Wow!! We can’t believe it’s been almost a year since our last post! It must be a good sign right? Well, this is a big month for us, a month of celebration and remembrance, as we look back 3 years ago on November 30th, when Lance had his bone marrow transplant. We have had so much to be thankful for, especially all of you who have continued in your prayers for Lance’s healing and for our life to have some semblance of ‘normal’.
We just have to begin by saying, “God is so good!” We have seen our paths take us through some dark days of wondering just where we would be at this point right now almost 3 years later. Even though we can’t say everything is completely back to normal, we can say there have been some big praise-worthy victories: 1-Lance is STILL cancer free as of his last bone marrow check from the spring 2-Lance’s GVH has started to calm down (not so many “battles” over Lance’s blood) 3-Lance has been able to lower his medication doses, especially with the steroids 4-We are seeing more of the Lance we know and love, not just the spunky carefree Lance, but the Lance who is now starting to remember things that others around him are forgetting (No fair, I thought we were supposed to age together, here!) 5-Taking more trips and doing a LOT more with the family AND enjoying it! 6-Getting sick and… getting BETTER (many of you may remember our big fear was and still is at times for Lance’s immune system) 7-Doing more projects around the house (i.e. spending 4 consecutive hours running outdoor pathway lights – this would have never happened even a year ago!!) 8-For blessing the two of us with a long and wonderful marriage together, where the Lord’s presence has been a daily witness. We could go on and on – so much to be thankful for! It’s neat to think about how our Blog states “A Future and a Hope” and here we are enjoying each day and the future that he has given us together!!
We are surrounded by so many wonderful caring people (many of you who are probably reading this right now) and besides being asked “How is Lance doing?” we also get asked “What can we pray for?”, so while we are thankful for the many blessings, there are still concerns that will often overwhelm our family. Because of Lance's lowered immune system and Chronic Graft vs Host disease we are still driving to Iowa City every four weeks to see the doctor and to get an IV to boost his immune system. They still have to keep a close eye on him. Lance has desired to be completely steroid-free and while he is on a very low dose, it seems to be one thing or another that either brings him back on the steroids, making it harder to go off again.. Lance feels as he has gone down from over 200 pills a week after transplant to 180 last year and now to 120 pills a week that he is thinking more clearly so he would love to even be free of even more of his meds so please pray for this!! Also pray for Lance that even though he is able to spend 4 hours on a project, these tasks are few and far between and he would love to take on more without the side effects of fatigue and soreness. Pray for Lance’s continued strength and positive attitude, in fact he’s so AWESOME at keeping a positive attitude that I can’t imagine what we would do without it!! He presses forward each day in spite of fatigue or GVH issues and not giving up!! We have thought many times of the verse in Hebrews 12:1 where it talks about how we can get so bogged down by everything around us when we just need to let it go or “throw it down”, and to keep our eyes on Jesus and “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” -- I read that the definition of perseverance is: “persistence and tenacity, the effort required to do something and keep doing it till the end” – and yes Lance’s picture should be right above it! We both take comfort in the fact that Our Loving God is the one who has marked out this race for us... and we can TRUST HIM TOTALLY! We are all SO proud of Lance, he has been amazing through this entire ordeal. I didn’t think I could love him anymore than I do, but I really do!
HALL FAMILY UPDATES….
Nathan and Nicole are in full family mode, from football games to swim practice, they always have something to keep them going! Nicole is busy with her full-time job as a Career Counselor for the Army Reserves and Nathan is continuing to make his presence valuable at Medline, just reaching his 11th anniversary with the company this week. Gavin, 10 is in 5th grade, Helen, 9 is in 4th grade, Evie, 7 is in 2nd grade and Gwenny 6 is in Kindergarten, all 4 at the same school! They will all be starting swim team next week with Dad as their coach. Lance’s love for sports and natural gifts of coaching have rubbed off!
Cory and Jamie are enjoying a busy life with Camryn, 2 and Hayden who will be 5 on Thanksgiving. The kids keep them on their toes with Camryn getting into everything and Hayden making sure that Mom and Dad know! Jamie is still with Medline and also works part time at Hy-Vee. Cory is also at Medline and has had a big part this year in helping to start a Running Club in the city of Dubuque. He enjoys running and has gotten the rest of the family involved and it’s easy to see that giving back to others is another life lesson also seen from Lance.
Justin and Ashley have had a very busy year! They started with Ashley accepting a position as the Office Nurse Manager for the Cardiovascular Medical Office that she had been working for, then Justin completing his Bachelor’s in electrical engineering, then accepting a job with John Deere, to buying a house in Waterloo! WOW!! They will be ready for a break! Dillan started Kindergarten this fall and has excelled in every way! Chayce also continues to amaze his parents daily with his wit and charm, more of Lance showing through in each of the grandkids!
Elisabeth has also had a busy year with a lot of changing and growing. She went from working full-time as an administrative assistant in a Financial Services Department to attending school full-time at Emmaus Bilble College. The Lord has shown many blessings in this endeavor (a story in itself....God Alone is the reason she is there!). And most exciting has been a reconnection with a friend, Erik, who had previously gone to her church when they were little and then moved away for several years. After he moved back, they have shared a wonderful friendship and have started dating. Erik has already made a great impression on many of the family members, or at least until he decided to warp the minds of the young and unsuspecting nieces and nephews with his Chicago bears paraphernalia (only Vikings Fans here you know!!). Ironically though, Erik through his charm, wits and good looks has shown himself to resemble a very important person in Elisabeth’s life…uh-oh….. One more reason to be thankful for Lance’s good health, keeping a careful eye on his little girl….
Thank-you once again for keeping Lance and the rest of the family in your thoughts and prayers, we lift Him up in His great glory that He knows the plans he has for us all and that he WILL give us hope and a future.
We love you all! We love all of your encouraging letters and e-mails!!
Love, Penny (with LOTS of help from Nicole!) Thanks Nicole!!