Below is a human interest story that focuses on the extraordinary efforts one of our excellent doctors here in Sun City West/Surprise went to give me hope for the future.
Although this story involves me it’s really about Dr. Neena Uppal, who has been my primary care physician since I moved to the Valley in 2015. It exemplifies her unwavering concern for her patients and her ability to go above and beyond when it comes to their care.
It starts Dec. 2 when I went in for my annual physical. I am 73 years old and in relatively good health. As usual, Dr Uppal had ordered a number of tests prior to the visit. I could sense something was different from her demeanor. One of the tests showed I had a tumor on my pancreas and she said it was serious and we had to take action immediately.
I knew a little bit about pancreatic cancer as a coworker of mine had it and died within a month of being diagnosed. As I found out more it confirmed how very serious this was and how speed was of the essence. I was concerned about how quickly anything could be done as scheduling appointments with doctors can take time and if I did have cancer surgery could take even longer, particularly with hospitals filling up due to COVID-19.
Dr. Uppal gave me a doctor to call the next day to schedule an ultrasound and biopsy and instructed me to let her know the results. When I called I was told they could not do the procedures as the doctor was not the doctor of record for my last colonoscopy. I went back to Dr. Uppal’s office the same day and told her my experience. She asked me to sit down and she picked up her phone and called the doctor. The last thing I heard her say is, “Get this patient in immediately.” She told me I would be hearing from him. I left the office on my way to the gym. Within 15 minutes I got a call and was told I was set up for the procedures Dec. 7.
The result of the tests showed I had cancer. I communicated with Dr. Uppal that day and she told me I needed to see an oncologist and a surgeon and I would be hearing from her. On Dec. 8 I received two messages — appointments were scheduled for Dec. 9 with an oncologist and Dec. 10 with a surgeon. When I met with the surgeon he scheduled me for surgery Dec. 18 and I made it home for Christmas.
I still have a ways to go with recovery and treatment but I wanted to tell this story about an exceptional doctor who did extraordinary things in an attempt to save my life. Thank you Dr. Uppal. I am forever grateful.
Sun City West