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Then Came Life: A Memoir of Living with the Same Courage, Spirit, and Humor that Helped Me Survive Breast Cancer

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The author of Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy dares all women who have had a stumble in life to harness their fighting spirit and stand back up with courage and optimism.   Twenty years ago, Geralyn Lucas put on red lipstick before entering the operating room to show everyone that she planned to come out the bold and daring woman she never thought she could be. At twe The author of Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy dares all women who have had a stumble in life to harness their fighting spirit and stand back up with courage and optimism.   Twenty years ago, Geralyn Lucas put on red lipstick before entering the operating room to show everyone that she planned to come out the bold and daring woman she never thought she could be. At twenty-seven, she didn't realize how much her single act of courage would connect with women and endear her to breast cancer survivors across the globe.   In Then Came Life, Geralyn is back with the same fearless attitude, exploring what it means to survive cancer, only to face new challenges. When she was fighting cancer, Geralyn prayed she would live long enough to get wrinkles. Now in her mid-forties, she’s the mother of two miracle babies, one who’s grown into a mean tween with a fierce eye-roll and the other a tornado of little-boy energy who refuses to play by his preschool’s rules. Her storybook romance has become couples therapy with a grumpy prince, the job she loves moves across the country without her, and her hard-won wrinkles just make her long for Botox.   Then Came Life is a totally original response to life’s challenges that reminds readers to always find a way to turn the mundane in life into a miracle.  With an infectious sense of empowerment and hilarious voice, Geralyn has crafted a playbook for women everywhere to fall back in love with life. All women will recognize themselves in Geralyn and her story about re-discovering the resilience, courage, and humor needed to reinvent yourself at every age. 


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The author of Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy dares all women who have had a stumble in life to harness their fighting spirit and stand back up with courage and optimism.   Twenty years ago, Geralyn Lucas put on red lipstick before entering the operating room to show everyone that she planned to come out the bold and daring woman she never thought she could be. At twe The author of Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy dares all women who have had a stumble in life to harness their fighting spirit and stand back up with courage and optimism.   Twenty years ago, Geralyn Lucas put on red lipstick before entering the operating room to show everyone that she planned to come out the bold and daring woman she never thought she could be. At twenty-seven, she didn't realize how much her single act of courage would connect with women and endear her to breast cancer survivors across the globe.   In Then Came Life, Geralyn is back with the same fearless attitude, exploring what it means to survive cancer, only to face new challenges. When she was fighting cancer, Geralyn prayed she would live long enough to get wrinkles. Now in her mid-forties, she’s the mother of two miracle babies, one who’s grown into a mean tween with a fierce eye-roll and the other a tornado of little-boy energy who refuses to play by his preschool’s rules. Her storybook romance has become couples therapy with a grumpy prince, the job she loves moves across the country without her, and her hard-won wrinkles just make her long for Botox.   Then Came Life is a totally original response to life’s challenges that reminds readers to always find a way to turn the mundane in life into a miracle.  With an infectious sense of empowerment and hilarious voice, Geralyn has crafted a playbook for women everywhere to fall back in love with life. All women will recognize themselves in Geralyn and her story about re-discovering the resilience, courage, and humor needed to reinvent yourself at every age. 

30 review for Then Came Life: A Memoir of Living with the Same Courage, Spirit, and Humor that Helped Me Survive Breast Cancer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    I had difficulty at first relating to this author, and getting into her story. In the early chapters the author's honesty leaves her open to accusations of being too shallow, focused on her appearance, and of being self-absorbed. But as the book went on I appreciated this honesty, and began to question if many women dealing with breast cancer don't deal with exactly these same issues. In the latter half of the book, the author deals with the deeper issues, of concern for her mortality, and with I had difficulty at first relating to this author, and getting into her story. In the early chapters the author's honesty leaves her open to accusations of being too shallow, focused on her appearance, and of being self-absorbed. But as the book went on I appreciated this honesty, and began to question if many women dealing with breast cancer don't deal with exactly these same issues. In the latter half of the book, the author deals with the deeper issues, of concern for her mortality, and with her intimate relationships with her husband, mother, and two children. I have had several very close family members who have had cancer, and have thought a lot about what their inner most thoughts and feelings must be, but this book brought insights I had never considered. It is well worth the read. I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing First Reviewers.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Desiree

    I was fortunate enough to be selected to review this book as a “first reads.” I work as an oncology social worker and I always enjoy reading books written by cancer patients and cancer survivors. I love when I meet a newly diagnosed patient who is struggling and coming to terms with the diagnosis and treatment and I have the perfect book to give to them. Something they can connect with and feel like they are not alone in this experience. I really enjoyed this book because it tackles the often fo I was fortunate enough to be selected to review this book as a “first reads.” I work as an oncology social worker and I always enjoy reading books written by cancer patients and cancer survivors. I love when I meet a newly diagnosed patient who is struggling and coming to terms with the diagnosis and treatment and I have the perfect book to give to them. Something they can connect with and feel like they are not alone in this experience. I really enjoyed this book because it tackles the often forgotten, but very real, long-term challenges of surviving cancer. The emotional, physical, spiritual and financial ramifications of cancer don’t go away when the last treatment is administered. They linger with the patient, often for years. This book is an honest and sincere reflection of what far too many people have and will face. Thank you for the opportunity to review this early release edition. Rest assured, I will be recommending this book to many of my patients.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy Greco

    I nearly put this book down after the first two chapters which would have been a mistake. It starts a bit slow and seems superficial. An entire chapter on shopping? Lucas does understand it as an addiction but unfortunately doesn't take us as deep as she might on this and other topics. The book becomes more compelling as the author works through her own issues of parenting and mortality while her cousin and nanny battle the dreaded C disease. The early superficiality and consistent name dropping I nearly put this book down after the first two chapters which would have been a mistake. It starts a bit slow and seems superficial. An entire chapter on shopping? Lucas does understand it as an addiction but unfortunately doesn't take us as deep as she might on this and other topics. The book becomes more compelling as the author works through her own issues of parenting and mortality while her cousin and nanny battle the dreaded C disease. The early superficiality and consistent name dropping kept me from giving it more stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    A glimpse into a life of a woman who dealt with breast cancer early in her life. There were many shining moments for me and some parts were a bit tedious.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tracy L Lefebvre

    Beautiful story I read this book about 6-weeks after my bi-lateral mastectomy at age 45. It both provided comfort and hope. Thank you.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Johnston

    Priceless I love the authentic voice that jumps off each page. The author is funny, witty, wry, and just the right amount of real to bring her story to life. I highly recommend this book to previvors, survivors, and thrivers and all of their families and friends.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lettie Cox

    Funny, uplifting, informative and sometimes sad but a great read!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Megan Nelson

    I was fortunate enough to be able to read an advance copy of Then Came Life, and I wish I could give it 5 stars. That being said I think that anyone who read Why I Wore Lipstick to Mastectomy will probably enjoy this book a lot more than I have. This book is formatted in such a way that we get to see snapshots from Geralyn's perspective on relationships with those in her family, people who she has worked with, fellow breast cancer survivors and her husband. Each essay has (at least I think) a di I was fortunate enough to be able to read an advance copy of Then Came Life, and I wish I could give it 5 stars. That being said I think that anyone who read Why I Wore Lipstick to Mastectomy will probably enjoy this book a lot more than I have. This book is formatted in such a way that we get to see snapshots from Geralyn's perspective on relationships with those in her family, people who she has worked with, fellow breast cancer survivors and her husband. Each essay has (at least I think) a different audience and I, myself as a reader audience didn't connect with Geralyn until page 60. There were times that the writing almost seemed forced, while other essays later in the book seemed to flow off the page. The 'I' chapters were the most difficult for me to feel a kinship with the writer. I should also say that as someone who also feels like their body is a ticking bomb (fibromyalgia), the chapters discussing her insecurities were hit and miss for me, good days are treasured and not everyone feels that their value is based on having the flashiest consumables or a killer butt. That being said I did feel that the second half of Then Came Life, Geralyn hit her stride and had me hooked. I wish that the chapters could be in a different order perhaps bringing the chapter about her relationship with her mother and daughter up to the front and making the start be more positive. All around, this was a good, but not great book, I appreciated the positive stories, but the negatives made me feel like I was reading about a 'consumer' rather than someone who was sharing their life in an inspirational way. To be frank I might be willing to read something else by the author, but I won't necessarily go out of my way to do so.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    I won this book as a first reads giveaway a while ago but am just getting a chance to write a review. I didn't have the chance to read Geralyn's first book before diving into this one, and although this book can definitely stand on its own, I think it would be good to read her first book if just to get a better understanding of where she has come from. This book is written as a series of small essays and chronicles Geralyn's life as a cancer survivor and how she comes to terms with what that rea I won this book as a first reads giveaway a while ago but am just getting a chance to write a review. I didn't have the chance to read Geralyn's first book before diving into this one, and although this book can definitely stand on its own, I think it would be good to read her first book if just to get a better understanding of where she has come from. This book is written as a series of small essays and chronicles Geralyn's life as a cancer survivor and how she comes to terms with what that really means. I love memoirs because it is like delving into someone's REAL life and there is a whole other level of connection that develops between the author and the reader when the reader knows what they are reading is real. I love Geralyn's genuine honesty in this book. She bravely admits her fears and self-doubt, while giving readers hope and inspiration at the same time. Cancer forces you to look at the big picture and appreciate life but once you have made it through the battle, life still goes on with all of the little challenges of everyday life. It is still easy to lose site of what matters most and Geralyn struggles with that as well. It seems like everyday I am hearing about someone new diagnosed with cancer. I am glad to have this book on my shelf to share with others who are battling or have overcome the FIGHT

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    Having lost a mother to breast cancer, I have a deep interest in the experience of others who have been through it. There were some great parts to this novel. I especially enjoyed the parts about her addiction to shopping, experiences she has had with both of her children, and how women view themselves---I could really relate to those---and the chapters in which she describes her personal battles with keeping an attitude of hope and living for the moment. However, it was too repetitious and 'ove Having lost a mother to breast cancer, I have a deep interest in the experience of others who have been through it. There were some great parts to this novel. I especially enjoyed the parts about her addiction to shopping, experiences she has had with both of her children, and how women view themselves---I could really relate to those---and the chapters in which she describes her personal battles with keeping an attitude of hope and living for the moment. However, it was too repetitious and 'over-the-top' at times for me to give it a higher rating. I think the book probably reflected her personality but it wouldn't work for everyone who has cancer. Nevertheless, I would definitely recommend it to others.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Iara Errika

    I was blessed to actually meet Geralyn during her book signing as I provided the cookies for the catering. I had zero idea who she was, what her background was, but this book just got me hooked to it. I have never read a memoir/autobiography(?), this was the first. I love how genuine, how human, she is. I love that although she has conquered a lot of major life struggles, she is not qfraid to admit that a lot of things still scares her, but she choose to pedal forward. Might actually enroll to m I was blessed to actually meet Geralyn during her book signing as I provided the cookies for the catering. I had zero idea who she was, what her background was, but this book just got me hooked to it. I have never read a memoir/autobiography(?), this was the first. I love how genuine, how human, she is. I love that although she has conquered a lot of major life struggles, she is not qfraid to admit that a lot of things still scares her, but she choose to pedal forward. Might actually enroll to my gym's soulcycle class.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    I didn't have a chance to read Geralyn Lucas's first book, but I am familiar with her story. This book is a continuation of her story as a young breast cancer survivor, told in a series of snippets or essays. She now has two children and is struggling with what it means to be a survivor. She's in therapy with her husband. Her daughter is now a teenager. Her cousin is dying of breast cancer. The stories are heartwarming and heartbreaking. I think this book would be great for anyone who has beat c I didn't have a chance to read Geralyn Lucas's first book, but I am familiar with her story. This book is a continuation of her story as a young breast cancer survivor, told in a series of snippets or essays. She now has two children and is struggling with what it means to be a survivor. She's in therapy with her husband. Her daughter is now a teenager. Her cousin is dying of breast cancer. The stories are heartwarming and heartbreaking. I think this book would be great for anyone who has beat cancer... or just needs some inspiration!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    I win such great books on Goodreads First Reads,and this is definitely one of them! My grandmother(on mom's side)is a 3 time breast cancer survivor(she's 93 now)so I could relate to the story. I laughed and cried and was just blown away by the courage that us women truly have! My mom,daughters,aunts,and cousins are waiting to read it as well. This is a great book for women to read,as it can help us to be strong when faced with a tough situation,and to always persevere and be strong! I loved it!! I win such great books on Goodreads First Reads,and this is definitely one of them! My grandmother(on mom's side)is a 3 time breast cancer survivor(she's 93 now)so I could relate to the story. I laughed and cried and was just blown away by the courage that us women truly have! My mom,daughters,aunts,and cousins are waiting to read it as well. This is a great book for women to read,as it can help us to be strong when faced with a tough situation,and to always persevere and be strong! I loved it!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    A little bit cheesy and self-indulgent at times (but that's the nature of most memoirs and who can blame her). It's still a nice book about living the rest of your life while dealing with cancer, treatments, future worries, etc. Manages to be uplifting without being wildly "POSITIVE ATTITUDE TRUMPS ALL" and to be realistic about the gravity of the disease while also retaining humor, gratitude and hopefulness. A little bit cheesy and self-indulgent at times (but that's the nature of most memoirs and who can blame her). It's still a nice book about living the rest of your life while dealing with cancer, treatments, future worries, etc. Manages to be uplifting without being wildly "POSITIVE ATTITUDE TRUMPS ALL" and to be realistic about the gravity of the disease while also retaining humor, gratitude and hopefulness.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    This is the "after" story of cancer. Geralyn is a survivor, and that strong identity with cancer holds a lot of negative energy for her. This book is about trying to live while surviving. I have not personally had cancer, but I can see how this book could be helpful for people who have had cancer, or have made the journey through cancer with a loved one. Read more of my review at http://thecrreeds.blogspot.com/2014/0... This is the "after" story of cancer. Geralyn is a survivor, and that strong identity with cancer holds a lot of negative energy for her. This book is about trying to live while surviving. I have not personally had cancer, but I can see how this book could be helpful for people who have had cancer, or have made the journey through cancer with a loved one. Read more of my review at http://thecrreeds.blogspot.com/2014/0...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lynsie

    A sweet and enjoyable book about learning to love life again, and again. Surviving cancer, she couldn't see how she could ever take her life for granted again, but then life happened. It is hard to keep up your gratitude in the day to day grind that family and work can bring, but the important thing is to remember to try to enjoy it. :) A sweet and enjoyable book about learning to love life again, and again. Surviving cancer, she couldn't see how she could ever take her life for granted again, but then life happened. It is hard to keep up your gratitude in the day to day grind that family and work can bring, but the important thing is to remember to try to enjoy it. :)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mark Meyer

    A good book about a close-to-home subject. This book kept me up at night until I finished, very captivating and very well written. Thank you for the courage to bring your story to everyone. I received a free copy of this book via Goodreads First Reads.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    An incredible story.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kati Polodna

    Picked this up on a whim because I was tired of shelving books. Enjoyed this more than I thought I would!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lori

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nina Collins Harvey

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ethel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Campbell

  29. 4 out of 5

    Luz

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kate

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