Christi Williams didn't have a lot of company when she was diagnosed with cancer of the appendix in 2009.
At the time of her diagnosis, Williams was told there was only one other known case in Oklahoma. Few knew what she was going through.
“My appendix burst in July, and they found the tumor in August,” she said. “After they took out the tumor, I had surgery to have about two-thirds of my colon removed. It was a long process of recovery.”
The surgeries and scar tissue left Williams with limited flexibility in her abdomen — until she started taking Livestrong classes at the Earlywine YMCA.
The free classes are designed for cancer survivors. Sessions also will begin at the North Side YMCA on Feb. 19, the Edward L. Gaylord Downtown YMCA on March 18 and the Edmond YMCA on April 8. Last year, more than 60 cancer survivors in the Oklahoma City area completed the program.
The classes teach participants about holistic health goals and help them to increase muscle mass, strength, flexibility and endurance over the course of the 12-week program.
“Cancer is life-changing, and how strong a person feels in spirit, mind and body can directly impact how he or she lives through and beyond treatment,” YMCA Health and Wellness Director Angela Jones said.
Williams enjoyed meeting others who were facing similar challenges.
“The socializing was a big part of it for me,” Williams said. “It was comforting to meet people who are in the same situation, or similar. The cancers can be different, but many of the challenges are the same.”
The classes meet two days a week. One day is typically devoted to cardio, and the second day is devoted to specific workouts, guest speakers and field trips. The classes have helped Williams' recovery. She continued going to the YMCA after her class ended last month.
“I have more flexibility, and I can get around a little more,” Williams said. “It's a long process, but it was a great way to start it.”
For more information about Livestrong classes, call Aline Ludwig at 378-0420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration begins Jan. 22.