Dr. Gary Beach, Family Medicine
I am grateful to Dr. Beach for giving me more time with my family and friends. I consider him my guardian angel, here on earth.
Donna B. travels over an hour from Temple, Texas, to ARC Round Rock to see Dr. Gary Beach. “I would travel to anywhere for him. I love him!” she says enthusiastically. Then she explains, “I owe him a lot. He literally saved my life on two separate occasions.”
Donna became an ARC employee and an ARC patient in April 2002. She began having health problems later that year including joint pain, emergency gall bladder surgery, and an emergency hysterectomy.
“Dr. Beach is caring, knowledgeable, and has a great bedside manner. He took time to get to know me,” Donna says. “He takes good care of his patients and really wants to heal them.”
In 2002, when Donna got bitten by a brown recluse spider, she saw Dr. Beach twice a day for two weeks so that he could press the poison out of the bite. “On several occasions, he stayed late so that he could see me at the end of the day,” she recalls.
In May 2003, when Donna told Dr. Beach she was severely depressed, he suspected something else was going on. “I was a real person to him, not just a number,” Donna says. He asked her a series of questions and when she told him about a pain in her abdomen, he ordered lab tests. He also ordered an ultrasound that showed a one-inch tear in her liver.
Donna’s lab results came back positive for Hepatitis C. “If Dr. Beach hadn’t taken me seriously and known which lab tests to order, it would have been too late,” Donna says. The hepatitis specialist told Donna that she was too sick to receive treatment. Instead, he gave her medicine to clean out her system. She took the medicine for three months and went back to be tested. Without receiving any treatment, the Hepatitis C had disappeared! Nobody could explain why.
But Donna was not through the worst of her health problems. In 2005, she began experiencing “dramatic moods.” “I was angry and irritable and I couldn’t control my temper,” she says. After she caused a co-worker to cry, Donna went to see Dr. Beach for a “happy pill.”
Again, Dr. Beach refused to take Donna’s moods at “face value.” He questioned Donna about other symptoms and she revealed that she’d had a pain behind her left eye for many years. “I had it every time I screamed at my kids’ football games,” Donna explains. She told Dr. Beach that on one occasion the pain started in the back of her head and shot out of her eye.
Dr. Beach ordered an MRI and when the results came back, he greeted Donna with tears in his eyes. “They found something,” he told her.
Donna had a 2 inch mass above her left eye. She underwent surgery to remove two malignant tumors along with a part of her brain. Donna was told that her balance, her speech, and her motor skills would be affected and that, with chemotherapy and radiation, she would have 1½ to 5 years to live.
Today, six years later, Donna is in remission. “There are no signs of cancer,” she says, “and I don’t have any of those bad side effects they predicted. Obviously, I am supposed to be here.”
Donna decided to “make good” of her time by being present at home for her teenagers and by going back to school. She graduated from Temple College with honors in June 2011 and will attend Tarleton State University in fall 2012. Upon graduation from Tarleton, she plans to start a non-profit to help at-risk kids.
Donna feels blessed to be alive. “I am grateful to Dr. Beach for giving me more time with my family and friends.” she says. “I consider him my guardian angel, here on earth.”