save me some turkey! Anyway, I hope you all have a super blessed day! Thank you again for all of the love and prayers, as well as the encouraging notes! Hope I haven't bored you all to death with the long post! ;-)
The nurse crew came for the party...and pie of course!


  1. Thanks you for sharing the pictures with us.:) It is great to hear how will Anna is doing!:) The Lord is so good!! I am praying for you all.
    Ashley W

  2. Praise God for good counts all 'round! Possible GVHD is hard to hear, but I know God is working his healing in her body. Love you guys and hope to visit soon! Keep on keepin' on (and posting)!

  3. How could we EVER be bored with your posts??! We were super excited when Pastor shared Anna's numbers in church Sunday! Our God is truly an Amazing God!! It was a blessing to see "Grandpa Houston" before he went back to Astoria. Pastor's story about the nurse made me think about how we ask God for wisdom or knowledge throughout our lives, but we never can tell just how God will chose to impart what we need for when we need it. Hmmmm....

    Anna, your pie looks SOOO yummy!! It looks like you had a great day sharing your birthday. I would love to have seen their faces. Were their smiles as big as yours? Great job on the laps!

    Emily, I'm glad to hear you and the baby are doing well... I can't wait to meet this new little Houston! We love you all!! Hugs, Grace

  4. Praise the Lord!! It is wonderful to hear how well she is progressing. That would truly be amazing and a tremendous blessing if Anna does get released mid to end of next week for your whole family to be under one roof. I agree with my wife it was great to see Grandpa Houston and to find out how much Anna's numbers came up over just a few days. Will continue to keep the family in prayer.

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

  5. Anna, you make me smile :) Love you and miss you so much! Will be praying that you can go home early!
    <3 <3 <3
    "...I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. the angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." -Psalm 34:1-8

  6. Thanks for the up date. Like many others we are here everyday, sometimes several times, looking for news. I can't imagine how it is. But the same God that is so merciful to me is also at work in sooo many lives and it is good to read and see (photos) of how He is faithful to you all. Was very glad to see Grandpa Larry this past sunday. Now we wait for you all to come back to McKenna Falls! Anna, thanks for your prayers for us too!

  7. Emily,
    We all love your posts, they are never boring. Thank you sooo much for sharing so much detail with us ,it makes it seem as if we are all right there with you. love you Lady !!
    Anna, Slow down and get some rest girl ;-) I wish I could be there in person to give you this but, I guess a " cyber hug" will have to do for now...(((HUGS))) Love you sweetie !!
    Always in prayer-Teresa

  8. We so appreciated reading all the details on what is happening. It helps us to focus our prayers more specifically! Rejoicing at such good news on the numbers; praying for continued healing, lack of nausea, and minimal GVH for Anna; and asking God for strength, peace, and wisdom for all the dear Houston family.
    The Blackstads

  9. We continue to pray for your family, that God would give you new strength each and every day. We are so happy that Anna is doing so well and was able to enjoy her birthday in spite of her circumstances. Our hopes are high that you will soon be all together again. It is good to hear that your pregnancy is going well--if your baby is born on Thanksgiving my sister would be thrilled to share her birthday. :) May God show you His special blessing in the days ahead.

  10. I've been so glad to hear of Anna's heart goes out to you and I think about you guys a lot, having a daughter that is not far behind Anna in age.

    These pictures were fun to see.

    We are doubling our prayer efforts for Anna, and for your whole family, and for you, that you would be able to keep your energy and your great outlook throughout this whole pregnancy.

    I hope your day is full of rainbows!

  11. Love the continual wonderful news and updates! Praise the Lord for continual healing and wise Drs! So thankful to know that things are looking good with Larry's Drs as well! And on a side note, Emily, being in the hospital with a new baby on Thanksgiving Day isn't all bad; that's how Alyssa got her nickname, lol!

  12. Oh Mrs. Houston, I love you guys! I LOVE reading your stories. Thank you SO VERY MUCH for taking the time to share with a world outside of Washington. I know this takes a fair amount of time to write and put pictures with it I know that so many appreciate every word written. Your stories bring such joy to me heart. I tell so many people about you guys. You are a blessing to so Many!! I love you guys!! God is SO amazing! Watching His work being done in such a miraculous way brings so much joy to my heart! You guys are amazing! You all are in our prayers and I love you greatly! Thank you again for all you do and for sharing such an awesome blessing with the world! :) :) :)

  13. SO glad to hear that Anna is doing well!! I will continue to keep her in my prayers though.

  14. Happy happy late birthday to Anna!

  15. Such good news and glad for your day with your family. Happy Birthday to my niece! Hope we can see you soon!


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