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

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Early Christmas Present

Hi everyone! Happy late Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and soon to be Happy New Year! I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by! It has been a year of a lot of ups and downs for our family, but as we get closer to the day that we celebrate the birth of our savior we were given the best Christmas present that we could have ever imagined. Last Friday, Dad went to Iowa City to get a bone marrow biopsy done, and after what seemed like a lifetime of waiting, the doctor finally called us back with the results. It was the best news that we could have heard. NO CANCER! After a little scare earlier this year with some cancer cells found in one blood test we are so relieved and so thankful, and to say we are just a little excited would be an understatement! We once again have been so blessed!

It seems just like yesterday that Dad was laying in the hospital having his transplant, but as of the 30th it has been two years now! He has come such a long ways in these two years and the results of this biopsy were the icing on top of the cake! I remember two years ago when Dad was going into transplant he wondered if he would ever make it out to be able to watch Gavin at his football games and swim meets, but two years later here we are. He sat through every one of Gavin’s football games this year, cheering him on louder than anyone else! And later today not only will he get to see Gavin swim, but also Helen and Evie! I will never cease to amaze me what a wonderful God we have!

So, I guess I’ll end here. Thank you again everyone for all your thoughts and prayers! Have a very Merry Christmas!


Friday, November 9, 2012

A Special Request for a Special Milestone!

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope this is received well by you all! We are approaching a very significant day in our family and many of you may remember fondly a moment almost 2 years ago on November 30th when Lance received life-saving stem cells from his oldest son, Nathan. This "new life" for Lance has given us so much to be thankful for and to feel the love and blessings of our Father's Love as well as the support of so many loved ones. This process, however, has not been without its many ups and downs. The biggest struggle has been to adjust to the "new normal" (yet a blessing that a sort of "normal" can be found once again) and we have been encouraged and blessed by so many of you. Often we hear about the prayers that were felt throughout this ordeal or moments that you were reminded of Lance in a special way. We had thought about throwing a big party to celebrate (as this deserves a BIG celebration!) but it seemed more meaningful to ask of you a few moments of your time to share with us through letter or e-mail ways in which you have been blessed, encouraged, prayers that have been prayed, verses or moments in your day to day life when Lance has come to mind. If you wouldn't mind taking a moment to jot something down in an e-mail (or letter), we hope to put something together in a book over the next couple of weeks. No worries if its one simple sentence because those can say the most! We just hope and pray that  many of you will share a thought or two with us, so we can continue to lift up Lance and keep his journey going strong! Thank-you so much, we can't wait to hear from you!  Keep in mind, Lance doesn't know about this so far and thanks for your help!

Nicole, Penny and Elisabeth Hall


For the fun pictures below please check out the song "Good to be Alive" By Jason Gray  its been an encouragement and inspired a picture session with the grandkids!

Isn't Lance a good sport?  Its fun to see a Grandpa being goofy for his grandkids! (Just think a couple of years ago Lance wouldn't have been able to do this!)

This is my (Nicole's) personal favorite!  Lance has had A LOT to live for especially the beautiful lady standing behind him!

This one gave us ALL some good laughs as they were trying to make their faces red!!  Lance's face was the best!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In Iowa City right now sitting here watching Lance get his IV,  Actually Lance is laying in a recliner alternating between watching TV and trying to sleep amongst the BEEPS from everyones machines going off.   Doctor just came in a little while ago to tell us she feels Lance needs to go back on the steroids.   She was so encouraging.....telling us that even though getting off them didn't work this time it doesn't mean it never will.    So we received the wisdom that we asked for....... Thank You for praying!   It had become pretty clear as the week went on what the doctor would say but it was great to just get to really talk to her today and hear how she felt about it.   She keeps telling Lance it is OK to tell her if there is a problem.....he is not a complainer and always tells them he is doing great.... but then they REALLY  look at him and then at me to see how he is feeling.  They were laughing at me today because I had told myself I was not going to say a word about how he has been doing.....let him tell them.....I didn't want to be the reason he went back on steroids we wanted so much for him to be off.   The nurse was laughing because I don't have to say anything..... you can see what I think without a word and it didn't help that I kept sucking in my breath trying so hard not to talk!!    We have much to be thankful for.... just take a walk around this hospital for a little bit and you will see really quickly how much you have to be thankful for and be reminded of so many people to pray for.   GOD IS GOOD!  ----Penny   

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Prayer Request!

  A quick prayer request.   Lance has been completely off steroids for about 3 weeks (so excited!) but is now battling fatigue, and possibly some GVH issues again.  It has taken months to get off the steroids and it would be a disappointment to have to go back on them.   As I've mentioned before he cannot attempt to get off any of his other meds until he does well off the steroids.   So we would appreciate prayer for healing and wisdom.   Thank you for your prayers!!! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Iowa City appointment

Yesterday was a long day in Iowa City.  Doctor told us last month that maybe after this appointment she might let Lance go a little longer between appointments but that is not to be the case yet.    It's kind of funny, just the other day we were talking about being thankful and I realized I need to be thankful for any time I get with Lance even if it is just a doctor appointment and guess what..... I get to do it again next week!!   God is good and has a sense of humor!

Lance came down with another cold virus so couldn't get his shots and his IGG level is 50 which is way lower than the normal of like 700 to 1600!  They decided to send us up to the infusion center and get IVIG in hopes of helping boost this part of his immune system and help him fight  viruses.  Practically everyone I know has had something lately so we didn't think he was doing to bad but obviously they are concerned about that low level and the fact that there are still a lot of viruses going around for this time of year.   After  waiting ..... they came out to tell us it was to late to start as it takes at least 4 hours and we wouldn't get done till 9 pm so we will head back down next week for that and then at next month's appointment Lance will have all the regular test he gets each month, but then he'll have a lung test and then head to the infusion center for another IVIG.

Interesting that his GVH seems to be settling down some, Thanks for your prayers!  This means they will let him try and get off the steroids!!! YES!!    Please pray for his energy level as he tries to get off steroids in the next month or two, that's the tough part. 

Doctor was smiling and shaking her head once again at him.  We were discussing how tough the last couple months had been with all the meds taking their toll on his body and energy level........and something is causing not only vitamin D defiency but others as well........  What to do??   Well  I was telling her how  Lance decided that resting wasn't working so this week he set himself up a schedule for exercise, rest and eating.... the exercise is his own schedule and Elisabeth has been helping him with the eating and I'm in charge of the resting!!   He wants to start jog/walking even if it is just a little at a time to build up his lungs ( Yes, I said jog/walk....Lance's mind set is if you are going to try you might as well give it your all...Like that isn't what he does already!!) along with weight lifting to help with the muscle loss from the steroids.  My part is to make sure he doesn't over do it....Yeah Right....Like when I used to tell him to wear a mouth guard and face mask in hockey!    He SO wants to play hockey again!    Doctor was calling him Marathon man because he just doesn't stop even when most all the rest of us would sure want to just give up.   I think she enjoys having someone who is so determined.....It seems to be one step forward and two back.....three forward then one back... and on and on.... sooooo slow!   But when we look back over the last year you can see the improvement just MUCH slower than he thought..... and no hockey YET!    He is working really hard to do good on the next lung test.....Please pray that his body will cooperate with his determination!    Thank you once again for all your love and prayers for us... we feel them and thank God for you all!     --- Penny

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Celebrating Lance's Life!!

                                    Lance's birthday was on Tuesday! It was so great to see a birthday through a childs eyes again (four out of the eight grandkids in this picture)!  They were so excited for Grandpa!  We are SO THANKFUL for another year!!   I read a verse the other morning and  immediately thought of Lance.....It's John 15:13 "Greater love has no man than this,  that a man lay down his life for his friends."   There is a study note in my bible that says that the highest expression of love is self-sacrificing which spares not life itself....  Our family has witnessed this kind of self-sacrificing love in Lance over and over.  Things have been tough for him lately.  Even though he is so much better than last year his body is is tired, the meds are taking a toll on him ..... Yet over and over I see him pull himself back up and do things that he thinks will please us instead of himself when I'm sure he just needs to rest.  Thank you for your continued prayers for us .....we are thankful for how far he has come and where he is today....... yet he continues to strive for a complete recovery someday!!   Oh by the way the chair is his gift to encourage him to rest outside NOT in my dining room!!    Thanks Lance for being my best friend and setting such an example of godly self-sacrificing love!!!  ----Penny

Friday, March 23, 2012

Inspired daughter-in-law....

Hi everybody, I've been given the privilege to add a new post to Lance's blog page. I know it 's been awhile and although I might not make mention of everything that has happened over the last few months, hopefully I can hit the highlights as well as give an update on how things have been going for Lance, Penny, Elisabeth and the rest of the family. First of all, let me begin by saying that we have been so blessed to see Lance make leaps and bounds beyond what anyone expected. He has been back to work full time since January (full time for Lance is not the typical 40 hours, most HR people far exceed that!). He has been able to be around more people, especially his family, and he is going above and beyond in keeping that positive attitude that we all know and love about Lance. The truth of it all is, Lance may look the picture of good health and great disposition, but he is not out of the weeds yet. If anyone knows Lance like we do, he has such a will of determination, courage and strength that even on days when he is experiencing pain from his GVH (whether its in his eyes or on his skin that day) or practically falling over from fatigue, he always manages to keep himself going, to keep a smile on his face. The last thing he ever wants people to hear from his mouth is how bad it really is, but rather how blessed he is for what God has given him and amazingly when he asks for strength, its always there. When talking to Penny and Lance, you hear about the difficult trials that they have to face on a daily basis, but how they can give examples of God's love for them, in carrying them through all of this, is so awesome! It sounds so cliche` but you really can see the beauty in a disease that is so ugly. I have gained so much more love and respect for Penny and Lance through all of this and I think I can speak on behalf of myself and the other sisters when I say that we have been so blessed to marry into a family where a mother and father can have so much love for their children and even more for each other. They have taken Christ's love and poured it into everyone around them!
At this time I want to ask specifically for any and all of you to really take a moment to pray now for Lance's ongoing struggle with GVH. They have recently been told once again that this is something he may have to live with for the rest of his life. It seems like an easy acceptance when just a year ago it was still questionable about whether the cancer would take his life, but more than anything Lance would like to see a light at the end of this tunnel or even a sense of peace in dealing with the GVH. I love the verse in Hebrews 4:16 (NLT) "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Might I also add, the entire family is so grateful for your prayers, letters and encouragement that you extend to Penny and Lance, it keeps them going daily!
Now onto the "fun" stuff! I'd like to look back over the last few weeks at some of the neat things happening in the family and how Lance has been able to get his life back. As I personally look back, it makes me feel emotional to think that just over a year ago, I was wondering if my kids would ever get to just "hang out" with Grandpa anymore and how much our lives could change. But now I still have the echo ringing in my ears from a couple of weeks ago, as Grandpa Lance was cheering for his grandson Gavin (9 years old) - "Let's Go, buddy!", when Gavin scored a first place finish in the State 25 freestyle swimming event and broke a local record that was over 25 years old. It was Gavin who right away said, "Grandpa, did you see me, cause I broke that record for you". Having Lance there meant the world because Lance is no stranger to the sports arena coaching youth of different ages and sports as well as mentoring his own gifted sons and daughter. So when Grandpa listens, gives advice and encourages, it means so much to the kids. We were all so lucky to share in Gavin's success that day, sisters cheering on the sidelines, his loud-mouthed mother :), anxious Coach-Dad, an awesome aunt who captured it all on film, two Grandma's who couldn't keep their eyes dry :) and the lucky grandpa who waited til eveyone was quiet for the buzzer to cheer the loudest, "Let's go, Buddy!" It was an awesome day! Gavin ended up with 3- first place finishes and 3 new records for the YMCA (VERY rare!). Many of the records he broke were held by kids for many years and who have now gone onto to be great swimmers and one is actually trying out for the olympic time trials in Omaha this summer.
Gavin with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Elisabeth and Dad at State!
Our 5-year old daughter Evie was also able to have some special time with Grandma and Grandpa for a whole weekend! She was so excited and the one-on-one time was so good for her. Even though we missed her, we were so happy to know she was able to have such a neat experience.
Helen, our 7-year old daughter was also on the swim team and made great strides with her swimming abilities and competitive drive. She has always been our artist, but now we discovered a great athlete in there too and next year she plans on going to State for swimming as well.
Gwendolyn, 4, is our youngest and although she is our most petite girl, she has a fearless side to her and hopes to catch up to her siblings one of these days. She will start soccer for the first time in a couple of weeks and we can't wait to see her go!
Hayden (3) and Camryn (8 months) are Cory and Jamie's little girls and they are growing so fast too! Hayden is quite the conversationalist and if there was anything you ever needed to know, she will tell you! She also loves to play practical jokes (wonder who she got that from?) Camryn is working on crawling, but if she can't get where she needs to, she will definitely let you know, she may not talk quite yet but she knows how to communicate and if you want to keep her happy, don't hold back on the mashed potatoes!
Dillan (3) and Chayce (almost a year!) are Justin and Ashley's kids and they too are getting so big and learning so much! Dillan is the big sister looking after her little brother, Chayce. She loves being a big sister. Chayce will be celebrating his 1st birthday on March 31st surrounded by family and friends at their home near Waterloo, what a big milestone!
Penny and Lance are such proud grandparents and if the last month or so is any indication of how things will go for the next few years, Grandma and Grandpa will have many more grandkids' events to look forward too.
Aunt Elisabeth is also very proud of her nieces and nephews and makes time to be with them as often as she can. This past week has been a big week for her as she just started a different position at Emmaus in the Believers Stewardship Services department working as an administrative assitant for Drew Tuecke. This job has come with a huge responsibilty load but undoubtedly nothing she can't handle. If her time and energy spent being by her parents' side through the trials of dealing with Lance's cancer say anything about her loyalty and dedication, she will make one of their best employees yet. We are all so proud of Elisabeth as she steps out to take on this new role and blossom with confidence, she will do great!
Once again, thank-you to everyone for your continued support! Thank-you for keeping Lance and his family in your prayers, he would not be where he is without them! We hope to blog again soon!
-Nicole Hall
(Nathan's wife, and grateful daughter-in-law to Penny and Lance) :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Latest news from the Halls


Remember us!! We were just talking when we wrote the last blog that maybe people are tired of hearing updates on us... it is hard to know when to stop... But then I sat here this morning and realized that Lance has had a few steps forward since we wrote so I thought we'd share them.

Lance got two colds over the last couple months and some weird swelling in his arm, hand and then leg which might sound like a bad thing but the good was that he got over one cold before he got the next one and getting over them on his own is great!! The swelling wasn't a blood clot so that was a praise! He was so excited to be able to go home to Minnesota for the first time in three years!!! He has been getting out more now which is so nice, but sometimes a little scary with his immune system. And now the big news.......Lance started trying to work 5 day a week after the first of the year!!! It has been over a year and this is huge step forward for him! He is tired but so happy to be able to do this. His work has been awesome we are so thankful..... can't express that enough!!

He has also had a little set back.... He had to go back on steroids again for GVH that started to hit his joints and tendons. After two ultra sounds looking for blood clots and not much sleep from pain, I think he was relieved to know what the problem is and ready to feel better. Praying he can get off soon but it was needed for now as they didn't want any permanent damage. Although steroids lower his immune system even more so we pray he will not have to be on them long.....BUT...they do give him more energy!

I don't think even though the doctors tried to explain it to us that we comprehended what a long haul this would all be. But really God is so good because we realize now that sometimes you can only handle so much information at one time. Looking around at what is going on or what is ahead is not always a good thing.... I read the coolest devotional recently as God has been reminding me to keep my eyes, my focus on Him and not on the circumstances around me. It was so good for me to hear.... because as we have gone for many extra doctor appointments the last couple months and when I hear blood clot I tend to think the worse..... I needed to be reminded where to keep my focus...... Well, Here is part of it if you want to read it:

When Noah was commanded to build his strange-looking craft, he was instructed by God to make only one window in the entire ship. The window was to be in the roof (Genesis 6:16). There was just one way for Noah to look out of his craft, and that was up. The opening was actually a skylight toward heaven.

The not to spend our time foolishly fretting about the storms which surround our ship, but, having taken note of those storms, to commit our ship to the great Captain of the seas. It is not the severity of the storm that is important, but the capability of the Captain.
---From: Early In The Morning --by Woodrow M. Kroll

I find that to just be the greatest thought! My God...."My Captain" is TOTALLY CAPABLE!! God is asking me...Where is your focus?.... Let it be on Him... Thanks for your continued prayers! ---- Penny