Anna Marie’s Latest Update From Home

Anna Marie shares her thoughts on being back at home. Love, Sarah

What an almost unbelievable feeling it was to actually hear I would get my last chemo and be coming home! A huge thank you to my parents for packing my suitcases for me the night before leaving for the airport at 4 AM. I should have packed sooner… but typical “me” fashion, I didn’t think it would take very long (those who know me well are probably laughing right now). Reality is, I had a LOT of stuff to fit in my suitcases (I didn’t realize I had accumulated more while out there!) and I am thankful that my mom is a very gifted packer; because if left to me, I think I would have ended up leaving a lot behind. They went so above and beyond to make my time out there as special and relaxing as possible, under the circumstances, and I’m very grateful to them for making the chemo out there possible.

It was overwhelming to get close to home and see Gigi and almost the entire Maxwell family assembled with welcome signs and balloons. Two new Maxwells joined our ranks while I was gone, and it was special to see Jesse’s wife, Anna, and John and Chelsy’s little Elliot amongst the welcoming crew! Cheers and laughter mingled with happy tears. It was SO good to see everyone again, and I felt so loved with the effort they all put into my welcome.

The children were bursting with stories and things to show me. Even Elizabeth took my hand and led me through the house showing me the little award signs Aunt Mary made for each of the children (Elizabeth’s says #1 snuggler 🙂 ). It’s sweet how much more Elizabeth is talking, and it’s neat to see ways the older four have all grown. They’re becoming great helpers, too! I’ve loved the snuggles, story times, singing times, etc. Of course, all the children were anxious to lavish their loving attention on Simon Peter, whose life for the last three+ months has been in a home of four adults. He has adjusted well and seems to enjoy all the little people pals. One of his favorite things to do is lie on the floor and kick his feet – and it is pretty cute when his siblings decide to join him. 🙂

To be very transparent, the first few days at home were more emotion-laden for me than I imagined they would be. I was disappointed to find myself crying so often. I think somehow coming home, all the emotions of the last twelve months hit me, combined with the fact that I’m on some hormone therapy and my energy and blood levels were probably at an all-time low. Once I realized what was happening and I started “focusing on my thoughts, not my feelings” (as encouraged in the Quieting A Noisy Soul Bible study I’ve been doing), things started getting better. I’m sure it also helped that I got rested up, too. Physical and spiritual well-being definitely go hand-in-hand in many ways. But God’s grace is sufficient for each need if I humbly accept it!

We met with the medical oncologist in Kansas City on Tuesday. We liked him in person as much as we did on our phone consult. He was supportive of our general approach so far; to the point of saying it’s exactly what he would have recommended (surgery followed by chemo). Right now we are waiting to hear from the financial coordinator at the hospital’s cancer center who is working on my care plan before we can schedule treatments. The plan is to start treatment in the next week or two. Currently the plan is that the treatments will primarily be the newly-announced subcutaneous injections that I should be able to do myself.

It was interesting to hear that the oncologist thinks my blood counts will stay in the lower range while I’m on the anti-HER2 therapy (through April). There’s another oral HER2 blocker I’ll probably be on for another year (so through April 2022) and I don’t know what effects that will have. But it definitely seems like I’ll be somewhat immune-compromised for the foreseeable future, which complicates trying to figure out what our socialization looks like. It seems like we have a lot of decisions and things like that kind of in the air right now, so we appreciate prayer for wisdom.

The cancer center our oncologist works at is associated with the hospital where Simon Peter was born, so it was neat to end up right near the same exit we came out six months ago with our little baby! What a journey this has been… from that exit, to New York, to Washington, and back again. God has been holding us up in every place, and I know He will continue to hold us up wherever else this journey leads us.

Anna Marie

“The eternal God is thy refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms…”
Deuteronomy 33:27

Swimming Lesson Time

We are back to swimming lessons at a neighbor’s pool this summer. Christopher’s children are doing beginner lessons for the first time. Nathan’s children have been having lessons for several years now. They are doing very well.

Sometimes as a child begins learning a new stroke, it seems complicated and almost impossible. I watch them put their minds to it, practice with drills, and then with the pieces all together. Sure enough—suddenly it comes together. That happened for Bethany and Christina Tuesday with sidestroke. We were all excited.

I would never have guessed in my teen years of lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons that one day I would have the joy of working with my own grandchildren!

Trusting in Jesus,

“For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

Back to Sunday Family Lunches

Yesterday, we welcomed the crew back for family lunches! It has been months since we had a normal Sunday lunch due to COVID and then Christopher’s family was being very careful for Anna Marie’s sake.

Nathan’s crew and Jesse and Anna made it, and we had a wonderful time! We also had two guests.

In addition, my tortilla crew was on the job. Abby and Betsy grew up making tortillas, and they are a great machine.


“Commit thy way unto the LORD;
trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5).

Back to Costco Shopping

Mom and Dad returned to their monthly Costco shopping yesterday after a sabbatical since March because of COVID. This isn’t just a small trip. Mom offers to shop for the daughters-in-law and the gals put their lists in a Google Doc for Mom.

Mom and Dad make an amazing team, as it’s quite a feat to shop for so many and keep the orders separate. They have a system worked out, and it went fast. They have coolers for the cold items, and would you believe they even deliver items to the relatives?!

It’s wonderful to see things returning to normal.


Part of the shopping involves coordinating with the girls (sometimes they need more information on a product, etc).

“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content (1 Timothy 6:8).

Anna Marie’s Homecoming

This afternoon, we welcomed our Anna Marie and Simon Peter home after 14 long weeks! Mary planned a surprise welcome home event which most of the family was able to gather for.

Excitement builds!
The group ready
Here she comes!

Tears were shed as Anna Marie and crew pulled into the driveway. We’re so very grateful for her safe arrival home. The flights went great, Simon Peter did superb, and Anna Marie didn’t have nosebleeds.

Nathan and Melanie’s crew brought balloons (and they made the sign Tina and Abby held), and Elissa’s crew wore pink ribbons in honor of Anna Marie’s journey. Mary made the sign on the garage with Ruthie and Lydia Sunday.

Anna Marie’s state is very fragile, so we kept our distance and didn’t hug her, even though it would have been wonderful.

Rice Krispy treats!

“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness,
and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:15

Anna Marie Coming Home Tomorrow!

Y’all, really good news from Anna Marie this afternoon! Love, Sarah

It’s official: We are flying home tomorrow! Praising the Lord!

After a bit of a roller coaster with blood levels, and a meeting with our oncologist, I am getting my final treatment here at the cancer center. It worked out to actually be better to fly immediately after chemo rather than Friday after my blood levels have a chance to drop further from treatment; so tomorrow morning, my parents are taking my sister Sarah, Simon Peter, and me to the airport early tomorrow morning for our 6:30 flight and we should be reunited with everyone by early afternoon! I’m so excited and grateful, not just to be heading home, but that this phase of treatment is concluded.

My immune system is definitely low, and I’ve still been dealing with nosebleeds. So prayer requests would be for health protection and no nosebleeds during travel!

Thank you so much for all of the amazing prayer support!

With joy,
Anna Marie 

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD,
and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning,
and thy faithfulness every night” (Psalm 92:1-2).