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DEAR CHRISTINE: Men look after your health

Barbados Nation

DEAR CHRISTINE: Men look after your health

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Dear Christine,

MY LETTER has nothing to do with love and heartache, but rather sickness and death. I am writing in the hope that men who read this letter, would do some serious thinking when it comes to their personal health. I am also hoping that sons, daughters, wives, nieces, aunts – in short family members – and even friends, would encourage their “menfolk” to seek regular medical attention for their own sakes.

I recently held my father’s hand in the hospital and watched as he breathed his last. My dad was one of the kindest, loving men you could ever find. He was a mere 58 years old. That was a very relatively young age. I am 32.

By all means, my dad ate pretty healthily. He loved his regular intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, a little fried chicken, fishcakes and pudding and souse, every now and then, and he exercised, though not daily. He never smoked, but drank occasionally. He also kept regular sleeping hours.

Christine, my dad died of cancer – prostate cancer. It was just a year before his death that a bad “bodily” pain drove him to the hospital. Doctors discovered spots in a part of his body, which were later found to be cancerous. A few months after that, this cancer also invaded other areas of his body. In short, these “secondary cancers” [doctors revealed] were as a result of the primary cancer – prostate cancer.

By then, it was too late to do anything for “daddy”. The cancer grew rapidly and doctors could only help control the great amount of pain he was experiencing.

When the medical team gave my family including my mother (his wife), his mom and siblings the prognosis, we were devastated and time again I see reports in your newspaper about the need for men to be more health-conscious. The Cancer Support Services and Barbados Cancer Society are among the organisations which constantly plead with men to have their regular prostate check-ups. In fact, prior to my dad’s illness and subsequent death, I could not appreciate the constant calls from Cancer Support Services personnel for men to take better care of their health.

My family and I are still mourning the loss of my dad – especially since he was a great husband, supportive father, brother, son, uncle, son-in-law, brother-in-law and friend.

Nothing we do will bring him back, but I hope this letter serves as a warning to all men to get regular check-ups, including prostate exams. They are not to feel intimidated or afraid of the process. Pride goes before a fall and men, some men, are simply too proud, or think themselves “too macho” to go to the doctor. That is total rubbish. Even doctors have to go to the doctor. Just think of it.

Men, when you refuse to look after your health, you stand the chance of leaving generations of family members behind to mourn your loss. It’s stupid, silly, insane even, to think that a visit to a doctor for a prostate test makes you “less than a man”.

I can no longer look forward to happy times and laugher with dad. There are no more birthdays to share, challenges to discuss, Father’s Day celebrations and sadly, for my mom, no more wedding anniversaries. My children will grow up without knowing their grandfather – all because he did not pay greater attention to his health.

Christine, please help me get this message across. If I can save just one child, mother, wife from going through what my family and are still going through because of my dad’s failure to take control of his health, then my living would not be in vain.

– Feeling The Pain

Dear Feeling The Pain:

First, allow me to offer my deepest sympathy to you and your entire family. I can only imagine the deep pain each one of you must be carrying daily. However, time will heal. Be strong.

I hope readers who see your letter will take note and encourage the men in their lives to get regular check-ups.

In fact, Valentine’s Day is approaching. Perhaps the perfect way to show true love and care would be for some of our women to make some appointments on behalf of our male folk, for them to have a annual physical. It sure would beat indulging in chocolates, teddy bears, dainty treats and starchy foods which can only lead to a further deterioration of one’s health.

Thanks for sharing.