Jim Reinhardt wanted to share his story about how he came to be under the care of Sierra Nevada Cancer Center for one reason: “Dr. Perez is one of my very favorite people. I want this to be more about Dr. Perez than me,” Jim said.
The two first met in the hospital after Jim was transported to the ER with shortness of breath in 2013. Following a battery of tests and the removal of a liter of fluid from his right lung, the hospitalist recommended that Jim undergo a lymph node biopsy. The diagnosis was lymphoma, but a specialist was needed to determine which kind in order to treat the cancer.
Serendipitously, Dr. Perez happened to be making rounds at the hospital that same evening. “He came into the room and right away, we had a connection,” Jim said. “The thing that impressed me was that he said, ‘I’m an oncologist and I’ve looked over your records. You can go out of state, or you can get care locally. It’s whatever you want to do, but you need help.’ Somehow, I just knew he was the guy who was going to take care of me.”
After Jim was discharged from the hospital, he and his wife met with Dr. Perez to establish a game plan. Both were pleased and comforted by Dr. Perez’s quiet manner, extensive training, dedication to the latest cancer protocols, and his honesty. “Dr. Perez told me, ‘You have lymphoma. We’ll do a CT scan and go from there.’ He explained the drugs very well and had great informational handouts, too.” Jim admitted that his cancer diagnosis initially made him a wreck. After talking to Dr. Perez, he felt assured that he could beat this. “He helps keep everything positive.”
As soon as Jim began chemo, he knew the treatment was working, as he could breathe easier. After six months of chemo treatment, Jim was in remission. As of April, 2016, he continues to have no evidence of lymphoma.
“I once asked Dr. Perez why he chooses to practice in northern Nevada when, with all of his experience and dedication to battling cancer, he could practice anywhere,” said Jim. “His response was, ‘I can treat the patient first, then the disease. I don’t have to answer to a committee. Here, every person is different.’ I appreciated that.”
Another thing Jim really appreciated was the help Dr. Perez gave him when Jim’s insurance company denied coverage of a certain chemo drug. “Dr. Perez wrote a letter to my insurance company to get it covered. He just goes that extra mile for his patients.” No doubt, that’s why Jim went the extra mile to share his story and sing Dr. Perez’s praises.