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Sage Advice From A 92 Year Old: Follow Doctor’s Orders

  • 02.19.2016

Chemotherapy Cancer PatientsCorene Norris is a shining example of how to live well. She worked hard all her life, serving both as a secretary and her husband’s right hand woman as they built their own homes. She raised two boys in Alaska, and spent a lot of time fishing, hiking and doing other outdoor activities with her family. She never smoked or drank and she has always gotten her exercise. In fact, at 92 years old, she still walks a couple miles a couple times a week—without a walker or even a cane. There is no stopping her.

In addition to being a model citizen, Corene has been a model patient. At the age of 84, she was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and was referred to Dr. Jorge Perez at Sierra Nevada Cancer Center. “I told Dr. Perez, ‘I’m not a baby. Be upfront with me and tell it like it is.’ And he did. He was very straightforward about what had to be done.”

Corene was impressed by Dr. Perez’s extensive education, and by the fact that he is board certified in both oncology and hematology, so she followed doctor’s orders to the letter. “If he said to puree my food, I pureed my food. It was that simple.” Corene’s son, Joe Norris added, “She does precisely what they tell her, and it’s paid off.”

Coreen has stage 4 cancer and has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy in the eight years since her diagnosis to manage the growth of her tumor. Amazingly, Corene has never felt nauseous after treatment—and has never even taken the anti-nausea medicine. “After four hours of treatment, I get hungry so my son and I always go to lunch afterward.” Corene attributes her tolerance of chemotherapy in part to luck, but her son Joe has a different theory. “I think your attitude has about as much to do with it as anything else.”

This sweet, positive woman had kind words to say about Sierra Nevada Cancer Center. “I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Perez. He and his staff take a personal interest in you.” Son Joe added, “They treat the whole patient. Not just the cancer.”

While Corene is happy to pay compliments to Dr. Perez and his staff, it was not her main motivation for sharing her story with others. “I know two people who died in their sixties because they were afraid of chemo. They didn’t stay with the program,” she said. “I hope telling my story will give someone the courage to take chemo.”

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