The Exam


Just last week I was talking to Walter over at about a podcast I had just listened to. The podcast was on the upcoming month of Movember, Mo being Aussie slang for a moustache. This is an annual fundraising and awareness effort put on by the Movember Foundation centered around men’s health. Particularly prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. I have had friends participate many time in the past, and donated regularly to the cause … but I have never participated before. As it turns out, Walter had similar ideas.

So I found it a coincidental opportunity that saw me at the Doctors office on November 1st. The appointment had been setup long before I had decided to participate in Movember. Weeks before I had gone to get a referral from my doctor, and came out with that and an appointment for my annual physical. Apparently ‘annual’ means something, so he was a little upset that I hadn’t seen him in 4 years.

Who wants to see the doctor, heck even when I am sick or hurt I avoid it. I have patched cuts that should have been stitched with toilet paper and tape. I have entertained coughing fits for over 3 months before scheduling a doctor appointment. I skipped that ER until my ankle was the size of my head and I was essentially hauled there by friends. I could say it is because I am a guy, but as a guy I am far more logical than that. There are several reasons: Cost, Time, and Trust I think are the core issues though. Some of that is just my experience in the US, but I was never one to go to the doctor (or dentist) in Canada either.

So, what is it … a guy thing? I doubt it, might be more of a control thing combined with a ‘I can fix it’ attitude. Which could be considered a guy thing to some people. For me, I don’t want to rely on someone else to maintain my own worldly existence. Yet, fear is there too. I must say that I am often afraid when visiting the doctor, afraid that I will be told that there is something wrong … something I don’t know about … something that can’t be fixed.

Yet, there I was. Obeying the command of the doctor to come back on the 1st with all my lab work done. I was thinking, “could we not have this conversation over the phone.” But as I sat there I was thinking, this is an interesting opportunity. I am in for my physical on the first day of Movember, this is a perfect way to start off a month dedicated to men’s health awareness. “And heck … I am healthy, so this will be a piece of cake.”

That was until we started going over my numbers. Blood pressure … perfect, gained a few pounds (now only 5 lbs until I get to my goal weight), Cholesterol … high (damn, pizza and McD’s with the kids has been catching up with me), and the numbers back for the prostate check were … off … WHAT!!!. A sense of terror crept over me … “and what does that mean?” I asked. “Means you need to drop your drawers” was his response, kind of flat. So I did as he instructed. I allowed the medical student stay in the room in an effort to project a sense of comfort about the whole situation, but I was uncomfortable and there was no hiding it. Not from being naked or exposed in front of the doctor or the student, but from the thought of what was coming.

This had always been a joke. Even that morning we had laughed about the “bend over and cough” scenario. But now I was lying there in a fetal position, pants on the floor, butt exposed, and being … “manipulated”. It was a joke no longer. I cringed with every movement, more from the expectation and anticipation of the unknown than what was actually happening. Then it was over. While it was an odd sensation, there was no pain.

In the end, nothing abnormal to report. Suspicion is that there is an infection that needs to be addressed so I was given a prescription and, following a quick flu shot, sent on my merry way.

There are still a number of things I need to find information on, after getting and reading the information on CIPRO I have questions. I would like more details on the infection, would like to know more about options, and long term impacts if left ‘as is’. However, that is as much about my education as it is about my medical care. Knowing and understanding is important and the only way you have any control.

In my past I have always been reasonably healthy. My numbers have always been right between the goal posts. I have never had a reason to be worried. However, these past two years have been a strain on me, a strain that I thought had been all mental but it seems there has been a strain on my physical body as well. Not only am I not running, visiting the gym as much or eating right … but there is more I need to be monitoring. This opportunity, my coincidental opportunity, made this men’s health awareness a reality for me.

I need to pay attention.

That is what this month is all about. Bringing awareness to these issues so people go get their physicals done … yes it is uncomfortable. 12.9% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lives. That is uncomfortable too and the earlier is is found the better your chance for a positive outcome.

So I am all in with this month of Movember, it has already had impact.

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Check out our team, the “Rad Mo Bros.”

Find out more on the Foundation and read the history. Nothing like a few beers and a crazy idea to kick off such a fun and impactful idea.


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