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The men of “Ohio’s Country Journal” and Ohio Ag Net decided to celebrate “MoVember” by not shaving in November as part of the global effort to raise funds and awareness of men’s health issues. Ty Higgins, Dale Minyo, Bart Johnson, Joel Penhorwood (not pictured) and I have been fuzzy faced since Nov. 1. Kirby Hidy already had a beard. This photo was taken with some of us about mid-month. Stay tuned for a final photo to see how hairy we get by December.

We may look funny with facial hair, but the issue behind MoVember is very serious. Dan Boysel, from Delaware County, shares why:

In November each year, my wife Kerry lets me grow a terrible looking beard, not because of deer season, but because of our story.

“Dan, the tests indicate a cancerous growth.”

This is what an average guy from Delaware County never expected to hear. I am now a 3-year, stage-3 colon cancer survivor. Colon cancer is a disease we are uncomfortable talking about because it involves, as my mom would say, our “nether regions.” While we’re uncomfortable saying words in public like “stool,” or “colon,” or do we dare say, “rectum,” most of us in agriculture don’t mind taking care of a prolapsed cow, or delivering calves and talking about it at the dinner table.

I am a lucky survivor, at 50 years old; I had no pains, no fatigue, no outward signs of any issue — just blood in my stool. I thought it would just go away. Well, it didn’t, so I scheduled a doctor’s visit and colonoscopy procedure. Yes, preparing for the procedure was definitely an uncomfortable experience (just search for Bill Ingvall’s description on the Internet). The actual procedure, however, was uneventful and I slept through it. A cancerous polyp was found, tests were run, and I had a surgery or two to remove a section of my bowel and rectum then hook it back together. After that I had chemotherapy. I am alive to tell the story, and cancer free.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. It is one of the easiest to diagnose by a colonoscopy. Fifty years old is the trigger age for starting testing, or if you see changes or blood in your stool. A timely colonoscopy can save your life. It saved mine.

It sure is easy to overlook the symptoms or put off the scheduling because we men have better things to do. “If I don’t think about it, it really isn’t happening,” “it will go away,” or “every time I go to the doctor he finds out something is wrong with me.” Which excuse have you used?

Well, it doesn’t go away, it just gets worse. So do yourself a favor, or better yet look at your spouse, kids and your grandkids and do them a favor, schedule your colonoscopy and save your life. They are worth it, and you get to grow a terrible looking beard every November.





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