Women talk, always have and always will. They talk about life, love, challenge, girly things, their female bits, their boyfriends, their aspirations and everything in between. As a woman who not only talks a great deal, but who has chosen to share some of her most intimate, personal and life changing experiences for everyone to read, I feel it is high time to discuss, invite and inspire a bit of healthy banter between the boys….
I have been doing some of my own research amongst many of the men I know, from the local barista, successful actors, retired professional athletes and a whole range more, and whilst they are all of different ages and levels of fitness, every one of them agreed that they would only ever discuss their health in terms of sports or any related injuries.
They also agreed that if they where worried about something, they would only ever discuss it with a health professional, most of them also confessing that unless there was something really ‘wrong’ they wouldn’t even discuss it with their spouses, girlfriends or wives.
As the newly appointed Hollywood hotshot, sporting not only a six pack worthy of a Men’s Health cover, but a face that would have anyone cross the road just to take a closer look, my husband Andy Whitfield was the last person that you would ever expect to have world war three going on within his body.
It took months of physio appointments, chiropractors and finally one personal trainer to suggest that Andy should explore the cause of the pain, instead of just trying to fix it. After six months of pain and one man who was willing to entertain the idea that health meant more than how you looked like on the outside, he finally got an x ray and complete check- up. Then, to our horror, he was diagnosed with stage four cancer.
However strong, kind, handsome or successful he may have been, and despite fathering two beautiful little children and having a life that looked like a fairytale come true, at aged just 39, the father of two gorgeous kids and a totally adored son, brother and friend, my awesome partner in crime, passed away.
So what I am really interested in is how to prevent this happening to you, yes you….! I am not necessarily asking you to spend the evening detailing the trip to the doctors, having your walnuts checked out or even asking you to go have your prostate explored by a rubber glove, but goodness knows, if we as girls can endure the ‘find a happy place’ state of mind for our yearly smear tests in our commitment to live long and prosper, you can surely do something that supports awareness around men’s health. Even if it just means owning up that you haven’t been feeling 100 per cent lately. News flash – we’d rather hold your hand while you get your walnuts squeezed than be rubbing gel into your hemorrhoids because the Chemo is making your bum swell!
It’s up to you to start showing a little more respect to the guys that take responsibility for staying well, instead of just honoring the guys for whom it is just too late. Think about it, talk about it and make it ok to choose life!
If you would like further information or support please visit the Cancer Council, in true Aussie, ‘say it how it is’ style: www.shitmatesdontsay.com