I was scheduled to fight tomorrow, but had to make the decision to cancel it yesterday.
I started showing flu-like symptoms on Sunday, which have gotten progressively worse ever since. I had to take the day off work and training on Monday, most of which I spent in bed, but got up for Tuesday’s training, which was particularly hellish. Throughout the session, I consistently struggled to catch my breath and at the end of every round, I felt like I literally couldn’t do another one. After sparring, I went on to do padwork, but was unable to put any power in at all and detected the worry in my trainer’s expression when he looked at me. After finishing up with him, I slumped down in the corner of the ring (something I would never normally do) and stayed there for a couple of minutes, gasping for breath. The unwritten rule of not showing your weakness completely went out the window, and a couple of people commented that I looked like I was ‘going to die‘, which didn’t fill me with confidence. After that, I did some clinching with another trainer, although it was mainly just him throwing me around and me getting mad that I didn’t have the energy to do anything about it. Every time he hit me with one of those slapping side knees, even when they weren’t hard, it completely drained me, like he’d hit a power off button. That’s something I’ve never felt in a fight, let alone in training, so it was slightly worrying. Despite how terrible I felt, I still wanted to fight. I thought ‘if I can push through that in training, I can push through it in a fight‘. I then invested all my energy into getting better for Friday. I drank huge batches of homemade ginger, lemon and honey tea and forced myself to eat all the vegetables I could get my hands on in order to get all the nutrients my body needed. I was clearly in denial, because what I really needed was medicine. When I wasn’t in training, I was resting, but it wasn’t enough. The following morning’s training was also pretty rough. At the beginning of the session, I walked up to one of my training partners and said “if I manage to get through this session without crying, someone give me a medal“, but as it went on, I did feel marginally better than I had the previous day. I had a little more air in my lungs and a little more energy in the tank. I thought, “today is better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today, so Friday will be fine“.
After getting up to my room and showering, I broke down out of nowhere. The fatigue allowed the symptoms of whatever I had to hit me like a train and I crumpled into a blubbering, snotty mess on the bed. I had an overly dramatic episode, heaving and crying and generally feeling sorry for myself. I had a pounding headache, my limbs were heavy and weak and on top of barely being able to breathe, I felt like I was going to throw up. The way I was feeling, there was no way I could fight in two days time and do a good job of it. I agonised over what to do about it for some time and thankfully, I had some awesome female training partners and friends to help me work out what to do. I didn’t want to cancel and cause trouble for my trainer or the promoter, but I had to take care of myself. The girls reminded me that I’d never cancelled a fight before, that everyone knew how hard I’d always worked and that it wasn’t worth the risk of getting myself hurt. I didn’t really have a choice – it wasn’t really a question of whether or not I should be fighting, because I physically felt that I couldn’t, but if I should cancel immediately or wait and see how I felt on the day. Cancelling is one thing, but cancelling at the last minute is even more annoying, so I decided that it would be best to let my trainer know as soon as possible, so the promoter had time to find a replacement for me. I knew it would terrify him for me to approach him all disgusting, teary-eyed and whiny, but that’s what I did. I told him that I was too sick to fight on Friday, but that I would be happy to move the bout next week (perhaps still in denial at this point). To my relief, he was completely fine with it, which was a weight lifted. A teammate had even offered to fight in my place if they needed another women’s match.
I didn’t write this post just to whine about how sick I am, but to talk about how hard it is to have to make the decision to cancel a fight. It comes a huge element of guilt as well as the disappointment of not being able to get in the ring when you planned to. I’ve had opponents back out of fights more than a few times and it’s always frustrating, so I’ve never wanted to do that to someone else. It also goes against my entire work ethic. I always strive to train through any adversity and the only thing I let get in the way of my fights is my work. On this occasion, I think backing out was the right thing to do. It’s important to take care of your body and give it rest when it needs it. I ended up getting sicker still and finding out that I actually had Bronchitis, so it seemed that I definitely made the right decision. After twenty fights without ever backing out, I’ll allow myself this one. As soon as I’m a little better, I’ll be back in training and hopefully, we can have that fight next week.