Felicia M. Hazzard runs Fragrance Belles-Lettres Magazine and is the author of the play HERspectives; here is a link to her website:
Q: What is HERspectives
A: HERspectives is a play on the word “perspectives”. Its sort of a tool to use to describe a women’s approach to situations…family, work, recreational. Its a term to use for the voice of women approaching life situations.
Q: What made you want to share your story?
A: I knew that I was not the only woman going through treatment for breast cancer. However, I did want to express how I was coping with the issue. I wanted people to realize that having this type of cancer or any other type of cancer does not mean a “death sentence”. This is still light at the end of the tunnel and that is why I wanted to share my story.
Q: What was the hardest thing about telling your story?
A: It was hard to publically tell the world that I had breast cancer. Many people did not know because they saw me doing the same things as before. I did not want to have pity because in most cases like this, people begin to feel sorry for you. I did not want that to be the focus of my journey with breast cancer. I am grateful for the support but I do not want the pity.
Q: What inspired you to start Fragrance Belles-Lettres Magazine?
A: Thank you for asking this question. I used to be a contributing writer for several online magazines and I got tired of the editors telling me to write about a perfume a certain way. I write the truth with passion. I cannot glorify a fragrance if it isn’t so. Therefore I said if they can create a fragrance magazine with those rules and regulations, then I most certainly can create a fragrance magazine, too.
Q: What do you look for in a perfume?
A: It is always the scent. Does the scent truly match the vision for the fragrance. What is the story behind the fragrance and I look for how long the scent lasts on the skin. When it does what is the scent of the “dry down”. Does it stay true to that scent after 4 hours or does the scent become an artificial or plastic type scent after the dry down.
Q: What do people misunderstand about breast cancer?
A: I think it is the way that chemotherapy is approached. During treatment there are “premeds” given to prevent sickness, vomiting and nausea. When the Benadryl is given it makes you sleepy and moments later you fall asleep. So most of the time during chemotherapy treatment I slept and I ate lunch. So during that time, I wasn’t uncomfortable at all. Science and the treatment of cancer (breast cancer) have come a long ways.
Q: What kind of day job (or life sustaining income source) do you have and how was your work impacted by cancer?
A: I am fortunate to be able to stay home with my children. My husband is a Doctor of Pharmacy, so he is blessed with a great career. As Founder and Editor-in-Chief, I created my magazine for the pure enjoyable of writing about fragrances. So, I do not get funding whatsoever! However, the impact of having cancer made working on my magazine become a lot less due to being very tired and weak sometimes. I still had to focus on my children who are young and I could only do half of my household duties. So things were at a slower pace than normally.
Q: Do you think breast cancer gets more or less attention then other forms of cancer?
A: Actually, I think it gets more attention. Especially recently because there are women getting breast cancer in their early twenties! It is also the fact that women were not getting mammograms on a yearly basis due to financial situations. So this caused deaths to occur that otherwise could have been treated in time. So I think breast cancer gets a little more attention because it is now a disease that can be cured with treatment as long as it is caught in time.
Q: How did you come to collaborate with The International Women’s Leadership Association in New York?
A: As I recall, I saw an advertisement from The International Women’s Leadership Association on the internet indicating they were seeking professional women to join their membership. Time went pass and I got an email from them indicating they are publishing a book and were seeking any women interesting in sharing how they succeeded by creating a Work Life Balance. I told them of my interest and I decided to write my story, LIVING BEYOND THE WIG. Its about how I had to create a Work Life Balance with breast cancer.
Q: What is the most realistic film or movie you have seen about cancer?
A: I really haven’t seen a realistic film about cancer. I know of film(s) created about a person battling cancer but these were documentaries. But not many. As I recall it was the physicians talking about how they take care of cancer patients but I haven’t seen a film on the cancer patient’s perspective.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)