Keep the party going

At age 58 I am no longer “under warranty.” The aches and pains of late middle age have made themselves known. I am not as fast a hiker as I once was, but I still hike. I was never a good dancer, but I still dance. I laughed a lot when I was young, and I laugh even more now as there are so many delights in life.

I also feel a sense of urgency to grow my business and continue adventuring—time stands still for no man. That also means I would like to stay around for a while.

But there is that whole “out of warranty” issue that needs to be addressed. There is a lot that can go wrong with your health as you age, and for men, it seems prostate cancer is all too prevalent. I can count over a dozen friends who have battled prostate cancer. Fortunately none have succumbed to this disease, but that does not mean that it has been a cake walk.

To the contrary, those that have been diagnosed with later stage prostate cancer have had to deal with a whole host of side effects that are, in a word, formidable. From incontinence to erectile dysfunction, this disease strikes men at the core of their being and dignity. The lesson is to get tested regularly—those who catch prostate cancer early miss many if not all of the ramifications of this insidious and all too prevalent disease.

This is the part where I am supposed to say that I lead by example and get screened regularly. I don’t. I really don’t like anything that relates to white coats. Ironic, given the fact that I am the CEO of a medical communications firm and pharmaceutical drug distribution business. And this is the problem. I have lots of company in the ranks of those who don’t like going to the doctor. I exercise regularly, eat fish and dark leafy vegetables by the bale full, and I pass my life insurance exams as nonsmoker preferred. So what is the hesitancy? It’s simple: fear. My life is so good and I am having so much fun that I don’t want some clinician to ruin the party.

Writing this article and going public on a very private matter is a call to action for myself and others. I have scheduled an exam and hopefully all will be well. For the rest of you gents out there that share my “white coat” aversion, perhaps you should do the same thing. Life is too much fun not to take care of your health. I mentioned at the beginning of this essay that I intend to stick around awhile. I feel confident my dancing will improve with practice. -Thad Bench, CEO