I once had a doctor tell me, "Danner, you have got to stop and breathe!" It's true. I work in an intense environment and get wrapped up in fitting in everything I need to by a certain deadline in a day that I literally forget to breathe.
I forget to look around and enjoy my morning workout, a hot shower, that first cup of coffee, the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains on my drive around town, my son's laugher or the way my husband looks at me that makes me feel unconditional love. I forget to breathe.
Nancy Young doesn't forget to breathe. I met her while working on a story about MAAM (Mammograms Annually a Must). She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. The retired professor doesn't consider doctors finding the small tumor a stroke of "luck", rather that she was just wise about getting her annual mammogram.
Cancer free now, she enjoys time in her garden (dubbed Nancy's Fancy by friends) taking in "the woods, the trees, the bushes, the flowers, taking a deep breath and enjoying the moment."
Sharon Moyer doesn't forget to breathe either – not for a second. She was diagnosed with breast cancer that had metastasized to the bone a week before Thanksgiving last year. The tumors in her spine and sternum broke some of her bones and that's how doctors found them. She's seen her share of pain, was bedridden by it, taking a catalog of pain medication just to function. However, Sharon promised her 14 year old daughter to get out of bed, mend herself and find a way to live whatever life God has given her.
Doctors tell Sharon they can not cure her cancer. That alone might leave a lot of people overwhelmed – I know I would. But Sharon found a rehab program at Centra to help strengthen her body and get out of bed. However many days she has left on this earth, she is watching her teenage daughter grow up every day, taking trips to places she's always wanted to go, enjoying her morning cup of coffee in her pink mug and never forgetting to breath.
I am honored and humbled to have met both Sharon and Nancy. There were tears when I heard their stories – Sharon and I shared a box of Kleenex during our interview.
I took away a lot more than their stories after sitting down with them. I was reminded what a gift I have to be healthy. How lucky I am to run in the back yard with my little boy, or lace up my running shoes and tackle the Langhorne Road hills. They reminded me to breathe and to thank God for every breath I take.