How Exercise and The Y has Impacted Me
Mila Evanovich is a member at the Laguna Niguel YMCA. This is her story.
“When I consider the impact the Y has had on me, it is first essential to emphasize that my family held a Y membership nearly 50 years ago-it was the place in McKeesport, Pennsylvania to learn to swim, it was the place where my brothers learned to become formidable basketball players, and it was the place we felt most importantly fit our young family’s needs 20 years ago. The Y has been an integral part of our lives: from our children’s initial exposure to various youth sports; to numerous summer camps, and now as the sturdy pillar for our individual workouts or classes. Never did I feel the Y’s impact on me more powerfully than this past year when I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. Secretly, the Y became my exclusive sanctuary. As I struggled to come to grips with this daunting and sinister disease, I chose exercise, more specifically, spin classes, as a way to expel some of these frustrations. Even though exercise had always played a fundamental role in my daily life, never was it more crucial than this past year.
Perhaps it was the mental picture of me being upright on the bike which likened me to not really being sick, or perhaps it was this thought : if I can get on that bike and fight my way
through a grueling 20 mile spin class, why couldn’t I just as easily shake off cancer? Whatever my skewed reasoning, fight is what I did, and ultimately, what saved me. It became my personal hallmark to be able to finally walk into the Y, and back into that spin room, a mere 4 weeks after cancer surgery. Seeing my beloved spin –mates in front of and beside me on their bikes raring to go, brought me to my knees. These individuals, many without ever knowing, motivated and inspired me to keep going- giving me that extra boost of momentum I so desperately needed. I am humbled to admit I never once missed a spin class during the entire breast cancer treatment regime. Halfway through my last cancer treatment, something shifted inside of me, making me realize the significance of helping others with breast cancer or any cancer really, hoping to empower them while making a stand for stronger awareness for cancer patients to consider exercising during cancer treatments.
I am not certain what compelled me to push forward so doggedly, yet whatever that reason, I believe exercise, in itself, vastly helped to enormously push me through cancer treatment. And my doctors believe it too as I continue dodging bullets.”
YMCA Director Jennifer Heinen explains how Mila stayed so positive throughout treatment.
“Mila has been open about her cancer diagnosis and treatment, and her positive outlook and drive to make exercise part of her recovery is inspiring for all of us here at the Y.”
– Jennifer Heinen
Dr. Nimmi Kapoor comments on exercising during cancer treatments.
“Exercise is an integral part of breast cancer management. Not only will exercise help your overall well-being, being active during cancer treatment can prevent side-effects, improve quality of life, and better your chances of winning your fight against cancer. Numerous studies have shown that women who engage in regular exercise and are active, are less likely to experience a breast cancer recurrence and are more likely to survive their breast cancer than sedentary women who are obese.”