At my annual physical exam, my doctor shared with me the story of a small growth that he had ignored years ago.
He was too busy in medical school to have to have it removed.
The lump grew so large that others commented on it.
Finally, he had it removed.
He had waited so long that he had to have radiation.
He admitted that had he taken care of it earlier, radiation probably would not have been required.
The result: added pain, added expense, a delay in starting his medical practice.
A Hot Button
His story elicited a strong response from me. I have known many men who have not taken care of their health. In some cases, I know their widows.
My children’s overweight pediatrician admitted that he was not setting a good example for the children in his care. Another family doctor died from a drug overdose.
Although he was active and health conscious, my husband died from colon cancer.
My sons are at risk for colon cancer.
Both have small children and families who love them.
Both watched their father endure three years of painful, debilitating treatments.
They experienced the emotional, mental and physical upheaval in our family.
The endless visits to doctors, clinics, hospitals.
The financial strain of expensive treatments.
In my experience, men often postpone taking care of themselves. Instead they take care of their families by working and insuring that their wives and children have what they need. Noble but misguided.
I believe that we take care of our families when we take care of ourselves.
The graveyards are full of indispensable men.*
* Quote attributed to Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, et al.