Downs Movember Challenge

Movember Moustache competition.

So the fickle finger of fate, having writ completes its cycle and brings us to another Movember. You may have noted that over the last few years I have adopted the facial stylings of a Mexican bandito. I would like to take this opportunity to explain why I do this every year. The reason for the facial eruption is to highlight to the wider world some of the serious health issues facing men today. I have found the more ridiculous the moustache the greater the interest and the more I can encourage men to talk about health issues. This means I spend a month looking slightly silly it is for a good reason. This year I have cheated a bit, I’m going for something a bit more spectacular.

One of the sad facts of life is that the longer you live the more people you know will die. We all know friends and family who have suffered some horrible deaths, its not something you can sugarcoat. The interesting thing about mens health is that, as a group, we are useless at going to the doctors. Some of the reasons for this are ridiculous, it will get better on its own, I’ve never missed work for being sick, it will get better by itself, real men don’t get sick, I don’t want to waste the doctors time, my doctors a woman it’ll be embarrassing etc. Most usually end up going because loved ones have become worried enough to make them go. Why are we so bad at going? A positive mental attitude, or wishing it away won’t make it better, these diseases will kill you.

This has to change, early detection affects your chance of survival enormously. Cancer doesn’t care about any of this, without treatment it doesn’t get better, it will kill you. An old friend of mine picked a lady up from the hospital, she was very distressed. He asked what had happened and she explained her husband had just died, prostate cancer. She said if you do one thing, when you are in the shower pop your finger up, if it isn’t smooth go see the doctor. Had he done so it may have saved her husbands life. Funny how certain stories stick with you.

Coincidentally, the day after I wrote the first draft of this, I was at a formal men only dinner, there was a comedian called Jimmy Quinn as the speaker. Funny guy. At the end of his act he showed the badge he was wearing and told how he watched his best friend die of prostate cancer, how he was down to 7 stone and how he had held his hand when he died.  Before he died his friend made him promise that he would go and have PSA test. Jimmy said he promised, he had to badger the doctor to do it, he made a pain of himself, a promise to a dying friend means something. Now I don’t know if you would call it good luck or bad but it turns out Jimmy had prostate cancer. Funny, huh? There is a happy ending, he has had his treatment and survived, he got it early enough and ok maybe little Jimmy doesn’t pop up with the vigour of youth at least he is alive to tell his story. I have posted an email for Jimmy, he is happy to tell you his story.

The thing is what do we look for? I have added links to various web sites at the end of this article but here is a highlight version of the three main risk areas, heart, testicles and prostate.

As the widows said, gents pop a finger up, see if its smooth, fondle the old chestnuts looking for any lumps, if you get a serious change in toilet habits like prolonged constipation, constant need to pee, feeling that the bladder or bowels aren’t empty go and see the doctor. If you get a repeated series of chest pains, prolonged fatigue and breathlessness or even a touch of Pele’s condition go see a doctor. All GP’s surgeries run Well man clinics go. If you are over 50, overweight, stressed, not sleeping and looking like me go see the doctor. If you notice anything like this with your friends or partners go get them to see a doctor.

So that’s why I do it. Not to raise money, not to cure cancer, but to try and get men to do the simple things, to look after themselves a bit better. To get them talking about health issues, in the hope they can get past these embarrassing issues and realise that they are biological processes that will affect us all. There is no sense in dying of shame. That’s what Movember is mostly about.

For those who want to join me I am offering a Movember Challenge. The prize is a bottle of Single Malt Whiskey, it breaks my heart to give it away. All you have to do is join in for Movember and grow the most magnificent, ludicrous, ornate, spectacular set of chin whiskers. The normal Movember rules apply, the hair on the top lip shall not be joined to hair below the bottom lip. You need to post a picture on the website when you start and then follow it up with regular updates. The winner will be chosen by The Captain, Lady Captain and Seniors Captain from the website pics at the end of the month. The comp is open to any member who can grow facial fuzz.

Joe (Handlebar) Angella

www.uk.movember.com