Felicia Mitchell is a poet and writer who makes her home in southwestern Virginia, where she teaches at Emory & Henry College. She was diagnosed with Stage 2b HER2-positive breast cancer in 2010. Website: www.feliciamitchell.net
As a breast cancer survivor, I have become more active in my efforts to call attention to problems with secondhand smoke in my community. Since I know that exposure is not healthy, lobbying for changes in attitudes, as well as policies, makes me feel more empowered.
Breast cancer treatment is a life-saver but also can have side effects, including some related to shoulder pain. It is good to start doing the exercises as soon as the doctor recommends it. After that, a regular tune-up with a physical therapist can help.
I am the first to admit that I have a love-hate relationship with breast forms post-mastectomy. Every now and then, I do put one on. It comforts me to know that there are multiple options (especially for women who wear them regularly).
Making peace with radiation can be a challenge, even if high doses of targeted radiation can silence cancer cells. It took me almost two weeks to tame the beast of fear. What have you done to trick yourself into handling difficult situations during cancer treatment?
Especially during holiday seasons, we remember loved ones who are not with us. Even long after they have passed, we can cherish old memories and even make new ones with the help of social media. Recently I learned something sweet about my brother John, who died of Hodgkin's lymphoma decades ago, from a high school friend I never knew about.
Cancer is costly. What if I did not have health insurance or a steady paycheck? Would I have fallen through the cracks and died of metastatic breast cancer before anybody told me I was sick? An exercise in role-playing taught me that there is help available.