I wanted to write an article about men's health during men's health week. I think it's an important issue. I wanted to highlight the story of my friend and boss who only just caught his cancer in time. It's a great cautionary tale.
Being a man with lots of male friends, two sons and a father I wanted to do what I could to help promote the message Men's Health Week is trying to get out there. I failed miserably.
I let my friends and family down. Men's Health Week was last week. I missed it. A good example of how a typical kiwi male deals with health issues. By putting them off. I put off writing my article on Men's Health Week so long it's too late.
If I had got this article in on time I would have started by encouraging men to think about their health. Moustachioed broadcaster Mark Sainsbury is a big advocate for Men's Health. He put it this way: "New Zealand males are killing New Zealand males. We die earlier and have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and mental health issues. These develop because we don't get checked, we aren't as mindful of our health as women. Doctors tell us there's a huge catchment of people not using the health system some can't afford it but many, and these are largely male, simply don't engage."
I asked the ex-Close Up host what we should be doing differently
"We need guys to get involved. That's what the 'What's your Score' survey is about at the Men's Health Week website. These are prompts to do things like skin checks, discussing prostate issues, diet advice, and the most important thing is to encourage us to talk. Check on your mates."
With that in mind, I asked Sainsbury a question that I personally find awkward to ask of friends. Even the ones I am really worried about. A question we really need to be asking our mates more often. How are you doing buddy?
"I'm not too bad. I know it sounds a bit woke but guys bottle things up. Women confide in each other compare notes and discuss procedures. So thanks for asking.
"I've done one thing and that's try to lose a little weight and you really do feel better for it. I've also learned to share that mental pressure. When things get you down share it round. Ironically the biggest worry has been whether COVID would kill off Men's Health Week this year, that really really preyed on my mind.
"Then I had a chat with the Master Builders who have been the mainstay behind this for 10 years and they said, of course, we going to do it what have you been stressing about. It only took a conversation."
The message around Men's Health Week really hit home for me when my good friend and boss Mike Lane got diagnosed with cancer at the end of last year.
He had a little lump growing on his forehead. Something he could've left. He ummed and aahed about having someone look at it. Didn't want to waste anyone's time. He's not a vain man.
He was happy to walk around looking like a rookie unicorn. Thankfully he did the right thing. He got it checked. To cut a long painful story short, doctors had to cut a huge 10 cm round hole in his forehead. He had to be awake while they did this. After that, they shaved a bunch of bone from his skull.
Finally, they ripped a large part of his thigh off and stuck it to his head. They saved his life. If he hadn't had the growth checked he would have been gone in four years. Wouldn't have been around to look after his three lovely kids and beautiful wife or to hang out with me. So thank God he bloody did. Be that a lesson to you and me and everyone else.
It's the week after Men's Health Week. What better time to visit menshealthweek.co.nz and get your health score. Maybe even risk it all and ask a mate how they are getting along.