A year since my world changed and I learned the real meaning of pushing through. Almost a year since I was diagnosed with stage II Invasive Ductal carcinoma and here I am still in active treatment, but I haven’t let that stop me. No, I’m lucky to have an amazing group by my side and they’ve been there since day one. Well, in truth they’ve been there long before day one.
The day of my diagnosis was like getting kicked in the gut by a well-trained fighter. It knocked the breath from me. As anger and fear filled my mind, my reaction was to go to CKO Astoria, my second home, and take it all out on the bag. That's exactly what I did, after talking to my friend there, I decided I might as well tell the owner. Telling Leo was frightening because you don’t know how anyone will react in this type of situation, but not surprisingly he was supportive. He offered to freeze my account, but I refused and told him what I needed from him, from CKO, was to help me stay strong. That they did, from the very beginning the owners and instructors helped me modify classes and worked with me one-on-one at times. CKO became a part of my treatment: class Tuesday, chemo Wednesday, class on Thursday, I had to work off the steroids they filled me with somehow and the mental release that comes from hitting that bag is like no other. By Saturday morning, class felt like I was punching and kicking in the ocean wearing weights, but I pushed through and everyone at CKO stood by my side. Sunday and Monday I rested, I really couldn’t do much else those days. It didn’t matter though because I was able to stay strong, physically and mentally. My doctors were amazed by the fact that I continued CKO throughout chemo and even throughout radiation. I kickboxed one handed, never once using the side impacted by cancer. The only time I wasn’t in class was when I had surgery and the four weeks after that I was recovering.
The family I’ve met at CKO became closer than my real family. They came to treatment with me, sat by my side, and waited during surgery. I shouldn’t be surprised that they were there for me, CKO has been a huge part of my life that past 4 ½ years. They’ve helped me with turn myself around and have shown me how strong I can be.
These days, while I’m still in active treatment and class gets harder for me from pain caused by the treatment, the owners and trainers of CKO Astoria continue to encourage me to keep going while also reminding me to take my time and take breaks so I don’t overdo it. They’re more than a gym, more than trainers, they’re family and I’m blessed to have them.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me how encouraging and inspiring I am, I’m thankful for their words though. I couldn’t be this way if I didn’t have the people I have in my life. I couldn’t keep going if CKO wasn’t there to nudge me along and keep me in check. I’m thankful for Leo and Anthony for opening the doors of CKO Astoria. I’m thankful to all their instructors that have been by my side throughout this journey. I’m especially thankful for the members that became friends and family and to the #CKOFITFAM that have cheered me on via social media. CKO is more than a gym, it’s a community that I’m proud to be a part of.