Trees of Hope and MOCA: Kelly's story |

Trees of Hope and MOCA: Kelly's story

Updated: November 30, 2021 05:42 PM
Created: November 29, 2021 05:41 PM

Kelly Higbee and her husband, Shamus, love to travel. And it was a trip in 2015 that likely saved her life.

"I kept beeping at the airports. And a woman with the TSA pulled me aside, and said, I have to show you something. She said this is where you're beeping, and she pointed towards my pelvis. I thought, that's weird. So I called my OBGYN," she recalled.

Tests showed no cancer enzyme, but there was concern over the way her right ovary looked. So she had a surgery, and the surgeon took out the left one, because it looked more suspicious.

Still, Higbee continued to have problems. "I was having really bad lower back pain, and problems urinating."

She ended up in the ER in January of 2016. And more tests that spring revealed her right ovary did have cancer. "I was diagnosed on St. Patrick's Day, 2016."

Halfway through chemo, she started having pain again. And they discovered a tumor had been growing in the exact same spot where the cancerous ovary had been.

Despite a hysterectomy, the cancer continued to grow. So she got radiation down in Rochester. And life was good for awhile.

Then, in 2018, doctors noticed two little spots on her lungs. But surgeons were able to remove them.

"Since then, December 26, 2018, I've had clear scans," she told us. "But life will never be back to normal. Every scan is scary, but we get through them, and move on."

She got involved with MOCA because she saw something about the bridge being lit teal. She and Shamus went down there, and she met some of the women, including Kris Greer, a 20-year survivor and MOCA board member.

Since then, she's gone to the Light Duluth Teal Gala, which raises money for research and an early detection test.

"I keep in touch with some of the people. It's a good support system. You feel like, you've done this too," she shared. She also urges women to trust their gut, and get a second opinion if you feel like something is still wrong.

Now Higbee continues to check things off her bucket list. Some trips include Ireland for St. Patricks' Day, and Paris. "Try and focus less on problems, and try to live. My pastor always says, tomorrow is never promised. We just forge ahead."

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