Linda Jenkins was no stranger to cancer—her husband had been undergoing treatment for lymphoma and she was his caregiver. But after a routine mammogram in 2010, she got news she was not prepared for. “I had felt a little lump underneath my arm so I told them about it. They immediately did a biopsy and within a day, they determined it was breast cancer,” Linda recalled. “I was in total shock.” Linda had surgery, and was then referred to Dr. Perez by the hospital staff.
Thankfully, her husband was the voice of experience. “He told me chemotherapy isn’t really that bad, and that it was important to have a positive attitude.” While a positive attitude came naturally to Linda, the fear of the unknown admittedly rattled her. “Even though the staff at Sierra Nevada Cancer Center was very friendly and they would answer any questions I had, I still freaked out the first time I had chemo,” she said. “After the first treatment, I knew what to expect so it was fine.” Linda and her husband often had treatment sessions together under the care of Dr. Perez.
After eight months of chemotherapy, Linda was in remission. “I would have my checkups with Dr. Perez every three months. Three and a half years later, the cancer came back, and it had metastasized.” Linda is currently undergoing chemotherapy at Sierra Nevada Cancer Center. “Everything’s shrinking and everything’s good,” Linda reported. “And the type of chemo I’m doing is easy. I went back to work a month ago and I’m stronger.”
She credits Dr. Perez for extending her life, and that of her husband, who lived five years longer than the five-year prognosis he was originally given. “I don’t have a death sentence. Dr. Perez is keeping me alive,” Linda said.
The Cancer Effect
A cancer diagnosis affects everyone differently. For this 61-year-old South Lake Tahoe resident, it changed her whole outlook on life. “I could be gone tomorrow,” Linda said, “so I live my life the way I want, and I do what I want to do.”
To those facing a cancer diagnosis, she advised, “Live every day to the fullest. If you want to do something, go do it. If you’re craving something, eat it.”
One thing Linda wanted to do was take a cruise, and this past September, along with three friends, she did. “It was on my bucket list,” Linda said. “I ate whatever I wanted, gained weight, which Dr. Perez told me to do, relaxed and had a great time. It was fantastic.”
In addition to returning to work full time, Linda still walks and goes cross country skiing, as she did before cancer. She also takes care of her house and does all of her own yard work. “I’m a pretty busy lady,” Linda said. Clearly, she’s taking her own advice to heart.