If I were to tell you that you were about to get into a fight with the toughest opponent the world has ever faced – how would you prepare?
You’d probably learn some martial arts, do some combat training, get stronger, faster, better conditioned, hire instructors and formulate a strategy to take on the opponent.
But what if I told you that all the kicks, punches and choke holds won’t work against this opponent. It’s invisible. Your instructors can’t help you.
That’s the reality of facing cancer.
I beat cancer. Twice. Most people don’t survive the first time. I have no idea why I was given these extra days on this planet, but I treat them like a gift and will never take them for granted.
Prior to my bone marrow and stem cell transplant I had to undergo a battery of fitness tests. The treatment itself is so brutal, you need a certain level of “conditioning” before they doctors will even consider doing the treatment. They did heart tests, lung capacity tests, and a ton more.
I passed the test and entered the “fight” and won. I didn’t think much of it until after being in remission I met a young girl who was facing the same transplant situation. She said ” Oh wow! You got the transplant – that’s amazing!”
I have to admit that I didn’t feel that amazing.
She went on “I need to get one but I can’t pass the tests right now – I’m not in good enough shape to survive the procedure right now”
That’s when I realized the horror of her situation. She, while fighting cancer, needed to improve her fitness, so that they could win. How does a cancer patient get in shape when they are bombarded with a malignant disease, chemotherapy, drugs and radiation? It’s an uphill battle for everyone, but cancer patients are starting well behind the starting blocks.
I knew then that I had survived in part because when the disease hit me, I was in condition. I was strong. I had muscle. I had cardio fitness. I had gritted my teeth and grinded out a heavy last rep, or a max effort sprint.
My body could handle whatever the doctors were going to throw at me. Cancer couldn’t.
Because cancer didn’t train the way we train.
I started weight training to improve my martial arts competition skills. Who knew that the lessons learned in the ring, and the qualities developed under the bar would save my life.