From stage 3 lymphoma to remission, Keith Beagle has his life back
“I have a second chance … thanks to Summerlin Hospital!”
By all accounts, Keith Beagle, 62, was a healthy guy. He worked out four to five days a week, was in great shape and felt good. But in October 2014, as he was getting ready to go to an event at his daughter’s college, he noticed that his shirt collar was too tight and he couldn’t quite get it buttoned. He went to see his family doctor and was told that he had a virus, which caused his swollen lymph nodes. Soon after, he developed golfball-sized lumps under his arms, but his blood work came back normal.
Keith continued on with daily life, getting ready for a trip to Europe. But then he developed a fever and felt so sick he went to the Emergency Room at Summerlin Hospital Medical Center. Doctors there ran many tests, including lymph node and bone marrow biopsies, then diagnosed Keith with stage 3 large diffused B-cell lymphoma.
He was shocked and in some denial about how seriously ill he was. “I thought I had a simple virus that would just have to run its course,” he says. “Getting diagnosed with lymphoma caught me completely off guard.” Little did he know at the time that things were about to get more complicated.
Saad Jahangir, MD, Chairman of Oncology at Summerlin Hospital, says that Keith’s treatment started right away.
“We initially started him on an R-CHOP chemo protocol," says Dr. Jahangir. "But then further testing determined that Mr. Beagle’s sub-type of lymphoma would require a more aggressive type of protocol called R-EPOCH, so we switched to that treatment.”
The R-EPOCH protocol involves six rounds of intravenous (IV) treatment for five consecutive days, every three weeks. Keith, accompanied by his wife, Norma Lynn, became a regular at Summerlin Hospital. Because his system was so immuno-suppressed, doctors had to work to make sure that Keith’s blood platelet count remained high enough to receive the chemotherapy treatments. Keith ended up staying at the hospital for the first month of treatments.
“The first time I saw Dr. Jahangir, I thought ‘he’s so young!’ says Norma Lynn of her husband's physician. "But it became clear very quickly just how brilliant he is, and he was always looking after my husband’s best interests."
Dr. Jahangir says that Keith’s disease was complicated and they had to address several different issues at the same time. Keith had to fight a virus, a bacterial infection, a blood clot and immune thrombocytopenia, all while being treated for lymphoma.
“These complications are all part of the disease process, and usually a patient might only have one issue which can easily be treated,” says Dr. Jahangir. “But Mr. Beagle had to deal with them all at the same time, so it was like the perfect storm. At one point, he was so critical, he could have gone either way, but we managed to balance everything out and stabilize him.”
The doctor also knew that Keith would need a stem-cell transplant. “Given Mr. Beagle’s type of lymphoma, without a transplant, the outcome is poor. A transplant can put the patient into a longer remission,” explains Dr. Jahangir.
To take Keith’s treatment to the next level, Dr. Jahangir collaborated with specialists at City of Hope in California for the stem-cell transplant. “This is one of their specialties, and we partnered with them on Mr. Beagle’s care,” says Dr. Jahangir.
Keith received his last chemo treatment at Summerlin Hospital in January 2015, then went to City of Hope in February to prepare for the transplant. He received his new stem cells on March 19, and a recent PET scan and blood work show that he is in remission.
“The countless hours Dr. Jahangir was at that hospital just amazed me,” says Keith. “He was also kind, direct, reassuring but honest. I owe my life to him, his team and the staff here at Summerlin Hospital,” he says.
“The nurses at Summerlin were so wonderful, too! They are like family now,” says Norma Lynn. “For the first month of Keith’s treatment, I lived there. I did not leave. They moved a bed into his room for me so I could stay with my husband. That’s only one testament to the level of caring we received from them and Summerlin Hospital. We are so grateful for everything everyone did for us.”