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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


Hey everyone, happy new year! I have an update from Joe that im going to share because honestly you want to hear this from him. All i'll say is keep praying and thank you for all your support and care for us, it is truly what has brought us this far.

"Hey friends I’m sorry this update is way overdue, you probably should have received it about six weeks ago but I've been too run down and drugged to communicate very well. The last update I did was in December after we had the complications with my liver and the doctors had to place a drain tube in my chest (which we haven’t needed so far). The other main piece of news was that we were going to have to take a break from all treatment because the inhibitor would slow my body’s recovery from surgery. Several weeks ago we were given the all clear to start the inhibitor again and last Monday (January 5th) I got my second dose of the inhibitor. This Monday I went in for my weekly labs/check-up and while all my levels (kidney/liver function) looked good my weight had dropped again and was now below 50 kilos (110lbs) which has always been my personal cut off line. Basically my viewpoint was that if my weight ever got that low than I needed to do a feeding tube. This is kind of a big deal for me because I view adding tubes as one of the worst things ever so to ask the doctor is a pretty big deal.

However, after discussing with my doctor if she thought a feeding tube was a good idea she explained that it is now no longer worth the potential consequences to give me a feeding tube. Even if there were no complications or damage caused by adding the tube it wouldn’t help my body gain weight, all it would do, would be giving extra nutrition to the tumors. We also decided not to schedule any more scans for similar reasons that it isn’t worth the potential damage that would come from exposing my kidneys to that amount of radiation. My body is nowhere near being able to do chemotherapy so we will keep doing the inhibitor as long as it seems to be working, but we won't do another scan unless something crazy is going on. At this point we aren’t going to be doing much invasive treatment rather we will simply be managing pain and symptoms.

Really the simplest way to say things is that we are in the final chapter in this journey (it's impossible to predict how long my body will hold up; if the inhibitor drug is able to get some results it could be months…if it doesn’t work and the tumor causes a lot of complications it could be less time). While we will never have a guarantee in terms of how much time I will have there are a number of practical things that I have been putting off that I now need to deal with. Things like writing up an advance health care directive or making a list of usernames and passwords for my various accounts so my family is able to figure things out.
Personally, I’m really peaceful, it's hard news but I’ve known its been coming for a while. I’ve felt and experienced my body deteriorating over the past year or so. I’m peaceful but it also feels kind of surreal because there are times where I feel really healthy, but there are also a lot of times where I don't know how my body is physically alive.

As always it remains a possibility that the God will decide at random that he wants to heal me physically but even if he doesn’t in no way does that impact my faith, hope or peace. Over and over and over I have seen Him do so much both in my life personally but also in the lives of those around me, even people I have never met. From the very beginning when I was diagnosed we knew that is was probably just a matter of time and as we have continued with treatment it has become more and more obvious how this was probably going to end. My journey to this point and the fact that I am still alive is a miracle; the reality is I should have died very early on. The opportunities that I have had over the past 3.5 years are amazing and while there has been more pain and hardship than I could ever have imagined so much good has come out of it as well.

For me the call remains the exact same - I’m going to wake up everyday and love the best I can, taking it one day at a time doing as much as my body will let me and trying to do the best I can. My hope for you is that you are able to have the same peace that I have, to share the same hope that I have. Please don’t freak out or suddenly change behavior around me; nothing has really changed especially over the last couple of weeks. I simply wanted to make sure everyone knows where we are headed. Hopefully I’ll get a few more posts up over the next stretch of time; it depends a lot on my mental focus. Please continue to keep both my family and me in your prayers. Obviously this is hard stuff to deal with especially for my parents who are helping me with a lot of paperwork etc…Your love and care makes a huge difference for us, and without all of you there’s no way we could do any of this. Know how much all of you mean to me. I love you so much; I really can’t express it in words. Let’s keep living one day at a time loving well and we’ll keep walking this journey together.

God Bless and I Love you, 

19 people hearted this



jennifer wahlstrom
By jennifer wahlstrom — last edited
We cannot forget your challenge and the bravery you found somehow. The pain you have endured and the faith that carries you through.Thank you Joe for teaching us this lesson that faith can give us peace in our lives. Thank you for sharing your journey ...the good and the bad. You win the prize for Glory .To Joe our champion!
Judy Cozzens
By Judy Cozzens
We are continuing to lift you and your family up in our prayers and will ask Bishop Andrew to do the same. Your sharing and great faith enrich the rest of us. Thank you for sharing.
Patrice Cornelius
By John & Patrice Cornelius
Thank you for sharing once again your story and evidence of your great faith in God. We will continue to pray for you and all of your family as you continue day by day facing whatever challenge or joy.
Therese Jennings
By Therese, Tom,Laura and Colin
Our two children go to OLG and we have been following you on this difficult journey from the start. Words cannot express the sorrow we feel in our hearts after reading your recent posting. You are such an inspiration to us all. Your courage, strength, and love for God has touched our lives in so many ways. Thank you for sharing. You are forever in our thoughts and prayers. Love and Peace!
Suzan Hollerich
By Suzan Hollerich
Thinking and praying for you and your family always.
Lisa Moeller
Dear Joe,

I just read your post, and want to let you know that you are remarkable! I have been praying for you over the past few years, although I do not know you. I know your Dad, Nick, from OLG, where I am a teacher. My third graders will read the Prayers of the Faithful on Wednesday and will pray for you. If it okay with you, I would like to share a little of your journey with them! They said, who is this Joe guy that we always pray for? I will let them know that you are a remarkable man of God. Sending 28 prayers your way!

With love and continued peace,

Maria Allen
By Marites Allen
We have been keeping you in our prayers for some time now. Thank you for your witness of faith and courage. Never lose hope. God is always good.
God bless you,
Greg and Marites Allen
from The People of Hope Community , NJ
Peni Anne
By Peni Anne
Continuing to pray. May you continue to live in God's peace and love.
As you and your family prepare for the future Jesus is also completing the place he has prepared for you. It is a place with great love, peace and most of all, free from pain. Oh, to see our savior face to face...
deb skinner
By Deb Skinner
Dear Joe, Thank you for your heartfelt words. You are so special to all of us at OLG. You are brave, caring and full of the love of Jesus. Please know that there are many many people praying for you. Thank you for your incredible strength and witness. Love and prayers for you and your family.
Lisa Zimmerman
By Lisa, Dave, Micah, Carly and John Paul Zimmerman
Thank you for this beautiful witness, Joe. I have no words...just a heart overflowing with both sorrow and love. We continue to plead with God for His mercy, no matter what that looks like. May God bless each moment of every day and hold you close.