A 44-year-old breast cancer survivor, Geralyn Lucas is a feisty and inspirational woman. Her memoir Why I Wore Lipstick (to My Mastectomy) is a testament to womanhood and beauty during those moments when we feel least feminine.
Diagnosed with breast cancer at the shockingly young age of 27, Lucas was forced to make the harrowing decision of whether or not to undergo a mastectomy. When she was diagnosed, Lucas had recently graduated from the Columbia Journalism School and was settling into her life as a producer for Lifetime Television with her husband, a doctor. Lucas’s memoir details her internal struggle with womanhood after losing a key female-defining characteristic, and the soul searching she had to do to find her “inner cleavage” and feel sexy and whole once again. We are by her side at a strip club contemplating what it might be like to lose a breast; we are with her when she endures chemotherapy treatments; we cheer as she makes the courageous move to get a heart tattooed where her right nipple used to be, and we rejoice when she becomes pregnant with her daughter, Skye.
Why I Wore Lipstick (to My Mastectomy), is not just for women who have experienced the effects of cancer. “This is a universal story for women,” Lucas says, “We get ourselves in these boxes of who we are and who we can be. A lot of people say going through a serious illness makes you look deeply at who you are, and that can be true. But you don’t have to have breast cancer to do that.”
The courageous and uplifting attitude with which she approached her diagnosis and battle with the disease has drawn an abundance of publicity for the book. Dress designer Betsey Johnson, a breast cancer survivor herself, designed a T-shirt to promote the book; Stila created a lipstick called “Geralyn;” The Young Breast Cancer Survivor Foundation and Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation both endorsed the book.
Because it is a common misconception that women in their 20′s and 30′s do not get breast cancer, Lucas thought it was important to share her story with women. It is Lucas’s vivacious and truly motivational attitude that sets Why I Wore Lipstick (to My Mastectomy) apart. Lucy Danziger, Editor-in-Chief of SELF magazine, says, “If humor has a role in curing breast cancer, then Geralyn Lucas should win the prize. Her honest, funny and courageous account of facing down the disease is both inspiring and entertaining, and readers who know anyone going through treatment will love this singularly upbeat account.”
— Allison Zimmer