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Couple married for 46 years fight through cancer and COVID-19

/ 06:19 PM July 27, 2020
Elderly couple

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A couple from Texas, United States who have been together for 46 years stayed strong in the face of health challenges — even when they had to be temporarily apart.

Robert and Janice Beecham both tested positive for coronavirus at separate times, though Robert was struck harder by COVID-19, WFAA reported on July 20.

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At 65, he has congestive heart failure and has had two strokes. He had a dry cough which led to severe congestion that made him feel like he was drowning. He also had shortness of breath, loss of appetite, and lost his sense of smell and taste.

Given his serious condition, Robert was brought to Parkland Hospital in Dallas to be treated, which distressed Janice.

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“I was getting ready to get my first chemo and I got a text message, ‘Your husband has COVID.’ And I’m like, ‘What?’” she recalled.

Unlike the other times he was in the hospital, she could not be with him. She recalled, “I just started crying because we are always together. We are never separated. I felt so helpless.”

Robert worked with Dr. Satyam Nayak to recover from COVID-19. Nayak even helped him plan out how to quarantine at home by asking him for their floor plan.

After Robert drew it, the doctor gave places where Robert can go to and should avoid, and where he and his wife could see each other from a distance.

Robert was able to go home in time for their 46th anniversary, though Janice was fighting through cancer and COVID-19 by then. Thankfully, she only had mild symptoms and her husband was back home with her.

“I’d tell him every night when we’d talk to come back home to me,” she said. “And he came home.”

During the Beechams’ anniversary, Nayak said Robert gave him a call.

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“My wife was in the car. He just expressed this gratitude, this heartfelt appreciation for the work we’ve done, and that he was able to spend that time with his family,” Nayak said. “It brought tears to our eyes. This is why we do what we do. We bring families back together.”

Of the care Robert received from Nayak, he said, “This is going to sound kind of political, because I intend it to, but that’s how you make America great.” Niña V. Guno/JB

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TAGS: Cancer, Coronavirus, couple, Texas, United States, wedding anniversary
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