Alicia Witt Secretly Underwent Chemotherapy Treatments During 2021 Christmas Con

·5 min read
alicia witt
alicia witt

Michael S. Schwartz/Getty

Alicia Witt is opening up about her health.

While speaking with PEOPLE at Christmas Con in Pasadena, California, over the weekend, the 46-year-old actress shared that she underwent chemotherapy treatments for cancer while at the same holiday-themed event in December 2021.

Noting that she's feeling "very well" and calling it "a gift" to attend the fan-favorite convention this year, Witt told PEOPLE, "The truth is, when I attended the Christmas Con in New Jersey [last year], I had already done round 1 of chemo, and it was very important to me to go through that journey privately until I was on the other side of it."

"So that was a gift in a way that no one knew at the time, and now this is a gift in a whole other way," she continued. "It's hard to even know what to say, but there were a lot of tears yesterday between me and the attendees that were coming up to me."

Added Witt — who has starred in Hallmark Channel holiday films including Our Christmas Love Song and Christmas Tree Lane: "I feel surrounded by even more love than I had before."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

alicia witt
alicia witt

Bobby Bank/Getty

RELATED: Alicia Witt Reveals She Was Beginning Treatments for Cancer When Her Parents Died 

In June, the star opened up about her private battle with cancer two months after completing chemotherapy in a candid Instagram post.

Sharing videos of the moment she struck a gong to celebrate the end of her treatments, as well as a picture with an official certificate, the actress also posted a selfie and images in which she removed her head and chest coverings in her social media post.

"Just a little over 2 months ago, i had my last round of chemical therapy prior to my mastectomy," Witt wrote at the time.

Sending love to her "beloved, brilliant, collaborative, communicative doctor," she added that the Tennessee Oncology physician was there to see her ring the bell.

Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday.

"Although we didn't yet know for absolute certain until after the mastectomy that the disease was completely healed from my left breast, this marked the end of my carboplatin/taxotere, + herceptin/perjeta (the latter two are immunotherapies which will continue, per protocol for HER2+, through the end of this year)," Witt continued.

She also gave a shoutout to her "tiny crew of human angels" who were by her side during her six treatments, crediting them for "keeping my spirits high" and replacing her therapy cap, which aims to minimize hair loss, when needed.

"While keeping hair was obviously the last of my concerns on a larger level, i did deeply wish to keep my diagnosis private until it was 100% healed, god willing," the Orange Is the New Black alum added.

"I'm so grateful to all those along the way during treatment who honored me by protecting my privacy during these months 🙏🏻 and grateful to help share that these caps can truly play a huge role in allowing a patient to reveal her journey on her own time, when she is ready," Witt said.

Elsewhere in conversation with PEOPLE, Witt acknowledged she'd had been "quite a year." At the same time the actress was going through chemo, her parents Robert and Diane Witt were found dead in their Worcester, Massachusetts, home. Two months later, a cause of death was disclosed: "probable cardiac dysrhythmia" due to the cold, according to death certificates obtained by The Telegram & Gazette.

alicia witt and parents
alicia witt and parents

alicia witt/ instagram

Weeks after they died, the singer-actress said it still didn't "feel real" that her mom and dad were gone.

While speaking with PEOPLE at the latest Christmas Con, Witt also talked about her love of acting and how special meeting fans is to her.

"Because we are so blessed to get to do this for a living, and I know what a privilege it is to have been doing this now for so many decades, I tend to forget — I do these jobs, I remember some things about them — but I don't think about them very often," she told PEOPLE. "And [when] someone comes up and tells me this thing from a really long time ago affected them to the point where they're now dressed as my character, that blows my mind. What a life!"

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

And while she didn't have a holiday film to promote while at Christmas Con this year, Witt said it's still possible that she could star in one before the upcoming winter season.

"I don't have a Christmas movie this year as of now, [but] you never know with these things because I've made them as late as October," she said. "I did just finish, a few days ago, a true crime movie on Lifetime, and I'm really excited about it. I love the character I played, she's based on a real person, and she doesn't look like me or talk like me or move like me. I had video surveillance and audio recordings to go on and really form this character, and that was a thrill for me."

The next Christmas Con is set for Dec. 9-11 in Edison, New Jersey.