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Joseph’s Story

Welcome!  May 23, 2011 we found out my brother Joe had stage 4 cancerous tumors filling his abdominal cavity. He is receiving treatment at the University of MN and at Mayo Hospital. Recently he had surgery and they were able to mostly remove the tumor. However, he still has a long journey to being completely cancer free. Please keep him and our family in your prayers. We have been so blessed by all the care and prayers we have received. As hard as this is we know that the Lord has a plan and is working powerfully through Joe and this situation. The Lord is good and he is faithful!

~Sharon Hall

Latest Journal Update


Well scan results are in and not what we were hoping for....but the Lord is our hope and ultimately he holds Joe and us all in his hands whatever our circumstances. Yes, the cancer may be worse but it would be foolish to think that it is more than the Lord can handle. We still cling to him in hope and trust him with Joe and our daily lives. That being said I'll let you hear from Joe himself! Here are the details:

"We got my scan results back today and they were not good.
Aside from the spots in my lungs, which were unchanged, everything else is larger and more active. Additionally there are a number of new sites, both in my lymph system and around previous sites.
So obviously we will have to change up treatment; surgery is not an option and radiation would only be used to control symptoms (ex. target a specific site that was causing discomfort). Also we have already used every applicable type of chemotherapy at this point, so we are going to try using an inhibitor drug, which I will get at the hospital through an IV once every 21 days. The plan is to do three 21 day cycles and then rescan in January. My understanding is that this drug tries to target and shut down different growth receptors on the tumors causing them to shrink and die. As with any drug that we would use at this point the odds of it working aren’t high but there have been some reported cases of my type of cancer responding so there is a reason we are trying it. The good news is that the side effects should be much less than chemotherapy so hopefully my body will get a chance to recover and I should start feeling better.
Obviously this is not the news that we were hoping for but at the same time it’s not surprising. We’ve known from the beginning that this is a rare, aggressive, and highly resistant cancer. The fact that it continues to respond that way is disappointing but it makes sense.
It also changes very little. Since I was first diagnosed I have tried to live one day at a time trusting the Lord and trying to love well…frustrating news on a scan sucks but my response is the same just to keep taking it one step at a time trusting and loving well. I have no idea how my cancer will respond to this new treatment but I know I am excited about possibly feeling better, spending less time in the hospital and being able to be a little more active because the last few months have been brutal physically.
Please keep support coming our way; I know I couldn’t begin to do this without the prayers and love you give. All the ways you care for me, keeps me pushing forward, you all mean so much to me.
I will continue to keep you informed and we will continue forward one day at a time. I don’t know what the future holds but I remain confident of God’s plan and ability to bring good out of this situation. I just want to keep loving well every day. Let me know if you have questions etc.
Please continue to pray for/love/support/do all sorts of other things to me (within reason).

God Bless,


12 people hearted this



amy koelfgen
By Amy Koelfgen
WOW,Joe, your great faith and example to love, and take the negative and consistently finding good in your suffering is Gods great work in you. You always amaze me, I have never met anyone who displays their trust in God as you do. I pray for good results from this new drug, and that you will have energy to do the things you love to do on a daily basis. Always the best to a truly inspiring young man !!!!
Dan Zimmerman
By Dan Zimmerman and family
You are an amazing witness Joe. I am so sorry that the news wasn't better. Your response to it is heroic. Know too that we love you and pray for you however you respond. I pray that my faith and that of my family can be a strong under adversity. I forward your journal news to Bernice in Rochester who is always wanting to know how things are going. We continue to pray for you twice daily. God had already done amazing things through you and He's going to do much more that we know.
Bev Ostertag
By Bev Ostertag
So sorry to hear that news. Your attitude, faith and love of God is such an inspiration to me and to all those who know you. I am glad you will feel better and not be so miserable with the chemo. Praying this new drug will be the answer. I continue to keep you in my daily prayers and keep you on my heart. Sending you love, prayers, support and all that you need. God bless,
Monica Maschinke
By Monica Marschinke
You have suffered so much and this report is just one more example of the suffering you have been asked to endure. The way you stand up after being knocked down is heroic and inspires all of us to battle against the things in life that we find hard. My prayers will continue to be for healing and strength for you and your family. You have many people cheering you on as Christ walks with you in this battle! All our love and prayers,
Scott and Theresa Eskro
By Scott Eskro
You inspire me to trust in the Lord and to keep loving well every day. All my prayers and love...
jennifer wahlstrom
By jennifer wahlstrom
We are here for you....prayers every day..God bless you!
Mary Berchem
By Mary B.
Please know you have our love and our prayers as you continue to battle this on your journey. And battle you are, ... you are one tough warrior. Holding fast to your faith and trust in God's plan. Your courage is beautiful. Today I want to follow your lead and try to love well - and I offer every bump in my path up for you and your family.
Much love -
Julie Fox
By Julie Fox
Joe, thank you for updating us. I know I don't know you and your family, but I feel like I do. And sometimes I cry when I pray for all of you. I cannot even begin to imagine what you all are going through. And yet you do it so beautifully and full of faith. You are an incredible young man (wonder if you get tired of hearing that!). Part of my prayers for you and your family are prayers of praise for your incredible faith and love for God. My prayers sometimes feel so small in light of what you all are going thru, but it is the best of what I have to offer for all of you. So please know that you all are a part of my daily prayers. I know that God holds you and your family in the palms of His hands. And when necessary, He carries you.
mike miller
By mike miller
Joe, you continue to be one of my heroes. Thoughts,prayers, and continued admiration
Corrina Conley
By Corrina Conley
God bless you and give you peace and strength. Thank you for your faithfulness, trust and hope. Thank you for sharing your journey so candidly. Good has come out of the situation in the gift that you have given those of us who are praying for you. I trust that God will continue to work in your life in powerful ways!! And I won't stop praying, of course.