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  • midlifelove 10:22 am on December 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Perfect Gift for A Man, Gavin Heaton, Inspire 2009, making a difference, male suicide, Mark Pollard, Mens Health   

    Perfect Gift for A Man 

    Sydney ad agency man Mark Pollard is a man of many parts. Strategy director, Dad, and now author, with mate Gavin Heaton he has produced The Perfect Gift For A Man – a compilation of first-person stories about men’s lives that’s just a great way to get oriented for 2010.

    Subtitled 30 stories about reinventing manhood, A Perfect Gift aims to get men talking about their feelings in a bid to help prevent male suicide in Australia. All proceeds go to Inspire 2009, an organisation delivering innovative and practical online programs to prevent youth suicide.

    Failure An Opportunity To Learn

    The stories in A Perfect Gift come from failure and struggle, Mark Pollard says.

    “What the people who contributed to the book have in common is bravery and a desire to somehow use their failures and experiences as ammunition to spark change in the world – and they’ve put themselves out there hoping that other people draw some strength and can do the same.

    “Failure only breaks you if you don’t do something about it next time.”

    Making A Difference

    Mark is the Strategy Director at McCann Sydney (the lovechild of McCann Erickson and MRM Worldwide) and he does brand and digital planning for clients like Xbox, Mastercard, ALP, Kleenex, Melbourne Central, and a whole lot more.

    He’s been a magazine editor, blogger, he’s hosted a radio show, and done a lot of thinking about what it is like being a man in the second decade of the 21st century.  He says his “biggest fear in life… is not making a difference. Life’s too short to not matter.”

    He says the biggest challenge for men is understanding what “strength’ means. “It doesn’t have to mean ‘strength over others’ but ‘strength with others”, he says.

    Lost Rituals of Manhood

    He hopes the book will encourage men to share their stories. We’ve lost a lot of the rituals of manhood, he says.

    “I know this is flippant, but the men of the village initiating a teenage boy as an adult of the tribe has been replaced by pub crawls during O-Week at uni.

    There’s a free version of the book downloadable as a PDF file – already down loaded by more than 3000 people – available at http://www.theperfectgiftforaman.com.au

    If you want to share your story, you can do it at http://www.facebook.com/perfectgiftforaman

  • midlifelove 2:15 am on October 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aviation medicine, blokes, bowel cancer, coronary heart disease, , Dr Dave Baldwin, Healthy Bastards, Mens Health, STDs   

    Healthy Men See Their Doc 

    Healthy manIt’s well known that most men would rather suffer in silence than go to the doctor – unless they have a woman in their life to push them into making an appointment.

    New research shows men who live alone are 40 per cent less likely to get screened for prostate cancer than men who are married or have a “significant other”.

    Although the research doesn’t spell out why this is,  we can all guess it’s the wife or partner, used to years of submitting to cervical cancer smears and mammograms, who encourages her man to just suck it up and go do it.

    ‘Blokes’ Dying Too Soon

    That male reluctance to see the doctor has led to a significantly higher numbers of “ordinary blokes” dying much earlier than they need to from preventable, treatable diseases.

    And that’s one statistic that Kiwi doctor Dave Baldwin is working hard to change.

    Dr Dave knows how to be humorous about a very serious subject, and he’s spent years working on shattering the silence on men’s health issues as a country GP (general practitioner) and pioneer in aviation medicine offering a mobile medical service for pilots.

    (He had three years in the Royal New Zealand Air Force attached to the A-4 Skyhawks of 75 Squadron, holds a commercial pilot’s license and lists his Cessna 172 Hawk XP2 alongside wife Sandi as the “loves of his life”.)

    Now with his newly published book Healthy Bastards-  A Bloke’s Guide to Being Healthy (Random House NZ) one of New Zealand’s most adventurous medics is giving “the lowdown on prostates and peckers” – and a lot more besides – for men tempted to just ignore their symptoms and soldier on.

    The Word According to Dr Dave

    Dr Dave emphasises there is a serious message underlying his humorous approach to medicine; men can expect to live an average of four years less than women and are dying from cancers, heart disease and cardiovascular disease at higher rates.

    He cites coronary heart disease as one case – men are almost twice as likely as women to die from it.

    Some other titbits from Healthy Bastards

    • Cancer cells are “like a boy racer on P – basically out of control”.
    • Bowel cancer symptoms fit two types – on the left side (from anus to half way up) cancers tend to cause blockages and result in altered bowel habits – alternating constipation and diarrhoea, while on the right side (from halfway along the large intestine to where it merges with small intestine) cancers tend to be large, bleed, and cause blood in the faeces.
    • STD’s can cause long term problems such as infertility and chronic pain. Condoms provide some, but not total protection.  If you use lubricants, make them water-based (like KY jelly) as the oil-based ones like Vaseline can weaken the condom.
    • Diabetes shouldn’t hold you back and is manageable. Some of New Zealand’s top sportspeople – notably cricketer Craig McMillan have diabetes.  Warning signs are a constant raging thirst, lack of energy and “pissing like crazy.”
  • midlifelove 10:13 am on October 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alprostadil injections, , , Mens Health, nerve-sparing technique, , prostactectomy, , prostate surgery, , risk factors, , , sildenafil, treatments and risks, tumor,   

    Prostate Cancer – the Most Risky Treatments 

    treatmentIt’s a topic that has made it into the story lines of 30 Rock and Boston Legal, but it’s still a “touchy” subject men are reluctant to talk about. That’s the risk of temporary or permanent erectile dysfunction from prostate cancer treatment.

    Temporary or permanent impotence can affect up to 70 per cent of men with prostate cancer, and only a few high profile men – among them Rudy Guiliani in the US and broadcaster Paul Holmes in New Zealand  – are willing to publicly acknowledge the issue, even when they talk about prostate cancer.

    Whether a man retains good sexual function very much depends on a range of factors, including the size and aggressiveness of the tumor, the patient’s age, lifestyle, and overall health, and the treatment option chosen.

    It’s impossible for a doctor to predict ahead of treatment what the outcome for an individual is likely to be.

    Risk Factors Assessed

    But here is a rundown on the treatment options and the risk factors involved:

    Surgery (Radical Prostatectomy)

    The first US nationally representative study to evaluate long-term outcomes after radical prostatectomy concluded that impotence occurs far more frequently than previously reported.

    Those who have so-called nerve-sparing surgeries have better results than those whose surgeries affect the nerves around the prostate. Some evidence also suggests that sexual function rates might improve if the nerve-sparing prostate surgeries also spare the ducts that carry semen.

    • Some degree of erectile dysfunction occurs right after surgery to remove the prostate, regardless of whether the technique that tries to spare the nerve that controls erections is performed or not.
    • If the nerve-sparing technique is used, recovery from erectile dysfunction may occur within the first year following the procedure. Recovery of erectile function after a non-nerve-sparing surgery is unlikely, but possible.
    • One study shows erectile dysfunction rates of 66% for nerve-sparing prostatectomy versus 75% for non-nerve sparing surgery at one year after the surgery. The use of vacuum devices or drugs such as Viagra after surgery once the body has healed may improve the quality of erections and speed the return of normal sexual function.
    • Some studies suggest that impotence after prostate surgery may in part be due to injury to the smooth muscles in the blood vessels. Early treatments to maintain penile blood flow, particularly alprostadil injections, may helpful in restoring erectile function. In one study, men administered injections every other night for six months. They then started taking sildenafil (Viagra) three months after surgery. At six months, 82% of these men achieved penetration compared to only 52% of men who took Viagra only. The vacuum pump may serve a similar purpose as the injections.


    Loss of erectile function is the most common long-term complication of radiation therapy.

    • The onset of erectile dysfunction following radiation therapy is gradual and usually begins about six months following the treatment.
    • Although it is generally believed that radiation poses a lower risk for impotence than does surgery, studies have reported similar rates after three years. Experts suggest radiation injures the blood vessels and so leads to erectile dysfunction over time.
    • Some studies report a lower risk for impotence from brachytherapy, a radiation technique that involves the implantation of radioactive seeds compared to external-beam radiation. Still, there have been very few studies that have lasted more than two years. One five-year study reported a high long-term rate of impotence (53%) with brachytherapy, which is close to that of standard externally administered radiation. Early use of alprostadil injections and Viagra may help these men as well as those who had surgery.

    Drug Treatments

    Prostate cancer medical treatments commonly employ androgen-suppressive treatments, which cause erectile dysfunction.

    • When hormone therapy is used, erectile dysfunction may occur approximately two to four weeks after the start of therapy. A decreased desire for sex also occurs.
  • midlifelove 10:45 am on September 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Mens Health, , , PSA test, ,   

    Getting Real About Prostate Cancer 

    Prostate CancerBroadcaster, olive oil producer and P campaigner Paul Holmes has a simple prescription for getting the best out of life after prostate cancer; “Live to the full and laugh a lot.”

    Since he was diagnosed in 2003 with the cancer that affects as many men as breast cancer affects women, Paul has been a slightly reluctant poster boy for what he says is seen as an “old man’s disease.”

    But he says “it’s time men told other men they need to simply do one thing – get themselves checked.

    “The difference between breast and prostate cancer can be seen in the death rates; while breast cancer rates have declined in the last ten years, prostate cancer rates have risen.

    Life Changes After Cancer

    In a Sunday Herald column to mark the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s Blue September awareness campaign last year he noted: “Life changes after breast cancer, just as life changes after prostate cancer.

    “While women have gone out and made their sisters aware of breast cancer, men have failed to make their brothers as conscious of the dangers and prevalence of prostate cancer.”

    He says undoubtedly the biggest impact prostate cancer has had on his life is the prolonged and sometimes humiliating treatment required, and “the loss of sexual function, or indeed, any desire.”

    Says Paul: “After the hormone and radiation treatments, one ceases to even think about sex. Sexuality completely disappears. This would put strain on many a relationship, fortunately not on mine, though it changes things and you cease to wonder how it has.”

    Staying Alive Without Sex

    As Paul told New Idea; “It was a choice between staying alive and healthy and not having sex, or not having treatment. Well, the choice is a no-brainer, isn’t it?

    “But that doesn’t mean that a person is not still a man. You know, I’m still competitive, ambitious and professional. I still love my family. And there was only one priority – you have got to get that cancer out of your body. Everything else is secondary.”

    Paul and his wife Deborah had only just started living together when he was diagnosed, but they’ve weathered the storms and married a year later.

    They point out that not all men lose sexual ability, and there are several options available in assisting with restoring sexual function.

    Treatment Options

    The severity of the erectile dysfunction – and whether it is temporary or permanent – depends on the type of surgery, stage of cancer, and the type of treatment.

    One study shows erectile dysfunction rates of 66% for nerve-sparing prostatectomy versus 75% for non-nerve sparing surgery at one year after the surgery. The use of vacuum devices or drugs such as Viagra after surgery once the body has healed may improve the quality of erections and speed the return of normal sexual function.

    Loss of erectile function is the most common long-term complication of radiation therapy. But its occurrence decreases when more sophisticated treatments, like radioactive seed implants (brachytherapy), intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), and 3-D conformal radiotherapy, are used.

    Men’s Awareness Growing

    Five years on from his diagnosis Paul says men are now much more aware about prostate cancer.

    “My own prostate cancer and the ensuring publicity might have helped a little. Certainly there is now much more knowledge and many men approach me for advice. Any cancer is freaky and worrying, but I sense there is no longer any reluctance to be open with others about prostate cancer.”

    If there was one thing he’d like to get across to NZ Prime Minister John Key it’s the need for a national campaign to alert men to the need to get prostate cancer checks annually.

    “Every time men get a blood test over the age of 40, the doctor should probably tick the box for a PSA test. Men have a responsibility to get themselves checked.”

    Keeping a Healthy Prostate

    A low-fat, high-fiber diet, reducing stress and getting regular exercise can all help safe guard prostate health, research shows. Dietary supplements like Quup, containing herbs like saw palmetto and active ingredients like lycopene (from tomatoes) can also be beneficial.

  • midlifelove 8:54 am on September 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , irritable male syndrome, Jed Diamond, , Mens Health, mid life changes, why men leave women   

    Why Men Leave Women 

    It can start with a small crisis – an illness, job change, traffic accident, children going off to college, a friend getting ill, parents aging, worries about finances or a business setback.

    The man of the house gets irritable, his moods are unpredictable, the formerly Mr Nice can turn suddenly Mr Mean. His wife or partner doesn’t know how to interpret the changes, but many are quite unprepared for what comes next. He walks out on a long term relationship with no apparent regrets or remorse.

    He won’t discuss it, he won’t agree to counselling, and he’s gone for good. For the woman in his life it can be a bewildering experience.

    So why do men leave? Jed Diamond PhD has done extensive research on men’s emotional and physical health and is the author of several books on the impact mid life changes can have in men’s lives.

    In this interview he answers the questions women living with someone who is turning into a grumpy old man want answered.

    1) Is there any way a woman can tell the difference between her mate “just being a grumpy old man” and something being seriously wrong?

    Sometimes it’s difficult to know if he is just “normal” grumpy or whether he has Irritable Male Syndrome.  In the research that I did for The Irritable Male Syndrome:  Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Aggression and Depression, I developed a diagnostic questionnaire that enabled us to assess the degree of irritability and how it impacted the man and his family.

    Our initial study was with 1000 men and 1000 women, mostly in the United States.  Once the book was published I posted the questionnaire to the web and now we have results from over 60,000 men and women from all over the world.  You can take the questionnaire at http://www.IMSquiz.com and find out if IMS is a problem for you or someone you love.

    2) What reasons do men give for leaving?

    Most of the time, when men leave they aren’t aware of the real reasons.  They say things like:  “I need my space;”  “I just need some time to sort things out;”  “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.”

    3) Is there any research which shows whether these reasons are the “real” ones or not?

    The real reasons that emerged from our research show men are dealing with mostly unconscious issues:

    • Hormonal changes and drops of testosterone make them more irritable and frustrated.
    • Changes in brain chemistry make them more depressed.
    • Increased stress levels make them look for a simpler life.
    • Changes in male role identity make them go looking for a relationship that recreates some of the old familiar roles such as sole provider or protector.

    Men are looking for something, but often act like confused homing pigeons that fly 180 degrees in the wrong direction.  They are really feeling that their stable identity is coming apart and are afraid if they stopped to look at what was really going on inside it would overwhelm them.

    4) Do most wait till they have a “replacement woman” to fill the gap?

    Some men wait to find a replacement woman who will calm his fears.  But most often the men are just walking off into the unknown, or as I say in a one of my books, they are “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

    5) Are there any “warning signs” that tell women her man is going to leave?

    There are a number of warning signs including the following:

    • Increased restlessness, irritability, and anger.
    • Increasingly seeing the wife as someone who is “out to get him.”
    • He changes from Mr. Nice to Mr. Mean or as some have said from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.

    6) What is the best way for a woman to deal with the situation? If he refuses to admit to any problems – or take any responsibility for the difficulties himself – what can a woman do?

    A woman needs to learn all she can about The Irritable Male Syndrome.  On my website http://www.TheIrritableMale.com and on http://www.MenAlive.com I offer support and information.

    Next, she needs to reach out to someone she trusts and talk about what is going on, how she’s feeling, and what she needs.

    Often there is a code of silence that develops within families when Irritable Male Syndrome, IMS, is a problem.

    He may become possessive and not want her to talk to anyone.  It’s his way of fending off his shame.  But she must reach out.  Finally, she needs to take care of herself emotionally and physically.  Before she can help him she must help herself.

    • Thomas 8:49 pm on November 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting analysis of some of the literature out there. I am intrigued by this same topic and have a few of my own ideas which are just that. I deas. Grumpy ios one that really gets to me. Can I justsay as a male..men are not “grumpy” it does make me grumpy whn women call me that..(that was a joke) …men are grumpy because the feel and cannot articulate…it broods simmers and festers yes..but it is symptomatic of much of the way we raise our boys, and develop as men..emtional quotent bereft certainly doenst help us. Grumpy is the first of many signs that stuff is happeneing. Get someone safe and able to hwelp process those feelings because this is the seed bed for drastic change and not always good change if it is not addressed..just my view and a view brought about aby talking with lots of other men about this exaact same thing. I really do thinkw e need to start scripting our own story.too many people speak on our behalf because of that vacum we have created.I wish you well on your journey and will keep dropping in.Cheers Thomas

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