Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ta Ta's Fun Ride Video

Thank you Team Beer City and to everyone who showed their support.  This is NOT my best shoot as I didn't want to bring all my camera gear.  Thank you to Jessica Marx and Stephanie Phillips for your pictures!  Fantastic work ladies!

Here is a video shot during RAGBRAI.  Thanks for riding for me TEAM BEER CITY!!!  Thanks for the shout out Weasel! =)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chemo #5 Good News / Bad News

Today I feel good! I had my 5th cycle of chemo yesterday and I am told I will have minimal side effects. Good thing I had a driver because to administer the new chemo (toxil) they had to give me 50 ml of Benedryl. This made me nauseous and really tired the entire time.

My former boss and his wife Bob and Teresa Bednar were going to take me but Steve arrived in Omaha and wanted to take me. My friend Lyndsey Foster came and and sat with me. She is a nurse so she was really good to have with me. I kept feeling like I was going to blow chunks and pass out. She asked if I was craving anything to eat so I could get something in my stomach. The last time I ate was at 10:30 a.m. and it was now 1:30 p.m. So I definately needed something. The first thing that popped in my head was a Snickers bar. Lyndsey ran down to the vending machine and served it to me on a plate. Now that is service! After 2 bites I immediately started to feel better. I just needed some sugar in my system. As Steve pointed out "Snickers really satisfies!".

I recieved good news from Dr. Thome' I am NOT HER2+!!! What this means is I will not have to do chemo for another year!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!!! I did learn I was off a week and my last chemo session will be October 13th. I go in weekly so only 11 more treatments. Two weeks after my last chemo session I will have Five weeks of radiation everyday (Monday-Friday). They did say radiation will make me tired.

If you haven't heard my side of the family went in for genetic testing after they found out I had a mutation. My sister and dad tested negative while my mom tested positive. This required her to get a mammogram, MRI and a lumpectomy after they found two masses in her left breast. Those masses tested positive for cancer. Please keep my mother in your prayers as she will have a double mastectomy next month. They will know after they get the pathology reports and surgery her stage of cancer and any other steps to get rid of it completely. If you know my mom she has a good sense of humor and said she has always wanted a breast reduction. As I have said before....BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!  She is getting a second opinion today from Dr. Reilly and I will update her status on this blog and caringbridge.

Because my mom generously offered to watch the kids during my treatments, she will not be able to watch them now. So my sister is looking for a nanny (paid) Monday-Fridays, 7:15 am - 5:30 pm until the end of the year. If you or you know someone interested send them my way! or 402-213-7669.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Party for Pottebaum

Mark your Calendars.....Only 3 weeks until PARTY FOR POTTEBAUM!


Saturday, August 13 · 7:00pm - 11:30pm

Voodoo Lounge

304 N. 168th Circle
Omaha, NE

Thank you again to Erica McMahon, Jacque Bailey and Crystal Crowley for all the time and effort you have put into this event.

Just some more information......

Hi everyone! Thanks so much to everyone who has reached out to us to help with the event for Emily, everyone has been so generous! We have had a great response from people offering to donate items to raffle or even businesses who want to help sponsor the event. Even if you cannot make it but want to help out by sending a cash donation or an item for the raffle, we'd appeciate it! Contact Erica regarding donating to help sponsor the event at and Jacque regarding items for the raffle at

Thanks so much & we can't wait to Party for Pottebaum!!!

Erica & Jacque..

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chemo #4 - My last MEAN chemo.....DONE! =)

I did my last mean chemo a week ago from Thursday and  I am so happy my side effects from now on will be minimal.  I haven't been feeling my best.  For four days after my treatment I slept the nausea away.  The other days I had absolutely no energy.  I went to get my blood cell counts yesterday and now I know why I have no energy.  I am in the critically low field, meaning I have no white/red blood cells to fight off infections and I am anemic which is why I am tired.  To top it off the heat this week made me melt to an all time low of 92 pounds.  I can't eat as much as I would like, as it makes me gag and the thought of food makes me sick.  It is my goal to put on weight over the next few weeks of manageable chemo treatments.

My friend Crystal took me to my treatment and brought boxes old photos from high school and college.  It was so much fun to see ourselves younger and having so much fun with absolutely no worries.  It actually distracted me when they were administering the chemo.  Whenever I see the red chemo I get really nauseous and this time I didn't even realize they put it in. 

Crystal and I have been friends since the summer before 9th grade.  We were so close in high school we decided to room together our freshman year in college and then again when we were juniors in college.  We were in each others weddings and I can still remember the birth of her first child Maeve.  Crystal was the first out of our group of friends to have a baby and the memory of that day has never left me.  Now she has 3 beautiful children and I always ask Crystal advice on parenting because she is such a great mother.  I was really nervous about getting a sitter when Olivia was 3 months old so the first person I thought of outside my family was Crystal to babysit for a few hours.  When we need a little break Crystal and I travel once a year to visit our friend Emily in Chicago.  She always tries to cheer me up by bringing me books, gifts and food.  Thank you Crystal for all that you do....I will never know how to repay you for your kindness and friendship.

I forgot to get a picture but our friends Lyndsey and Jerid Foster stopped by to hang out too! 

Me and Crystal
The day after chemo I got the stitches out of my arm from surgery.  This is what it looks like!
My war wound.....Mederma here I come!!!
Round 5 chemo starts next week and I will now have 11 more weekly treatments.  My date of September 29th has been pushed back a week to October 6th for my last chemo treatment....that is if I am not HER2 positive which I will find out this Thursday.   Please pray that I am NOT HER2 positive...I do not want an extra year of chemo.  This will be followed up with 5-6 weeks of radiation and my final surgery for my ta ta's!  Please also pray for my right hand to start working again. 

Thank you again to all our family, friends and new friends we have met along our journey.  Your love and support really helps Steve and I get through what seems like an endless journey.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tata's Fun Ride

Ten years ago, I had never heard of the town Remsen Iowa, I couldn't of told you where it was or how many people live there.  When I met Steve (in November 2003) he brought me to Remsen for the first time in April of 2004.  He took me on the 5 minute tour and at the end I kept thinking wow this town is really small!  Where do you go shopping?  Our first stop (besides his parent's house) was Beer City.  Steve had talked this bar up so much I had to see it for myself.  Immediately, I felt right at home, belly up to the bar, and remember meeting two guys by the nicknames of Shorty and Weasel along with a dozen or so of Steve's friends.  We closed down the bar telling stories of Steve when he was younger.  I also learned on that trip Steve's nickname was "the Beave". =)  Now that I have been to Remsen and I am a Pottebaum I encounter people almost weekly who knows a Pottebaum, is a Pottebaum, lived in Remsen or grew up close by to Remsen.

Over the years I have gotten to know Steve's friends, family and the people of Remsen better.  They have been there for us when we got engaged, married and for the birth of our daughter Olivia.  When they found out I had cancer Team Beer City told us they were throwing a benefit with or without us! =) 

This past weekend I saw all the friends and family that have been there for Steve and me during the good times and now when times are a little tough.  I think I was in shock the whole weekend from the amount of support we received, it left me speechless.....which is hard to do!  70 people rode their bikes for me!  In the heat, wind, up hills, pushing themselves to keep going even when they were tired.  I do have to give a special shout out to Nick Harvey who rode most of the way with his daughter Anna on the back and Dave Fisch who had his sons on the back the ENTIRE 50 miles! 

I am not sure how to say thank you to those of you who made food, signs, t-shirts, donated your time, money, fixing up the bus, having bracelets, bandannas and coozies made, driving in from out of town,  booking the band, and advertising the event.  Thank you to Beer City for welcoming us in to your home.  Thank you to the bikers for sweating and enduring the wind.  Thank you to everyone who showed up to the party afterwards.  THANK YOU to Jeff and Kim Phillips, Jeff and Amy Schorg, Rob and Janel Schorg, Glen and Amy Roder, Corey and Abby Phillips for organizing this event.  How will I ever repay all of you for your kindness?


Driving in the car watching all the riders my sister-in-law Judy kept saying "Wow, Emily this is all for you!".  I kept taping with my video camera because I didn't want to miss a thing.  I am sorting through song choices and footage to hopefully produce a piece in the next couple of weeks. Finding time between watching my sister's kids, daughter and my next chemo session will make it tricky.  I am determined to have it finished by the end of the month.

If you have any pictures or songs you want me to listen to you can email me at  I can't use the pictures from facebook I need the photos sent to me in jpegs.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Surgery #4 / 4th of July Weekend

I strategically planned my surgery for this Friday and two weeks of recovery so I can make the bike ride next week in Remsen and enjoy the 4th of July weekend.

My friend Emily Gardels was so kind to fly in from Chicago to be with me for my last "bad chemo" but since I needed surgery we can enjoy the weekend a little.  No chemo side effects. This week was for surgery #4 to repair my hand. Walking into Midwest Surgical the woman who brought me back to get prepped for surgery showed me her tatoo. It was a symbol for breast cancer and said that she has been a survivor for five years. She broke in to tears and wished me luck on my journey.

After my gown was on the nurses had to put in my IV. This is a lot harder then you think. They can't put the IV in my left hand because my lymph nodes have been removed. They couldn't stick me in my right hand because that was the hand they needed to operate on. So they went for the foot. I had a past experience with a foot IV and it did not go well. This time was not any better as they had to stick me four or five different times because they couldn't find a vein. OUCH!!!!! It freakin' hurts. When it was all said and done they didn't even use the foot they decided to use the port I use for chemo.

I also learned one of my nurses grew up in Remsen and the other nurse grew up close to Remsen. Small World!

Dr. Tiedemann came in and said he was going to look at the nerve to see if it was cut or bruised. If it was cut he was going to try and repair it and if it was bruised then he would remove the scar tissue to help speed up my recovery time. If the nerve is cut I might not get my hand back.

I said my good byes to my friend Emily and husband Steve and drifted off to sleep.

When I woke up I was extremely nauseous and had two or three nurses asking if I wanted more nausea medicine. I kept saying “NO MORE DRUGS!”

Thank God the nurse gave me a puke bag because as soon as I got in to Emily’s car I got sick. I just felt awful. When I got home Chris and Heather McQuillan stopped by to drop off a meal and catch up.  I couldn't even hold a conversation because I got sick two more times while they were there. Needless to say I didn’t get to eat the Runza casserole Heather prepared. Steve ate it and said it was delicious!

We got to celebrate the 4th of July weekend at my parent’s lake and my aunt and uncle’s lake. It was nice to take a break from chemo and get to spend time with family and friends.

We FINALLY got some good news!  The median nerve was not cut so my hand will heal on its own.  It could take a year but it will heal! =)

Thank you to:

Stacy Nelson for the gift card to the Gap!
Kiana Baker for bringing us dinner - I think it has been 15 years since I have seen Kiana.  She was so kind to bring us dinner.  We did a little catching up...hopefully when this is all said and done we can go out for drinks and catch up more!  =) 
Heather and Chris McQuillan for bringing us dinner - sorry I couldn't hang out longer. =(
Emily Gardels for coming in to town to take care of me....=)  Love you!!!!
Thank you to my parents, aunt Linde and uncle Terry for the fun parties.  It was good to get out of the house without having to worry about getting sick! =)

Emily and I at Ginger Cove 3rd of July Party!!!
I had a LOT of gauze from sugery wrapped around my
 right arm so I tried to cover it with my sweat shirt.

Chad and Charlie

Steve and Olivia

Baby Paxton!

THANK YOU to all our friends and family for all your love and support!