Donna White, a pastor’s widow from Austin, Nevada, had been extremely fatigued and not feeling well in the early months of 2015. Previously, she had been low on blood, so her primary care doctor sent her to the ER for a pint of blood. After many tests, she was referred to Dr. Perez, a Board certified hematologist.
Though feeling unsettled, Donna was ready to face her health issues head on. “My thought was, I can’t put up a fight until I know what my enemy is.”
Donna remembers her first appointment with Dr. Perez well. “I never met a kinder man than Dr. Perez.” She added, “He came in, sat down, looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘We need to do a bone marrow biopsy.’ I thought, ‘Oh no!’”
Her reaction was immediate because this wasn’t Donna’s first rodeo. She had watched her son Rusty go through a bone marrow biopsy in 1968, as well as an experimental treatment now known as chemotherapy, for what the doctors said was terminal cancer. (Though it was touch and go, Rusty beat cancer and lived until 2002.) Donna decided, “After everything I put my son through, I’m not going to be a whiner.”
Donna’s biopsy was performed that same day. “Dr. Perez and his staff worked hard to get the procedure approved through insurance. They made it happen and they were wonderful. And I was one step closer to knowing what the problem was.”
The diagnosis was an aggressive form of multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. “When Dr. Perez first told me, I said, ‘Now, what are you going to do about it?’ He assured me that it was treatable, and that he would treat it aggressively.”
In the spring of 2016, before going “on vacation from chemo” as she puts it, Donna received the same type of chemo treatment that her son had had more than 30 years ago. She thanks her son for tolerating the then-experimental drug so others, including her, could benefit.
Donna will always be grateful to Dr. Perez and his staff. “His knowledge is great, and his personal care for his patients and that of his staff is amazing. I would highly recommend Dr. Perez. In fact, I already have.”
Upon Dr. Perez’s recommendation, Donna will undergo a bone marrow transplant in late May at the UC Davis Medical Center. “It scares, me but you’ve got to give it your best shot. How could I tell my children I’m giving up in the middle of the stream?”