Connecting Place to Disease and Gender: Cohabitating Morbidities in Narratives of Women Cancer Survivors in Southern Central Appalachia

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Drawing on critical feminist narrative inquiry, we explore illness narratives of women cancer survivors living in Southern Central Appalachia via a daylong story circle (n = 26) and individual interviews (n = 3). In our article, we argue that participants functioned as illness genealogists as a consequence of their central location in families, as well as their location in a place (Southern Central Appalachia) characterized by what we call “cohabitating morbidities.” We coined this term to represent the experiences of women survivors living with multiple, sometimes simultaneously occurring illness experiences in their family systems. Finally, we reveal and explore rules that guide their survivorship experiences and storytelling, contending that study participants preserve their central location within family systems by decentering their own survivorship experiences and stories.