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

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