Kitimat firefighters Sam Froom, Brad Owens, Cameron Kelso and David Ingram with their contribution to the Movember campaign. Oh, and Big Z the dog came to see what it was all about. Photo Gerry Leibel

COLUMN: How I became a Movember Man

Since about 2007, Movember has reminded men in Canada to get checked.

Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths.

I have heard the message and promised to do just that. But, no, every year I intend to and every year, like too many men, I demur. The list of excuses has become lame. Almost as lame as, ‘My dog ate my homework.’

And then the chimney got clogged. There was pain and then there was more pain. And then a small piece of Santa’s suit appeared.

“Mmmmm,” I thought. “That’s early.”

The flippant attitude continued. The humour was soon replaced by worry. The worry was replaced by the certainty that it was time to get my affairs in order. I had disregarded Movember advice. Now it was probably too late.

I attended my appointment at the Alder Medical Clinic and glanced over pages of several magazines wondering how the doctor was going to break it to me. And wondering how I would break the news to my family.

My name was called and I was taken to a waiting room. The window there looked out over Cape Mudge and I wondered how many more times I would gaze on that wonderful view.

The doctor came in, asked me questions and typed my responses into the computer. She had me lay down on the table and tapped my stomach in various places.

“Don’t hurt your hand on that six pack,” I said. She “mmmm-ed,” and told me to get off the table.

Then she turned to me and gave me what I thought would be the death sentence.

“You’re plugged up, your stomach didn’t like what you sent down there and now it’s kind of stuck,” she said, and I paraphrase.

She said the piece of Santa’s suit was normal in these situations. She said a self-suppository would be in order.

I could have been told to sit on a fence pole and never been happier. Then she pulled out the rubber gloves.

“But before I do that I want to have a check of what’s up there, just in case I’m missing anything,” she said. “Just step behind the curtain and remove your pants.”

There it was. A Movember check. I figured I could make a run for it. I could pull the fire alarm. Or I could just crumble into a ball on the floor and moan, “Noooooo!”

Instead I manned up, walked to the curtain like a raptor because my toes were curled up. And dropped them.

I heard the curtain move and she was behind me. “Do I lie down on my stomach?” I asked, with a creaking voice. “No,” she said. “Lie down on your left side facing the wall and bring your knees up.”

The fetal position. Perfect, I thought, I could suck my thumb and murmur, “Oh Mommy, make it stop.”

It started and I thought she was just going to check the general neighbourhood. But then I realized she was checking my relatives in Alberta. And, oh my, what if she knew I had relatives in Scotland! She did.

I wondered if my eyes were bulging out of their sockets. Then I wondered if my eyes were going crossed. And would they stay like that forever!

And like that it was over.

“All good,” she said. “So drink lots of liquid and eat lots of fibre, it’ll take a little time but you’ll be fine.”

I walked out of that clinic a new man. A Movember man.

I had a spirited step to my walk to the car. I felt like jumping up and clicking my heels together as years of worries faded away.

But I realized the complications involved with a possible broken hip would be much worse than a simple finger up my ancestry.

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