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What has your dad taught you about your health?

By June 18, 2009 - 1:17pm
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With Father's Day around the corner, wanted to hear your stories on how your fathers influenced your health. For example, my father emphasized the importance of being active and taught me how to ride a bike. He also encouraged my involvement in sports and offered some very heavy-handed advice about the dangers of drugs and smoking. I'd love to hear your stories!

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EmpowHER Guest

My story is very much like Diane's - great Dad but left this world much to early due to lung cancer. I was 25 and had just gotten married. Father's Day, our anniversary, and my dad's death always are close together and now 20 years later I still miss him. I do have some great memories though.

June 21, 2009 - 7:26am
(reply to Anonymous)

Anon - I'm so sorry to hear that you also lost your dad to lung cancer. It's good to have happy memories.

June 22, 2009 - 4:35pm

My dad died of emphysema and lung cancer at age 60.

He taught me first-hand that smoking isn't worth the toll it takes. And that 60 is young to have to say goodbye to your kids, and for them to have to say goodbye to you.

June 19, 2009 - 10:13am
(reply to Diane Porter)

Diane, I'm so sorry you lost your father to lung cancer. He was far too young!

My DH is turning 60 this year, is a chain smoker, his mother died of lung cancer (a long-time smoker) as did his best friend (was in his early 50's). I'm constantly reminding him that he's not immune. Plus, now that we've learned that we're going to be grandparents, I really want to see him enjoy this forthcoming new phase in our lives.

I hope you have great memories of your dad.

June 19, 2009 - 5:06pm
(reply to alysiak)

I do, Alysia. He was a wonderful dad. He was stubborn (my mom says I got my hard head from him; I think I just got my ADD from him, lol), and was definitely from the world where men believed with a passion that they should rule the house (of course, then he had a couple of daughters, and that blew a bit of a hole in the theory). Mostly, I miss him. I miss his voice. I miss his laughter, and the dry sense of humor we share. I miss his unending support.

He died when I was 26. I am now 51, and I'm teary right now just thinking about the fact that it's Father's Day -- yet another one -- and I would give anything for one of his hugs.

Maybe this will help your DH think about quitting -- the thought of one of his kids sitting at a computer 20 years from now, the day before Father's Day, still crying because they miss his hugs, his laughter, his love. Sure, I carry it with me always. But there's nothing like it once someone's gone.

June 20, 2009 - 12:45pm

My dad was a Navy man, we lived in a beach community and had our own pool, and we spent a LOT of time on/in water. What can I say - swim, swim and swim some more. I could swim distance, no problem.

Dad and Mom were also tennis enthusiasts (runs a couple of generations back), so that was another sport we kids participated in. Dad and Mom also smoked! But, they eventually quit and became even more active.

I think our real role model was my paternal Grandfather who, in spite of skin cancer and lupus, was extraordinarily active. We played tennis at night. He could walk 25 miles in any given day (always staying on the shady side of the street) to visit friends. He would fill two 5-gallon buckets with water and walk enough circles around our pool to equal at least 1 mile (don't ask me how many times that was!)

Dad was always health conscious, and I really appreciate that he passed on that legacy to me. I don't know if he knows I run marathons, but I'm sure he'd have a hard time believing that I do (I absolutely hated running when I was a kid), LOL!

June 18, 2009 - 4:01pm

My dad would not claim to be the healthiest person; he actually is proud of the fact that he smokes too much, drinks too much, eats gobs of red meat, potatoes and gravy, and exercises little (beyond 4 hours of golf every Sunday).

What could I have learned about health from an "UN"-healthy kind of guy!?

I learned how not to be the "health police" or "health nazi". I learned that it is more important to have fun, love life, be daring when you need to be, relax often, and "enjoy the ride".

I do have a specific memory of my dad, related to physical activity:
My dad and I share the love of softball; he played on his company league, and I have played teeball/softball since I was a little girl. My last official team was in high school, but I have continued to play into my mid-30s in City Leagues until the past year.

During my last game in high school, I had a great hit and was rounding the base at 3rd to go towards home plate, when I saw that the catcher was thrown the ball. I was assessing whether to back-up to 3rd or slide into home, when she threw the ball straight down the 3rd-base line...and right into my face. All I remember was laying on the ground, a dozen people looking at me. One person said, "oh, and she had such a pretty face...". What did they mean "HAD?!" Someone helped me sit upright, and the blood started gushing (at the time...I had no idea where it was coming from!). Found out, I had a broken nose.

What does this have to do with my dad?! It is absolutely hilarious--I got in his car, and he drove me to the doctor. My mom and sister were following us in my mom's car. I was laughing and joking with my dad (the pain didn't start until later than night), and my dad said, "watch this!" and sped over the speed bumps. I looked back at my mom, her knuckles white grasping the steering wheel, her face pale from fear after watching her child get pummeled by a ball (why do they call it a "soft" ball?!), while my dad is making her chase us in the car.

I am not sure how much trouble my dad got in that evening from my mom (ha!), but his way of helping me laugh and "get in trouble" with my mom was a bonding moment, and probably his way of dealing with his fear of the unknown about my face, too. Dads have a great way of making light of a situation, all the while they are taking it very seriously. He was nurturing AND making me laugh...quite a gift!

From that experience, I have taken away some great life-lessons that laughter really is the best medicine, physical health is just one aspect of a person, and enjoying life, surrounding yourself with love and nurturing people, working hard and playing hard...that's what life is all about. Oh, and probably to my dad's disappointment this means he IS healthy: in the social, emotional and mental aspects of health and wellness. I'm still working on his physical health! :-)

June 18, 2009 - 3:31pm

My dad thought I needed karate in my life, and he was right. My dad, a third-degree black-belt, got me involved in karate in middle school. By doing karate I got healthy, gained confidence and had focus -- three things I really needed in my life at that time. However, the best part of karate for me was that it gave me a wonderful relationship with my dad. He was often my class instructor, personal trainer -- and always my biggest supporter. I was never what you'd call an "ace" at sports, but with my dad's help I placed in virtually every karate competition I entered. Those memories and lessons learned during that time still help me out every day of my life. I am very lucky to have a dad who would make this kind of an effort for his daughter year after year.

June 18, 2009 - 1:55pm

When I was a little girl I would go up to my dad and say, "Daddy, it hurts when I (fill in the blank here)."

His answer: "Than don't do that"

Honestly though, he always took my injuries serious. When I was in 6th grade I pulled a ligament at home immediate before soccer practice. Since I didn't experience an actually accident, my mom thought I was lying to get out of practice and told me to get in the car or she would never take me to practice again.

After complaining the entire way to practice that I really could not walk, my mom called and had my dad meet us. Refusing to get out of the car once we arrived, my dad met us a few minutes later and decided to take me to the E.R.

That night I came home on crutches and had my ankle immobilized for the next six weeks. My mom felt badly, but thanks to my dad, my ankle injury was taken seriously and was treated in a timely manner.

The E.R. doctor told me my ligament was probably weak and the injury occurred slowly overtime, causing a few extra steps to be the "straw that broke the camel's back."

P.S. - This was not the only serious injury I incurred in a manner causing my mom to not believe me and my dad taking my words to heart.

June 18, 2009 - 1:29pm

My dad and I ran our very first marathon (26.2 miles!) together in 1982. I was 17 years old, and he and I trained for several months before running the Dallas Whiterock Marathon. Training was a fantastic bonding experience for us, as we shared many, many miles together of sore muscles, challenging weather, but also some laughs as we attempted something that seemed nearly impossible at the time. We both finished the race well under 4 hours and went on to run it a second time around the following year. I'm now older than he was when he ran his first marathon, and I'm still running. He made a big impact on my desire to stay in good shape as I age.

June 18, 2009 - 1:27pm
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