so here we go again. fists up. gut strong. breathing. slowly in and slowly out. breathing. i spend so much time talking about how it’s not that bad. and how i’m feeling strong. not knocked out. finding my rhythm. but the week before the chemo treatments is a little intense. it’s the time i need to gather my strength mentally. i know my body is strong. is tolerating the chemo so well. my mind is strong, too. but this week has been dukes up.
lori and i started saying dukes up back in may. the mental image of a fighter. a boxer. those big badass gloves. i love the feeling of boxing. well, punching. i mean it’s not like i ever get in a ring. but those minutes in class when we hold up our weights and protect our faces and just punch. the power of the hit and the snap back. the strength coming from deep down in my gut. the focus.
the week when my body is the most recovered. my cells replenished. rejuvenated. my mind is on alert. the full circle of my treatment cycles about to turn another bend. and i brace myself. get strong. diligently filter the thoughts that inevitably surface. but what about the wave? i keep saying if i stand too rigid at the shore the wave will knock me down. how do i brace myself without leaving myself exposed to crash with the wave? how do i get my dukes up and still find my rhythm to maneuver the giant waves? i guess i just have to be like muhammad ali.
a boxer. not the ripped guy from fight club. though that is one of my favorite movies. but that master in the ring. that legend. he is relaxed as he gets ready. never still. dukes up, but dancing. fluid. poetic. you know the guy. he floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. there is a rhythm and beauty to a great boxer’s strength. and as any great fighter would know, you have to take some punches in the ring. that is why i keep my gut strong. to trust it. to take a few punches along the way. but not let them knock me down. or if they do, to get back up again and again. the intensity as i wait for the bell to ring is electric. but i’m ready. mind. body. cardio. and here i go.
and so i sit here. waiting for the needle. my 4th round. keeping thoughts of the next fight at bay. and getting focused. staying relaxed as i bob and i weave. i hear my heart beat. i have my dukes up.