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An Inspiration (Overcoming Cancer)

Yesterday (Thursday), I had the pleasure of meeting a woman who had come to Hawaii for surgery to remove breast cancer. Having read my posts about my wife's experiences with breast cancer and treatment, she had contacted me, and I invited her to meet my wife and me.

This woman has already undergone surgery and faces chemotherapy, radiation, additional surgery, and other treatments, very much like my wife has done. She is also a very active Karate student (I use that term generally to include students and instructors) and really wants to resume training as soon as possible. I could tell that she missed her dojo very much, even as she is still healing from surgery.

Think about it. Some of us complain about little aches and pains. There are always many reasons why we might miss class. We are so busy. There are so many family matters. We have work to do. We need to study for tests. Our knees and backs are sore. We are just tired. The weather is bad.

This woman is still healing from surgery and faces treatment that will be extremely challenging to put it very mildly. And she wants to practice Karate.

I am rarely impressed by people in Karate, and even more rarely impressed on a deep level. But yesterday I was. I still am.

To see a person who loves Karate so much is truly humbling. The students and instructors in her dojo are truly fortunate. I am sure that she would say that they have inspired her.

I, for one, am inspired by her.

Exactly when a person undergoing medical treatment should resume Karate training is up to her physician and her. I cannot say, although I would encourage people to give themselves time to heal fully. In my wife's case, I do not want her to resume Karate training until her mediport is removed. That is a device put under the skin below the collarbone area, which allows easier access for intravenous drugs, such as chemotherapy and Herceptin. I do not want my wife to practice Karate while she has the mediport (because it might be hit or twisted), but that is just our own decision.

Now I have met two Karate women who have been faced with breast cancer. I know that there are so many more in the United States and around the world. I believe that the discipline and conditioning of Karate training makes it easier for women to face the challenges of breast cancer surgery and treatment. These two woman, my wife and our visitor, are certainly much stronger than me.

The next time you feel too tired or busy to train, or your students complain about little things, please think about the people who overcome great challenges, and among all the great concerns in their life such as their own health, family, and work, still have a burning desire to practice Karate. That is a real student and an inspiration!


Charles C. Goodin