“I became a member of KickHouse Tacoma in March of 2018. I was searching for my fitness niche and immediately fell in love with the workouts and energy of the studio. Finding my tribe meant I had the support I needed to accomplish my health and fitness goals. After a year of being a member and losing close to 50 pounds, I knew it was a place I wanted to be more involved with and became an employee in 2019. While I knew this was the right fit for me and my lifestyle, I did not anticipate how vital my KickHouse family would be in a short amount of time.
It’s not always about weight loss and fitness. Welcome to my story about caretaking, pregnancy, cancer, and kickboxing my way through it all.
Between state closures and the anticipation of the unknown, 2020 was hard on everyone, and let’s be honest; it is still challenging for many. During this time, my mom was in a senior living facility. We moved her there just nine short months earlier at her request. She was battling vascular dementia and starting to decline while living on her own. The socialization and increased safety gave us all a sense of security as we navigated her golden years and did our best to help keep her sense of independence.
When the pandemic forced facilities into lockdown, we did everything we could at a distance to keep her engaged. Still, it was quickly evident her brain was no match for the combination of isolation and dementia suffocating her brain – she drastically declined. After three months of lockdown, as a family, we decided that quality over quantity was more important, and we moved her into our home.
I come from a big family that helped me tremendously at this time, and I will forever be grateful my parents raised an amazing family. However, family comes in many shapes and forms, and it was my KickHouse family that gave me a place of refuge. Caretaking was both a blessing and a curse. I was so blessed to care for my mom as she deserved and was able to love and cherish her while we had her. Dementia was the curse that slowly but surely took her away from us mentally and physically. Caretaking was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever managed, but I did it and in large part because of the love and support I received. My family helped manage mom and her needs.
However, my KickHouse family gave me friendships and a place of refuge where I could punch and kick out my stress, fear, anxiety, giving me the gift of more patience and perspective as we traveled this difficult journey. Kickboxing was no longer about fitness; it was vital to my mental health and stability. After seven months, due to mom’s further decline, we decided to move my mom to a small group home for her safety and the level of care she gradually required. What I didn’t know is that our timing was everything and that life would take another crazy twist of loss and a fight for two lives I never saw coming in just a few short weeks.
We moved mom into the group home the day after Thanksgiving. The transition was tumultuous, and unfortunately, her decline continued, and in a few short weeks, she was on hospice. As we continued to focus on surrounding her with love, my husband and I got the fantastic news that we were expecting on New Year’s Eve. This was a shock as we had tried for four years after the birth of our daughter. After miscarriages and no signs of pregnancy for quite a long time, we assumed that boat had sailed. We were so excited that we would be able to tell our daughter that she would be a big sister. It was just the light we all needed.
However, the next week the shadows turned dark once again as I got the phone call regarding my own health – stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and it was aggressive.
Early on, I decided while there are a lot of things that I can’t control, there are just as many that I can manage, and that was doing everything in my power to support my mental and physical wellbeing. I REFUSED to give up the things I loved, including kickboxing. With the support of my KickHouse family and my niece, who is also one of my most dependable kickboxing accountability partners, I kickboxed my way through 12 rounds of chemo and seven months of pregnancy.
My KickHouse family has continued to embrace me and push me to keep going. Cancer is just as much a mental battle as physical, and kickboxing kept both intact. In addition to kickboxing, I dialed in my diet with the help of a nutritionist to give my body and immune system a fighting chance. I weathered chemo like a champ, and I give all that credit to kickboxing and eating right. I genuinely believe that going into this fight healthy both physically and mentally has made all the difference. I can’t express in words what kickboxing has done for me over the last year and continues to do so. Currently, I am on a break as I just completed surgery and am healing. Our baby boy is doing AMAZING and is due September 5th!
While my journey is not over, kickboxing will continue to be my foundation and my rock. I can’t wait to get back on the mat. As for anyone considering joining KickHouse or trying a class – DO IT! In a million years, I would not have thought that a simple trial would turn into one of life’s most treasured gifts. And because I can, I’m throwing the cancer card – if I can do it pregnant and going through chemo, you can do it too! Be patient with yourself; your health is a marathon, not a sprint. Take care of your body, and it will take care of you. This is your chance, and you won’t regret it.”
– Kat Goodner, KickHouse Tacoma
KickHouse is a modern kickboxing studio offering a variety of class formats, each rooted in kickboxing but with additional fitness flare added in. The KickHouse mission is to help members and communities take their health and kick it up a level via a consistent kickboxing practice! The new kickboxing brand has quickly grown to over 35 locations across the country and is looking to grow to 100 kickboxing studios within the next six months. If you’re interested in becoming a fitness franchise owner and opening your own KickHouse studio, visit https://www.thekickhouse.com/franchise.