Guy Baber of Hobbs, New Mexico, was only 51 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The diagnosis surprised Guy and his wife, Janice. "You think prostate cancer is an older man's disease," Guy said. "It affects all ages."
Guy's cancer was detected with a PSA test and subsequent biopsy. At that time, Guy saw a doctor in Texas. However, a friend had undergone treatment for prostate cancer with Dr. Catalona 2 years earlier. The friend recommended they reach out to Dr. Catalona. "It was the best decision we made," Janice said. "Our lifestyle and quality of life is what was important, and he's so sensitive to our needs."
Treatment with Dr. Catalona
Guy underwent a radical prostatectomy with Dr. Catalona in November 2005. After the procedure, Dr. Catalona informed the Babers that Guy's tumor was aggressive and had gone outside of the prostate. Thankfully, the margins were clear and Guy did not need to have any additional therapy, such as radiation or chemotherapy.
The Babers try to focus on the positives aspects of Guy's cancer. "It puts things in perspective and it makes you appreciate life more, family more, and I'm sure I was one of the fortunate ones," Guy said. "It's made me more aware of being healthy and trying to take care of myself." Janice said, "We're just so thankful that everything is the way it is, that Guy's done so well, and Dr. Catalona just saved his life."
Sharing their experiences
When Guy was diagnosed, he found it "tremendously" helpful to talk to other men who had already gone through prostate cancer. Now, the Babers hope they can share their experience to help others facing prostate cancer "We've tried to be open about it as much as you can be comfortably," Janice said. "We're not afraid to talk about it."
Starting a golf tournament to give back
Guy and Janice are both compelled to help others facing cancer. "That's where we fall in just trying to help out the research foundation, because [Dr. Catalona] and his group saved my life," Guy said. "If we can just return something, pass it on, move it forward."
For the last 2 years, Guy has organized a golf tournament to raise funds for the URF and a local charity called Light of Lea County. The most recent tournament also included a men's health expo. Guy felt it was important to expand the tournament and include a way for men to easily get information about important issues such as blood pressure and prostate cancer screening.
The tournament takes place each July at the local country club and includes a luncheon and various competitions. The event organizers volunteer their time, and the majority of the prizes are donated. This means that nearly all of the proceeds go directly to the two organizations.
Guy is on the board for Light of Lea County. The organization raises funds to support people in the county who need financial support while dealing with cancer.
The tournaments have been successful and fun. "We come from a very generous community and people are very supportive," Janice said. Guy hopes to grow the event each year and is planning the next tournament for July 2016.
Enjoying life and family
Guy and Janice have lived in Hobbs for nearly their entire lives. They've been married for 35 years and are active in their community and their church. The pleasant weather in Hobbs allows them to be outside golfing or spending time on the water year-round.
Guy's business and many businesses in Hobbs are involved in the oil and gas industry. Guy operates an independent oil and gas production and contracting business. "It's a small operation, but it's what I enjoy, and I've been around it pretty much all my life," Guy said. Janice worked at home raising their son and daughter, who are now in their thirties.
In their free time, the Babers often travel to Houston, Texas, to visit their children. "Our lives revolve around our children at this point," Janice said. Their son, Guy Allen Baber IV (known as Guy Allen), is Director and Head of Major Oils Research for Simmons and Co., an oil and gas investment banking group. Their daughter, Dr. Lauren Baber Hill, is a pediatrician and assistant professor with Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. She currently works with an underserved population.
Recently, the family celebrated the birth of Lena, Lauren's daughter with her husband Ryan Hill, a dental student. Guy and Janice are enjoying their new adventure as grandparents. "We still have a baby buzz going on," Guy said. In the future, they expect to spend more time in Houston with their granddaughter.