“Good evening, my name is Christy and I am honored to be asked to speak to my experience as a member of the LIVESTRONG® Program at the Camarillo YMCA. A decade ago, I diagnosed with Stage II B breast cancer. Last year, my oncologist and I were talking about how I was just a year away from the “finish line”, but in June I was diagnosed with a recurrence of the same breast cancer, now a Stage IV bone metastasis. My doctor says it’s incurable, but very “treatable” and he’s confident I have many more “good years” ahead of me.
I’m also being treated for lymphedema, and at a Kaiser physical therapy support group for breast cancer survivors, I met a lovely lady named Joanne who told me “You know….there’s a LIVESTRONG® Program at the Y in Camarillo and it’s free…” “Free” appeals to this teacher’s sensibilities. I inquired and received several messages back from Paula Kristofferson who even went out of her way to adjust the class start time to accommodate my personal schedule. As a teacher, I can be reflexively critical of other instructors’ techniques. Paula Kristofferson and Deanna Armstrong instantly penetrated any skepticism I brought with me. Now I am a fervent believer that they are both exercise instructor Goddesses and the LIVESTRONG® Program has been a Godsend for me to embrace an imperative change of lifestyle.
“Mind*Body*Spirit” is the philosophy embedded in every part of this program. You concentrate on it while you’re in class and you reflect on it when you’re away from class. Joining an exercise class, could be the furthest priority in mind when you learn your disease is terminal, but the LiveStrong Program has imbued me with the faith, confidence and grace to actively pursue survival. I’ve told Paula and Deanna I feel absolutely safe in their hands and so respect their intuition and perception in passionately coaching us through appropriate movement and always accommodating our individual needs and restrictions. In the past eight weeks, I’ve gained strength, energy, lost weight and improved one of the worst cases of lymphedema my oncologist and physical therapist say they’ve ever seen. I am beyond grateful for this transformative experience.
Cancer is the club no one seeks membership in. It’s awkward to know what to say when someone like me shares a new diagnosis, even more difficult when you learn it’s terminal. But if that does happen, you can ask them if they have heard about the LIVESTRONG® Program. ( I wish I’d been involved with this program ten years ago.) Tell them you’ve heard it’s an empoweringly transformational experience and wish for them to “make history” in their journey. Assure them that the LIVESTRONG® Program will give them the hope they need to achieve the goal of “making history”. LIVESTRONG® has given me the hope I need to “make history”.
With heartfelt gratitude and appreciation,
from Christy- Christy Making History