Due to the potential risk of chemo-related complications, I dig my own risk of COVID-19
Since March, I have taken a bit of pivot here on ABSOT and have written extensively on men's health in relation to COVID, including the Cleveland Clinic survey, Dan Doty's Tips for Mental Health, and more. However, I would be remiss if I did not explicitly mention the COVID pandemic in connection with my life.
In my eulogy message ConnerI mentioned that I had had a COVID-19 test, which was actually the second I had. I had one a few weeks earlier, just for my own curiosity to see how I was feeling. If you have a choice, a quick response is the way to go - less brain scratching.
Aside from these tests, the only other personal things I have done for myself in regards to COVID were to follow the recommended mitigation strategies and read Steve Pake. COVID-19 Information for Testicular Cancer Patients and Survivors.
Honestly, I didn't think too much about my own risk of COVID until recently.
From Steve's post, I realized that as long as I was no longer immunocompromised by chemotherapy (which I am not), I was not at greater risk of having it. My greatest risk would be complications if I did contract the virus, due to the potential pulmonary toxicity of bleomycin. Ah, chemo - the gift that never stops giving.
Since schools have been closed since March and I have severely limited my exposure to other people, I never followed up with Dr. Maurer specifically regarding my risk. Honestly, I expected my school to stay virtual until 2021 at the earliest, so I figured there wouldn't be too many of me walking around petri dishes (kids) for a while. Plot twist - In September, my school board decided to send us back to school in October, although the number of cases in the area continues to increase.
To be on the safe side, I finally decided to call Dr. Maurer's office to see what their recommendations would be regarding the presence of children. They ordered a lung function test, which I hadn't had since before I started chemo. They wanted to see if I actually had lung damage from bleomycin.
However, it was difficult to get an immediate appointment for the test.
It is not the fault of anyone other than me. I should have asked this months ago, and asking to have my lung function tested in the midst of a virus pandemic linked to respiratory disease was not my smartest decision. They were able to schedule me for two weeks after resuming classes with the students and offered to write me a "homework" note until we got results.
However, I didn't really want to work from home, so we compromised to change it to a “work in your private office with limited contact with kids and others” note. We could also modify it once we got the results.
Fast forward to the day of the appointment
Basically the test was exactly the same as it was in 2016: a lot of filling my lungs with as much air as possible and expelling it in a variety of strengths and durations. I could make some crass sucking and blowing jokes, but I'll take the high road here.
About 24 hours later I got the results back. Good news - I had no lung damage from the injury. I probably should have asked about this three or four years ago, but spiciness of Las Vegas. (Some people may pronounce this like it's life, but that's what I call it).
Even with the ... positively negative results, my doctors and I decided to keep the same doctor's note. This was done more as a precaution to be on the safe side, especially as cases continue to rise and we enter that second / third / whatever number is expected on the wave. Although my lung function is good now, I would like to keep it that way and avoid getting COVID-19.
That sums it all up.
It was a rather short and anti-climate article, but that's a good thing in the grand scheme of things. In closing, I would like to end with a quote from President Lincoln, which underscores the importance for all of us to follow mitigation strategies during this pandemic.
"Whatever you are, be a good one." (And please wear a mask.)
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October 31, 2020
About six months before I turned 50, a friend tried to convince me to enter a physique contest. He had just turned 40, and was thrilled to be in the over-40 category because there were fewer guys for him to compete against. He said to me, “Kirk, you can win the over-50 category. There are only a few guys who enter. But, you have no lats or traps—most older dudes don’t. Work on your back and you got it in the bag ! ” I wasn’t too excited to enter a competition with “no competition, ” but I was pretty peeved to hear him say I had no lats or traps. My back was better than that. Although I had no intention to enter the competition, I started doing more single-arm dumbbell rows to work my back. Now, a few years later, it’s one of my favorite dumbbell exercises. Importantly, I’m not trying to break any records when it comes to weight here, like I might have in my younger days. Quality reps at low weight is the bigger focus.
There are variantes of the exercise where you see guys use a bench for support, using a hand or even placing a knee on the bench. These have their merits ( although MH sport director Ebenezer Samuel, C. S. C. S. would rather you not put a knee up ). However, I mostly do the version with no assistance from the bench with both feet on the ground as points of contact. This version works your traps, rhomboids, rear delts and rotator cuff muscles, but you also get some core work, something you greatly need as you get older. Remember, though, that the way do the exercise is subjective to your own abilities. If you need some extra support for balance, don’t hesitate to put a hand down.
tera set up for my preferred variation, pick up a light dumbbell, especially to start. Stand with your feet in a parallel stance about shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbell in a neutral place at your side, as if you would for a hammer curl. Place your free hand behind you, with the back of your hand on the small of your back ( you can also extend your off arm out to balance ). Next, bend over by pushing your butt back and hinging at your waist, with your knees slightly bent. There should be no rounding of the spine, and you should keep your gaze down at the floor in a neutral neck place. Lastly, as you’re hanging onto the dumbbell with your arm pointing to the floor, squeeze your shoulder blades together so your shoulders lock in place and don’t slump.
From this starting position, use your back to pull the dumbbell up without twisting your spine. Pull up as high as you can, pause for a moment at the top and squeeze your shoulder blades together even more. Then release by lowering the dumbbell back to the starting position. to control my pace, I usually sweat up for 2 seconds, squeeze at the top for 2 seconds, then release back to the starting position in 2 seconds.
By doing the dumbbell row unilaterally ( one arm at a time ), you’ll feel yourself being pulled off balance. You must fight with your abs and obliques to maintain balance and stability, which is why I love this exercise so much. Although you won’t be able to load up with as much weight as you would using the bench for stabilization, the extra core work you’ll get makes this version well worth putting in your arsenal of exercises. Try 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps during upper body workouts to get started.
We all know that it’s common for men to skip the doctor until they become sick, injure themselves or are faced with a serious health problem. And a majority of men will postpone seeking care for a few days to see whether they feel any better. It’s the whole ' if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it ' line of thinking.
But there are steps the men in your life can take today to improve their vitality and help prevent health problems down the road. Of course, there are some things that can’t be changed, such as family history and age, but every day choices can have a big impact on their current and future health.
Eating a diet that’s low in fat ( less than 7 percent of kcal should come from saturated fats ), cholesterol, and salt, and packed with fresh fruits and vegetables ( two cups of fruit per day; three cups of vegetables per day for men up to age 50 and two and a half cups for men aged 51 and over ), whole grains and fiber can help improve your health, prevent heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
Try to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Taking a walk, jogging, swimming and mowing the lawn all count. But don’t be a weekend sports warrior. Start slowly if you aren’t normally réactive and gradually build up. No time ? Research shows that even short bursts of physical activity—as few as 10 minutes of soutenu activity several times a day—can help men improve their health. Talk to your doctor about the right exercise program for you.
It’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight, especially around the waist, can be on your body. Carrying too much body fat forces your heart to work harder and increases your chances of heart disease and stroke, even if you have no other risk factors ! So, try to curb weight gain as you age.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 4, 000 chemicals and is a known cause of cancer. Smoking also increases the likelihood of high blood pressure, heart disease, lung problems and other health problems. And if you think chewing tobacco is safer, think again. Not only is chewing tobacco a known cause of cancer ( carcinogen ), it also contributes to gum disease and tooth loss and may be linked to fertility problems. And, few could argue that chewing and spitting is attractive to a partner. If you smoke or chew, talk to your health care professional about ways to quit. Consider substance nicotinique replacement therapy products that include self-help programs, if appropriate.
Whether it’s pulling out the weed whacker, going for a bike ride or grilling with the neighbors, safety is key. Here are just a few examples : Take care when moving heavy objects. It’s easy to strain yourself when lifting boxes, furniture and other heavy items. Use your knees and legs and not your back for leverage. And ask for help, if you need it. Wear appropriate protective gear for your eyes and ears when using leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other machines at home or work. Excessive exposure to noise is the most common cause of hearing loss. Wear a helmet when you ride a bike or ski and throw on reflective clothing if you go for a run after dark. When grilling, never leave the grill unattended, especially when small children and pets are around, and keep a fire extinguisher handy. The grill should be at least 10 feet from your house or any building. tera protect your skin, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and apply ( and reapply ) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that provides protection against UVA and UVB rays.