Saturday, June 25, 2011

one...twO...THREE.....KNOCKOUT! (Chemo #3)

Oh what a week this has been!  I have been extremely, fatigued, nauseous and angry to write.  I thought if I give it a day or two so I could clear my head .

I will start from the beginning....

My index and middle finger have been completely numb since my first surgery in April.  When Dr. Grange put my chemo port in my right arm it hit a nerve knocking out feeling and movement.  This makes it extremely difficult to do everyday tasks I use to take for granted.  Writing, typing, opening jars, slicing get the idea.  Let's just say I have adapted to my new life style.  Since then I can now crack eggs with my left hand, but that doesn't mean I don't want my right hand back!  I WANT my right hand back!

Since then I met with Dr. Tiedemann a hand surgeon with GIKK who then referred me to a neurologist Dr. Weber.  We need to find out if my nerve will come back on it's own or if I will need another surgery to repair it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

12:00 p.m

I met with Dr. Weber a neurologist who did a series of tests which included electric shocks and needles going in and out of my arm and hand.  OUCH!  Let's just say when I left his office I didn't want to go back.  Dr. Weber said he would have my results at the end of the day and I would find out once I met with Dr. Tiedemann.

2:00 p.m.

Chemotherapy #3

My good friend Gretchen took me this time.  I have known Gretchen since junior high but we became much better friends the summer before we started high school.  We would enjoy long afternoons in her swimming pool, taco and pizza night when I would stay with her family when my parents were out of town.  Gretchen and I were also on junior varsity cheerleading our sophomore year in high school.  I paid it forward and trained Gretchen since I had one year under my belt.  In return Gretchen found us our new coach Jenna who was a former dance teamer.  She trained with us everyday for metros in which we placed first in our division and first place overall winning the entire competition which included varsity squads.  We were the #1 squad in the Omaha Metro area.  That was such a fun year! 

From there we went to college and when I met my husband Steve, we all found out Gretchen's family was related!  Steve and Gretchen are second cousins.  Gretchen's mom Nancy (Pottebaum) Ballard's dad and Steve's Grandpa are brothers!  It was funny because when I first started dating Steve I kept forgetting his last name so I would always call Gretchen and ask. When I did forget I would always say Steve's last name was Potterybarn.  =)

Gretchen is expecting baby #2 a Boy!

Our friend Lyndsey stopped by to hang out too!

Friday, June 17, 2011    

Happy 39th Anniversary to my parents! 

Happy Anniversary to Lyndsey and Jerid Foster!

1:00 p.m.  Get my nuelasta shot
3:00 p.m.  Get my ta ta's filled

4:00 p.m.  Down for the count

Saturday, Sunday and most of Monday I was sawing logs.  I could barely lift my head, eat or drink anything without dry heaving.

Tuesday, June 21 , 2011

I thought I was back for the week to spend with the kids.  Today we spent the entire day indoors because it was raining.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Started getting sick with cough and sore throat.   Thank God my mom is on call she came to relieve me for the rest of the week so I don't get sick.  I called the nurses line at my oncologist and it took an entire day of me calling back at least 6 times to get an antibiotic.  LONG story here but lets just say the nurses line at my oncologist needs a lot of HELP! 

Thursday, June 24, 2011

12:20 PM

Met with Dr. Tiedemann to get my results for my hand.  Of course he said my median nerve in my right hand has a partial cut so I will need surgery.  UGH!  As he was talking about the procedure I was fighting back tears.  How in the heck am I going to be able to do chemo and have a surgery thrown in the mix.

4:30 PM  I was feeling awful so I went to my oncologist to get fluids and nausea medicine.  Dr. Thome' said I could have the surgery.  He would just administer a 1/3 of the dose on my 4th round. 

After sleeping on it I made the executive decision to not do chemotherapy next week.  There is no way my body is going to handle chemotherapy and surgery within hours of each other.  I am taking CONTROL.  My body...My decision!

I am also researching alternative treatments outside of chemo and radiation.  If you know of any doctors, books or websites to alternative treatments send them my way!

I know chemo is suppose to work but I hate feeling like crap.  I want to feel healthy and energetic like I use to! =)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Scheduled my hand surgery with Dr. Tiedemann for Friday, July 1, 2011.  I tried to cancel my chemotherapy with Dr. Thome's nurses and once again no one called me back.  So when I don't show up for my session next Thursday I might get their attention!

Please pray for my hand to come back and for a safe and successful surgery.

Don't forget!  Today is the last day you can vote for my friend Melissa G. to win $2500 to donate to Susan G. Koman!  There are 9 Melissa G's so here is a picture of Melissa.  I couldn't get the one from the website to work...I am sure you all are smart enough to figure it out!  =)  I have known Melissa since high school.  We were on dance team my junior and senior year and were roomies in college my sophomore year.  Please support Melissa on her quest to win $2500 for Susan G. Komen! 

This is Melissa G!

Thank you to:

Jeff, Traci, Mia, Sam and Ava for the Papa Murphy's pizza, the adorable hat and sign!

John and Joan Allen for the delicious ribs and potato salad.

Sara Rogers for the delicious dinner!  Tomatoes with feta cheese and Chicken pitas!

Deb Bothof and Matt Edstrand for the organic produce and rice crispy treats.

My sister-in-law Jessica for the generous donation to Susan G. Komen of Iowa in my name.

Melissa Gregory for entering a contest to win $2500 to donate to Susan  G. Komen in my name!

My sister for watching Olivia Wednesday night.

My Mom for always watching the kids when I am to sick or weak.  Love you Momma!

Thank you to all our friends and family for all your love, support and prayers!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


BUT my boobs are bigger then they have ever been!  I go and get my weekly "fill" each Friday.  It's like going to the spa to me.  Instead of a facial I get a big needle with saline solution to blow up my ta ta's.  I have FINALLY hit puberty.  After 33 years it is about time!  This week instead of filling them 25 cc's like they have done since my surgery, I told them to double it and fill them 50 cc's each time.  My ta ta's are now at 175 cc's a piece so this will add to my weight gain and chest size.  150 cc's to go!  Holy cow is Steve excited...I kind of am too!  I have never had boobs before!

Now on to the hair thing...again!  My hair started falling out more about four days after my first big hair cut.  I would take a shower and get so freaked out to wash my hair because it would just rub off.  YUCK!  On top of that it was making a mess!  I am a clean freak and hair every where was driving me bonkers.  Once again I had it shaved down to a buzz cut.  Steve was so brave to shave it this time.  That lasted a whole 48 hours until I had to use my own razor and spend an hour in the shower shaving the rest of it off.  I am now completely bald!  Don't you dare tell me I look good bald!  My head is in desperate need of a tan to even itself out with my face shade.  I am revealing my beautiful, untanned head, with NO make up the end of this blog.  So make fun of me all you want...but I am pulling the cancer card on you for this will feel guilty afterwards!

After I shaved my head I put on some make up with the Jessica Simpson wig I received from my friend Angie.  I LOVE it only because it is a new look.  I already fooled a long time friend of mine, Mike Holm and his wife Emily.  I was at HyVee on Saturday and they walked right past me and did not recognize me.  I laughed the whole way home.  I can get use to this! =)

My Jessica Simpson Wig with my new hat!
Thanks Angie for the wig, Emily and Nicki for the hat!

Olivia just got home from fishing with her dad!

I go in on Thursday to meet with a neurologist for my right hand.  My index and middle finger have been numb since my surgery in April so we are going to get to the root of the problem.  Please pray it is only a temporary injury and my nerves will come back sooner the later.  I WANT my right hand back!

I also start round 3 of chemo on Thursday.  Hopefully I will only have 13 more rounds to go as I will find out if I have the HER2 receptor which will require more chemotherapy.  Please pray I do NOT have the HER2 receptor.

Thank you to:

Bob and Sue Peterson for the Olive Garden gift card
Heather McQuillan, Heather Terry, Elizabeth Norris and Sara Recker for the Victoria's Secret Gift card
and Pete and Kaye Bataillon for the Papa Murphy's gift card!

Thank you to my cousin Leah, her husband chad, my aunt Linde and uncle Terry for setting up the cleaning crew.  It is so nice to have one more thing off my plate.

Thank you to all our family and friends for your continued support, love and prayers.  You make us stronger everyday.

YIKES!  I need to tan my head!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

CHEMO ROUND 2 - Cheerleaders welcome!

Everyone has been asking what is going in my body to kill my cancer cells.  These first four rounds are the "bad chemo" which means it will make me more sick, nauseous, fatigued and my white blood cells drop really low meaning if I get sick or an infection my body will not be able to fight it off on its own.  Let me try to explain so you are not confused.

Weeks 1-3-5-7  Doxorubicion (Generic Name - Adriamycin)

and Cytoxin (Generic Name - Cyclophosphamide)

are administered together.  You may click on the links to find out more information on the side effects these can cause.  I have only experienced fatigued, nausea and hair loss up to this I am doing good! 

Weeks 9-20 is still being determined.  We are waiting to hear back on m HER2 receptor....I will explain this at a later date.=)

The day after all  my chemo treatments I go back to the oncologist for a Pegfigrastim shot.  This helps bring up my white cells which helps fight against infections.  Normally my white cell count is 3200, last Thursday (One week after chemo) they were down to 200 (which is really low) two weeks later my white cell counts were back up in the 3000's.  I just have to be sure to wash my hands more then  normal and stay away from a lot of people at one time.  So if you invite me to a party during the next few weeks I will probably decline.  I can not get sick.  This shot makes my bones ache in my lower back for about three days.  This is a good sign the shot is I can't complain.

Thursday, June 2, 2011 - Chemo round 2:   (Week 3) I get weighed and my blood pressure is taken by my nurse Tammy.  This time I weighed 100 lbs even which is up from last week of 97 lbs.  YIKES!  Believe it or not I have weighed anywhere from 105 - 110 since high school so I am doing pretty good in the weight department.  Plus, you have to remember I have no hair and I am guessing that weighed at least 5 lbs!  J/K =)  My hair was REALLY thick!  So it had to take off at least a pound.

I met with Dr.Thome' and he said my white cell count was back up from the previous week so we were good to go!  He also said he was giving a speech at a cancer survivor celebration over the weekend and wasn't sure what he was going to talk about.  He asked my advice what he should talk about so I gave him more then a few ideas.  Obviously, he could talk about a cancer survivor and how they over came such a great obstacle.  However, while speaking to him I remembered one of the main reasons I have been so positive about my experience.  All the support I have received from family and friends has been the main reason.  I asked him what it was like to see a cancer patient who is not as fortunate as me to have such a strong support system.  He said they lose their will to fight, lose their strength and most important they lose that sparkle in their eye.  When they lose the know where I am going with this one.

I can't imagine going home to an empty house, no cards waiting in the mail, no phone calls or emails to return.  No help with meals, cleaning or laundry.  I can't imagine my life without seeing my husband Steve, Olivia or my family and friends.  I would lose my will too!

I kept thinking about Dr. Thome's speech over the weekend and over these past couple of days and how I or someone else could make a difference in a cancer patients' life.

My very good friend Lyndsey took me to my 2nd chemo treatment. 

Me and Lyndsey
Lyndsey is a nurse so she is always calling to check upon me to see how I am feeling and always asks if I am taking all my medications.  This was right up her alley because she was talking "nurse talk" with Ethel (my nurse) the entire time.  I kept turning my head back and forth like a tennis match listening and not comprehending anything they were saying.

Ethel and Me

I can't remember how I met Lyndsey but we have been friends since 2nd grade so for about 25 plus years I have known Lyndsey!  I remember we always had sleep overs and would find ourselves in marshmallow fights in her basement.  I am sure her mom Kelly LOVED us after those!  We got separated by schools for a few years but became instant friends again in high school.  I think I went over to her house everyday after school and you could find me in the back yard jumping on her trampoline.  Soon we found ourselves on dance team together our junior year and our senior year we were both named captains. We took our job so seriously we would end up butting heads in practice.  We made it through, graduated from high school and ended up on the same dorm room floor our freshman year in college.  We soon graduated from college and were on our way to our weddings and the births of our children.  At this point I would consider Lyndsey a part of my family.  She knows me better then most and still accepts me with open arms.

While Lyndsey and I were chatting away at my chemo session we were brainstorming different ideas to help with cancer patients or research.  Most of our lives Lyndsey and I have been cheerleaders.  Whether it is for sports or in life.  Now I  know what it is like to have my own cheerleaders to help me get through cancer treatment and I couldn't do it without the wonderful family and friends God has surrounded me with.   My goal, is to find another cancer patient who needs a cheerleader.  Someone to come visit, help with meals, call and check up on them.  I am not sure how to go about this but I will find a way even if it is one person. If everyone could find one cancer patient and be their cheerleader could you imagine how cancer treatment would change?  All I know is if I was alone I am not sure I could find the strength or anything positive about this experience. 

So from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU to all my family and friends for being my cheerleader!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tata's Fun Ride - JULY 9, 2011 REMSEN, IA

Fill out the form online:

Sign up here!

Team Beer City has organized a bike ride for team members Steve and Emily Pottebaum. Emily was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple months ago and we are trying to help defray some of the cost for the family. All proceeds will go toward Emily's new tata's! This bike ride will be approxiamately 50 miles. You will be leaving from Beer City, heading to Marcus, Germantown, Granville and back to Beer City where you will be served a free will supper! Questions: Please contact Janelle @ 712-221-1659 or Abby Phillips 712-540-1356

Event Date: July 9, 2011 from 8-5 Entry fees: $25.00 (includes t-shirt) Pre-register by: July 1, 2011 Check in/start time: Between 8 to 9 am at Beer City (128 S. Washington Street Remsen) **Participants under 18 years of age will need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian and will need to sign a release form at the time of check in.** Please be back to Beer City by 5 pm



Thank You

I can't get over how generous you all have been!  Thank you to:

Brian and Emily Penke
for their generous cash
donation!  Brian and I go
way back!  Our parents went
to high school together and
many moons later Brian
and I went to high school together!

Lyndsey, Jerid, Haili and Alexa Foster
For dinner, the cookbook and company.
Thanks for checking in to see how I am
feeling and coming to my 2nd chemo
treatment.  I have written more on
Lyndsey and I growing up....coming soon!

Thank you to Betty and Bruce Bode.  We loved the chicken and rice dish and will enjoy all the soup you made for many weeks to come!  Betty you always think of everything!  Thank you for taking the time to make all the food.  Thanks for bringing it over Bruce!

Thank you Deb Bothof!  Deb brought us meat to last the entire memorial weekend.  We LOVED it!  I ate almost all the rice krispy treats which was probably a good thing...I need to gain some weight.  I love the journal you gave is amazing how it relates to my own life.  Thank you!!!

Thank you to Emily Klaur and Nicki McMahon for the comfy clothes and adorable hat!  I hope we can have a play date soon!  =)

Thank you to my Aunt Linde and Uncle Terry who dropped off the best bacon!  OMG!  I LOVE it!

Ruth your enchiladas were a hit!  Steve and Olivia loved them.  I can't wait to try them later on in the week.  We have not dug in to the brownies yet, but I plan to bring them to my sister's to share with the kids. 

Thank you to Gretchen and her mom Nancy who dropped off a fruit platter, lasagna and dessert.  Gretchen just found out she is having a BOY!  James will make a wonderful big brother..he is adorable! 

Thank you to Sasha who gave me the Sex and the City movie...we need to make a date night to watch it Sushi!  =)

Thank you will never be enough and I want you to know that your kindness is helping me and my family get through this "cancer" thing so much easier. 


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My face is still the same...

I thought I was prepared for day when my hair would fall out.  Nothing feels worse then washing your hair and having it fall out in your hands.  I cried for at least 20 minutes in the bathroom and on the car ride out to my sister's house.  Finally, I decided crying was not going to solve my problem.  I immediately texted my friend and  hair dresser Brittany Lemen to shave my head. 

This is Brittany

I did schedule an appointment with her for Friday because I thought my hair would stay in longer...nope...14 days after your first chemotherapy treatment it will fall out.  Tomorrow will be 14 days.  I didn't want to watch my hair fall out on it's own so I decided to get rid of it myself.

I brought five of my closest friends, Cullen, Avery, Addison, Sully and Olivia.  They were very excited to come watch Auntie Em and momma shave her head.  Addison was the only one who was indifferent.  Brittany was so sweet to meet me last minute at Boss Studios where she has her own salon suite. 

The kids all sat down on the floor and I explained to them I was going to have Brittany shave my head.  She cut off my pony tail and started shaving. 

I wasn't to nervous until she started shaving the sides.  However, having all the control to take my hair off was so much better then watching it fall out on its own.  She left an inch of hair on my head and asked if I was ready to be like GI Jane and to just shave it all off.  I was so close but this was such a drastic change I thought I would hold off.  So I am not completely bald yet but this is by far the shortest haircut I have had in my life.  I have one inch of hair on my head which will completely be gone in about a week.  This is what it looks like from the back.

Brittany and I met in 2006 when we worked at Agency 89 Model and Talent Management.  Brittany was the Beauty coach teaching guys and gals how to do their own hair and make up.  I was the acting / business savvy coach.  We hit it off immediately and she has been cutting my hair ever since.  I have never colored my hair so I can't speak from experience, but she is also known for coloring hair.  So if you are looking for a great stylist click here and go to professionals you will find her number there.

Brittany gave me some great make up tricks for when my eyebrows fall out to make them look as natural as possible.  I will fill you in on what works and what doesn't work. 

I kept watching the kids in the mirror as all this was happening and the only one who was really watching was my 4 1/2 year old niece Addison.  She kept making weird faces and said she would like me much better with my wig on.  Cullen my 6 year old nephew and God child reminded Addison and myself of something so insightful...

"It's not a big deal, Auntie Em's face didn't change."  What a smart little boy.=)  Thanks C-DOG you made my day!

As we were finishing up my 2 year old daughter Olivia asked if she could get her head shaved too!  Which made us all laugh.  I am so glad I took the kids because it saves me a day or two of explaining what happened to my hair and scaring Olivia with my new look.  Olivia didn't even bat an eye.  I think when dealing with small children if you don't make it a big deal .... neither will they.  They haven't said a word about my hair since.  The lesson I learned from myself was when I had to explain to Addison she should never judge someone based on their appearance.  I told her she should always like someone for their personality and soul.

As soon as we finished we drove over to the Speiker's for a play date.  I wore one of my wigs and my friend Sasha said she couldn't even tell it was a wig.  I got two of my wigs at TLCdirect and another one from my friend Angie.  Her wig is from the Jessica Simpson line.  You will get to see me in all my new hats, wigs and rag dos over the next few months.  I am looking forward to it. 

Although I did not choose this look, I kind of like it!  I get out of the shower and my hair is dry!  Now I know what it is like to be a guy...they have it so easy.  This saves me an hour of blow drying and doing my hair.  Plus, the weather is hot now so it is extremely nice for summer to stay cool.  Never in my life time would I choose to shave my head, but since I have this opportunity I am going to enjoy it! 

So if you see me without my hair don't be shy to talk to face is still the same and so is my soul.

At my second chemo treatment on Thursday, June 2nd