"If it hadn't been for Dr. Caudill, I may not be here today."
Sam Deputy knows how wonderful life is and he lives each day to the fullest. After being diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma a year ago, he takes nothing for granted.
"I was told that less than 50% of people with my disease live five years," he said. "Those percentages quickly reduce as the years pass."
Sam wants people to know that he feels blessed with the care he received here in Palatka. Dr. Jeremy Caudill, with the Putnam Surgical Associates, made the original diagnosis of melanoma and operated on Sam two days later to surgically remove most of the growth on his back. "He then got on the phone to Shands Jacksonville, cut through all the red tape and got me appointments with physicians who are tops in their field!"
When he was admitted to Shands, the doctors told him that he was very lucky to have had Dr. Caudill do his initial surgery. "They told me that I would not have lived until December of last year had I not had the surgery so quickly", he said. Dr. Caudill consulted right away with local radiation oncologist, Dr. Anand Kuruvilla, "Dr. Kuruvilla was there when I needed the myriad of scans and Dr. Patrick Harris, as my primary care physician, has watched over my care from the beginning." "Fortunately, Dr. Bruce Paley, dermatologist, has Saturday appointments so I am able to visit him on a regular basis."
"I want people to know that we have outstanding physicians right here in Putnam County," he added.
Dr. Caudill continues to manage Sam's wound care. "There were times Dr. Caudill would call me at work and ask me how I'm doing," Deputy says. "His care and concern go far beyond what I ever could have expected."
Faced with such a sudden and serious diagnosis, Sam turned to his faith for answers. "Prayers are key," he said. "From the beginning, I have asked for the prayers of the saints and they have responded. I believe in my doctors and I believe that God is leading them." He's also grateful for the care his sister, Suzie, is able to provide as a registered nurse. "The support of God, family and friends has been overwhelming," he said.
Deputy has spent his whole life in Putnam County. After earning two bachelor degrees in religion and business he returned to the family business. With his mother, Jean, they run Graphics II, in downtown Palatka.