Transforming Your Medical Records Into Poetry Workshop

“Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick,” opens Susan Sontag’s book Illness as Metaphor. And in the kingdom of illness, surgery, and disease, we encounter mysterious words such as electrocautery, compression deformity, and peak systolic strain. For those of us who are […]

Permission to Ask for Quiet

Having metastatic breast cancer means I spend a lot of time in windowless rooms. Exam rooms. Gowned waiting rooms. Scan rooms. Radiation rooms. Infusion rooms. Bathrooms.  Every three months–when I go for my echocardiogram to make sure Herceptin is not damaging my heart–I spend 45 minutes in a dark, windowless room with just one other […]

Creating a Community of Breast Cancer Stories: April Stearns & Wildfire

“Do we really need more breast cancer stories?” a dear friend asks April Stearns, Founder and Editor of Wildfire Magazine, the  beautiful, purse-sized literary journal specifically geared toward readers and writers who are “too young to have breast cancer.” A funny question to ask someone who has been fostering, supporting, and publishing heartfelt breast cancer […]

Celebrating an Oncology Nurse Practitioner: A Vital Part of my Cancer Team

Lorelei Graham, my oncology nurse practitioner for over ten years, leans toward me. We are inside a small, windowless examination room. It is cool and familiar here, though outside it is a scorchingly hot July 2020 day. Deep into the first wave of COVID, we are both face-covered and distanced. With her feet firmly planted, […]

Letters from the Living

In Marie Howe’s poem, “My Dead Friends,” the speaker of the poem admits that when she’s “weary and can’t decide an answer to a bewildering question,” she asks her “dead friends for their opinion.” As a response, “They stand in unison shaking their heads and smiling–whatever  leads/to joy, they always answer,//to more life and less […]

Reimagining Pain by Katharine Jones

Overexpressed is honored to welcome guest blogger Katharine Jones. In this piece, she explores how the process of visualization helped her to deal with pain due to MBC. Katharine Jones spent her childhood in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. She works in Philadelphia as a Professor and writes about mindfulness and the challenges posed by […]

Postcard Poem Writing Project

January 2016: Every morning my alarm goes off at 4:57 am. I pad downstairs in the dark. Pour my coffee. Close my eyes and breathe for ten minutes. Then, I read a smattering of poems from Ross Gay’s Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude, Ada Limon’s Bright Dead Things, and Larry Levis’ The Selected Levis.  I begin […]

Overexpressed Asks: A Series Featuring the Voices of MBC

Overexpressed Asks is honored and privileged to feature the thoughtful, heartfelt, and honest reflections of NANCY HÉRARD-MARSHALL. Nancy is a mother, wife, artist, dancer, teacher, therapist, and healer, who uses her various life experiences to empower and foster healing. Among her areas of expertise are treatment interventions for culturally diverse populations with an emphasis on […]

Narrative Explanation: “Thirteen Ways of Looking at MBC”

In writing the poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Metastatic Breast Cancer,” (featured on Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Blog) I am indebted to Wallace Stevens’ poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” His poem inspired me, and the form of his poem offered me a container to hold thirteen different perspectives of metastatic breast […]

Overexpressed Asks: A Series Featuring the Voices of MBC

In the next installation of Overexpressed Asks, we feature the brave and honest voice of Rachel Kraus. Rachel Kraus is a Professor of Sociology at Ball State University in Muncie, IN (about an hour north of Indianapolis) who specializes in gender, identity, and religion/spirituality.  She earned her BA in Sociology from the University of Cincinnati, […]


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