“I’m capable of much more than I thought I was.” -Christine

When Christine was in her early 30’s, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and later diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland. “When you have Hashimoto’s, it’s an emotional roller coaster,” says Christine. “It’s not just a physical thing, your entire autoimmune system is affected.” Christine’s doctor suggested that she try to incorporate exercise into her daily routine. She always enjoyed swimming at the Y, but one day she decided to switch things up a bit. That’s when she discovered a Tai Chi class taught by Y instructor and trainer, Brian.

“I never felt like I fit in with a group exercise class,” says Christine. “When I first got to Brian’s class, I parked myself right by the door so that I could leave if I didn’t feel comfortable. Brian was so instructional, and I enjoyed the class so much. I was so moved by the whole thing that I went into the bathroom and cried when I was done. I kept thinking to myself, ‘what a great teacher he is.’ I even ended up staying for Brian’s second class that day, and I eventually signed up to do personal training sessions with him.”

Christine says she appreciates Brian’s willingness to modify certain workouts or movements to fit her needs. “He doesn’t just stand there and expect everyone to do the exercises the same way,” says Christine. I had back surgery and there are certain things I simply cannot do. Brian helps me establish a routine that works for me and teaches me in a way that I can understand.” Since she started training with Brian, Christine says she now comes to the Y every morning. “I’m at the Southtowns Family YMCA every day at 5:15 am. It’s changed my whole day. My muscle aches have improved because I’m moving more, and my doctor says my new regimen is doing nothing but helping me. Brian has offered exercise options that work for me and make me feel stronger.”

Christine’s time at the Y hasn’t only helped her physically, but it’s helped her gain confidence, too. “A few weeks ago, I would walk in here with my eyes down and I wouldn’t talk to anyone. Now when I come here I feel like I belong as much as anyone else does.” She says Brian has helped her feel more comfortable asking Y staff members for help on the Wellness floor. “The staff and instructors are very nice and willing to help. If you don’t understand an exercise or how to use a machine, they are there to guide you.”

Christine also says her experience has encouraged her to try new things. “I used to only feel comfortable in the pool, but I haven’t been in the pool once since I started training with Brian. He’s made me braver and I’m excited to try new and different classes at the Y.” She says she hopes other people who are looking to join the Y do the same. “People need to find something that’s comfortable for them. I used to feel like a duck out of water. but the more I look around, I find people of all different ages and physical abilities. The Y is a place for everybody. I think people shouldn’t get too boxed into one thing because that’s what I did and it was a mistake. I’m capable of much more than I thought I was.”

Christine writes about her experience with Hashimoto’s disease in her blog. You can read it here.

Previous story
Next story