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’s Ghosts of Holidays Past
Every holiday season, one song starts to play in my head even if I do not hear it on the radio: “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.”
Breast Cancer: Two Words That Mean A Lot
When mentioning “breast cancer” in a story about my college experience is not allowed, I considered alternatives to the medical term that describes my situation best.
Musing About My Genetic Glitch
Although I know I am not a scientist, and understand my cancer may take a lifetime, I contemplate why I ended up with too many copies of the HER2 gene.
When Surviving Cancer Means You Can Mow the Lawn
Surviving cancer means not just checking items off a bucket list, but also taking pleasure in doing the mundane, from sweeping a porch to mowing a lawn.
A Case for the Human Cancer Survivor in a World of AI
Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly popular and can even write generic poems about the cancer experience. However, I feel that they cannot compare to the writings of people who actually lived with the disease.
Hiking Past Lymphedema
With each hike I complete, I feel empowered and reminded that breast cancer — and lingering lymphedema — cannot keep me down.
When Memory Lane Veers Into Cancer Highway
Cancer is complicated enough while we are in it. How important are specific memories and details as we focus on survivorship into, hopefully, an old age that may bring natural memory loss?
Lighting the Path to Cancer Survivorship
During this holiday season, lighting candles in remembrance and in honor of those who need a little light on their cancer journeys helps me cope, too.
Cancer Survivorship Superstitions: Can a Delayed Mammogram Be Catastrophic?
A routine can feel so comfortable that change is hard. So, when my annual mammogram and cancer checkup was delayed, I tried hard not to sweat the small stuff.
When Pinktober Brings Another Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Here are some tips on how I helped a friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
My Treasured Box of Cancer Greetings
I recently came across a shoebox full of cards sent to me after I was diagnosed with cancer. The love expressed by others was uplifting to me.
Crying Over a Movie, Cancer and Lost Innocence
“Love Story,” the story about a young woman who falls in love and then dies of cancer, affects me differently now than it did when I was a teenager and no experience with either love or cancer.
Lymphedema Lessons for Summer Travels
I did not wear my prosthetic breast for my son’s wedding, but I did pack some lymphedema essentials for my trip.
I’ve Finally Allowed Myself ‘Bitter Resentment’ Over My Brother’s Death from Cancer
It has been 46 years since my brother died of cancer, and I have finally reached the “bitter resentment” stage of grief.
The Search for a Post-Mastectomy Swimsuit Can Be as Puzzling as Wordle
Finding a swimsuit if you have not chosen reconstruction after breast cancer can be a challenge, but there are many ways to find what best works for you.
When Another Friend Dies of Cancer, I Ask Myself, ‘What Quirk of Fate Left Me Here?’
As I prepared for my friend’s celebration of life, I reflected on other loved ones I lost to cancer and pondered why I am lucky enough to survive.
Cancer Changed My Relationship With Pain: ‘Being a Trooper’ Is Not Always a Good Thing
After seeing my brother go through extraordinary pain because of lymphoma and then surviving breast cancer myself, I always pushed through the pain — even when I shouldn’t have.
Torn Between Looking ‘Normal’ and Being Myself: A Cancer Survivor’s Newfound Breast Envy
A breast cancer survivor describes how preparing an outfit for her son’s upcoming wedding and seeing social media photos of other women sparked body envy within her for those who have not been affected by breast cancer surgeries.
The Paradoxical Gifts of Cancer
Nobody wants to learn they have cancer. But sometimes, the disease teaches people to appreciate other aspects of life, one cancer survivor explains.
‘So Much for my Big Plan’ to Bid Farewell to Cancer: A Reflection on Tumor Markers During Survivorship
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.
Breast Cancer Survivor Reflects on Mammogram Hesitancy Through the Lens of COVID-19
How does COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy relate to fear of mammograms for breast cancer? A cancer survivor explains the connection.
Swimming to Improve Cancer Symptoms
A cancer survivor describes how happy she was to return to the public swimming pool after getting her COVID-19 vaccine.
Don’t Let Cancer Keep You From Hiking This Summer
“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 Pep Talk On COVID-19 Vaccinations From a Cancer Survivor
"Some experiences we have as cancer survivors may help inspire those reluctant to get or complete COVID-19 vaccinations to follow through. We are all role models for each other."
Navigating the Long-Term Effects of Cancer Treatment are Reminders of a ‘New Normal’
Sorting out symptoms as survivors age can be challenging, writes a cancer survivor. She notes that survivors have special needs that they need to be aware of to make the most of their “new normal.”
Why My ‘Normal’ Breast Now Feels Like a Liability
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.
5 Holiday Tips for Families with Cancer
Cancer is something that impacts the entire family and changes how you and your own family may approach the holidays. Here are 5 tips for families with cancer to use during the holiday season.
It Takes Two: Lessons in Lymphedema Management After a Wrist Fracture
Using the full use of my left hand for a few months, I relied more on my lymphedema limb. Those with lymphedema, I learned, might do well to avoid fractures as best they can.
A Survivor Reflects on Cancer’s Toll
Cancer survivors sometimes wonder about their purpose on earth as time passes and so many others pass away before us with cancer. We need to be gentle with ourselves and not stress to much.
The Elephant in the Room: Cancer Treatment Made Me Clumsier
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.
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