Friday, October 19, 2012

Still Happily Hitched

A few days after fighting at Invicta FC3 I went to see a client of mine. She has ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) also known a Lou Gehrig's Disease. She is a beautiful woman in her forties with a captivating smile. It is her main physical expression along with blinking her eyes. Other than that she essentially cannot move. ALS "is a rapidly progressive invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles... patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed."

She knows about "this MMA thing I do" and she and her two young children have seen video of a couple of my fights. I am somewhat of a novelty to them. I want to ask her what she really thinks of it all. I wonder if she would tell me that the use of our bodies is such a precious gift that I should not intentionally put it at such risk of possible brain damage. Or would she say to go after whatever it is I hunger for because our health can be taken away from us without warning or reason at any time as she is living proof of that.

Technology has given her a means of communicating via a Tablet. It is pretty amazing. She looks at letters and words and somehow it "reads her thoughts" then it speaks for her or she can send emails. Perhaps next time I see her I will ask what she thinks of it all.

Photo by Mike Lee. Sparring with Melanie Lacroix at BlackHouse.
Recently I saw my doctor to make sure my last fight left me healthy and to get an overall assessment of myself as I have not ever done such a thing as far as I can remember. I deal with blunt force trauma on a regular basis so I asked for a CT scan to make sure my brain has not become a blob of hemorrhages and blood clots.

He gave me a clean bill of health! Yay! My brain is normal! Go figure. He even informs me that my vision is 20/15! This part sounds so daffy to me that I begin to question his abilities. But it is true. I read the chart correctly. Still it seems impossible to believe. 20/15? Perhaps I should not be a fighter afterall. I should be a Fighter Pilot! I wonder if the Air Force would say I am too old to be trained for this.

It is a good things we did not test my hearing because if that came back as perfect then I would no longer be able to use my usual excuse: "What? Speak up. My old lady cauliflower ears cannot hear you." People would know that I have for some reason chosen not to hear them. How rude of me.

My doctor has "the conversation" with me. Get out of fighting while you're ahead. You don't want to be an invalid at the age of fifty-five. Junior Seau just killed himself. Repetitive blows to the head are linked to suicidal tendencies. I know you are going to continue but I have to tell you you are placing yourself at such high risk. Think.

"What? Speak up. My old lady cauliflower ears cannot hear you."

I hear him. Loud and clear.

I think. I think about this beautiful wife and mother in her forties living as best she can with ALS knowing that her time here is so very limited. I think about my family and friends that support what I am doing but cannot help but worry for my health and my years of living after fighting.  I think about fighters that exhibit obvious signs of brain trauma. I think about all these young bodies around me that complain daily of pains that are a direct result of fighting and training. I think.

We make choices throughout our days, throughout our lives. Many like to deny this and blame everyone else for all that "happens to them". I believe in accountability. I believe in taking responsibility. I contemplate the pros and the cons. I give weight to reason, I give weight to inexplicable feelings. I understand. I choose.

I get asked fairly regularly why I fight. I am not someone who thinks this is the only thing I can be or do or become extraordinary at. I know I am capable of many things. I understand this life can be fulfilled in a variety of ways.They want to know is it Fame? Fortune? No. It is almost absurd to me to speak of women's fighting in the same sentence as fame and fortune.

So why?

song by Sarah McLachlan
I honestly do not think there is any intelligent articulate reason for choosing to be a fighter. It is a demanding life that abuses us both mentally and physically. But that does not stop us from pursuing this path.

This path I walk for the love. For the learning. For the relationships built along the way. For the challenges. For the inspirations. For the journey. For the tears that well up in my eyes when my coaches tell me they are proud.

For better or worse, Fight and I are still happy hitched and living as if we are newlyweds.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post. I am just starting MMA and feel like a found a sport that moves me. I'm using it to get in shape. Maybe more one day. I feel a joy in just letting it out, and my instructor was laughing as I just have a huge smile on my face when I hit. Then I just feel the peace when you are done.