Fitness corner: In November, my thoughts turn to men’s health

Dan Potts and trainer Elston Cloy supporting Movember.

When November rolls around every year, I think a lot more about gratitude. Thanksgiving has a way of reminding us how much we have to be grateful for, and I often find myself telling people “I’m thankful for you” and that sort of thing.

And when Movember rolls around every year, I think about my late husband Dan Potts even more than usual and, consequently, the importance of men’s health.

Movember was created to bring awareness and attention to men’s health in the month of November. Not just diseases such as prostate and testicular cancer, but also men’s mental health and suicide prevention. You can show your support for this movement by growing facial hair, and/or raising or giving money for men’s health in the month of November. We all have husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, cousins, grandsons and friends that deserve to be supported in living long and healthy lives. Men, you deserve it. A highly worthy cause, in my opinion.

Which reminds me, take a moment to be grateful for the men you love, right now, while they are here and all is well. Trust me.

Prostate cancer took my husband Dan’s life in 2104. Yet you never saw anyone live so courageously during the 16 years he fought it. It wasn’t until the last year of his life that you ever would have known he was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer 15 years earlier.

Dan was the person you looked at and couldn’t believe he of all people could have cancer. Years of weight lifting had made his veins quite prominent. Nurses and techs for years oohed and aahed at how easy it was to draw blood and insert IVs. (By the end those veins were destroyed, when they often had to bring in the expert nurses to find any vein in his arm or hand in which to insert a needle.)

Dan’s lifelong commitment to health and fitness was obvious. He ate well, he exercised, he was resilient and he was athletic and energetic. Yet cancer turns all of our beliefs about health upside down. Cancer patients just as healthy as Dan have lost their lives much sooner than he did. Cancer patients much less healthy than he have gone into remission for years or forever. It feels like there is no rhyme or reason to how cancer — and treatment — impacts each patient.

Pritam Potts and husband Dan at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

However, I strongly believe that Dan’s care for himself throughout his life was demonstrated in his longevity and resistance not just to the cancer, but to the endless treatments he endured. I can’t help but feel that his physical and mental strength and his tremendous spirit and sense of humor carried him through all those years of surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone-blockers and various drug regimens. I won’t go into how he was physically impacted by all of this; it’s worse than you can imagine. Regardless, we loved each other and laughed together every single day. I marveled at his energy, witnessing him give every day to his clients, athletes, friends and family. And to me.

I know widows whose husbands died of aggressive prostate cancer in a matter of months or a year or two after diagnosis. I am so fortunate that Dan did not. My gratitude for the time he and I had with each other can never be quantified. As I reflect on my life with Dan, I am not sad, nor angry or bitter. I am so very thankful. I am the person that I am today because of his love and support, and I was privileged to love and support him.

Dan’s cards, letters and notes to me are among my most precious possessions, and I don’t think he would mind if I shared some of his words with you:

I love you so very much, and I know and feel in my heart, what you have done for me. Our growth this year has been enormous. I love and look forward to each night. Thank you for the love you give from your heart! Here’s looking to 30 more years. I love you, Dan.

We didn’t get 30 years, but we got eight. Forever grateful, especially when Movember rolls around.

That man in your life, whoever he is? Or they are? Or perhaps it’s you? His health is very, very important. Please support him however you can.

For more information on Movember, visit www.movember.com.

— By Pritam Potts

Coach Pritam Potts is a writer and strength coach. After 16+ years of training athletes and clients of all ages as co-owner of Edmonds-based Advanced Athlete LLC, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. She writes about health & fitness, grief & loss, love & life at www.advancedathlete.com.

 

4 Replies to “Fitness corner: In November, my thoughts turn to men’s health”

  1. What a beautiful tribute this is and my heart goes out to Pritam. My father passed as a result of the aggressive type prostate cancer in 1973. He was diagnosed at 64 and lived to 68 after being given a prognosis of 6mos. As Pritam points out with their experience, each experience with this horrible disease is a little different but the struggle against the disease and the havoc wreaked on the body thru the process is beyond belief if you haven’t experienced it close up. In my father’s final weeks I was personally giving him injections of morphine provided by the home health care nurse assigned to his case. She taught me how to give the injections. You realize what life and death are all about when the only thing you can do is give your loved one some temporary relief from his/her pain but you thank the Good Lord that you have at least been given that ability. My thoughts and prayers, Mrs. Potts.

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    1. Dear Mr. Wright, thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate you sharing your experience, and I’m so sorry for your loss. Supporting–and losing a loved one–to cancer is terribly unforgettable for those of us who have lived it. I hope you have as many happy memories of your father as I do of Dan. Best to you, and Happy Thanksgiving.

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  2. Ah…yes and yes and yes… thank you Pritam for this wonderful message of gratitude… I miss my father who also died of prostate cancer…he was so healthy too, we thought he would go on forever… he was 80, and he was the healthy courageous Danish adventurer grandfather of you, you my daughter, you great writer Pritam Potts… And I am your mother, loving your heart-opening profound messages in this and in each one of your amazing blog posts… and moved to be wishing a long healthy life to the beloved man in your life, to my precious son-in -law, your husband, whom we call Epic Eric because he is a great man tremendously valued by us all. And my husband of 47 years, beloved proud father of you Pritam, you our beloved daughter, and yes indeed, these men in our life, ah, thank you Pritam, “their health is very, very important. Please support them however you can”. Yes, we are receiving your message, Yay for our blessings and gratitude ever!

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