Tag Archives: boxing

Fighting the Good Fight

boxing glovesSomewhere around 2005, I wandered into a ‘Fighting Exercise’ class at the gym, which turned out to be a form of boxercise, and I fell in love on the spot. It wasn’t long until I was doing kick boxing at sensei’s private dojo. I indulged in that exercise heroin for the next ten years, a stress-reducing producer of cleansing sweat. I will always love the resounding ‘thwack’ of a glove hitting a mitt.

So I thought I knew what fighting was, and couldn’t really understand what people meant when they talked about ‘fighting’ cancer. For me at least, so far at least, the whole process has been pretty passive. I try not to squirm while people in white coats and shower caps take things out of me or put things into me, and then I try to make my peace with yet another scar, another list of warnings and precautions, another rope binding me to a tree just in sight of Emerald City, knowing the heroin is in the poppies, not the gym.

If you do a search for chemotherapy side effects in Japanese, the first to pop up is irritability. (The American Cancer Society list doesn’t include it at all. That tells you something about Japanese society. And American society, for that matter.) The Japanese are masters of understatement, and in this case, they’ve outdone themselves. I can’t vouch for Japanese women, but pile chemo onto my naturally testy personality and you unleash a scaly, fire-breathing dragon that wants nothing more than to lumber along the streets of Tokyo Godzilla-style, punching old ladies, squashing butterflies and stomping on kittens. I thought the Nicodemon was scary; the Chemomonster is worse.

nemo kittens
No, that is not Nemo. It’s Godzilla. Trust me.

At the same time, as the chemo works its toxic evil, I get progressively more tired, a type of bone-weary I have never experienced. I have to walk slowly, can’t carry anything heavy, am becoming horribly sensitive to loud noises. Sometimes breathing seems like too much of an effort.

The good news is that means old ladies, butterflies and kittens are probably safe. At this point, a blue-haired granny with a cane and a limp could probably outrun me.

The other good news is my nurse assures me this is all temporary. If I can hold it together for five more months, it will be done and if the Goddess is generous, I will never have to do it again. So onward we go, one foot in front of the other.

But five months? That sounds like an awfully long time. If the Chemomonster manages to bust loose and starts ripping flowers out of your garden or puncturing your tires or otherwise being a nuisance, please have the courtesy to look the other way. Thank you.

Baby Steps

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA As of yesterday, I am five months smoke free. (Pause for applause. “Thank you, thank you very much,” she says in her best Elvis voice.) And I’ve finally got some time off from work, so I have devoted this week to exercise. On Monday, I did Pilates and a step class at the gym. On Tuesday, I started a 30 day squat challenge. On Wednesday, I had my first yoga lesson with Kelly, who is a wonderful person, teacher and addition to my life. On Thursday, I did boxing and kicking classes at the dojo.

When I woke up this morning, I could barely move. My sore muscles have sore muscles, but I feel wonderful. One of the side effects of detox is sometimes crippling depression. This is normal and people quit longer than me keep saying it will pass in time, I just need to stay strong, take deep breaths, wait it out.

I hadn’t been to kicking class, and consequently hadn’t seen Sensei, for a couple of months. Part way through class, he looked at me and said, “Eda-san, you’re different. You’ve changed, and not in a bad way.” I just smiled, but I knew what he meant. As I work my way out of my nicotine-addled funk, I am discovering a whole other Eda I had forgotten about. She’s smarter, funnier, prettier because she smiles more. She’s gentler, kinder, more at peace.

The battle isn’t over yet, probably never will be. The nicodemon still lurks in dark corners and leaps out at me, much the way Twitchy attacks my toes at unexpected moments, but I can swat him away the same way I do her. The depression monster still wraps himself around my throat and squeezes, but it’s happening less often. Instead, in recent days, I have unexpected moments of happiness. I can’t think of anything to call it besides joy. I am finally free of that wretched addiction and can start to make my way down the path toward discovering myself and who I am without the chemicals.

It’s a journey that requires no suitcases, taxis, passports, visas, or plane tickets and all of the travel takes place inside my own head, but the destination is worth every iota of effort and pain it takes to get there.


At the office the other day, a friend asked me if I’d baked anything lately. I said, “No! I’ve been too fxxking busy working.” And she said, “Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever heard you drop the F bomb before.” Love that expression. And I am no foe of foul language. I just try to keep it clean at the office.

The universe has given me a brief respite; I’ve just had a glorious two days off. Boxercise yesterday, gloves-and-mitts today. Unfortunately I got partnered with a little old lady, so while I endured her kitten punches, I thought about apple crumble, and then made one.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAYum. There’s nothing like comfort food when one is stressed out. Thanks for the inspiration, Margaret. You always make me feel good.

Naughty Language

I was pounding the sandbag yesterday (one-two, hook, one-two, hook) when Sensei put a CD on the stereo. The song he chose was a rather angry sounding hip-hop rap sort of thing.

It had naughty lyrics. Very naughty. Some of the words were ones I never even think, much less say…or sing…or rap.

I gave Sensei a wry look over my shoulder and he gave me a bad-little-boy smirk.

When the bell rang ending the round, he turned the music down and asked, innocently, “Eda-san, bad English?” “Yes, Sensei. Bad English.” I didn’t mind, really. The intensity of the anger in the song actually complimented the intensity of the exercise.

Sensei doesn’t speak English, but I know he knows all the naughty words. He was once at an international karate competition and was given an Australian roommate. With no language in common, the Ozzie spent his free time teaching Sensei all the naughty words. And foreign CDs sold in Japan always have a translation of the lyrics included with the liner notes.

The funny thing is that there aren’t many naughty words in Japanese. There’s バカ (baka = stupid) and クソ (kuso = poo), but that’s about it.  So if you’re watching one of those awful movies that contain nothing but naughty language, the sub-titles look something like this:

バカ バカ バカ。 クソ クソ クソ。
バカ クソ バカ。 クソ クソ。 バカ。

Many years ago, I was teaching at a commercial English conversation school and one day I had a private student who asked me, “What is ‘sheep’?”


“I was watching an Eddie Murphy movie last night and he kept saying things like, ‘Where’s the sheep?’ and ‘What a pile of sheep.’ and ‘Holy sheep!’ What does that mean?”

I looked at him for a moment, thinking, “Hmmm…I really don’t like you enough to take a chance on getting in trouble for teaching you something which you would probably never use, or more likely use at an inappropriate time.” (My old landlady used to give me the finger all the time. She thought it was funny.) And clearly he wasn’t paying very close attention if he mistook “sheep” for what Eddie was really saying.

So I said, “Maybe he doesn’t like sheep.”

My mother always said it is much more effective to stamp your foot and say “Butterflies!” than to use naughty language. And she’s right; people do notice when you do something like that, but it does make you look like a bit of a weenie.

Shoot! I was going to go for a nice long walk on this mild Saturday but it’s starting to rain.

バカ weather.  クソ.  Sheep.