Bloggers for Movember – A Conversation with My Dad

The Bloggers for Movember campaign got me thinking about the men in my life. I first learned of Bloggers for Movember through Le Clown. First of all, hats off to Le Clown for rallying the troops to support funding and awareness for prostate cancer and men’s mental health. I admire and applaud his efforts.

Generally, health is not considered a topic that men discuss. The truth is I have something in common with men on this front, as I don’t really like to think about my health either. But let’s face it, when you get to be a certain age, say in your forties and beyond, necessary exams and guidelines begin to surface.

I decided to check in with my father and ask him a few questions about how he is managing his health. Specifically, I wanted to make sure I asked him about (1) whether or not he’s had that prostate exam, (2) his family history, and (3) his social calendar.

Prostate health. I’ll admit it, I pushed off my mammogram screening for far too long. The doctor and the nurses would look at my chart, and tell me I was due for a mammogram, and I would just nod my head. They called me to schedule an appointment, for what should have been a routine, walk-in screening. When I finally had the routine exam, it took about ten minutes, and it was no big deal. I found out I was actually fearful of negative results. In the end, I felt so much better that I had the exam.

For the dudes out there…you’ll feel better, too! I asked my father about having his prostate checked, and he promised he would talk to his doctor.

Family History. Take a look at this photo of my dad’s family. I love this photo.

My dad is the youngest of twelve children. See him in the foreground, sitting on his mother’s lap. Also notice his father’s handsome ‘stache. Since my dad is the youngest of twelve and is now 77 years old, he has had the experience of witnessing his family’s health history first-hand. He has seen many of his siblings pass away, which couldn’t have been easy. The third oldest of his siblings, Frannie, lived the longest to the age of 93.

Your family history is important to help determine your risks for such health problems as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, certain cancers, and diabetes. If you are at risk, a health professional may recommend a specific screening that you may otherwise not receive. It can’t hurt to error on the side of caution when it comes to matters of your health.

For my dad’s family, heart disease is the most common issue. My dad sees his doctor every three months. He also mentioned that he has been better with his diet, eating four pieces of fruit daily, and is trying to eat more salad. While we chatted, we munched on walnuts, also a healthy choice.

Social Calendar. I daresay my dad’s social calendar is busier than mine, and for this, I am pleased. He lives in a retirement community, and is quite the social butterfly. Every morning, he goes to the clubhouse to chat and have a cup of coffee. My dad tells me is never bored. He spends time with friends watching movies in the clubhouse, enjoys long walks, reading, listening to music, doing crossword puzzles, and shooting hoops. He also enjoys writing about his political views to the local newspaper, which sometimes posts his letters.  I told him if had a blog he could post his views anytime he liked. He was extremely interested and may start his own blog soon. Stay tuned.

Being socially active helps mental and physical health. For men, the bromance-style friendship displayed in movies like the “Wedding Crashers” is actually quite healthy.  Men who have male friends are said to be happier, healthier, and wealthier. So, make that date with your friend that you’ve been putting off. If you do suspect that you or a loved one has serious mental illness, don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional.

I’d say my dad is doing great. What about the men in your life? How are they doing?

My dad chose red because his dad had a red mustache.
If I could grow a mustache, I would want it to be blue.

You can join Bloggers for Movember on Facebook.

Donate here. It’s not too late. No amount is too little.
Your Mo Bros and Mo Sistas will thank you.

References:
Prostate Cancer Early Detection
Why is it important to know my family medical history?
Knowing your family history is important to your health
Depression in Men: Why It’s Hard to Recognize and What Helps
Modern Males Forge Deep Bonds with Core Friends – Report

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42 thoughts on “Bloggers for Movember – A Conversation with My Dad

    1. That’s funny, I wouldn’t have pictured you with a mustache and beard. There’s no particular reason why. Blue is a great color, David. I’m sure it would look dashing on you. If anything, it would get your students’ attention.

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      1. I find it hard to picture people who don’t have their pictures as their icons. It’s easier to get a sense of their personalities from their writing. I wonder if I should post a picture sometime. Maybe if I find a good one. 🙂

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      2. Yes, do it! It will be fun. Some blogs I know the faces, others not. In the end, its the words that I care about, which is why I like the blogging so much. But certainly do it if you want to. Everyone will be thrilled!

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      3. That’s funny. Whenever I see a white beard on someone he’s immediately Santa Claus. My kids are always fooled by this, too. It never fails. Wow, look Santa Claus is riding a bike, or he’s picking up groceries. He gets around.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I think it’s harder for men to take the time to nurture a friendship for whatever reason, and realize that women just don’t have friends, they must also make the effort. It makes a lot of sense to me, too.

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  1. This is wonderful and what a great cause. My hubby is recovering from pancreatic cancer (he’s one of the very few that actually survived – it’s such a silent killer).

    It’s great that your dad is very good with his health checks – some men just prefer to live and hope that they’re okay (they can be very stubborn at times). I love the pic with you and him wearing the mustache’s – excellent! 😉

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    1. Thanks, Dianne. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband having pancreatic cancer, but it’s wonderful news that he survived it. It seems like many don’t survive that one. I’m definitely going to keep a watch over my dad as he gets older. He’s happiest when he’s with his friends and relating to people.

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  2. Aw, I love the old family pictures! It’s great that you have such a close relationship with your Dad. My father was 34 when I was born – he’s 70 now, which seems unreal because at one time I thought that was old! Not anymore. Of course, I used to think 40 was old . . .

    Great post.

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  3. It’s not always easy to talk to parents about these things. They are supposed to take care of you and some aren’t always receptive when the table turn. I’m really glad you were able to talk to your Dad about these issues. He seems like a pretty together kind of guy. My Dad got his prostate cancer the year after I had my breast cancer. We spent a lot of hours talking about my boobs and his private parts. These were not conversations I would have ever pictured me having with my Dad and I certainly would never have thought to discuss prior to our diagnosis’s. We would creep everybody else out. I’d walk in and he’d say, “how’s your boob today?” and I would say, “hanging in there” and then ask “how’s your pecker today?” and he would say “hanging in there”. Everyone else would leave the room and we would laugh. We made a game of just how uncomfortable we could make them. It was great fun! 😉

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    1. Oh wow! Michelle,that’s a great story about you and your dad discussing those private issues! Really funny! I’m glad you could be there for each other, and confront the reality together. My dad and I didn’t have a thorough discussion about his private parts, that’s for sure. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever had his prostate checked at all. My response was, ‘Oh, you would know.” I described the exam very quickly and he’d heard all he could handle. But, I am glad that I brought it up! Now I just need to follow through. Thanks for your sharing your story with me. I’m happy you were able to fight breast cancer, too. You’ve been through a lot.

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  4. Your last photo has got me thinking…
    ‘mood-staches’?! You know… like mood rings… only… er… um… maybe not.
    Anyway, some great things to keep in mind, B.F… and I love the photos (of course)!
    🙂

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    1. Thank you, Mark and to Karen. It’s been sad, surreal and overwhelming, dealing with huge heavy matters along with the trivial day-to-day stuff. Your thoughts mean so much. I appreciate you reading this post and your prayers. Thank you.

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