With Father’s Day quickly approaching, I am reminded (not that I need to be) that although I will be celebrating as the proud father of four great kids, my own father is no longer with us.  It’s hard to believe that this will be my 6th Father’s Day without my dad.

June not only contains this cool day for dads (golf, ties, and such), but it is also Men’s Health Month.  In addition, the week leading up to Father’s Day is Men’s Health Week, the purpose of which is to heighten awareness of preventable health issues and to encourage early detection and treatment of illnesses and men (and boys).

My dad died after a short, but courageous and spirited battle against a particularly aggressive form of leukemia. My dad was not particularly fond of regular doctor visits. And we do not know for sure if his disease was caught any earlier that there would have been a different, better outcome.

What I do know, though, is that my dad did implement planning with advance directives well before becoming ill.  Many years ago I was able to convince my parents of the importance of advance directives: durable powers of attorney, health care proxies and living wills. I was successfully able to express to them that without these important documents they could be leaving it to chance or even a judge, to make decisions for them regarding health issues and finances if they did not have these documents. And, with a living will, they could express their wishes as to life-sustaining treatment if they were terminally and irreversibly ill.

I am thankful that my dad had these important documents that we were able to provide to his doctors and the hospital and that in the end, they kept my dad comfortable without implementing extraordinary measures serving only to prolong his suffering.  I am also thankful that knowing the outcome, the disease took him quickly.  And I will always miss him and his wisdom and guidance.

So guys, get yourselves checked out.  See you doctor and get all of the age-appropriate tests done. And while you’re at it, get a legal check-up too.

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