A man smiles, with his full face obscured just off screen. Inside his body, his inner self is in deep turmoil.

Suffering for Manhood

A young man reaches out to his mother and says, “I am suffering from some depression.” The father walks by catches the statement and says, “Your just weak-minded.” I hear the story and am deeply saddened for both of the men involved.

A conversation with a friend

I wonder how this mentality affects men’s health and even their survival rate.
I spoke to a childhood friend this week. He asked me about my cancer and then told me he had symptoms of a bladder or prostate issue but was, “Waiting to see.”

“What in the hell are you waiting for?” I nearly screamed into the phone. He went on to tell me he did not want to worry his family or seem silly if it was nothing. I told him to stop risking his life and get to a doctor.

Measuring masculinity

Both of these illustrations disturb me. We have raised generation after generation of men that their health and even their lives are a burden. We tell young boys not to cry. We gauge teenage toughness by how hard you can get hit. Adult men schedule checkups and doctor visits by work responsibilities.

As I type this I am on a doctor forced 6-day “rest.” I finally went to see him after my wife made the appointment and told me to go. I have been fatigued and having trouble breathing since having a vaccination shot for Covid. That said I could still get in the truck and make the runs so it wasn’t serious. Read that slowly. I am 57 years old, a cancer survivor, a brain tumor survivor, just had a skin cancer scare and I won’t go to a doctor until an adult forces me to go. Because I am scared? Not totally. Because I can’t afford it? No, I have great insurance.

Reconciling with stigma

Then why? Why not go and get checked out? Because just whispering the idea of needing help is weakness. I have been conditioned to suck it up and drive on. Across my knuckles is tattooed, “Hit it and Git it” (not a misspelling, a joke). Even my jokes are about working hard.

Before I would go get checked out I was peeing blood for 3 weeks. My headaches lasted 6 months before I had a seizure at a truck stop and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I have not been able to walk across the yard without being winded for a month and now I am still having to be coerced into a doctor visit.

Breaking the cycle

Men! My brothers, STOP doing this! Stop proving your manhood by killing yourself. It is not manly or tough to suffer in silence, it is lunacy and it is killing us. It is not easy, I am climbing the walls sitting and resting and it is only day 2. But the hard truth is we do not take very good care of ourselves on the whole and we need to do better, for ourselves and for those we love and who love us.

Take a long reflective look and see where you are neglecting your well-being for vanity or for fear or just because you do not want to be a burden. We must do better and hold each other to a higher standard.

Be well, my brothers.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The BladderCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.