Skies clear for 12th Relay for Life of Delphos
Delphos couple strive to instill cancer prevention
Saturday, June 21, 2014 12:01 AM
DELPHOS — In the past 13 years, Dave and Carol Higbea have both been diagnosed with cancer and learned a great deal about cancer prevention. Whether it’s being diligent with annual prostate specific antigen (PSA) screenings or slathering on the 70 SPF sunscreen, this couple knows the ropes.
The skies cleared just in time for the 12th annual Relay for Life of Delphos Friday evening. More than 70 survivors and caregivers led the way on the first lap to open the 18-hour event. This year’s theme was “Tune in for a Cure.” The Relay continued through the night and will close today at noon with a “Balloons to Heaven” launch. Sixteen teams had raised nearly $45,000 of the $90,134 goal before this year’s Relay stepped off. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
In November 2003, Carol had seen a dermatologist to check out an area on her forehead — she previously had a few spots “burned off” — she soon found out, this one was different. “After the biopsy they found I had Basal Cell Carcinoma,” she said.
“The dermatologist recommended a plastic surgeon do the surgery because of the scarring potential.”
Carol said the surgeon thought the incision would be a little “z” shape, but to remove the whole tumor, which was embedded very deep, the incision was a much larger “z.”
“The surgeon told me that I was more susceptible because of my fair skin complexion, told me to wear a wide brimmed hat and kept repeating ‘sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen,’ she said adamantly.
After the surgery, Carol went back to the dermatologist for a three-month check up and then another six months later. Each year, she goes to the dermatologist for a thorough checkup.
“I laid out at the Delphos Swimming Pool when I was younger, now I try to stay out of the sun,” she explained. “People should stay out of the tanning booths, also.”
Three years ago, Carol had two tumors removed from her left leg, one on her thigh and another on her lower leg.
Dave said he had a prostate cancer screening every year through the Delphos Rotary/Kiwanis Health Screening Program held each October.
“I skipped a year and then had the diagnostic test done the next year in 2000,” he explained. “The doctor called me in for a consultation and said my numbers changed significantly.”
He said the first signs of his cancer was that he was frequenting the bathroom more and more.
“I’d get a cup of coffee and begin driving,” he explained. “No sooner than I got to the next place I could stop, I had to make a trip into the bathroom.”
After a biopsy — which showed no cancer cells in the outer shell of the prostate — Dave was referred to a surgeon in Columbus who gave him his options.
“Implanted radiation pellets would have eliminated any surgical procedures because of scar tissue,” he said. “The other option was removal. The surgeon called it “take it out and sit it on the shelf”.”
The other option was to wait and see. Dave decided he was not messing around with the disease and opted for removal which was slated for January 3, 2001.
“After they removed my prostate, they tested it and found cancer cells,” he said. “The only side effect was some elevated incontinence due to the surgery.”
Dave said he had lifting limitations after the surgery — because of the stitches from his naval to the pubic area — and he had to use a leg catheter for a week. To help with the incontinence problem, he said he had a collagen procedure to help with the control issues.
Dave said it is very important to have the screening for PSA every year so men have a gauge from year to year what their numbers are.