BIDDEFORD, Maine — "When you feel strong physically, yeah, it really does help you emotionally feel strong and know that you're going to get through it."
That, in a nutshell, explains why Nannette Nero kept moving and exercising through her breast cancer treatments and recovery, even when she didn't feel like it. "You set your intention," she says, "You decide you want to get up. You want to walk the dog. You decide you want to make it to that tai chi class, or yoga, or swim. Or go out for a day of skiing. You just do it."
Always an active person, Nero had started taking Tai chi, Qigong classes just a short time before her diagnosis. She found the slow deliberate movements, and breathing exercises to be very beneficial, specifically in helping with the side effects of treatment. "It's slow but it's still movement. And it's very meditative," she says.
As Nero made her way through recovery and started to feel well again, she decided she wanted to share the gift of this martial art with others as a way of giving back.
Now, she teaches a class every Wednesday night at Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford. She says she gets as much out of the classes as anyone. "We all feel better after class. So it's camaraderie as much as it is being an instructor. I feel like they're my-- they're my buddies."