First of all thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers over the last year. We have decided to create a blog to have an outlet for anyone who is interested in updates on Lances condition a place to come and be informed. The title of the blog "A future and a hope" comes from Jeremiah 29:11, which is a verse that has given our family alot of comfort through these challenging times. Because as my Dad has said, no matter what happens we have already won! I would encourage you to pass on the location of this site to anyone that you may believe would be interested in updates. -Justin

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve

I am sitting in front of the T.V listening to the oldies channel, Hits from the 70's (the greatest music ever written) and feeling a little nastalgic. This has been such a wonderful year for our family. We have had some ups and downs with my health problems, but I am so grateful for the support system that I have. I married way above myself , Penny has been the gift from God that everyone wants, 31 years and it just keeps getting better. My kids have been such a blessing to me, I have seen them grow into good Men and I am so proud of them and their families, when things get tough the cream rises to the top. I can't even begin to describe the young lady Elisabeth has turned into and I'm telling all the young men out there right now, forget it, your not good enough!! I have been blessed by my brothers and sisters who not only lined up to want to donate bone marrow for me but have showed their love in so many ways, mostly just in their eyes the concern I see. I was blessed with a great childhood and parents who have always loved and supported me and I married into a family who are my family, not inlaws and brother and sister inlaws. I'm not going to even get started on my 6 Grandkids. I have a church family that has been diligent in Prayers for me and supportive in so many ways I couldn't possibly list them all. I have a job that I love and people there who have been so patient with me needing time off and showing concern for me, that just doesn't happen everywhere, co-workers who have sent cards and e-mails and showed me a lot of support. I have been blessed with so many friends who have showed me how fortunate I am. I am looking forward to being cured and getting back on the Ice next year I miss all those guys and the game so much. Mostly I am grateful to my God who gave all this to me and I am looking forward to next year and am grateful for the year that has just passed. Bless you all. And Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Beware if the steroids!!!!!!!!!

Well, the steroids have offically set in!!! Dad spent most of today (in between naps) trying to convince me that I was Swedish so I needed give him a Swedish massage. After explaining that I didn't know what this was he spent most of the afternoon searching video's on youtube on how to give a massage which he then proceded to show me! Apparently he read in the readers digest that a swedish massage helps imporve your immune system and we all know that the readers digest doesn't lie! :) Anyways dad felt pretty good today, we always know that he's feeling a little better when he starts teasing again! I guess mom and I are going to have to start watching out for him! I posted a few pics below of what else he's been up to! ~Elisabeth

Anyone what to take a guess at what this is???

Dad working on his puzzle

If you haven't guessed what that thing is yet, it is a......... drum roll please........ head scratcher!!! Dad received his very own head scratcher yesterday from my grandparents and he is loving it!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Well there really isn't much new to say which is the best thing for now!! Lance has felt a little better than last weekend, not sure if it is the steroids (watch out Elisabeth last time he was on steroids he locked you out of the house!). He is much more mellow at least for now! Finished the puzzle we had all been working on (Thanks Kathy!) it was fun to do something different but not to tiring! We continue to thank God that we are home and are just basically enjoying the time together, at least when he is awake!! Please continue to pray that his body and the new stem cells like each other!! God is Good, Life is Good! ---Penny

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mondays Appointment in Ia City

Went to Iowa City today. Lance has not been feeling to good the last couple days but the doctor basically said that is to be expected at this point. He thinks some graft vs. host disease (GVH) might be starting. They want Lance to get a little GVH but not so much as to hurt him. So they started him on steroids and will continue to watch him. Platelets dropped more than we would have liked and they are keeping on eye on them also as it can mean that one of the virus's that lay dormant in his body can reactivate after transplant and cause some problems, but they are keeping a close eye on that also. Lots of info today and things to watch for and a few new meds. but all in all a good day....He got to come back home anyway which is great! We listened to a Chuck Swindoll CD on joy and laughter on the way home, he has such a great laugh and attitude that you can't help but laugh along so we laughed and had a great ride home!! It was a great reminder of the joy we have knowing God is in control and that no matter what we have a future and a hope in Him. Lance continues to have a great attitude and laugh! I'm so thankful for that. Elisabeth went to my Mom and Dad's and helped pick out bedspreads and helped Grandma spend some money!! Thank you all for your love and prayers we feel so blessed to have so many care for us. Please keep those prayers coming as Lance faces these weeks ahead with so many uncertainties... Thank you!! ---- Penny

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Well we've had a pretty quite Christmas just the three of us this year, but still a very good day! Dad was pretty tired today so he took lots of naps but we were able to get out for a little bit and take a walk. It snowed all day yesterday and it was so pretty outside today that I posted a few pics below that I took today on our walk! Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve.

Its been snowing all day in Dubuque, we have a lot of snow Elisabeth has been shoveling all day and our neighbor boys have been over and a family from our church also. Sitting in the house watching everyone work, its much prettier when you don't have to shovel. I feel good no new problems I'm sleeping a lot. I'm looking forward to tomorrow I like Christmas and am so grateful to be home . I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas and feel as fortunate to be around family as I do. I feel especially blessed this year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Uneventful Day

Well this pic pretty much sums up what we did today. Mom and I put up the Christmas tree and dad watched us! Nothing new going on! Dad's pretty tired but really happy to be home! Have a good night everybody! ~Elisabeth

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Home!! Tired and just laying low.... Thanks to everyone for making our homecoming special! Came home to a sparkling clean house, clean driveway, presents and a little while later dinner! So thankful to be home! Thank you all for your prayers.... Doctors say we have a journey ahead of us yet but with all your love and support it makes the road easier. God is good!! ---Lance, Penny, Elisabeth and Stuart!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

We finally got out!

We got to Swisher at about 4pm. We were packed and ready by like 9 am but waited for what felt like all day to get discharged. Cory was keeping us updated on the road conditions so by the time we got to leave we knew the roads were not good enough to drive home today. A pretty emotional time saying good bye. Lance of course hugged everybody! He even went behind the desk and hugged the lady who has been in charge forever (she is so nice) all the nurses were saying they wish they had got a picture of it as she doesn't come out from behind the desk! But you know Lance he said he didn't want her to feel left out so he went right behind the desk and gave her a big hug! It was hard to leave the many friends we have been praying for, please pray for all of them with us.... God knows their names! We are so thankful to be out of the hospital! Thank you all for love, support and prayers! We heard many many lectures before we left on how careful he has to be and all the things to watch for....kind of overwhelming...... then I had to go to the pharmacy and pick up a BAG of meds. My Dad came and picked us up from the hospital and on the ride to their house Lance was saying how fast everything seem to be moving after being in his little room for so long. So not long after we got here he was in bed sleeping, which is just what he needs. Hoping to be able to drive home tomorrow! ---Penny

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Just a few pictures


Well my stuff is at my grandparents house and dad hasn't packed yet so guess who's stuff this is???? :)


Well the girls are packing up my room, Dr. Gingrich was in just a few minutes ago and said I will get out sometime tomorrow. My counts are doing well. I feel a little like I've been bad all the PA's, Drs. and Nurses keep coming in to tell me to behave when I go home and giving lectures on what I can't do and where I can't go. Right now I just want to go home. They are letting me go off the floor now as long as I wear a gown, gloves, and mask and it sure is nice to see something else. We went to the 5th floor there is no one there on the weekends but there is a grand piano and I sat and Elisabeth played for me. (It was nice) On the Medical front Dr. Gingrich says I will probably feel pretty good for the next week or two and then usually thats when the Graft to host disease could set in. I'm just supposed to walk, eat, and rest a lot. I will come back next week to get checked over. They gave us lots of phone numbers and said to call immediately if anything changes, someone answers the phone for transplant patients round the clock and they can tweak medicines or have me come back right away. We will have a meeting tomorow morning with the Pharmacist and they will go over all my homecare, I'm sure we will get a bushel basket of drugs and they are very particular about schedules, exactly when to take everything. Luckily I have nurse Penny who is more particular than any of them would be. All in all a great day I feel like everything is moving along at the stages they had predicted.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Home Free!!

Hello again! Well were very excited because they came in today and let us know that dad is offically going to be able to leave the hospital on Monday!! They would like us to stay at my grandparents house for a few days though so we can stay closer to the hospital and becuase dad will have to come back to the hospital on Wednesday for a checkup. We're excited to have a plan for when we get to go home! Not that this whole staying in the hospital thing isn't nice but ya know dad is starting to miss Stuart! :) Anyways things are going well here, dad got off of his IV pole today so thats really nice! He's been having to pull that thing around for over three weeks so he's pretty happy to be off of that! His Segs went down a little bit today so if you could pray that they will go back up we'd really appreciate it! Well I think that's everything, I posted a few pics below so you can see what's been going on up here to! ~Elisabeth

Dad's array of cards, this is just one of the two walls of cards!

This is what me and mom have to wear everytime we go into dad's room.

I'm free no more IV pole!!!

If you can't tell what dad is doing here he's trying to pull the remainder of his hair out with masking tape! Don't ask me were he got this idea from. The weird thing is it actually worked!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Just another day here for me. We met with the Doctors today and there is a chance that I can get rid of my IV Pole tomorrow they want to start switching my medications to oral in preperation for going home , and they need a few days to make sure that works out. Dr. Gingrich who is the director here in the bone marrow unit and just a super guy, has taken over for the next two weeks on the unit the Doctors rotate. He talked to us a long time today about what to expect from here on out. Basically he said I am doing very well and that I am pretty much through the part where they talk most about mortality, but he reminded us there could be some rough times ahead. Felt like he was trying to bring us down to earth a little bit as we are so excited to get to go home but most people do end up back in the hospital sometime over the next several months or so. Don't think he was trying to discourage us just wanted to remind us it will be ok but it is still a long road ahead. He said generally I will feel pretty good for next couple of weeks and then after that is when Graph Versus Host Disease (GVH) will probably set in to some degree (it can be mild to very severe to life threating) . That in his words is basically a crap shoot as far as what I will get and how bad I'll get it, That will be when I need to stay in touch with the hospital very closely and keep them posted as to what is going on with me. I will need to come back to Iowa City once or twice a week (or more) for the next twelve weeks while they monitor my blood closely. I feel very good about what will happen to me. There have been way to many good things and miracles through this whole process for me to not believe I will be fine in time. Nathan went over to the house the other night and started some work on our showers. And Cory has been working the last several nights finishing that up and cleaning and getting everything ready at our house for me to come home . Thanks Guys. Rex and Linda came and took Penny and Elisabeth out for dinner tonight and it was a welcome break for them. Its late I'll post again tomorrow. Thanks again to everyone.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 23

Day 23 in captivity!! " Let me be held captive by God.... Not by circumstances." I wrote that in my journal a few weeks before we got here and it has proven to be so true! We have joked about being held captive but truly we feel that God has been here with us through this whole thing, and being held by Him is not a bad thing!! We are not being held here by the hospital, doctors, nurses, or even the disease .....BUT GOD. He is in control.... How deep the Fathers love for us.....

Doctor is predicting Lance will get to go home Monday or Tuesday, the nurses came in this morning and thought it might be sooner but he still has four pumps hooked up so we'll see. Eating is still kind of a problem but hopefully will get better each day. As of right now Lance is the veteran on the floor! Our friend Theresa who we have been praying for had been here four days longer than Lance and she got to go home today! Praying for her and her husband and there two little boys. Lance's white count continues to drop a little each day but that is to be expected since he isn't getting those shots anymore for now. Well tonight was BINGO night, didn't win but it helped pass time and it is so much fun to watch the lady who does it. All in all a good day! Thank you for all your prayers!! ---Penny

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Well we had a very uneventful day today, the worst part was every Monday they test everyone for some kind of a virus , its a germ that people get when they are in the hospital, I think it is brought on by Antibiotics. Well I got it, we were one of only a couple patients on this floor who had not gotten it , the jest of it is Penny and everyone who come in my room now have to wear a gown and gloves all the time they are in here, and when I leave the room I have to wear a gown and gloves along with the mask I've had to wear. Its not so bad for me, but poor Penny has to wear latex gloves all day long and everytime they leave the room you have to throw everything away and put on a fresh set when you come back. Its hot and cumbersome. When we leave the hospital we don't have to do anything, I think it is just to protect the other patients with lowered immune systems but it can't hurt anyone else, the thing is pretty much everyone has it anyway I can tell the nurses really think its overkill but you have to follow the rules. Penny and Elisabeth luckily look really good in yellow and thats what they have to wear till I leave. We got our mail today from Dubuque (thanks Cory)and had lots of cards and notes from people it was really nice we have cards hanging all over my room, it looks real cheerful. My counts dropped today due to my being taken off the Nupegyn shots but that was to be expected, they are still real good, right where the Doctors want them to be. I tried to eat again today and its a chore, you would think I'd be hungry but they've pretty well ruined my taste buds and things are not at all tasty. That will come back in time I will make myself eat because that is the only way I can go home. Elisabeth taught Penny and I how to play "Imagine If " a gift from my sister Kelly and that was fun today. She took it back to Swisher tonight to try and get Grampa and Grama to play. I'm watching a Hockey game as I write this and Penny is reading. I feel stronger today and the leg and muscle aches are gone that were from the Nupegyn, I feel really good about the way things are going I think they will let me go home before to long, I just have to get weaned off everything and eat. I need to write thank you letters to so many of you for all the things you have done for us, forgive me for not being more punctual but privacy is at a premium around here and its hard to get much done. I have a new neighbor across the hall today she has 4 daughters who were swimmers in Pella and she has a new baby that was supposed to be born on December 21, (yes that date is right) it can't be a week old makes my situation seem a lot easier than many others. Thanks to all of you for your Prayers they are being answered.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just another update

Hey everyone! A few of you have asked about sending emails to dad. So here is his email address....... It's also posted on the side of the blog if you need it. Dad is having a pretty good day today. His blood counts are really good! Actually there even better then they could have ever imagined. For dad to be able to stop taking his neupogin shots his Segs had to get to 2000 and stay there for 2 days. Well since dad can't do anything half way when they took his blood this morning his white blood count was at 7.7 and his segs were at 5080! The doctors were pretty happy about this! His white blood cells aren't really doing anything right now, (they are growing but won't work for 6 - 12 months ) but its still good to know that they are growing. Dad also was able to eat today for the first time in about 2 weeks, he was very happy about this! He's been pretty tired the last few days but the doctors said this is normal since his body is working so hard. Well nothing else new from our little room 92! :) Have a good night everybody! ~ Elisabeth

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Well I spent the whole day in my cozy little bed while all of you in the midwest had to go out and fight this nasty weather that we are having. I had the joy of watching the Packers lose, and the Bears get beat so bad that the networks cut away to a "competitive game" I've had many days at home that were not that enjoyable. I played some cribbage with my Dad and he kept up Elisabeths streak I lost again. On the medical side my counts are looking really good and if they can get me off all this medicine I may get to come home in another week or so. I did have some bloody nose this morning and they had to shoot that medicine up my nose a few times again (Thrombin) I think its called it works pretty good but kind of uncomfortable. My headaches are a little better than the last few days, and the achy feeling in my legs and hips comes and goes, instead of all the time so I think I'm getting better. I sleep a lot the nurses say that is good. The people here are so nice you wouldn't believe it I feel like I'm the only person on the floor. Penny and Elisabeth take such good care of me I think it makes the Nurses job a lot easier. Mom and Dad have been here since Friday they were going to go home today, but the weather is so bad and I'm glad they decided to stay over, I think they are going to try and go home in the morning. There are 10 other patients here right now and we are getting to know each other a little we are required to walk the hallway (which is 98 18" ceiling panels long) so it takes about 10 laps to make a mile and we pass each other a lot, you see the same people for several days and then they don't come out for a few days and their families look really scared, in a few days they are back looking a little more tired but like they made it through the next round of something. Everyone up here wants to talk to the other patients especially on your good days it makes the families feel better. I count my blessings everyday and thank God for my family and friends. Things are looking up.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday AM

Well not long after we posted last night, Lance's headache got worse and he got sick to his stomach...first time in like twenty years. He didn't feel to well all night but got up this morning and decided maybe a walk would help him feel better. Well that started an hour and a half nose bleed! Doctor decided to give him a transfusion of platelets and shot some Thrombin in his nose (no fun but it works pretty good). If the headache continues or gets worse they will do a CAT scan to be safe but he is sleeping right now so that is good. On the bright side his white count went from 0.4 to 1.8 which surprised everyone, usually you might see it go from 0.4 to 0.8 , he always has done the unusual!! Must be those strong young cells of Nathan's!! We are still waiting for the seg count to come back (the seg count has to be 2000 for two days straight before he can quit getting the shots to help increase his cell growth) as of yesterday that count was still at 0. Thank you all for praying, please pray he gets feeling better today and that the headache goes away and no more nose bleeds!! Thank You!! --Penny

Friday, December 10, 2010


Starting to engraft!!!! Lance's white count went to 0.4 this morning which means Nathan's stem cells are starting to grow!! They tell us that there is still not anything to fight infection yet, I guess they measure something called Segs. for that but it was still nice to have a positive today!! Thank you all for praying!!! Yesterday they raised the amount of anti-rejection meds. that Lance gets as they didn't feel he was getting enough. It is all a matter of balance now...... So complicated.... So glad there are so many smart people working here. Lance has been getting the same shots that Nathan had to stimulate cell growth and is feeling pretty sore and has a pretty bad headache tonight. Got a two bags of blood but didn't need platelets today.

We have been listening to a cd our church family did for us.... We are so thankful for all their love and support. We listen a little at a time to encouraging verses, jokes, songs, poems...... just hearing all our friends voices encouraging us is just awesome!! What a great idea. How blessed we feel to read emails, comments on the blog and to see the mail lady come each morning!! Thank you all!!!

So many people going through so much up here, we pray for them all and many are praying for us. Lance always has a smile and something nice to say to each one. I'm so proud of him, he has had such a great attitude!! Funny thing happen this afternoon, we are always looking for a good laugh.....anyway one of the nurses came in with a pack of toilet paper a gift from a patients family to each room here.....SOFT TOILET PAPER!!! Isn't that great!! One of life little pleasures! GOD IS GOOD!!! ---Penny

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Today was a very quiet day, after not sleeping for the last few nights I really slept last night and then took many naps today, and I feel good tonight. This morning my blood draw came back with a really low Hemoglobin count. It turns out it could only get that low through internal bleeding and I was feeling good. So the Doctors reordered all the tests and redrew blood and it came back at a better level so just a faulty lab test but it was a little scary this morning. Penny and Elisabeth found her a new scarf , hat, and gloves in the lobby (a Christmas present), I guess they have shopping down there some days. Not much else to report we played a lot of Cribbage and Elisabeth beat me. Lance

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Guess what's new????

Guess what today's side effect was????

Well other than the side effect of dad's hair falling out its been a pretty good day so far. The pain meds are working pretty good, so thankfully dad is not in too much pain. Only other new thing today is dad has developed a rash, and unfortunatly they think it is from his antibiotic so they are going to take him off it. Since dad has no white count right now its really imporatant to be on this antibiotic so that he doesn't get sick. If you could pray that they are able to solve this problem quickly and that dad doesn't get sick in the mean time we would really appreciate it!!! Oh by the way dad's Barber's name is Shannon. He said she did a really good job although took a little to much off the sides! :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

More pictures

Hello again! Sorry for the gap in posting pics but I've been kind of busy lately! is some pics of whats been happening up here in the last week!

Here is the famous T-Day balloon!

This is dad's transplant certificate that the nurses gave him. They also told him that he now has two birthday's I thought it was quite funny though because the 30th just happend to be Stuart's b-day also! :)

One of the therapy dogs came to see dad the other day.

Dillan waiting in the family room

Here is dad's new IV pole. It's HUGE!!!

Here is the famous "steak in a bag" :)

Monday, December 6, 2010


Our day started a little off..... Lance didn't sleep last night as some of the symptoms caused him a lot of pain. After the doctor came in they hooked him up to a continuous pain killer drip (he should of let them do it a couple days ago....In my opinion!) Anyway they have it on the lowest setting for now (it can be adjusted as needed, he just has to tell them how he is feeling) and he is feeling much better now. He was able to sleep this afternoon and is watching Monday night football right now. So tonight is much better! None of this is unexpected, it is just a matter of keeping things under control until his counts start coming back up eventually. The mail lady came this morning and he got several cards and many emails to read and he just loves that! Keeps him in touch with the world. Thank You!!! ---Penny

Sunday, December 5, 2010


It has been a quiet day today, not much medically to report. My blood counts continue to fall, the white blood cell count has now pretty much hit as low as it can go. (0.1) That was the Doctors goal to Kill all of mine so while I feel tired and kind of flu like. Everything is going just as they expected. there are some other Chemo related things going on but nothing that shouldn't hopefully go away over the next week to ten days. Justin and Ashley came to visit today and Elisabeth watched Dillon for a while we had a nice visit they are doing really good. I watched most of the Viking game and they looked good won big and I don't care who they beat it was fun. Yesterday I spent my day teaching Elisabeth Cribbage, she spent the day and we had lots of time together which we haven't really had much of we both enjoyed it.Today was our company Christmas Party I spent a lot of time thinking I wish I was there. They have a really nice party and Buffet and I haven't ate in several days Probably won't eat for a while could be a week or two I get my steak in a bag the nurses call it. I am not hungry I just always liked to eat. We are thankful for everyone still praying for us and taking so much interest we have been very Blessed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday's Update

Want to thank you everyone for all the encouraging emails and cards!! It is such fun for Lance when the nurse brings him mail or for him to read the emails. That really is the best way to encouraging him right now, that and all your prayers!! We've had a few people call to see about visiting but the doctor was just in and said Lance's white count is at a critical level right now, which is about 0, so he has no way to fight infection at all. So for now it would be best not to come. Doctor says only healthy immediate family at this time. Lance's counts are expected to stay at a critical level for awhile now but that is all part of the process to hopefully get him better. Not fun but neccessary! His address here is: Lance Hall, Room 7092-7RCS
c/o UI Hospitals and Clinics
200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, IA 52242
P.S. Do to the overwhelming requests from most of my friends Dr. Heckmann has informed me he can no longer write prescriptions for Kisses he's just been inundated. (Really Quit Calling!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Reminder!

Thank you all for praying! Today was a much better day. The doctors changed Lance's pain medicine and it seemed to help the pain without putting him to sleep all day! The doctor in charge of the whole clinic was in today and wanted to know if we knew how unusual Lance's stem cell match is. He said he has been here for 30 years and they had never had a family match up like ours. To have three sons not only match but to match perfectly. He said they had gone beyond the normal matching to the really detailed and they matched perfectly! He was so excited and went through all the genetics with us. To see the excitement in his face was such a reminder of how we felt when we were told the boys had matched and what a miracle that it is, the doctor was so excited to see something he had never seen before! Such a good encouragement today and reminder once again of who is really in control in our lives!! ---Penny

Such an encouragement especially since they started Lance on what they call "Steak In a Bag" (IV nutrition) tonight since eating is not working anymore.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our Awesome God

I'm really tired tonight but wanted to write a quick update about today. Lance is starting to have some more side effects from the chemo now. Something called mucasitis (I have no idea how to spell it and I'm to tired to go ask!) Lance is such a tough guy, he made himself get up and walk, then ride the exercise bike, walk again and do leg exercises. The doctors then came in and told him to take pain meds and go to bed! The meds made him tired so he slept a lot after that. The nurses say they don't worry about telling him to take it easy because he is so self motivated and pushes himself so hard ( to hard sometimes)! Anyway he did wake up some later and played Bingo and won a t-shirt. They play it over the tv. Amazing all the things that you will do to pass time!! Please pray for him that the transplant takes and that he gets an immune system starting to grow soon. Right now he has no immune system so the side effects from the Chemo tend to get worse before they get better as you have no way to fight them off. We know God is with us, and Lance will write when he can ,but one thing he kept saying yesterday as we watched the stem cells flowing into him, was what an Amazing Creator God we have!! To think that that little bag of stem cells could give him a chance at life! Those little cells will give him a new immune system, a new blood type..... Just Amazing that anyone could think that we just happened....only an Amazing God could do this!! Thank you for praying for us. Please continue...we have only just begun this journey according to the doctors..... Trusting that God is holding us in His hands! -----Penny

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Transplant Day

It's finally here! Dad is having his transplant right now! Just thought I'd post a few pictures of what's going on!

Dad and Nathan

Dad looking at the stem cells going into him. If you look close enough you can actually see the cells.

The stem cells

Monday, November 29, 2010

A few pictures from today

Well Nathan is all done giving his stem cells so I thought I would post a few pictures of the process that he went through this morning. Enjoy! :) Elisabeth

Here are the famous stem cells that will being going into dad tomorrow.

This is the machine that the stem cells get processed through.

Here's Nathan hangin out, ya know just savin a life :)
P.S. Did you notice he shaved his head and beard for dad! At least dad has one good kid! ;)

Donor Day!!

Nathan is at this moment down giving his stem cells for Lance!!! Thank you Nathan!! Hoping you feel better soon. Elisabeth has been with him and she just stopped in on her way to lunch and says things are going well.

As for Lance he had a rough night, up most of it with face and jaw pain and then a bad headache. There was talk for awhile of a CAT scan but the doctor decided that it is a side effect from the one chemo... Not a common one but then again when has Lance ever been common! He did learn a hard lesson in telling the nurse when he has a little pain before it turns into A LOT of pain....... The hockey player in him just doesn't relate to that to well..... He has been sleeping most of the day so far today which is exactly what he needs! They have some pretty good pain meds. up here (once you tell them you hurt!).

Thanks to everyone for your continued love and prayers! God is good!-----Penny

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy birthday Hayden!!!

Hello again! Well before I start I would like to say a very happy birthday to my niece Hayden!! She turned two years old today!! Hope you had a good day and your mommy and daddy bought you lots of presents! :) Well dad started his second kind of chemo today, Cytoxan, and in the words of Hayden it's NASTY!! He feels pretty sick today very tired and hasn't been able to eat much. The doctor said this is to be expected and he will probably feel even worse tomorrow, but he should hopefully feel a little better the next day. Nathan is coming down tonight because he has to be at the hospital early tomorrow morning to give stem cells. Please pray that all will go well with that tomorrow!!!! Well nothing else really going on tonight just laying low. Were going to watch a Tim Hawkins video ( thanks Kevin) :) now so dad should enjoy that! If you don't know who Tim Hawkins is he's a comedian and really funny!! If you need a good laugh check him out! Well we'll keep everyone updated on whats going on tomorrow! G2G! Elisabeth

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday's Update

Just a quick update. Things according to the nurses are going as expected which at this point is just a little more tiredness and fatigue each day. Tonight he is started a different chemo that can be really hard on the liver and kidneys so please pray for protection for him. The care up here has been great. We have gotten to know many people up here and we all pray for each other, what a blessing to share with others. Thank you to everyone for all your prayers and encouragement. If you want to send Lance a note, Elisabeth posted our email on the blog. Lance likes reading the notes from you all. Thank you!! Nathan is in the midst of his shots, Thanks Nathan! Tomorrow is his last day, and he will donate his stem cells monday morning! Almost daily someone comes in and say are you the one with the three sons that match? What a miracle! -----Penny

(Be sure and check out the next post Nicole and I were doing them at the same time)

Update on Nathan's shot progress...

Hi everybody,

This is just a quick update about Nathan -- I know many have asked how he is doing so we wanted to let you know. Just as a disclaimer by Nathan, his complaints pale in comparison of the long road his Dad has to conquer and so with that in mind he shrugs off any sort of discomfort. Nathan started his shots 3 days ago on Thanksgiving morning. We were blessed to have the guidance and assistance of a wonderful couple who have have taken this same journey -- Matt and Sam (oops, forgot their last name, sorry guys!!). Matt was a donor about 5 years ago to his brother so he was able to share some of his personal experience with Nathan. Sam has also been fortunate enough for us, to have vast experience as a Physician's Assisant. They were SO kind to make a stop off at our house before going on about their Thanksgiving plans that day -- they even made it a point to stay in the area for the holidays knowing that Nathan would be taking his shots. (Interesting tidbit: Matt started his shots on Easter Sunday and Nathan on Thanksgiving!) We realized how helpful they were when Sam knew what to do when we got air into the needle syringe, she is such a pro and we are such amateurs! SO very thankful for their help on Thanksgiving!

Nathan has been feeling VERY sore, although he won't admit it to anyone else, it is more pain than he thought there would have been, but ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT IN EVERY WAY!!! Much of his soreness and achiness has been in his skull, jaw and hip bones (we are guessing these are the largest producers of stem sells maybe) and hopefully with all of the pain he is experiencing, it will be a sign that he will donate the largest amount of stem cells they have ever seen (okay so we are a little competetive :) in everything!) lol! Only two more days and then it's donation day and the first day on Lance's new life with Nathan's stem cells, Nathan's new blood type and Nathan's allergies that Lance never had before (yes, a possible side effect!) We all can't wait, what an exciting transformation!! God is GOOD!! Take care everyone and hope to see some of you tomorrow in Iowa City to celebrate little Hayden's 2nd birthday! Yea!!

Love, Nicole

Friday, November 26, 2010

New Friend Imani (means Faith)

Meet are new friend Imani , She is an African Refuge who works in the Foodservice at University of Iowa Hospitals. She has had a hard story but you'd never know it her face lights up a room. Last night she came into our room and asked if she could pray for me and that her whole Church is. She then same some Hymns for us in French and Swaheli, God brings many special people into our lives.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Hello again! :) Here are a few pics from today! Nothing really new yet just letting the chemo work. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

No need for the hat yet, but trying it on to see how it looks!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chemo can't keep him down! :)

Hello everyone! Just wanted to post a couple pictures of what dad did today!

There is a story behind this note. My mom wouldn't kiss my dad because she was afraid of giving him any germs. Now my dad wasn't going to take this so of course he went to the top! He got a doctor to actually write a prescription that says ,"Patient should get a kiss from his wife as needed!" Typical dad! Needless to say he got his kiss! :)

This is dad riding the exercise bike, reading his bible, and receiving his chemo all at the same time. Talk about multi-tasking! :)
P.S. just on a side note I was very surprised when I came up to the hospital today and all the nurses started telling me how nice they thought it was that I was going to shave my head for my dad. Apparently dad was bored this morning :) My answer was I'll do a lot of things for him but shaving my head was not one of them! :)----Elisabeth

Day 2 in Iowa City

We had a pretty busy day yesterday, I had an EKG, They installed the pick line in my arm, had chest x-rays, and then I started medications. They gave me 9 different medications in the first little cup getting me ready for the bags of Chemo drugs and actually started the chemo drugs at 9:oo last night. I slept well last night other than getting up to go to the bathroom every hour or so, they have me drinking non stop to keep my kidneys going Penny slept in the recliner beside me I don't think she got much rest between them coming in and me getting up so hopefully tonight will be a little better. They came in at 3:00 am and gave me lots more medicine and hooked up more chemo that will keep going non stop for the rest of the week. I feel pretty good still. I rode the exercise bike in the hallway this morning and will walk the halls, they say the first week is usually the best for being pretty normal. They let my Dad and Mom and Rex and Linda (Penny's parents) come in in shifts to see me (they are pretty strict at this point ) but it was nice to have them here. Elisabeth is staying at Rex and Linda's thats close bye. Another blessing is that some of my family that could make it are going to Swisher for Thanksgiving. So they can be close even though I can't see them all, When I worked in Cedar Rapids 20 some years ago in the Restauraunt there was a young man Blane Betschka who is now the owner of that restauraunt and Blane has offered to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family in Swisher what a wonderful gesture as Linda has plenty going on right now. Blane if you follow this Thank You! Well they just brought in my breakfast so I am going to sign off. Thanks to all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Were Here!!!!

Day one of captivity. Just kidding! Just wanted to let everyone know that we are at the hospital and getting settled in. The nurses and doctors are so nice here trying to get dad as comfortable as they can. Doctors have been in and out all day trying to get him ready to start his chemo and he should actually be starting it anytime now. In order to try and make his room more homey we decortated it with posters, pictures of the grandkids, and of course a picture of his hockey team! It would not be dads room unless it had something to do with hockey in it!! :) Well nothing else to report from the cave, I'll try and post some pictures soon! Thanks for praying! Elisabeth

Thursday, November 18, 2010

All system's are go.......

Hello everyone! Just wanted to write a quick update and let everyone know that the transplant people called today and Nathan's tests came back fine! Which means no more delay's! They're going to move ahead with everything as planned, well unless dad gets sick. If you could continue to pray that he will stay healthy for the next week that would be amazing! :) It's so nice to know that as of right now there will be no more delays! Thanks for all your prayers! Will write soon! ~Elisabeth

Monday, November 15, 2010

Prayer Request

Please pray with us that all stays on schedule..... Long story short, Nathan is once again on his way to Iowa City to do another test to make sure that he doesn't have an active infection. Sometimes test results come back positive from an old infections or virus. Nathan feels fine so that is probably the case. Hopefully nothing to worry about but we would appreciate prayers that every thing can go on as scheduled because Lance is already off his cancer medicine. It will take four to five days to get the results back....more waiting! Thanks Nathan for leaving work once again for your Dad!! We are thankful that the doctors are being so careful, because something that is nothing to you or me could be very dangerous to Lance. Praying we all stay healthy and things stay on schedule!! Thank You!! ---Penny

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Transplant Information.

We have had many questions about the transplant so if you are interested I will TRY to answer them, if not just skip this blog: Lance will have what they call a allogeneic blood or marrow stem cell transplant (meaning basically he will be receiving stem cells from a donor). In order to get rid of Lance's Leukemia (which starts for him in the bone marrow) He will first receive high doses of chemotherapy, to destroy this life-threatening process of his Leukemia. In doing so, this also destroys his own bone marrow stem cells (cells that produce normal red and white cells and platelets) so that means he will need to receive new stem cells from someone else. The transfusion of the donor cells from someone else is the transplant.

Bone marrow is the home to special cells called hemopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells, which work continuously to make new blood cells. Normally , a small fraction of these stem cells leave the bone marrow and circulate the bloodstream. If they filter the donor's blood, (which in our case is going to be our oldest son Nathan!! All three of our boys were perfect matches for Lance ,a huge miracle!!) they can collect his stem cells for transplant. By giving Nathan several injections of a medication before the collection, they can increase the number of stem cells in the circulation by 50 to 100 fold. They use this method 90% of the time now, rather than having to do surgery on Nathan and go in and take the stem cells from his bone marrow. It is easier on the donor! Although Nathan was very willing (as were all the boys) to do which ever one the doctors wanted for Lance. Thank You Guys!!

Lance will be admitted to the hospital on Nov. 23, if everything stays on schedule. He will get a PICC line again, and start chemotherapy, It is very high dose and will be for 6 days, they give him a one day break and then the next day is transplant day --Nov.30th! The transplant is given as a transfusion, similar to a blood transfusion. This day is considered Day 0. A neat side note is that the stem cells know that they belong in the bone marrow so find their way there, the doctor says they call it homing. Isn't it amazing the way God created our bodies!

It takes about 2-3 weeks after the transplant to begin making the normal bone marrow and blood cells that you need. "Engraftment" is when the donor's cells grow, and become normal functioning blood cells in Lance. During this time, they will watch Lance carefully for infection and other complications. He will get antibiotics and other drugs to help prevent and treat side effects and infections. He will receive blood and platelets transfusions. And most need IV nutrition for awhile. They tell us that the average hospital stay is 4-6 weeks although some do go home in 3-4. They also tell us that pretty much everyone ends up back in the hospital a time or two over the next few months. He will be taking lots of medicines for months to help him fight infections while his new immune system gets stronger..

There is risk of damage from the Chemo, then there is the risk of infection and probably one of the biggest risk is Graft vs. Host disease. This is where they want Lance's new immune system to fight and get rid of any cancer that might be left and to take over and give Lance a new immune system but they don't want it to get out of control and attack his body. I won't go into all the possible risk, the list is overwhelming, BUT this is also a chance for a cure! And the drugs are not working so it is a chance for life! They tell us that people don't even talk about Normal life again till at least a year out from transplant...... Lance is praying that he will beat those odds and he wants to get back to work as soon as possilble, doctors tell us that a few go back part time 4-6 months out from transplant... but most take longer... Praying to beat those odds too!

Please also pray for protection for Lance during all the chemo, transplant and after. Protection from organ damage, infections and the graft vs. host disease.

We are so thankful to our family and friends for all your love and support this past year. We are so thankful for all the prayers.... People we have never even seen are praying for us all over the world! Thank you!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dr. Yesterday

Penny, Justin and I met with the Drs. in Iowa City on Wednesday and they have decided that it is time to move on with my Transplant. They did not see the improvement they had hoped to with the drugs that I have been taking, my counts are quite low and there really aren't any more options left. So I will be admitted to the hospital on November 23rd. I will start taking medicines on the 22nd that should help with some of the side affects of the Chemo Therapy (Nausea etc. ) and then on Tuesday they will start with High Dose Chemotherapy. I will get a new pick line put in my arm that morning (they gave me my choice of arm or chest and I thought arm sounded better) and the drugs will run continuous for 6 days, then I will have one day off of everything and on the 30th of November "Transplant Day", they will start to put Nathans stem cells back into me (they do it by transfusion). Nathan will go in on the 29th and 30th to have his stem cells extracted after 4 days of shots to stimulate growth. He will be hooked up to a machine for most of the day that will draw blood out of one arm and circulate it through a machine that can extract the needed stem cells, the blood is then pumped back in his other arm. Years ago they actually went right into the bone marrow and extracted the stem cells but they have found that they can do it this way now and they have good luck with it. The chemo should kill most of my immune system and hopefully not anything else. I will be in the hospital in isolation until the new stem cells start to take and grow and they feel comfortable that I can go home. Hopefully by Christmas I might get out but I will have to be isolated at home for a while. You could pray for us for the next few weeks that neither Nathan or I get sick. I have been taken off all of my Cancer drugs and so it would not be good if it is delayed. I will go in to the Dr often between now and when I am admited as my blood counts are not very good, low whites and Nutriphils so I am susceptible to everything. I have to take my temperature at least twice a day and wear a mask whenever I am out or at work. I didn't want to do that (wear it at work) but the Drs called me at work today and were pretty adamant about it, so much for blending in , The guys kept saying "who is that masked man."
On Wednesday this coming week I will go in for an echocardiogram to make sure my Heart is in good condition and then we will attend a class for a couple of hours that will better explain the transplant procedure. Nathan will go down for Blood work and a physical soon.
I feel a sense of relief that we have a plan and am looking forward to getting better, I am very comfortable with the direction we are going and feel at peace that whatever the outcome is, it is in Gods hands and where else would I want to be.
Thanks for Praying

Friday, October 29, 2010

Just checking in.

Hi everyone:
Haven't posted in a while just didn't have much to say, we took a trip to Iowa City on Monday and I had some Bone Marrow biopsies we will go back on Wednesday next week to find out the results . Justin is going with us ( He likes to look out for me ) and they should hopefully have some difinitive answers on whether to proceed with my drugs or reschedule the transplant. This biopsy is where they decide if the drug has failed or if it is working and to what extent it is working. I feel good so hopefully they will tell us something positive.
Elisabeth has regionals on Saturday in Cedar Falls she is swimming the 100 Backstroke and the 200 Individual Medley, She has worked very hard so keep her in your thoughts, this could be her last High School Swim. Swimming has been a huge part of her life so we will all miss it. She will swim for the Y swim team after the High School season ends just for fun but will sure miss the other.
Hope all is well with everyone out there. Thanks to everyone for all your prayers.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Will Miss Gram.....

I want to ask you all to pray for Nicole and Nathan and their little ones (Gavin 7, Helen 6, Evie 4 and Gwendolyn 3) and also all of Nicole's family. Nicole's Great Grandma Helen (everyone calls her Gram) went to be with the Lord last night. Nicole and Gram have always been close and she has lived with Nathan and Nicole for the last six years. Gram was 93 years old. Please hold them up in prayer. They have loved and cared for Gram and she back to them, to all of us really. They will truly miss her. WE WILL ALL MISS GRAM ....... Not many young families would do what Nicole and Nathan have done......, it is self sacrificing to offer your home and yourself....they are truly a special family. Pray for them all please.....

Now here is the blog I had started a couple days ago but forgot to post......

"Therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you." (Isaiah 30:18)

I read that verse the morning our roof was being finished. Realized we had started praying about the roof situation over two years ago. The roof did SEEM like a long wait, but Oh how sweet and gracious is the Lords way!! God's ways are so worth waiting for! So much better than anything we could have ever thought of.... ... Lance and I want to THANK EVERYONE involved! We had no idea what was going on all the months that we were praying. We found out not long ago that it was suppose to be done during Lance's transplant as a surprise. When that got delayed they ended up having to tell us. Nicole had given us an encouraging card to read on the way to the hotel it was signed: From Everybody and most of all GOD!! We do thank God!! We are so thankful for all the love shown to us in so manys, feel just like God is giving us a great big hug saying "TRUST ME"! In the midst of what seems like an uncertain time with Lance's health....... God is showing us once again that HE is in Control...... to keep Trusting Him!

Now for an update. Lance's platelets are up a little this week!! Not what the doctors want yet, but going in the right direction!! We head to Iowa City on Monday. Lance will have another bone marrow biopsy........ Please pray for him.... It will take at least two weeks to get the results so more waiting..... Please pray for wisdom for the doctors and that the test will help them to have clear direction and unity for his future treatment.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Roof Over Their Heads....

Hi everybody, this is Nicole, Lance and Penny's daughter-in-law, married to their talented, smart and handsome son, Nathan :) I was asked to contribute the back story behind how the 'Roof Over Their Heads' came about. I want to begin by saying that I absolutely ADORE Lance and Penny and I would like to credit them with setting the example to us for what a great marriage looks like. From very early on, Lance made it clear to the boys that no one (other than the Lord) would come before his bride, their mother. And it was this kind unconditional love that has really left an impression on us to this day. That being said, I not only adore Lance and Penny but I admire and respect them. So just like anyone else, Lance's diagnosis left me feeling just as lost as they did wondering 'what do we do now?' I knew it would be a big deal to be there for them but yet not to interfere too much, because even though I wanted to, this was not a journey I could complete for them. Honestly, I just prayed that in whatever way the Lord could use me to help unload any of the burdens, that I would hear Him and not mess up too much along the way!

Not long after Lance had been diagnosed (July 9th 2009), they were taking one of their weekly trips to the University of Iowa and Lance had recalled the feeling one particular day when he looked back at the roof and the damaged state it was in, that it might never be repaired. Penny was also burdened by this and she called me a couple months later in late September to let me know they were getting a quote for materials and labor and they were hopeful and asked me to pray about it. This was through Bryce Davis, whom we both knew of with another local church and he had a little girl pass away from cancer about 5 years ago. He was very nice and thorough but unfortunately it was still too much for Penny and Lance, with doctor's bills and everything else. Penny told me that with circumstances the way they were she and Lance did not have a peace about going through with having their roof redone yet, even though it was in HORRIBLE shape. They had had hail damage, some rough winters and the shingles were not holding up. So now Penny knew she had to rely on God and "let it go". She had told me that what kept her going was the fact that it wasn't leaking yet.

During this time I was feeling bad that they couldn't get the roof fixed, but also respectful of the fact that God can show Himself in many ways, little did I know that it would be through me. A few months past and we were well into the Winter months and almost upon Spring when I suddenly felt burdened by the roof. (This was actually about 2 months before they did have a real leak in their roof and God was already working His plans to make sure it would get fixed while testing their faith in Him during this time) God began speaking to me in only the way He can, giving me perspective and understanding of how bad their roof was, no longer looking at it as their problem but MY problem. I could not stop envisioning the roof collapsing and leaking and the worst of it was seeing Lance (at that time he was going through his ITP diagnosis at the U of I) being in his safe haven of home, without a roof. Yes, my imagination was a bit extreme but like I said God hit me where He knew I would be the most impacted. Of course I had to do something but that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach told me I couldn't do it and I wasn't good enough to do it -- you know, all those doubts you feel before doing something REALLY big :)

I knew I would have to raise the funds (not knowing how much that would be) and find someone who would be willing to work for the cost of materials which seemed like a lot to ask. My plan was very unorganized and I still wasn't firmly committed to going through with it, I was still in the 'research' phase. I had gone through many attempts to get a hold of Bryce Davis and never did. Amazingly enough, I ran into him at a soccer game where his niece was playing and he approached me, finding out about my reason for trying to reach him. He gave me all of the information I needed and encouraged me to go forward with it -- I was now committed to seeing this happen.

I started talking to more people and I was amazed at everyone's responses. Our own church who obviously didn't know Penny and Lance the way we do committed to having not only a Love Offering to help raise money but also committing several guys to help with the demolition work of the roof, WOW! I was apprehensive about contacting Lance and Penny's church because I knew that they had already helped so much, but when I did, they definitely wanted to have a part in this. But even more amazingly, The Routleys (John Routley and his two sons Kory and JJ) committed to completing the entire roof ONLY for the cost of materials and without knowing if there would be anyone who would show up to help, WOW! At this stage it was just a matter of making the phone calls and gathering the necessary funds. This part was difficult because I did not want to call people who felt obligated to give but because they felt led to give. I can honestly say that everyone WANTED to help and people were thanking me whole-heartedly for calling them. Finally it came down to a big sale at Menards that signaled, "we need to get this done". Even though there was still some money coming in, I gave what I had collected thus far to Brent Fessler (who offered to pick up the shingles from Menards) and the remainder was graciously donated by the congregation of Arbor Oaks. Little did I know that God was purposely delaying some of the money for a special plan of His own.

In late September of this year (Wow, almost one year later!) the date to start the roof was set for October 8th. So with with the project a couple weeks away, I made sure to get the rest of the money needed. People were getting excited for us and Lance, Penny and myself were all getting nervous (for different reasons). I was nervous about the weather and that there would be enough help. Penny was nervous that her house was clean enough :) and that she wanted to be where she was needed when everything was going on. Lance was also nervous about finding his place in all of this. For as thankful and appreciative as he was, he didn't know if he should be outside watching and talking to people assuming that they would be wondering why he wasn't up there helping or inside, ignoring them -- a tough place for a man who doesn't sit on this side of service projects very much. Like I said before, God was already working out His plans through the many prayers of others. People had even approached Penny and Lance at this time knowing the anxiety they must have been feeling through it all, letting them know that their prayers were with them. Five days before the roof project I had contacted Brent Fessler at Arbor Oaks Bible Church (where Penny and Lance attend) to let him know that I had more money that had come in that I needed to get to him. He said that he wanted to see that money go to Penny and Lance to meet any other needs that they may have. To those of us involved with the project it was clear that Penny and Lance should be able to get away if at all possible and now it was possible! This was not in our plans from the beginning, but it was definitely in God's! The prefect place and location was found for Penny and Lance to get away - The Decker Hotel in Maquoketa, IA (half an hour away). A beautiful full service bed and breakfast style hotel. There was even enough left over so that they could really enjoy the time away!

As for my worries and concerns about the weather and enough help -- WOW! We had 20+ men and several women helped bring meals, snacks and drinks. The weather forecast called for "abundant sunshine" and the temperatures were nearing 80 just before they finished on Saturday. Even more amazing was that the project took roughly 5 hours of manpower from beginning to end. Everyone was in good spirits, laughing, joking and pitching in wherever they could. Watching the two church families work together with Lance's 4 kids was another brilliant scheme that God had on the back burner showing the great unity and respect brought together by the commonality that was shared among them -- Lance and Penny.

Now I'm sure I've missed a few details along this journey and I was also planning on sharing the thank-you note that was given to the two churches but I'm sure I've run out of time and ink :) Thanks for seeing this through to the end. For everyone who helped out in some way or another I personally, can never thank you enough and I know Lance and Penny share the same sentiments :) Take care!

Nicole Hall

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Just a update from todays labs... The platelets are holding so the doctors are happy they haven't dropped anymore! So Lance will go in Monday to have them checked again, as they are still lower than they should be, so they have to keep a close eye on them. Thank you for all your prayers!! Please pray they start going up to where they need to be and like Lance mentioned before wisdom for the doctors. We take comfort in realizing it is GOD!!! who is really in control not the disease, us ,or the doctors! Having said that, we are thankful for such good, caring doctors! ---Penny

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fun Pictures

Hey everyone! Just thought I'd share a few pics of what we've been up to lately! These pictures are a few weeks old now but we still thought it would be fun to post some!!

Elisabeth posted the pictures this morning while we were in Iowa City and I thought I'd just add to her post what happened today. I saw Dr. Jamieson and they are kind of unsure what to do with me, after the transplant was delayed due to the infections, (which are getting better) they are now concerned with moving ahead with the transplant because I have some risk factors that they are scared of. Apparently my having a three way translocation of cells is very rare and they do not have enough experience with it to feel comfortable moving ahead at this time, It is also the reason they want to move ahead. (Thats a very simplified version of what they call a very complicated problem)They are going to wait another month and then do another Bone Marrow biopsy to see where I am at. They may very well change there minds in a month basically they are afraid to go ahead and afraid to wait so the safer thing is to wait and just get me healthier so if they go ahead I will have the best chance for success. If you would pray for the Drs. I would appreciate it they are a little stumped, In addition my platlet count has fallen and in my Drs. words "I think ITP is rearing its ugly head again" so I will be going in for many blood tests I'll go back Thursday and Monday and then at least weekly until it gets better, ITP is what I was hospitalized for last time it is when your immune system attacks your platlets (which clot your blood). So you could also pray that won't happen. On the bright side Elisabeth had her best swim meet of the year last week she had good times and it was fun for her (it has been a struggle for her to relax with all that is going on at our house) she has a meet tomorow night in Cedar Rapids so we are hoping she will do well again. She works Very Hard and its good to be rewarded with time drops. We are hoping Rex can get Linda out of the house to come and watch that is always a treat for all of us. (Love ya Linda) Have a good day.


Filling up my car tire! :)

Getting the bikes ready for us to ride

My team is wearing the blue

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dragon Boats

We haven't posted in a while mainly just because there isn't much to write about. I go in for blood work every week and nothing has changed . We had fun last weekend Elisabeths swim team had a Dragon boat race on the Mississippi her boat made up of the Varsity won 1st place. It was a beautiful day to sit by the river and watch what was going on. Dragon Boats are like giant canoes with a dragon figure carved on the front, there are (I think) 18 paddlers and they have to synchronize their paddling while one person drums a cadance and another lays across the bow and pulls a flag out of a platform to stop the clock. They race about a quarter mile down the river, It was fun and the girls really have a good time together. Teams come from all over Canada etc. and they are in different divisions elite, high school etc. Elisabeth will post some pictures when she has a chance she is really busy right now swimming many hours every day, she is battling a bad cold and it wears her out but doesn't slow her down. Penny has been working hard around the house trying to get things done before I go in the hospital, I sit around and watch (lifes good) Saturday morning we are going to watch Gavin (our Grandson) play football for the YMCA he is 7 and runs like Adrian Peterson. We will write more soon.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

God's Timing

Today was suppose to be the day Lance was to go to the hospital to start Chemo for the transplant...... After our appointment Monday, I realized even more how God's timing isn't ours(or the doctors) and He knows what is best. During this time of delay because of the fungal infection, they have noticed more unusual things about Lance's case, Which makes them very cautious in going forward to transplant and also nervous about waiting........ not a really good option either way right now. But even though things SEEM uncertain and no one knows for sure the right answer we trust that God does. ----Penny

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! --Psalm 46:10

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Yesterday, Monday we went back to Iowa City to see Dr. Jamieson and it seems that the infection they are so worried about is getting a lot better but not gone. So they are going to wait a while and see what happens. They received most of the results back from my last Bone Marrow Biopsy and it shows that the new drugs I'm on are just kind of holding things in place. They were hoping to see a drop in my Leukemia but at this point that is not happening, on the bright side it is not really getting worse either. I have now been on Dasatinab for 4 months and the rule is 6 months before they rule it as a failure, and since they have to wait another month due to the infection they are going to wait the full 6 months before rescheduling a transplant ( which is actually 2 more months from now so either late Octorber or early November before they make anymore decisions ). My Drs. said that they are 90% sure the drug won't work, but as long as there is a chance, and we will be so close anyway they think it would be wise to just wait. I will go in weekly so they can monitor my blood, they seem comfortable that nothing should get away from them in a week so it will be safe to wait. Dr. Jamison said they would need to see a miraculous amount of change for me to not need a transplant but we know Miracles can and do happen so if thats Gods will it will, Thanks for caring we continue to thank God for his Love and find comfort in knowing it is all in his hands.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Groupie???

Well last night Lance went to his first Ten Avenue North concert. I think that secretly while he was teasing Elisabeth about being a groupie, that he really wanted to go! There was a free concert and Lance REALLY wanted to do something special for and with Elisabeth before he went into the hospital, it was a great night. We picked up Elisabeth's friend Christina to go with, then stopped to see Justin, Ashley and Dillan on our way and had so much fun seeing them and just watching Dillan. She is a show herself!! We visited and they made us a delicious lunch and Lance and Dillan got a nap before we left for the concert.

Tomorrow we head to Iowa City for an appointment and to get all the bone marrow test results. Thank you all for your love, prayers and support. God is faithful!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Transplant delayed.

Hi- Just a quick update I went to Iowa City today and met with Dr. Jamison and she decided that we need to postpone my transplant most likely for at least a month. I have a fungal infection that is quite common among Leukemia patients and it is just not responding very fast to the drugs that I have been on. They switched the drug two weeks ago and it looks like the new drug is working but it has a way to go before it will be safe to do the transplant. Dr. Jamison said that the leading cause of death during transplant is from this infection because once they kill my immune system it will just take over, they can't put me on some of the drugs they normally use because they interact badly with the medicine I take to keep my cancer in check so the best option right now is just to stay the course with the drug I am currently on. After that discussion she had me go in for a Bone Marrow biopsy just to see where the Leukemia is, it will take 7-10 days for the results of that test. Should it come back that I am showing too many blast cells or that the Leukemia is growing too fast, then they will go to transplant regardless because at that point it will be less risky than waiting. All in all she says it is not uncommon for this to happen and for delays to take place. I am grateful that they are so careful but a little disappointed at the same time we are ready to move on. Dr. Jamison said that I have had a very uncommon case from day one Penny says thats because I want to win at everything even being uncommon.
Elisabeth spent the day today at Devils Lake in Wisconsin hiking and swimming with the girls on the swim team, she had a really good day lots of fun. One good thing about all the delays in my treatments are she is about to start her senior season and I thought I would miss all her meets, I should be able to see quite a few now and am excited about that. Thanks to everyone for all your thoughts and prayers I really appreciate the support.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


We had a fun morning today. Elisabeth was in a Triathalon she swam a 400, biked 12 miles and ran a 5k she did really well came in 4th place in her age group. Most of the Varsity girls from her swim team participated it was open to all the kids in the city and families. We attached a few pictures below, Penny also wrote under the pictures about tomorrow.

Got a call from Iowa City this week, they will wait to make any decisions concerning Lance's medicines and the timing of the transplant till after they get the results from his bone marrow biopsy which he has tomorrow. Don't know how long it will take to get the final results on that. He was suppose to go off his cancer medicine tomorrow in order to be ready to start the chemo for the transplant on Sept. 2, so we'll see what they decide...... Please pray for us tomorrow as we travel, that they give Lance LOTS of good drugs for the biopsy( it is not a fun thing to have done), wisdom for the doctors, and a clear calm mind for me so I can ask the right questions and remember all the details! It can get a bit overwhelming at times.....

Friday, August 6, 2010

Trusting God's timing

Quick update, Lance went to Iowa City yesterday to meet with the dermatologist. His rashes are getting worse again after pretty much clearing up a few weeks ago. Anyway he has become resistent to the drugs so they are not working anymore. His last blood work a week ago also showed that his infection fighting cells in his blood are really low again....... The doctors are trying to figure out what to do because of all the reactions between the drugs he is on and not wanting to delay the transplant anymore, but not wanting to put him at higher risk than necessary. Please pray for wisdom for all the doctors and for protection and healing for Lance. The meds. he is on are all hard on the liver, and can bring down his blood counts along with some other things but are also needed to fight the cancer and infections.......

Yesterday kind of felt like we were back at square one again, but even though we don't understand all the up and downs, the starts, stops, and waits.... Trusting that God does! Thank you all for praying! -----Penny

Saturday, July 31, 2010

We have a Date

We had a full schedule in Iowa City on Wednesday this week. We started in Nuclear Medicine where I had a Mugascan which is a test where they determine the strength of your heart. They inject you with a tin substance in one arm and with radioactive stuff in the other and lay you on a table under a camera. (it looks a lot like a cat scan ) They watch you on camera and film your heart function for about a half hour then the heart specialists read your results. Anyway I passed. Then I went for labs they drew a lot of blood 15 vials some because they asked me to be in a research study, it will not do anything for me but they want to study my blood as I go through the transplant and after to see how I react to different things and how much graph to host disease I get. The purpose is to find out more about the disease so they may be able to help future patients who get what I have, they took four vials of blood for that test and they will freeze some of it for tests they haven't even been invented yet, they then can go get it and run those new tests. After that we went to Pulmanary Medicine and they had me sit in a little glass booth and you blow into a tube and have you do all kinds of tests to empty and fill your lungs you blow all the air out and then keep on blowing and blowing until they say you can stop (it really gets tiring) anyway I passed that test also but I was a little disappointed in the results of it, I thought I'd be really good at that one with all the stuff I've done over the years (running, hockey, etc,) and it was okay but not what I would have expected. (To much medicine for so long makes you short of breath) The primary reason for these tests is to be sure you are safe for the chemo but also to set a baseline so afterwards they can do them over and assesss any damage done by the medicines. Next we went to see Dr. Silverman who is the head of the transplant team, she is a really nice lady and explains things very well. She said its time to get it done and wanted to know if we had a date in mind. Penny and I were a little suprised we thought they would pick the date. Anyway they like you to decide within a window they provide to let you get things ready at home and to be mentally ready, I told her I was as mentally ready as I'd ever be and we decided to do the transplant on September 2. Dr Silverman said she has decided not to do the full body radiation on me (they were going back and forth on that) and just go with a very high dose chemotherapy she says she doesn't like to do the radiation on patients over 20 if she doesn't have to because it just does to much damage to your lungs. Chemotherapy is more likely to damage primarily the liver but at this point it is much safer for me to go ahead with that then not. I was happy that I won't have radiation I don't know much about it but people I know who have gone through it seem to really suffer for a while from the burns etc. so that was good news. I am releived to have a date it has been a long time coming and I am ready to move on. I am very grateful for my family and friends! People have been so good to me through the last year. Mostly I am grateful to God who has comforted me and been with me when I get scared. I will not go through anything that he did not endure and more. I know because of him I have that Future and a Hope that we wrote about months ago. I am perfectly at peace with what is coming although a little scared of the process and am looking forward to watching God work a Miracle in my life. Sometimes when I get frustrated that I can't do all the things I was accustomed to we look back on some of our old posts and read about how clearly Gods hand has been through this process and think about how weak we are. I used to read about the Israelites and how God would work these great miracles and they would turn around and forget. I tell myself don't be like that, remember what he has done for you. Regardlesss of the outcome of this transplant (and I do believe it will be successful) I am so blessed in this life and wouldn't change a thing.
P.S. Thanks to Sister Ella for letting us know the blog was broke its been nice to be back in touch.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


THANK YOU all for your prayers!! Nurse just called and Lance's platelets are back to normal!!

This last week with having to have test in Iowa City and all that involved was a really exhausting week for Lance. As I waited for him to wake up from the meds they gave him for his test, I really struggled..... it is so hard to see him have to go through so many things.... and this was just a test....., I'm so Thankful to him for doing all of it. Years ago we used to talk about what if..... And Lance always said he wouldn't want to do chemo and all that stuff if something ever happen.... but now he wants to have a chance to live and to be with us and take care of us..... He is so good, never complains, laughs, thinks of others, working, giving of himself for us even when he is tired...

I'm reminded of Ephesians 5:25---Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her

As I realize how thankful I am that Lance is willing to undergo some very hard things to be with us, how much he loves us everyday in giving of himself for us (not only now, but always has). It makes me so thankful to our God!! The love we have for our husbands or wives is just a fraction of what God's love is for us.... Christ died for us!! Jesus knew what he would have to face......... yet he chose to do it for us. Don't know if it makes any sense to anyone but me!(that would not be unusual!), but watching Lance's giving of himself for us....., his love for us...., reminds me of what My Savior did for me..... SO THANKFUL..... What an Awesome God we serve.

Well next week on Wednesday the 28th, Lance goes to Iowa City to meet with the transplant doctor. He will also have a test to determine how much Chemo his heart can handle, and some lung testing. All test that they do before transplant, with more to come yet. Praying that the medicine will start working to lower the leukemia cells before transplant. Praying that he would be healed!! But as Lance has said all along, no matter what, we have already won! Thank you all for your continued prayer, and thank you Lance, love you! ------Penny

Monday, July 12, 2010

Familiar Road ........

The road is getting really familar! We head back down to Iowa City in the morning for more test. Praying it won't be such a long day. I have to drive home as they won't let Lance after being under the influence of whatever meds they are going to give him (Lance likes to do the driving, don't know why!! But we do get there at lot quicker with him driving than when I drive!) Just the start of a few test they want to run as a precaution for transplant. Guess after last week they are starting to get some things in motion.

We had a great weekend with all our kids. We all went to Nathan and Nicole's house Saturday night. EVERYONE was there!! Just love that!

Lance had a bloody nose on Sunday again but it stopped pretty quick on its own, but what a scary reminder of what he went through in March...... Praying his platelets behave!

As we head to Iowa City, Elisabeth will be going to Wisconsin for a canoe trip and Stuart our athlete is going to the dog spa for a hair cut so he can see again! Life is good! ----- Penny

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Latest Doctor Appointment......

Long day in Iowa City today. Our doctor apoligized as they were very busy and are just plain having a hard time coordinating all the doctors and test that need to be done. Lance has also got another cold and some new rashes which meant more test today and one new medicine, possible more. They are just being cautious and we are thankful for that. Dr. Jamieson said there is usually an optimum time to go to transplant and she was thinking August to early September if they have to wait to clear up infections but that they don't want to wait to long and risk more things. Kind of tricky! Lance's platelets were a little below normal today and they will watch them closely as we don't want another episode with ITP (which was why he was in the hospital in March). I guess that is a concern because if he had it once it can happen again. So please pray that they go back to the normal range and stay there!! The fish test came back, which is the one that tells what percent of his white blood cells are still leukemia ones and this showed that it is still 81% so really no better with the new medication he is on. They are not totally surprised by this as it can take a little while ,but some people do respond quicker so we were hoping.... Dr. Jamieson would like to get his Leukemia lower going into transplant so there are less of them to kill off.... so that is another reason for the delay.... Anyway a long day but no date set yet.... but it is important to clear up as many potential problems as they can so Lance has a better chance of less problems during transplant. Pray for wisdom for the doctors and for Lance to get healthy enough to do what needs to be done OR to just get healthy!! Thank you all for your love, prayers and concern. It has been a long year but we are grateful for each day! Tomorrow is our 31st Anniversary and we are so happy to celebrate another one together!! -----Penny