Public Service Announcement – Martial Arts and Injuries

Yet another injury/surgery. Monday, (December, 2017) I had a tumor/cyst (being evaluated) cut out of my armpit and chest. Some 5 inches by 4 inches. (its tentacles went deep.) It is 99% non-malignant at first glance the doc says, and testing on it will be done as routine. The doc thought from the CT Scan it would be a quick, 10 minute, open-and-yank-out deal so we used a local numbing. I say “we” because he thought that and I agreed.

     But, I was on the op table for 45 minutes, AWAKE, as they cut every square inch of the damn thing out. It went like 3 to 4 inches deep in parts. Jane was in the room since they thought it would be a breeze. As they went deeper into un-numbed areas, I “told them,” and they needle-numbed deeper.

     When they first hit these raw nerves, it sent burning, skinning sensations into my armpit and down my arm. Felt like someone was skinning my skin with a shaving razor. I yelped, they injected. But, I couldn’t help but think about those poor people getting bullets extracted similar to this process, under minimum or NO pain killers in battlefields and gunfights. Wow. You would have to tie these people down because the shocking pain would cause anyone to jerk and move. Bite a bullet too? (I also thought of the old military armpit, saber stab we teach – sooooo, that's a mere hint of what THAT feels like!)

     Looking at the just-after-pictures, I swear I have seen gunshot wounds that look better than this. Still, compared to some, this was endurable and a few jokes were cracked in the operation. In comparison – my son-in-law’s brother, David Miller died a few days ago, just a super guy, fighting complications from Crohn’s Disease. THAT is serious. This was just an extraction.

     Anyway, this has really jacked up by right pec, armpit and inside upper arm. Many layers of stitches from way deep to surface. I can’t even climb stairs because a sudden rise in blood pressure might pop those inner, deep stitches open! Whole upper right side hurts like a car wreck or something. I cannot do ANYTHING for a week but vegitate. Then a few small things after that first week. NO GYM for weeks! I will grow even more fatter and out of shape.

     Now, what caused this? I am prone to cysts on injury spots. This may be my third surgery from them. Two on my hands, from hitting folks years ago. How’d I get this big, chest one? About 6, 7 years ago, while stick fighting, I dodged a head shot and the top inches of my friend’s stick missed my helmet and smashed/clipped into this area of my right chest/shoulder. Of course I had no torso protection. And it REALLY hurt, ergo, I REALLY remember it. The doctor asked me about injuries there and I recalled this one. He nodded and said, this is probably where it came from. Probably, though. You know we can’t be sure. There are some of these things just pop up, so I cannot say with 100%. best guess.

     Some of these things are filled with a fluid and some with fat. Most go away and some like this one and my other two I had? Don’t. They just hang out and keep growing. With tentacles.

     So…martial arts? How did I lose half my upper, right arm in the 90s? Shadow boxing with baseball bats instead of sticks one day in my 40s. Snap! You know, using bats to get bigger, stronger and faster. Riiigghht. Instead I got an irreparable, muscle rip and life-long, half strength. Lets not even get into my hip replacement and wonderful, brain damage. And I still can’t let anything cold into the left side of my mouth from a very special punch in the mouth years ago.

     My public service announcement is…take better care of yourself when young. And older too. Seriously, folks. People ask me when I am going to quit teaching, quit this schedule. I tell people that every weekend I only play touch football and everyone else plays tackle. But when you’re older, even “touch” takes its toll. Then, there’s that flicker of macho, a flash of youth I shouldn’t have or do, then there's mistakes or missteps I shouldn't have taken. Wrong place. Wrong time. Wham.

     Once again, take care of yourselves. I remember that line from a martial artist once, that after a certain middle-age, injures are not just injuries, but turn into small, life-long disabilities.

     Some of those, not so small.

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