Whether for Strength, Recovery or Connection, the YMCA is like a Family.

My Y Story: Anna Thomas


When Anna Thomas moved from Massachusetts to Hudson in2017 to be closer to her daughter’s family, she was eager to connect with the community. Her daughter was a Y member and knew she would make friends and quickly introduced her to the Y.

Anna, a cancer survivor, joined LIVESTRONG at the Y in January 2019. She was eight years out from her breast cancer diagnosis, and eight years cancer free. “I was in a group of four women, one woman was a year past surgery and the others were going through cancer treatment. It was interesting because I was the senior member of the class and I could relate to where they were in their treatments. I had done it all. I was able to share my experiences.

I had to have two surgeries, because the first cancer surgery didn’t get the marginal area. I wasn’t happy about this. When I went into my second surgery I said to my doctor, you are going to get this all today, right? Because if there’s another surgery I’m not coming back. I had a nervous breakdown just coming today. He came around my bed and gave me a hug. We will get it all, he said.”

“My heart did not like the surgeries. It started acting up. I went into a flutter a month after the surgery. I had to have an ablation. (Cardiac ablation is a procedure that scars tissue in your heart to block irregular electrical signals.) It was a tough situation. They took a biopsy before surgery and sent part away to grade it. It was a 5 out of 10. The oncologist said he didn’t want to take a chance. My numbers were on the margin. I had to have four sessions of chemotherapy.

Since then, Anna has had two more ablation procedures. Additionally, she had back surgery, right after the LIVESTRONG at the Y program. “I joined the Y’s Enhance Fitness program. I wanted to be doing exercise to help get healthy. I injure my back from lifting my grandson out of his high chair and had to go into surgery. I had L4 and L5 disks that bulged. I have a lot of arthritis up and down my spine and stenosis (Stenosis can cause pressure on your spinal cord or the nerves that go from your spinal cord to your muscles) A lot of people get it when they get older. I knew exercise would help me prepare for surgery and help me after surgery,” she said. Anna shared that she was supposed to get some of her spinal disks fused, but her bones were too brittle from the chemotherapy.

Anna loves the Y for its wellness programs, but also shared: “I live alone. I’m getting out to the Y and seeing people. I really enjoy my friends at the Y. Eirikur (her BOOST instructor) is great. We both enjoy people and we banter back in forth in our classes. It adds humor to the class. Others join in on the humor. It’s not just exercising, we get to know each other, we laugh and have fun.”

Enhance Fitness (now called BOOST) is as an 8-week program for older adults of all fitness levels. It uses simple, easy-to-learn movements that can help older adults get back into a fitness routine or build upon the basics.

When asked what she has participated in at the Y, she shared, “I enjoy the walking groups in the summer that go through Mine Falls. I take advantage of that. This program will start up in May.

I’m looking forward to that. Once a month, our BOOST class have been invited to try pilates, tai chi and yoga. It’s a great way to expose member to see what else is available. I also enjoyed having coffee before our class at the Y. My classmates joined me. We caught up on life. I would definitely recommend joining the Y. It’s like a family. The Y takes care of people and helps people get healthy.”

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