Daniel’s Story

Site created on October 26, 2020

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Journal entry by Pamella Beach

Hello Everyone!

I would like to tell you a little bit about my baby brother, Daniel Beach. Daniel has a wonderful and loving heart that he has had since birth. As a young child he was nicknamed “lover boy” because he was filled with joy, laughter and love and would share it with everyone. Today, he still has that same loving heart and enjoys spending time with family and friends. Daniel is always willing to give help when needed. His family and friends love him dearly. Daniel is a son to Clinton and Helen, a brother to Clint and Pamella and his favorite role is Daddy to Will and Doria. His children are the light of his life! They bring him such joy, laughter and pride.  We are hoping and believing for many more years of joy and laughter with Daniel. He is such a big part of our family.

Prayers for Daniel are greatly needed and appreciated at this time. We know that it is The Good Lord who we trust and depend on for our strength. But our hearts have been very heavy for Daniel since his medical journey began on June 22nd when a CT scan showed a large mass on his colon. This was 2 days before his oldest child’s high school graduation and Daniel told the doctors that he could not miss this event. So on June 26th, Daniel was admitted to the hospital and we had hoped he would have the large mass (which was determined a 90% blockage) removed. Instead, what we found out was that Daniel was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Adenocarcinoma. The cancer began in the colon and had spread to the liver approximately 50%, spots were found in his adrenal system and the growth from his colon had pushed into the bladder and caused a hole.

There was talk of regular surgery and robotic surgery to remove the mass and clear up the 90% blockage. However, Daniel’s case was discussed with many doctors of different areas of specialty and it was unanimous that time was not on Daniel’s side. Chemo treatment could not begin until he had healed from surgery and even a delay of a month would be too long to wait. The doctor actually said that if chemo cannot start ASAP or within 30 days there would not be enough time to fight the cancer. The doctors told us that they were trying to prolong his life as much as possible. The recommendation was to bypass the blockage and give him a colostomy bag and at the same time put a port in under his collar bone for the chemo treatment. This surgery was performed on July 2nd in Pensacola. After he had healed from the surgery he was released on July 8th and he began chemo on July 9th.

The chemo was scheduled for every other week and would start on Thursday. A pump (which was installed through his port) would allow the chemo to administer through Saturday.  Also, Daniel’s hemoglobin was usually low which would require him to have a blood transfusion with each chemo treatment. There were several chemo drugs given in the treatments but the main one is Fluorouracil. During the very first treatment he began to have chest pains that would become very severe. When he saw the doctor before his 2nd treatment he told him of the pain and the doctor told him that he would give him a prescription for nitroglycerin and to take it when the chest pains began and if they continued he was to go to the ER because it could cause angina. During the second treatment Daniel had the chest pain and took the nitroglycerin. After a few hours and a second dose without the chest pains coming to a complete halt, we were off to the hospital. On July 24th, Daniel was admitted to the hospital again. Shortly before admitting him they removed the chemo pump which was still continuing to pump the chemo and was causing the pain. He was in the hospital for several days while they were trying to stop the chest pains and regulate him. It was then determined to be the main drug which caused the pain and he was diagnosed with pericarditis. The oncologist decided that Daniel should be given the chemo in pill form instead of the liquid pump and this should stop the chest pains. It took several weeks to have the pills ordered and delivered to Daniel but once he started the pills the chest pains started again.  The oncologist told him to stop taking the pills. He also told Daniel that the chemo dosage would have to be lowered which meant they would have to order the different pills and have them shipped which would ultimately delay (again) the chemo that Daniel so desperately needed.

At this time, I was actively pursuing Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson for a second opinion. At that time, Covid was very elevated in Houston and I was told that they were not seeing any new patients. However, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville was more than willing to see Daniel and help in any way possible with all medical documents and information needed before the appointment. Once we sent them over they called within a few hours and an appointment was scheduled a week later for August 11th. However, Daniel’s insurance would have to approve the appointment.  We drove the 5.5 hours to Mayo and his health insurance would not approve it. They needed more time for it to be processed. This was devastating because again, time was not on Daniel’s side. Thankfully, Mayo was amazing and told us that they would schedule us the very next appointment that they had and hopefully the insurance company would have it approved by then. The appointment was set for August 28th, an agonizing 17 days later. Two days before his appointment his health insurance denied the Mayo appointment, even though he has coverage for a 2nd opinion. At this point my parents decided to pay for the initial appointment so that we could find out what we were really up against and what the best treatment option would be. At this appointment, we found out many things...The doctor told us that Daniel’s cancer was not curable at this time which had not exactly been stated before. But that it is treatable and there is a good chance to control it for quite some time… “years” (5+ is the hope). The hope is the longer the cancer can be controlled, newer and newer treatments down the road will be available. The doctor told us that moving forward, Daniel will need to be put on an active regiment and that there is another category of drugs that Daniel hasn’t been exposed to that will help to control his cancer and make him feel better. Also, the diagnosis of pericarditis was incorrect. The correct diagnosis is coronary vasospasm. The coronary vasospasm is rare and Daniel would need to see a cardiac oncologist at Mayo. The main chemo drug, Fluorouracil, which is the one that caused Daniel chest pain, would have to be given by short infusion (which is called bolus) instead of the usual long infusion. However, some can still experience vasospasms with the bolus. Daniel must receive the Fluorouracil to fight the cancer. Also, Mayo informed us that if Daniel could change his insurance plan from the current HMO to PPO then Mayo would be in network and Daniel could be treated there. Currently, Daniel’s open enrollment was taking place and this change was effective September 1st.

On 9/11, Daniel was seen at Mayo by the cardio oncologist who confirmed that Daniel does have vasospasm. The decision was made that Daniel would be admitted to the Mayo hospital for his first treatment on 9/16. They wanted his heart to be monitored and based on his heart’s response they can determine how they will continue his future treatments. However, once Daniel was admitted to the hospital, it was discovered that he had Covid. They discharged him without treatment. After seeing the Covid doctor, it was determined that Daniel’s exposure was over 2 weeks prior and he was still asymptomatic after several days and then rescheduled to be admitted to Mayo Hospital on 9/21.

On 10/6, Daniel was scheduled to receive his first chemo treatment with the bolus infusion. If successful, this would require a weekly treatment and usually a blood transfusion. This was a very important day because we knew he had to have this specific chemo and this was the only other way to administer it with his diagnosis. Due to Daniel’s health problems that came about after his initial hospital visit in July, he had not had consistent chemo in three months, which meant the cancer was growing and causing more pain and discomfort. PRAISE GOD… the bolus infusion was a SUCCESS!!! Traveling to Jacksonville for treatment will continue until he can get to a maintenance level.

This has been and will continue to be a journey! We know that we are fighting for his life and want him to be here for many years to come. We are praying for Daniel to see an old age and to be able to enjoy his children and witness as much of their lives and hopefully to see and enjoy his grandchildren. We are praying for a miracle! We will continue to believe for a miracle that Daniel will one day be cancer free! And with your help Daniel will be able to receive the care that he desperately needs to fight this cancer. Since his initial diagnosis at the end of June, Daniel has been unable to work full time and does not have short term disability pay. By the end of September he has been unable to work at all. And with weekly treatments 5.5 hours away, and as sick as he has been during and after treatments, this will continue to for a while longer. Even with no work or pay, Daniel still must pay to keep his health insurance because he cannot afford to lose his ability for treatment with Mayo. The medical bills, the prescriptions, the lodging, travel expenses and continued care are all needed expenses. We want nothing more for Daniel than to focus on FIGHTING for his LIFE! We have watched him struggle in pain, worry and stress. And as his sister and caregiver, this journey has been so incredibly hard to watch. But GOD is GOOD and He has been opening doors for the best treatment for Daniel. HE has led me to start this account for my brother’s care and with your help we can continue to FIGHT with and for Daniel, Will and Doria! The hope is Daniel will eventually feel well enough to make some life lasting memories with his precious children.

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