Trisha Bergman, a physically active, bike-to-work bookkeeper from South Lake Tahoe, has been a patient of Sierra Nevada Cancer Center since 2010. The fact that she wound up under the care of Dr. Perez came as a complete surprise to her. “I don’t usually get sick,” said the 52 year old. “Before this, I had never had a doctor other than my general practitioner.”
But in 2010, Trisha developed a sore under one of her breasts. “It hurt and it looked weird but I paid no attention to it,” she recalled. Finally, she went to her GP to get what she thought she needed: a round of antibiotics. “My doctor reacted strangely because she knew it wasn’t an infection, and she wasn’t looking forward to breaking the news to me,” Trisha said.
One biopsy later, Trisha got a cancer diagnosis, and was referred to Dr. Perez. “I was so scared and freaked out that I just wanted this cancer gone. I never even contemplated looking at other doctors,” she said.
Six years later, Trisha is still very grateful for Dr. Perez and his expertise. “He is really smart, super passionate about his work, and he listens. Plus, I feel like he saved my life,” she said. “I have friends who have gone to other oncologists, and I just shake my head and think, ‘I’m really glad I see Dr. Perez.’”
Soon after Trisha’s breast cancer diagnosis, she began chemotherapy and radiation, which she tolerated well. “I did everything Dr. Perez told me to do. Between taking his advice and listening to my own body, I had no side effects other than a little fatigue.”
Since her original diagnosis and treatment, Trisha has had to do battle with cancer two more times. In 2014, questionable tissue was discovered during reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy, for which she underwent radiation treatment.
In the spring of 2016, Dr. Perez found small lumps on her back during a routine follow up exam. “It’s so important to follow up on appointments, even if it’s a hassle,” Trisha advised. “My lumps were small and I wash my back with a sponge, so I wouldn’t have noticed them for a long time.”
Having experienced a lot in the past six years, Trisha wanted to share another piece of advice with fellow cancer patients: “Make sure you have a support system in place.”
Trisha fully appreciates the value of her support system, which initially was led by her then-teenage daughter. “My daughter Mekaela was my superhero. I didn’t fully realize how much I relied on her until I was re-diagnosed and she wasn’t living with me anymore. Now, she calls me every day and I still lean on her a lot,” she said.
Trisha is currently undergoing chemotherapy and is expected to complete her treatment later this month.
If you or someone you know has recently received a cancer diagnosis, Sierra Nevada Cancer Center is here to help. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Perez at any of our four offices. For current cancer-related health news delivered to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.