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Men, your future is calling … your doctor for an appointment.

Men, your future is calling … your doctor for an appointment. | UPMC Health Plan

Men, I have an important question for you: What is keeping you from taking good care of yourself? Seriously, what is it? Is it because you are too busy watching the NHL and NBA finals? I sure hope not. So let me ask you another question: Why do you want to keep yourself healthy?

If you are still struggling with those questions, let me take a few moments to share my answers. This month is the one-year anniversary of my father passing away from stage 4 colon cancer. Like many of us men nowadays, he did not make his health a priority until it was too late. He did not go to his annual check-ups or preventive screenings, but only went when he was feeling sick. He fought hard and long with cancer, but eventually lost the fight. This is something that could have been caught in the earlier stages when he would have had better chances of winning the fight.

Now, as I’m looking to the present and future, I realize a lot of things. My father will never get a chance to meet his future daughter-in-law; he will never get to know how she completes me as a man. My father will never meet his future grandkids or get a chance to spoil them rotten and then give them back to us. I will never get to share Father’s Day with him when I am a father myself.

In thinking about all this, I have taken my health more seriously. I have made it a PRIORITY. Since my father’s passing, I’ve seen my doctor twice and have another appointment coming up early next month. I’ve been doing all the preventive exams and making sure that I am up to date with my vaccinations.

What’s motivating me? My future is motivating me. I want to make sure I am here for my family and friends in the future. I want to make sure I am around for my future wife and our future kids for as long as possible. Most importantly, I do not want them to experience what I am experiencing now with the loss of my father.

So I ask you again: What is keeping you from taking good care of yourself? If going to the doctor is a barrier for you, try these tips.

Before your appointment:

  • Prepare by making sure you know about diseases that run in your family, and current and past health problems and treatments. Make sure you write down the information so you don’t forget.
  • Make a list of all medications, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and vitamins you’re taking.
  • Find a relative or friend to go with you. Your loved one will be helpful in writing things down for you. He or she might even think of different questions to ask your doctor.

During the appointment:

  • Share your medication list with your doctor. This is your chance to make the visit worthwhile.
  • Repeat what the doctor has said to make sure you understand. Be sure to ask questions if you need further clarification.
  • Make a game plan together to improve your health.

Before leaving the appointment:

  • Do not leave if you are unsure about the game plan you and your doctor created together.
  • Clarify the next steps for your treatment plan (follow up if necessary).
  • Ask questions about the new prescriptions .
  • Ask how your doctor can be contacted if you have more questions.