Texas Couple Survives Cancer, Strokes, and COVID-19 to Celebrate 46th Anniversary
“I’d tell him every night when we’d talk to come back home to me. And he came home.”
Robert and Janice Beecham’s 46th wedding anniversary was approaching when Robert began feeling sick back in late March.
“Shortness of breath, loss of appetite, my senses—smell, taste—I mean, totally gone. And then the cough,” he recalled to WFAA. “It was like I was drowning.”
Robert, 65, was admitted to Parkland Hospital in Dallas where he tested positive for COVID-19.
He told his doctor, Satyam Nayak, about how he’d survived two strokes—one in 2012 and another in 2016—causing him to miss his April 15 wedding anniversary each time. Robert was upset to have found himself in the same situation again, but Nayak saw it as motivation.
As Robert’s recovery from COVID progressed, Dr. Nayak began helping Robert devise a plan for quarantining at home. Nayak even asked for the floor plan of his house.
“I’m like—is this guy a doctor or an architect?” Robert told WFAA. “I am not the best artist in the world, but I drew the floor plan.”
Meanwhile, his high school-sweetheart was going through her own health struggles. Janice was recovering from a recent surgery to treat a second battle with breast cancer and had just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In fact, she was receiving chemo at one of Parkland’s cancer centers when she learned that Robert has tested positive for COVID.
“I walked up to one of the ladies at the center and let her read the text. They took me to the back and I just started crying because we are always together. We are never separated. I felt so helpless," she told WFAA.
Then, right before Robert was due to be discharged, Janice also tested positive for COVID. Fortunately, Janice’s symptoms were mild. She is now also clear from the virus. And though Robert made it home for their anniversary, the celebration was subdued.
“I’d tell him every night when we’d talk to come back home to me,” Janice said. “And he came home.”
The couple told WFAA that believe being home together helped them both heal. And they say they owe that to Nayak.
Speaking with CNN, the Beechams said they also credit their good fortune to a higher power. "It would have been impossible to make it with all the odds against you without God, and he has been our help, all these many years," Robert said.
Now that’s what we call a happy ending!