Product review for Then Came Life: Living with Courage, Spirit, and Gratitude After Breast Cancer
Author of Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy Geralyn Lucas’s funny and moving story of leaving the traumatic experience of cancer behind and learning to survive all the challenges of a life she thought she would not have.
When Geralyn Lucas, author of Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy, put on red lipstick in the hall on the way to the operating room, she was showing her doctors, her family, and, most important, herself that she planned on coming out of the OR and living life to the fullest. She figured that that day in the OR would be the hardest day of her life—but, it turns out, the twenty-seven-year-old cancer survivor was a bit short-sighted.
Then Came Life picks up almost two decades later, when Geralyn is now living the life she was afraid she’d never be able to have. After having almost died from cancer as a young woman, Geralyn felt that growing old enough to get wrinkles is a gift—one she prayed fervently for in her youth. But she is now in her midforties: Her two miracle babies (both C-sections, both advised against by her doctors) have grown into a mean tween with a fierce eye roll for her mother’s failures and a tornado of little-boy energy who refuses to play by his preschool’s rules; a storybook romance with her husband has become couples therapy with a grumpy prince; and her demanding corporate job at Lifetime TV that she loves moves across the country without her. She has lost the wonder of that cancer gratitude moment, and when she looks in the mirror at her hard-won wrinkles, all she can think about is that she wants to have Botox.
Then Came Life is a charming, quirky, delightful yet poignant story of surviving life, a collection of coming-of-(middle)-age stories of trying to be a role model for her daughter while being dissatisfied with her own looks, and what happens when her adoring son is more intent on romancing her than her husband is (right down to dueling Valentine’s Day cards). With the clear-eyed wit and observations of Nora Ephron, she not only explores the dissonance of facing the challenges she was afraid she wouldn’t be alive to have but also confronts them with a great sense of infectious empowerment and a hilarious voice. Geralyn harnesses her fighting spirit and leaves behind the trauma of cancer to battle all the rest that life has to throw at her. Then Came Life is not a cancer recovery story: It is about rediscovering the resilience, courage, and optimism it takes to reinvent yourself at every age.