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Arthritis Foundation Life Improvement Series
by Kristie Archer
Lyndy, from Denver, should know. Just as she defeated breast cancer, lupus was lurking close behind.
Only one year after stopping cancer treatments Lyndy broke out in a full body rash and lost all her hair. Going bald got her attention. She went to see her doctor who referred her to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in the treatment of arthritis. A new diagnosis came: systemic lupus erythematosus (or SLE).
SLE is an inflammatory, autoimmune disease that affects nearly every organ system in the body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, lungs and central nervous system. It is a chronic disease that comes and goes, striking organs at different times. It also causes debilitating fatigue.
Fortunately for Lyndy, her rheumatology team knew that exercise is the best arthritis pain reliever. They recommended exercise in a warm-water pool. They gave her a list of five or six facilities that offered the Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program. AFAP is one of four Life Improvement Series programs developed specifically to help the millions of people living with arthritis take control of their disease. The facility closest to her had a one-year waiting list for AFAP. Not willing to wait, Lyndy checked out the program at the Schlessman Family YMCA.
With her joints and muscles locked up by SLE, Lyndy couldnít walk across the pool, let alone keep up with the 80-year-old participants. Week after week she attended AFAP classes, each time exercising every joint in her body. The water gave her wings; she was able to move in ways she couldnít on land. Though she will always have SLE, she is able to function on a comfortable level again. She got her life back.
Years later, Lyndy still regularly attends her arthritis classes, not as participant but as an instructor. She teaches both the Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program and the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program for the YMCA. As a student, the class was about her. But now she is able to move beyond herself and help others.
Her students are in their 70s, 80s, and early 90s. They come to the waterís edge with canes and walkers or strap oxygen tanks to their backs as they slow march around the room. They notice a difference in their mobility if they miss a week so they do whatever it takes to make it to class.
New students who come to the class for the first time are often hesitant. Lyndy relates directly to their hearts. She tells them how she learned to tame her monster with the help of Arthritis Foundationís Life Improvement Series and she teaches them to hope for a brighter, pain-free future.
Viewer Comments (7)Post a Comment
- #firstName# #lastName# | #date#
- Mary Knowles | 07/19/2012
Thanks Lyndy for sharing your experience and helping others. We are so happy you are at our Y!
- Cathy Toles | 07/31/2012
Congratulations Lyndy. Your courage to fight for your life and your willingness to share that courage with others is a great example of the spirit of SGI and Nichiren Buddhism.
- Jackie Stephens | 08/15/2012
Lyndy, You go girl! I am so proud of you.
- sierha bonnette | 08/16/2012
Lyndy molto bravo . congratutions
- Kylle Been | 09/26/2012
You inspire me! Thanks for all that you do.
- Kristie Archer | 09/28/2012
Lyndy, thank you for sharing your life with us! You are amazing.
- Sherry Loomis | 01/21/2013
You Go girl! Wish you could teach me in Massachusetts! Hugs, Sherry
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