Eric Schuebel walked out of the Prevea Cancer Center at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital to a crowd of friends and family waiving celebratory banners and cheering for his final day of chemotherapy. Schuebel bowed his head and pumped his fist in the air as he saw the group of nearly 15 celebrating. He had no clue they would be there waiting, but he welcomed the support.
A Devastating Diagnosis
Less than seven months ago, Schuebel was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic colon cancer – news that the 38-year-old Boyd man and his family could hardly comprehend.
“It was shocking,” Schuebel said. “I went in for what was supposed to be a normal gallbladder surgery only to wake up to find out they found a mass on my liver and it was cancerous.
“I was numb and confused for quite some time.”
After numerous scans and tests, cancer was found to have started in Schuebel’s colon and spread to his liver.
“It’s news nobody ever wants to hear,” he said. “Receiving that news was a definite shock.”
From January 21 through July 16, 2020, Scheubel endured Folfox chemo with treatments at the cancer center in the hospital every Tuesday and was sent home with a chemo pump for 47 hours. He returned every Thursday to remove the pump.
“Treatments were definitely draining. Most days I wanted to lay in bed because I just felt ‘blah,’” Schuebel said. “Other days I felt the same, but knew I had to get up and get moving. I had to get outside and get some fresh air. I had to continue living my life.”
Schuebel said the other thing he did to make sure he kept his strength up, was eat – even if he had no appetite, and even if it didn’t taste good.
“I knew a big part of surviving this would not only be to stay positive but to try and maintain my weight,” he said. “My wife and daughters certainly made sure I was always eating whenever I felt good enough.”
Schuebel may have anticipated the ups and downs of treatment, but he didn’t foresee the amazing support system beyond his friends and family.
Tips To Keep Your Spirit Up
- Find a care team whom you trust. “You are not going to succeed if you are forever questioning your care or the people in charge of your treatments,” Schuebel said. “You need to be 100 percent comfortable and confident in all of your decisions.”
- The small details make a big difference. “The doctors and nurses at Prevea Cancer Center and HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital were nothing but amazing,” Schuebel said. “They were there every week with their special fox socks. They wanted me cancer-free just as much as my family and friends did.”
- Gain mental momentum with family and friends who lift you up. The husband and father of three said his friends and family were his biggest supporters who pushed him daily to keep fighting. “I have an amazing wife and daughters to fight for. I wasn’t ready to give all of that up,” he said.
Schuebel credits Evergreen Surgical Surgeon, Brent Wogahn, for saving his life.
“He was an angel in disguise and I most likely would not be where I am today without him. I was very lucky to have him operate on me that day,” Schuebel said.
As for his health, Schuebel will go back to the Prevea Cancer Center every three months for lab draws and six months for scans.
“If I could give any advice, it would be to never lose hope or faith,” he said. “There is always something worth fighting for.”
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