Felicia Mitchell, retired from college teaching, is a poet and writer who makes her home in southwestern Virginia. She is a survivor of stage 2b HER2-positive breast cancer diagnosed in 2010. Website: www.feliciamitchell.net
A cancer survivor describes the emotional rollercoaster of learning her tumor marker levels have risen. "I had decided that this would be the year I would bid farewell to my cancer journey. So much for my big plan," she writes.
“Hiking is a great activity for all of us, including cancer survivors,” writes a breast cancer survivor. “As long as we can put one foot in front of the other, being out on a trail is inspirational and health-affirming.”
A breast cancer survivor who opted for a unilateral mastectomy advises people to look at all treatment and risk reduction options when first diagnosed with breast cancer so they can avoid any regrets years later.
For a long time, I refused to acknowledge the lingering effects of neuropathy. I found a way to joke about it and told everybody I was clumsy. To acknowledge the elephant in the room, I had to admit I needed to explore balance further.
Even though I knew I was eligible for COBRA and that it would come into effect soon, my anxiety soared and grew as the days progressed. I told anybody who would listen that a cancer survivor in the time of COVID cannot be without insurance for even a second.
With so many cancer survivors working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, we may need to assess how our shift to computer-based work affects limbs with lymphedema and make a few adjustments to the new routines to help ourselves out.
It is hard for me to have regrets, especially when it comes to cancer treatment. I am thankful for every step of my journey. At the same time, voicing a few of my regrets after all this time might help others. A cancer patient needs as much information as possible to make the journey work.
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.