Anna Marie Update: Getting Close

Below you’ll find another update from Anna Marie. Watch for a post tomorrow on a behind-the-scenes look on home life while she’s been gone. Love, Sarah

Anna Marie and Simon Peter

Hello All!

I got my second-to-last chemo yesterday and am really in countdown now! Just one more chemo on Tuesday and then fly home next Friday!!!

My blood levels are declining but with the booster shots and good nutrition, it looks like I should be ok to get the final chemo next week. It’s somewhat a cumulative effect; the two weeks off around my hospital stay gave my blood a chance to recover somewhat but numbers have been going down steadily since resuming chemo. Practically speaking, this means I’m more tired and easily fatigued, and more nauseated. I’m also more prone to nosebleeds with my platelets being so low. Not that long ago the children and I learned about white and red blood cells and platelets, so it is neat to have a real-world application for the newly-acquired knowledge.

Christopher and I had a really good remote consultation with an oncologist in Kansas City on Monday. He was very attentive, listening to and understanding my journey to date and our needs looking to the future. We liked him, and he was willing to provide my ongoing anti-HER2 therapy. In addition, he is familiar with the newly approved HER2-blocker subcutaneous injections and thought it likely that I can do those at home. It was an encouraging meeting and it is a blessing to now have a plan in place for when I get home.

Yesterday presented a good test-run to implement keeping a quiet heart in the face of concern. Of course, throughout chemo, a number of lab tests are being run each week. The results of one cancer marker test came back Tuesday and were showing an elevated number. Turns out that marker was in the “low” range when chemo started and has been checked a few times since then. It has been steadily climbing but wasn’t really something we noticed until yesterday when it was officially in the “elevated”/out of range column. While I know it’s very possible that my cancer can recur and that these treatments are not the end of my cancer journey, I was still surprised and concerned at the thought that I might have cancer growing or metastasizing right now. It was quite an opportunity to practice taking thoughts captive and remind myself of the truths I’ve been studying in the Quieting a Noisy Soul Bible study by Jim Berg. God is always good, always in control of all things, will always give me the grace I need, will always love me personally, etc. I often can’t sleep much the night of chemo anyway, so Tuesday night was a good time to meditate on Scriptures about that and hymns that directed my thoughts to those truths. At the end of the blog post, I’ll share one of the hymns that really blessed me.

My Seattle oncologist was unavailable to talk with me while I was at the clinic about that lab result, but Christopher and I had a Zoom appointment with him yesterday. He said right away that it’s common for that number to go up during chemo if it has started low, as mine had, and that it almost always goes down and normalizes once treatment is over. He’s not concerned about it at all and would be very surprised if my cancer would recur while on chemo. Even though I know God will give us the grace to deal with whatever comes next, I was so thankful to hear that metastatic cancer doesn’t seem to be likely for right now.

As far as the lump in my wrist, the antibiotic doesn’t seem to be making much difference. They had some other ideas on what might help and we are working through those now.

I will be getting a baseline MRI of my brain this morning. While my type of cancer, caught at this stage, has a somewhat low recurrence rate, it does have a higher likelihood of metastasizing to the brain than other cancers, and our oncologist thought an MRI would be prudent.

So, a few ups and downs in this update! But I’m thankful that we can rest in the joy of Who our Savior is as we find out the greatness of His loving heart!

Jesus, I am resting, resting
in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
of thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon thee,
and thy beauty fills my soul,
for by thy transforming power,
thou hast made me whole.

O how great thy lovingkindness,
vaster, broader than the sea!
O how marvelous thy goodness
lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in thee, Beloved,
know what wealth of grace is thine,
know thy certainty of promise
and have made it mine.

Simply trusting thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold thee as thou art,
and thy love, so pure, so changeless,
satisfies my heart;
satisfies its deepest longings,
meets, supplies its ev’ry need,
compasseth me round with blessings:
thine is love indeed.

Ever lift thy face upon me
as I work and wait for thee;
resting ‘neath thy smile, Lord Jesus,
earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
sunshine of my Father’s face,
keep me ever trusting, resting,
fill me with thy grace.
          Jean Sophia Pigott, 1876

Thank you for praying!

Love,
Anna Marie

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor
height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us
from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39

25 thoughts on “Anna Marie Update: Getting Close”

  1. That picture is so sweet! Simon Peter is adorable! I`m so glad that you will be able to go home next week. Praying for you.

  2. We are praying, Anna Marie!! Can’t wait to see a post of you back home with your crew. Thank you for this update!

  3. Hudson Taylor’s favorite hymn! Of course to him it was “contemporary Christian music” and it came out at just the right time to encourage him as he faced the weight and strain of the overwhelming task of evangelizing China. Abiding in Him is certainly the key to getting through our trials…thank you for sharing your journey and these beautiful hymns.

  4. Still praying! Thank you for sharing and bringing comfort to others in the middle of your challenges.
    Blessings from Europe, Anne-Laure

  5. So thankful that you are nearing the end of this part of the journey! Will continue to pray for all of you!

  6. This is encouraging! I am so happy for you to get to go home soon to be with your husband and children! I can only imagine how desperately you miss them. Our family has been praying for you during our prayer time together. Just the other night our 2 year old, Luke, led the prayer and he said, “Dear Lord, thank you Anna Aree” We all smiled and knew he was praying for you! It has been a blessing to read your updates and feel how deeply you love and trust God. This health battle in your life may be one of the greatest ways the Lord chooses to bless the faith of your children. We may never know, on this Earth, just how God may be using us. You are a blessing and I feel that God is so proud of you!

  7. Thank you so much for being such a blessing through your cancer journey. Only God can be given the glory at your amazing overwhelming example of faithfulness of lifting up our Heavenly father through this season of your life. I’ve wept tears and am praying for you and your family. Thank you for sharing the hymns as well. Would you please be able to write the titles for the songs when you post them? Thank you!
    John 14:12 He that my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

    1. Thank you for praying! A lot of the old hymns don’t have titles per se, but I think you can usually find them by the first line. Or copy a couple of lines into google and it should pull it up. I’ve copied lyrics for most of them from hymnary.org.

  8. Your testimony is a light to me, Anna Marie. I pray for you as the Holy Spirit often brings you and your sweet family to my mind.

  9. Simon Peter has really grown!!!! What a sweetie!!! I am so happy you will be able to go home soon!! I will be praying for a good last chemo treatment, safety on your flight (and to be protected from germs on plane, etc), dealing with leaving your family, but the excitement of seeing Christopher and your children and extended family, the adjustment of being at home and that transition, for the lump on your arm, and for your doctors and y’all to have great wisdom on how to proceed from here. I will also pray for your emotions. I am sending you a big hug now!!! Please keep us posted!!! Especially when you find out about the MRI brain scan. We love you and care about you!!!! I pray God will continue to guard your heart and MIND!!!

    1. Thank you for the update! Praying you get to come home on Friday! Simon Peter is such a cutie and growing so fast. Looking foward to your next update, hopefully from home!

  10. That picture brought tears to me eyes! Praying for your precious loved ones at home and for you as well, Anna Marie! God is faithful!

  11. It’s such good news that you will be able to return home to Kansas next week and be with Christopher and your children again. What a cute picture of them. I know you all have to miss each other very much, and I’m sure that being home will be the best medicine! You will remain in my prayers as you continue on this journey. Your trust in the Lord through all of this is an incredible inspiration.

  12. Thank you so much for taking the time to bless us with your thoughts as you go through this trial. You will never know the full impact your faith has had until you get to heaven. I have 8 children, plus one on the way, and have difficult pregnancies that sometimes require very invasive and complicated treatments. I am so inspired by your rest and trust in the Lord. Thank you for taking the time to strengthen others.

  13. I love that hymn! Thank you for this update. Your honesty and sharing how you take thoughts captive and are actively trusting the Lord through this trial are so encouraging to me. Praying for all of you!

  14. I also find immense peace in hymns. Two of my favorites are “My Shepherd will Supply My Need” and “Be Still My Soul.” I am praying for you and your beautiful family, Anna Marie.

  15. Thank you for your encouragement even in the midst of your trial. God is so good!!

    Praying for you!!!

  16. Was Anna Marie able to get her last chemo today? I’ve been praying that the Lord will open the doors for her to get home on Friday.

    1. We knew the answer to this yesterday afternoon when you posted, but we also knew Anna Marie was going to update so we didn’t want to answer your question until she posted. Now you probably already know. She got some of her chemo yesterday, but needs one more next week that her platelets were too low to do yesterday.

      1. I will continue to pray for all of you. What a happy homecoming you will have when she arrives home.

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