Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Really excited for my webinar with the Life Beyond Cancer Foundation tomorrow! This organization has been so amazing and supportive - learn more about it at http://www.lifebeyondcancer.org/index.htm and register for this FREE webinar on "How to Build a Ladder" at http://www.lifebeyondcancer.org/news7.html

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Join me this coming Tuesday in Boulder, CO for a short preview of a TED-format talk I'm working on - 18 minutes of Lemonade-Making Lessons:


Also I'll be doing a webinar MAY 9TH through the Life Beyond Cancer Foundation on "How To Build A Ladder" (aka Goal-Setting For Survivors). Stayed tuned for links and more info!



Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Life After Lemonade" now available in paperback!!

"Life After Lemonade"won't be available on Amazon.com for a week, but you can get an advance copy at the CreateSpace e-Store by using this link! https://www.createspace.com/3725848

- April

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Long Time, No See!

I know I haven't blogged in forever, life has been a little nuts! I've been spending all my writing time working on my second book, and I finished it tonight! Today was actually the three-year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis, which makes this accomplishment that much sweeter. :)

Life After Lemonade, the follow-up to Recipe For Lemonade, is now available at Smashwords.com: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/104891. I'm currently working on formatting the paperback, which should be available at Amazon.com in early December.

Since finishing the Ford contest (see post below), I've moved to Boulder, Colorado and am working full-time for a software company, but I still had time to put together this video update of my 40-by-40.


April :)


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


So, it's official: I'm going to Madrid to test drive the 2012 Ford Focus as part of Ford's Global Test Drive Challenge! The campaign's slogan is "Start More Than A Car," and so, with $10,000 in grant money, Ford is helping First Descents, my favorite charity, send 10 young adult survivors to camp to learn how to cope and rebuild their confidence post-treatment. Check back here for *FOUR* upcoming videos about Madrid, how First Descents is using the grant money, and how we're Starting Something More together! (and yes, I'll also be posting the videos to My YouTube Channel and the First Descents YouTube Channel)

For more information about the contest and the other 39 members of our "Test Drive Team," check out the Ford Focus Facebook Page and click on the "Global Test Drive" tab.

You can also friend ME on Facebook to get daily updates on the trip and the challenge!

Monday, January 24, 2011

40-By-40 Update: My 2011 Schedule

I wanted to share a formal update of my 40-by-40, since I've not only checked off a few of them, but there are quite a few I'm working on for THIS YEAR, and I want to invite as many people as I can to join me!

If you're interested in doing an athletic event with me, please consider joining my Team FD team and fundraising for First Descents, my favorite survivor charity.

If you're just interested in helping (or witnessing, and posting the video on YouTube), friend request me on Facebook and we can touch base!

Here is the list - things I have DONE are in italics; things I am DOING in 2011 are BOLDED and things that I still have to do are still in regular font...

1. Do a Komen 3-Day Walk.
2. Do an Avon 2-Day Walk.
3. Do the Peak Hike on Mt. Tam to benefit the Breast Fund.
4. Write & publish my manifesto (Recipe For Lemonade).
5. Rock climb in Moab, UT.
6. Run the NYC Marathon.
7. Have my own place again.
8. Inner-tube down the Russian River on Labor Day Weekend.
9. Run the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon in Florida.
10. Go to an Oprah show with my friend Loren Madden.
11. Finish the Napa Tri with my friend Kristy Lundy.
12. Go on a Chocolate Tour of Paris with my friend Anne Barrow.
13. Skydive with my friend Ian Fuller.
14. Run the Honolulu Marathon 10 years after I first ran it.
15. Learn to roll a kayak with First Descents.
16. Speak at a major survivor event like the OMG Summit or the Young Survivor Conference.
17. Learn the 6 Basic Figure Skating Jumps.
18. Learn to play the electric guitar. Rock the Fender Strat.
19. Execute a Dusk-to-Dawn Dance Party Fundraiser benefiting a young survivor non-profit.
20. Go to Bora-Bora for 2 weeks with someone I love.
21. Learn to fly-fish with Casting for Recovery.
22. Perfect my chocolate-chip cookie recipe.
23. Go to the Telluride Film Festival.
24. Complete an event in Gatlinburg to celebrate the life of my friend Kevin Price's brother, who died young from cancer.
25. Hike Mt. Kilimanjaro.
26. Run a mile in under 8 minutes.
27. Start a garden again.
28. Do a Muddy Buddy event with my friend Katie Birkholz.
29. Secure a well-paying job I love, with great benefits (including health insurance).
30. Take my niece and her half-sister to Kaua'i to learn how to surf.
32. Attend a gravesite ceremony with Katy Chin in New York.
33. Build a Rube Goldberg Machine to light the candles on my 40th birthday.
34. Build a Bottle School with Eli Call and Hug It Forward.
35. Pay off all my medical bills.
36. Build a treehouse with Marlon King.
37. Play a zombie in a film or TV show (tell you a secret: I've wanted to do this ever since I saw MJ's Thriller video).
38. Go ALL OUT on Halloween (i.e., dress up in full costume, complete with makeup).
39. Go to Graceland on my birthday (which also happens to be Elvis' birthday)
40. Dance with Ellen Degeneres.

To watch a VIDEO about my 40-by-40, click here.
For my November 2010 Update Video, click here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Deja Vu: What To Do When A Lemon Returns

"You fell off the wagon AGAIN?"
"You're getting divorced AGAIN?"
"You have cancer AGAIN?"

AGAIN. It's the hardest word in the English language to hear. It fills us with shame and disappointment and fear and exhaustion. ANOTHER lemon. ANOTHER unmet expectation. AGAIN.

The day after I celebrated my second year of being cancer-free, I felt a lump in my healthy breast. Oh no, I thought. Not again...

My mind was filled with the ramifications and justifications associated with a recurrence: I'd have to get a double mastectomy. I'd never be able to breast feed. If it was in my lymph nodes, I'd have to go through chemo again and lose my hair - my hair, which I had just started to enjoy having again! And if they gave me Adriamycin, it would damage my heart, compromising my ability to even carry a child full-term. My mind raced until I had convinced myself that I had cancer AGAIN, even before I'd gotten the lump checked out by my oncologist. It wasn't surprising, I said to friends - triple negative cancers tend to recur in the third year post-treatment. I even send a long e-mail to my doctor, asking him for a plastic surgeon referral.

At the first sign of a familiar lemon, we fly into defensiveness. We gird our loins, man our battle stations, and prepare for the fight we know is coming. We might even be proud of ourselves, for being ready to face it! What we overlook is the sense of power our preparedness gives us. That's right - power. It feeds your ego when you tell yourself you know what's coming, and you might start to see the same lemon over and over - you might even resist making lemonade because if you can keep hanging onto the lemon, you never have to be surprised. You can keep living in a world where everything is predictable and controllable. When the same lemon keeps coming up in your life, ask yourself what would happen if you made lemonade - if you were honest with yourself about your expectations, about the evidence you were (or were not) paying attention to, and about how serious you are about living in a world where everything is predictable and controllable.

I have met women who joke that they keep dating the same guy over and over, which is funny unless he's a guy who beats the shit out of you. Men who keep quitting the same job, over and over. Why? Why do we do this? Because we know the routine. Because it's familiar. It's not uncharted, unknown territory. We would rather be stuck in a rut than get lost or hurt trying something new! Because why would you want to get involved in a relationship without a map, without the familiar stages and signs? BECAUSE IT MIGHT SET YOU FREE, THAT'S WHY.

The price of your freedom is courage - courage to step into a place where things are not predictable or controllable, where you don't know the routine, where there aren't any signposts or roadmaps and you have to blaze a new trail. And you know what? It's exciting, blazing a new trail. It's scary - it's scary as hell, trust me. But it's the only way out of a rut - leaving what you know behind.

Sometimes, our motivation is even darker than we think. We lose and gain the same twenty pounds again and again, and complain about it, but after a few years, those twenty pounds become a very helpful scapegoat - a reason why we didn't get the promotion, can't go out with the girls, have to buy new clothes. What would happen if we actually lost the weight? If we actually were the weight we thought would be the magic combination to a safe where all the happiness we could ever want was locked up? What if we lost the weight and we still hated our jobs, still couldn't talk to girls, still resented our mothers? What then?

When I went to my doctor, he sonogrammed my breast and told me I was fine. "But you have to understand," I told him, "That's what they said two years ago and eight months later I had Stage Three breast cancer!" He took me to his office and showed me my MRI, which, he said, can detect cellular activity a year before a tumor actually develops. I was talking to a man who worked with the woman who wrote the book on breast cancer, I realized. What did I think? That I had some magic cancer that an MRI couldn't detect, that a doctor with all his credentials would miss? I had to face the fact that I was in remission. That the other shoe wasn't dropping, and that, while it might drop in the future, it wasn't dropping anytime soon, and I had better get on with my life.

What if you're not gonna have another heart attack? What if you never date another hot mess of a woman? What if you never take a drink again, and you actually - not HAVE to, but - GET to be the person you always wanted to be? Would that be so terrible? So scary? What if the last time it all fell apart really WAS the last time? Could you build a life worth living, the life of your dreams? Will you let yourself? Because that's all you have to do: you just have to let yourself believe that you can do it, that you're worth it, and that it's time. Stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. Stop living this half-life where you're waiting for life to be the way you want it to be. MAKE it so, as Captain Kirk says. Make it so.

Now, there might be a little voice in your head that says, why do that, when it can all fall apart again? Why raise the stakes of my life, and take the risk that I will have that much more to lose? Why live big and fly high, when that means that if I fall, I'll fall hard?

Because no one really truly wants to live a life of fear and mediocrity. THAT'S why most men lead lives of quiet desperation - they're not desperate to keep something from ruining their amazing lives, but desperate to HAVE lives at all, to have more than the mundane routine of a life unfilfilled, untapped, unchallenged! Desperate because they're afraid one day they WILL go into the doctor and he's going to say STAGE THREE and you know what that desperate man is going to think about? The time he saw Bull Durham with his wife and thought about painting her toenails but was too chicken to ask if he could. The promotion he felt obligated to take right after they got married, because even though it meant a shorter honeymoon, it got us a bigger house, and isn't that more important? The summer after he graduated college, when he thought about Jack Kerouac-ing it through the Southwest, but got an internship instead. The fishing trip he took with his Dad that was too short, too short. Al the things he couldn't even DO "AGAIN" because he never did them the first time. Regret. Regret is why you should live your life now, and live it fully, without hampering it with thoughts of what if it happens again?

Paul Bowles said:

"Because we do not know when we will die,
we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well,
and yet everything happens only a certain number of times .

How many more times will you remember
a certain afternoon of your childhood
that is so deeply a part of your being
you can't even conceive of your life without it?

Perhaps four or five times more?
Perhaps not even that.
How many more times will you watch the full moon rise?
Perhaps, twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."

Live NOW. Live NOW because it's all you have and when you are broke, the things you mourn are not the things you mourn when you are dying. Trust me, I KNOW. When I thought I had cancer again, I felt nothing but relief that I had taken a road trip, and spent too much money, and seen people I always meant to see. And while I felt sheepish and unsure when my doctor told me I was *still* cancer-free, in three days I felt relief, because I am back to living like I'm living.

In closing, remember, if you do find yourself in familiar waters, there is an antidote to AGAIN: BEFORE.

BEFORE is how you handled it when you didn't know what to expect. When you hadn't been there, and you were filled with fear about what everything meant, what you were going to lose and how you were going to handle it. AGAIN means you've been there BEFORE, and this gives you an advantage in the resilience arena. BEFORE makes AGAIN easier.
So climb. Climb high and climb far, and if the other shoe drops and you lose your grip, take the fricking fall. You've done it before. You can do it again.