Hilton Garden Inn - Stony Brook

Author diagnosed at 27 with breast cancer

September 30, 2010 | 04:11 AM
Geralyn Lucas, author of "Why I Wore Lipstick to my Mastectomy," was in "complete disbelief" when at 27 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Lucas graduated from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. After landing her dream job at ABC television's "20/20" she became afraid of dying after hearing those dreaded words: "You have cancer." Lucas decided to go public with her disease despite her fears.

"My doctors kept calling, asking if I want to speak to this woman or that woman," Lucas said. "I realized I could be there for a lot of women. I felt like there were a lot of negative stories in the media. I just wanted to laugh."

Lucas' book is an honest memoir detailing her experience with cancer. She is a gutsy survivor willing to discuss every detail, such as losing her hair, chemotherapy and strutting down the street for some needed attention. Lucas takes you on a journey from the devastating diagnosis to the miracle birth of her children. She is vulnerable, funny and honest.

Saturday at Mather Hospital's annual Victory Day Lucas was the featured speaker. She spoke in depth about her book and her experiences.

"All of my strength is borrowed. I never knew what courage was; it was OK to cry. I wanted to reinvent myself. I had to take everything back on my own terms," she said. Lucas reinvents beauty by making her own rules with cancer.

"Being out there on the edge is where it's really exciting and scary," she said. At Lucas' first book signing only one woman showed up. The woman was sitting in the last row and was crying. Lucas learned she drove more than five hours to meet her. "I wrote the book to meet one woman and there she was," she said.

Lucas' book is now published in seven languages and distributed nationally. Victory Day is really important to her.

"Long Island has a really unfortunate situation with breast cancer," she said. "There are so many women affected."

Lucas offers this advice: "I encourage women to read their pathology reports." She feels knowledge is power; she also stresses the importance of wearing red lipstick.

"Every stroke said notice me, I wanted to be noticed. I wanted my doctor to know me."

More about Geralyn Lucas is available at www.whyiworelipstick.com.

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