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.
“The eternal God is thy refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms…”