Cancer can be
fought in many waysincluding surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, etc.but
Jamie Schubert decided to add motocross. Whopping cancer isnt just
a question of battling the diseaseits about making positive
choices. Motocross riding keeps Jamies spirits up, and so does his
decision to spend quality time with his 14-year-old Supercross-hopeful
son, Tyler. And with that Jamie feels hes winning.
Our editor-in-chief, Chet Cooper, recently donned the requisite dirt bikers
gear, dusted off his Honda and met up with the father-and-son riding duo
in Riverside, California. Their dirt-filled interview, held at Milestone
MX Ranch, was all fired-up with a flurry of jumps, pinned turns and
Chet Cooper: How long have you lived in California?
Jamie Schubert: Im a native. I was born in Newport Beach and raised
in Huntington Beach. My mom graduated from Huntington High. She became
a deputy clerk for the city. My dad worked for Bell Helicopters and set
up the first police helicopter outfit in the area. He left Huntington
soon after that. Now hes 74 and he lives on the river. He continues
to fly planes and still has his FAA license. When I was a kid, he used
to say, Lets go fishing, and wed fly down to Mexico
and land on the beach. In the60s, you could do things like that.
Not any more.
Cooper: So you had a lot of experience with planes growing up. How did
you become interested in motorcycles?
Schubert: Theyve always intrigued me. Everyone in my neighborhood
had a motorcycle. I always wanted a dirt bike when I was kid but my parents
wouldnt let me have one. They bought me a guitar instead. Actually,
it was part of a deal I made with my mom. If I took a summer school math
class, she said shed pay for any other class I wanted. I chose guitar
lessons. So, I got a guitar instead of a bike, and it took me a different
direction. I grew my hair long and went to Hollywood. I spent ten years
there, playing the Strip.
Cooper: Did you play with any band we might know?
Schubert: Have you heard of Polkeralis or High Voltage? Or what about
Mud Pie? We got to play at a lot of big clubs like Gazzaris and
the Country Club. I still have a really funny video from those days. It
was the80s. Big hair and Spandexthe whole nine yards... Its
pretty funny to watch it now. (laughs)
Cooper: Like the original MTV?
Schubert: Yeah, it was around79I did my first LA show at Gazzaris
back in79. (laughs) Back then, that type of music was considered
heavy metal. But when my son, Tyler, was born and I decided to give up
the music scene. Going out to nightclubs every night or being constantly
on the road isnt a good family thing. I wanted to do something different.
My wife and I started becoming really active in our church. One day, I
was coming out of church, and I heard a few guys talking about Honda Valley
and how they wanted to play out there. It was also where they went to
ride dirt bikes. Thats when the light bulb went off in my head.
So I bought a77 RMZ 250 for a hundred dollars and started to rebuild
it out of spare parts, but I had to be taught a lot.
Cooper: Who taught you?
Schubert: The owner of the local bike shop. He taught me everything from
mixing gas to cleaning the carburetor. Thats how I got started in
the business. Its my real passion. You might say Ive got the
Cooper: So you went from rock and roll and heavy metal to riding over
rocks with heavy metal? Sorry...
Schubert: (laughs) Right. It took about six years and then we were able
to open JTS Motor Sports. Two weeks after we opened the store, we found
out I had cancer.
Cooper: What were your symptoms?
Schubert: It was strange. I started noticing lumps and the doctor told
me that they were simply fatty tissues. The specialist also insisted that
I had nothing to worry about. When I mentioned having frequent pains in
my side, he said Theres no pain associated with this type
of thing. Its unrelated. I believed him. Hes the surgeon,
right? Hes a specialist and hes supposed to be the expert.
After my first surgery, I told my wife, I dont think all the
lumps are gone. I think theyve missed something.
Cooper: Why did you feel that way?
Schubert: The sharp pains Id been nagging about since the very beginning
were still there. When I went back to the specialist, he told me it was
just scar tissue and that there was no reason to worry. Eight months later,
I told my wife, Honey, theres a problem. By that time,
the lump on my side had become as big as a grapefruit. I visited my doctor
again who sent me to yet another specialist. She examined the swelling
and said, Well, I cant do anything for you because I dont
operate on cancer. Thats how I found out I had cancer. Nobody
had a clue.
Cooper: Didnt they test the lumps after they removed them?
Schubert: Well, supposedly, yes. But I remember having pointed to another
one that they neglected to remove. Its right here, I
said. My doctor felt the lump and told me it was just more fatty tissue
and that I shouldnt worry. To be honest with you, he treated me
like an idiot. I just wanted somebody to explain what was happening to
me. He really talked down to me as if I were completely ignorant. He never
did a biopsy, never had an x-ray takennever did anything.
Cooper: He said the lumps were fatty tissue? And what did he say caused
the tissue to develop?
Schubert: Supposedly it was just a freak thing. The fact that I had pains
in the same area was simply a coincidence. He was the doctor and I was
When the lump became too enormous to ignore, that second specialist finally
said, Its cancer, and thats how my wife and I
found out. We left the doctors office and sat in the parking lot
and cried. Then we gathered our strength together. We were determined
to find a way to deal with it. On the Thursday after that appointment,
they confirmed the type of cancer I had. The Tuesday after that, they
operated. There was no time to waste.
Cooper: What kind of cancer was it?
Schubert: Its called Synovial sarcoma. Its extremely
rare. Less than two percent of all cases are this type of cancer. They
had to send it to Italy to be examined. Nobody here knew anything about
it. Once they did the biopsy, the doctors confirmed that we were dealing
with a very dangerous type of cancer. It attacks soft tissue and its
fatal for more than 50 percent of those diagnosed. In the worst-case scenario,
it spreads to the lungs. After the operation, I underwent radiation for
three monthsfive days a week, 45 minutes a day. The lump was attached
to my pelvis so they removed all my muscle from my hip, all the way to
the pelvic bone. Their goal was to wrap around the cancer and eliminate
Ive had a check-up every three months since I finished radiation.
During my first check-up, they found that the cancer had, in fact, spread
to my lungs. The full-body scan confirmed the worst. The cancer was going
for the soft tissue.
Cooper: Did they confirm this by means of a CAT scan?
Schubert: Yes. They make you drink that funky stuff. You can feel the
liquid entering your body, from head to toe. Its a really warm sensation.
The nurse warns you by saying that it will feel like youre urinating
on yourself even when you arent. Once the liquid enters your system,
doctors have 30 seconds to complete the procedure. Thanks to this test,
they confirmed that a piece of my lung had to be removed. Eight centimeters
to be exact. They called it a wedge piece.
Cooper: When did you have the surgery?
Schubert: My initial surgery was in November 2005. Ive managed to
ruin every Christmas for the last three years because of surgery. Not
to mention a broken collarbone from a motocross accidentbut thats
a different story. I get checked every three months. At my first check-up,
they confirmed that the cancer spanned fifteen centimeters. It was back
and had doubled in sizespreading onto my other lung in two different
spots. Now, its grown to 19 centimeters.
Cooper: They left it in there?
Schubert: Oh, yeah. Were not going to go in every couple of
months and take pieces out of you, they said. The healing process
is just too hard. Healing from lung surgery is a big deal. It was worse
than when they took the lump out of my side. I had a hospital bed delivered
to my house so I wouldnt have to go up and down stairs. Just the
breathing exercises were hard work.
Cooper: So when did they say you had 18 months to live?
Schubert: At my last checkup. If it keeps going at this pace, I have about
a year and a half until I have to depend on hospice care. Nobody can determine
what will happen after hospice.
Cooper: How many times a week are you riding?
Schubert: I used to ride at least three times a week, but now its
gotten to where Im riding once or twice week, and Im OK with
that. Ill ride tomorrow morning for a little bit. I used to go out
there and do three or four 25 to 30-minute motos and not even blink an
Cooper: So are we ready to ride?
Schubert: Lets go...
(The three go for laps on the vet track and then head over to the main
track then back to sit in the shade of the trees to finish the
Cooper: You kicked my butt out there. You had loads of energy. It was
unbelievable. Not that Im in shape...
Schubert: (laughs) Yeah, I was able to do a lot of laps, and I felt good.
At home, I walk up the stairs and I get winded! Ive got to catch
my breath walking up the stairs! But on my bike, its a different
story. I dont know if its just a question of where my heads
at when Im on my bikebut I do have extra energy. (laughs)
Yet, I walk up the stairs and I start huffing and puffing! .... continued
in ABILITY Magazine