Because I’m a Man
Written by: Ambrose L Kirkland
Society has taught us that being a man means, we don’t feel physical pain and we don’t suppose to have emotions. I fell into that macho trap until 2001, when I discovered something happening to my body and decided to break out of the norm and go see a doctor. You see, in 2001 I was diagnosed with cancer. Not just any form of cancer. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s right; I’m a male breast cancer survivor. Because I stopped listening to society and starting listening to my body, I’m here 16 years later to advocate for both men and women with breast cancer.
In 2001 little was known of men with breast cancer so I was treated as though I was a woman. I was forever being called, “Mrs. Kirkland” whenever I had an appointment. I would go to a women imaging center and have a female relative with me, most people in the waiting area would assume I was there for support for the woman who was with me. Mouths would drop open when I stood up and walked in the back when my name was called. All because I’m a man.
[bctt tweet=”In 2001 little was known of men with breast cancer so I was treated as though I was a woman. I was forever being called, “Mrs. Kirkland” whenever I had an appointment.” username=”sendmeonvacatio”]
Advocating for Men Health Issues
It took some time, but I’ve taken on the role of advocate with pride because I know of some of the health issues that so many men deal with on a daily basis.
What often worries me is that some men would rather die than have a simple prostate exam or colonoscopy. Knowing that procedures like these could possibly save their lives. Prostate cancer grows very slow. That’s why most men who develop it don’t know until it’s too late. But of course, the average man doesn’t want to have the exam anyway. Know that in the long run, it will give them more time to spend with the people they love.
Statistically speaking, more men will die of lung cancer than women because of this same mindset. Not only are these statistics in the United States, but I’m talking Worldwide. Most men who are diagnosed with lung cancer are usually in their seventies or older. Only they’re not paying attention to the symptoms. All because, I’m a man.
When We Say, “Because I’m a Man”
When we say, “Because I’m a man” what message are we sending to the next generation about taking care of their health? Are we telling them it’s okay to not seek medical attention? Are we telling them as men you need to be strong and suck it up buttercup? Are we saying just take a couple pain pills and everything will be fine? If this is what you’re saying to your sons and grandson, shame on you. Men’s health is real.
Because I’m a man. I’m going to tell you a few things you need to do to help your sons and grandsons.
One thing. Stop being so damn macho. Pain Pills don’t fix everything. Go see a doctor. “Because I’m a man” doesn’t mean what it used to anymore.
This new generation of men does want to live longer. This new generation of men is reaching out to the internet. They’re finding all kinds of answers to their health questions. They’re eating better, exercising more and spending more time at the doctor. But they also want their fathers and grandfathers to educate them on the family medical history. They want to know what their ancestors had. Most diseases can be traced back to gene mutations, especially cancers.
If you give them the history they need, they will help you with your body. They will take you to your appointments and be there to hold your hand, instead of giving you a pill. You’ll find out with this new generation of men, medication doesn’t always work.
Because, I’m a man, I care about Men’s health. Because, I’m a man, I care about you.
Because, I’m a Man
Ambrose L Kirkland is a breast cancer survivor, advocate, speaker, author, and mentor.