A couple of things. First, if you’ve gotten the anode out, consider waiting until the odor returns, then pulling it and plugging the port for one full day. If you still have odor, then replace the filter and again, see if there is still odor. The issue may not be the anode, but just the filter.
Now, you should understand that a functioning anode looks like absolute hell. You worry about replacing it when you can see six inches of the steel core wire.