fatherhood means your health is not about you

 

DSC_1098I am not as healthy as I want to be. I am out of shape. I am overweight—I have been all my life. Though my cooking and eating styles have evolved since my youth to be pretty darned healthy, especially compared to an adolescence spent sneaking breaded Tyson chicken patties for after-school snack when my parents weren’t home and covering up the evidence with Lysol sprayed near the microwave, I have a tendency to indulge. And after an autumn spent reveling in the fact that both kids were in school at the same time and using that time to finally get my atrophied legs back pumping some bicycle pedals, I have, ashamedly, fallen back into my natural tendency toward inertia. Yes, I admit to laziness. And I don’t like it. But it’s so hard to change.

So hard to change—and yet, I have all the motivation I need right in front of me, if only I’d  gather the wherewithal to harness it. Because as I am reminded on a daily basis, my health is not about me. Okay, yes, it necessarily is about me, but what I mean is this: as a father of two amazing girls, as the partner of a extraordinary woman, as the son of parents who spent their lives caring for me and now spend their lives caring for their own aging parents, I need to live better, stay healthy, for them. Not only as a model for my daughters, but I need to make changes, lasting changes, so that I will continue to be here, physically, mentally, emotionally, at my best, for those I love, for those who need me to be here.

Healthy living. Healthy eating. Exercise. Reflection. Prevention. It’s not just about or for the person doing it.

Today, besides all of the everyday things I need to be doing to be healthier for my family, I’m thinking about cancer. Cancer sucks. My grandfather died from prostate cancer when I was in college. My father has been a survivor of kidney cancer for over a decade. And my mother is a nine-year survivor of breast cancer. Countless stories of mixed-race kids unable to find bone marrow matches to treat their leukemia led me to register as a bone marrow donor years before I became a father, and to collect and store my oldest child’s cord blood when she was born. Every day, I hear my family physician wife talk about patients whose lives were saved because of early detection, because of things like my friend Jim Higley has asked me to talk about, the self-exam for testicular cancer detection. This is just one more small thing we can do for those who need us to keep on being here.

It’s Man UP Monday! 
 
I’m proud to be a member of the Single Jingles Man UP Monday BLOGGING TEAM!
Today, I’m doing my part to spread an important message about Testicular Cancer.
Did you know that Testicular Cancer is the #1 cancer in young men ages 15 to 35?
Did you know that Testicular Cancer is highly survivable is detected early?
Did you know that young men should be doing a monthly self-exam?
What can you do?
Stop by the Single Jingles website for more information on Testicular Cancer
Request a FREE shower card with self-exam instructions – it just might save a young man in your life!
And if you’re feeling just a little AWKWARD about this conversation, check out this video from some parents who feel the exact same way!
Thank you to Jim Higley of Bobblehead Dad for inviting me to participate in this important education campaign and for all the passion, dedication, and hard work he puts behind this cause.

About Jason Sperber

Jason Sperber is a stay-at-home-dad of 2 daughters and a writer in Bakersfield, California. He blogs (very infrequently) at daddy in a strange land and co-founded Rice Daddies, the group blog by Asian American dads, and is the resident hapa Trekkie at The Nerds Of Color. Follow him on Twitter at @dad_strangeland.
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One Response to fatherhood means your health is not about you

  1. Ugh. I needed (tho didn’t want) to read that. Thanks for the reminder to get off my fat ass — that it’s part of my job as a dad.

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