DIY Tuesday Interview

This weeks DIY Tuesday Interview brings me Lisa Schuler, Brandon's step mom. Lisa live in Kentucky. She brings great insight to what it's been like since she married Brandon's dad. 

We learned last week , Tuesday's are usually my DIY day here on Ashley's Art Closet. So what better way than to carry that tradition out even though we are in the middle of Liver Cancer Awareness month. Mainly to continue bringing awareness to others but also in the hopes to encourage others to step out honoring other cancer related people. Possibly having the courage to interview them. I truly believe the more we connect, the safer we will be having peace knowing we truly aren't alone in this thing called life. Each story shared brings awareness which in return paves a path for others. 

So, I encourage you to interview cancer relate people. Or simple anyone for that matter. 

It's simple 

What you will need:

a willing person
mother/step mom who's child is currently battling cancer
a picture of them 
a picture of their support
pen & paper
a list of in-depth questions
a computer
a blog
a praying heart
a listening ear
a moment of thanks 

Lisa start by telling us, what was life like before cancer?

This is has been the toughest question for
me. It's hard to remember what my life was like before (CANCER) moved in. When Brandon's Dad and I married, Brandon was 13 years old. His dad had custody of him. I was excited I would have him in my life. He's always been a blessing to me. I had a daughter from my first marriage. I have never thought of him as a (step) child. He has always felt like my child and always will.

How did you find out about Brandon's diagnosis? 

It was 4th of July weekend 2010. Brandon complained about pain in his abdomen that ran thru his back. After 2 trips to urgent care and 1 trip to ER, The ER Dr. finally ordered an X-ray and MRI which showed a large mass in his liver. The Dr. recommended we go to a larger hospital so we loaded up and went. After a roller coaster of a ride, we finally found out it was tumors. They did a biopsy of pancreas Thinking first it was pancreatic cancer. We followed up with an oncologist who ordered a biopsy of the liver. This is when FHC entered our lives.

Lisa share his course of treatment.

All along we have been told surgery isn't an option. He was started on Nexavar. After 5-6 days he had a severe allergic reaction. So he was taken off  of Nexavar. 5FU and interferon was used next with good results, he stayed on that for awhile. Then he was giving Xeloda for some time. Currently, he is taking Tarceva and Avastin infusions. He has had 5 embolizations. He gets CT Scans every 3 months. He recently was hospitalized due to bleeding ulcers.

Emotionally how did your family and yourself handle the diagnosis? 

Another tough question, It's constantly a roller coaster ride. BTW I have never enjoyed roller coasters! It is a full time job keeping up with his medicines and appointments. All the medical bills (when he was first diagnosised he didn't have health insurance) He now has medicare but it only covers 80%. All my vacation and sick time at work for the last 4 years is spent on Dr. visits and hospital stays. There hasn't been a day that (cancer) hasn't been involved since 7-15-2010.

Tell us what you have learned along this journey.

I have learned a lot about myself and about other people. You never know what someone is going thru so be nice to everyone, even if they aren't nice to you. I don't worry so much about the little things, I don't let things at work bother me the way they use to, cause at the end of the day that stuff doesn't matter. I am Brandon's primary caregiver, I get a lot of comments, I have never understood. It seems some people think its odd that I do so much for him, but like I said he has never been a (step) child to me. He is my son. I will do anything and everything I can for him. I get kinda offended when people (thank me)??? Never ever take anything for granted!!

Lisa, Lisa, Lisa.... Thank you, thank you for being you. Thank you for being a true example of a step mom. Thank you for being a true caregiver. All in all I hope those thank you's don't "offend you". Actually, you shouldn't be offend at all you deserve to be honored in the role you play in Brandon's life. Serving others is what we do best, it's what God intended for us to do. 

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, Colossians 3:23

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7 (I really have to be reminded of this one, especially fighting that voice… why are you interviewing so many cancer related people)

Lisa, I've know you through the Facebook group, Fibrolamellars of the World Unite, for a few years now but I have to say I've enjoyed getting on more of a personal level getting to know you and Brandon's story. I hope other's feel the connection as well. 

I thank God for putting you in Brandon's life. As well, I thank Him for allowing you and I to cross pathes. Giving Him all the glory

I pray for true healing for this young man.

Brandon Schuler 
You can visit him on to see more of his story.

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