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Finding her salvation - and a return to health - in Fernley, Nevada.

  • 02.17.2018


Author’s note: While oncology comprises the bulk of Dr. Jorge Perez’s practice, he is board certified in both oncology and hematology. For patients with blood disorders, his knowledge and expertise can be life-changing.


Susan W. was a healthy, fit 55-year old professional living in San Francisco who enjoyed hiking and yoga. Until she wasn’t.


Over the course of 2011, she developed a series of symptoms — her fingers started changing colors, her muscles grew weak, she developed an extreme reaction to cold — that left her functionally disabled. She could no longer walk the steep hills of San Francisco to her job. The cool breeze off the Bay sent her into uncontrollable tremors. Eventually, she could no longer continue her work as a nurse and was essentially homebound struggling to even cross the room.


The worst part for Susan — her doctors could not diagnose what was wrong with her. Ultimately, she received a vague diagnosis of “autoimmune disorder” from a hepatologist (a doctor specializing in liver function), but with no treatment protocol. Her condition continued to worsen, and she was desperate for help.


“There is a horrible feeling of unwellness with autoimmune disease,” Susan explained. “You can’t feel joy or hope. You don’t have the strength to enjoy life.”


In 2015, Susan and her husband Gary moved to Fernley, Nevada, to pursue a real estate investment and a more affordable cost of living now that she could no longer work. It was there, in rural northern Nevada, that Susan found her salvation — Dr. Jorge Perez and Sierra Nevada Cancer Center.


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In his Carson City clinic, Dr. Perez, who is Board Certified in both Hematology and Oncology, performed a bone marrow biopsy. Following further blood tests, he was able to confirm his suspected diagnosis, the rare hematological condition Cryoglobulinemia. With this medical condition, the blood contains large amounts of cryoglobulins – proteins that become insoluble at reduced temperatures. In other words. Susan’s blood was freezing.


While the other specialists she had seen over the years did not even know what to look for, Dr. Perez made an almost immediate diagnosis of this rare disorder and was able to develop an effective treatment plan with a combination of infusion medication and chemotherapy. Susan underwent five months of treatment, ending in December 2017.


“I saw specialists all over the Bay area and Dr. Perez provided, by far, the most intuitively insightful care I received over the course of my illness,” Susan said. “His treatment plan largely reversed my condition and has returned me to a functional life.”


Today, Susan feels “almost my normal self,” her strength has returned, and she is no longer in constant pain. She has the energy to participate in her life once again. She is planning a trip to Thailand with her husband Gary. She has even started to jog. There is no cure, but the hope is that the treatment will lead to a long-term remission from the disease.


“I am so grateful that I met Dr. Perez,” Susan says, “Because only he knew what was wrong with me and only he knew how to treat it.”


In a letter she wrote to the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners, Susan continues her praise: “In an era of specialization, when too often medical focus is confined to a single, narrow specialty, Dr. Perez gives his patients the benefit of a comprehensive, widely-based medical approach. His wisdom is outdone only by his kindness. Dr. Perez has restored my life.”


Whether you or a loved one suffer from cancer or a hematologic condition, Dr. Perez and the Sierra Nevada Cancer Center team are here to help. Exceptional care and treatment is available throughout northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe. Call (775) 883-3336 for an appointment.


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