Diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer at age 34, in the midst of an economic recession that closed my small business and deflated my home’s value overnight, I found myself where most people did in Fall of 2008: Not Where I Thought I’d Be.
Twelve months later and officially in remission, I looked back through journals to investigate just how I was able to make it through the toughest year of my life in one piece – how I was, in fact, able to “make lemonade out of lemons.”
Not a memoir, but, more of a road map through tough times, my first book, RECIPE FOR LEMONADE, is the story of how the way we see the world determines the stories we tell ourselves, and how looking for sweetness – in the sourest of places – can rebuild our optimism one half-full glass at a time.
The book’s follow up, LIFE AFTER LEMONADE, offers advice for the second half of the survivor’s journey: rebuilding your life after disaster and adjusting to your new normal. Topics covered include belief systems that keep us from moving past trauma, how to get un-stuck, and tools for building a life worth looking forward to.
Faced with the post-cancer construction of a “new normal” to replace the life that was in ruins because of it, I made a list: 40 things I wanted to accomplish by my 40th birthday, 5 years away. The date wasn’t an arbitrary one – statistics said I had a 67% chance of making it to 40 without a recurrence – and my goal was simple: to build a life filled with all the things cancer threatened or stole. Some of the things were little (perfect my chocolate chip cookies, visit Graceland on my birthday), some were simple but important (get a good job with great benefits, have my own place again). Some were major (climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, run the New York Marathon). Over the next four years, I checked them off, one by one (yes, even Kilimanjaro). I reevaluated the list with every cancer-versary and birthday, redefining my perfect life as I was living it, and on my 40th birthday cake, the icing read, “Carpe Diem, Bitches.” 5 years after my last chemo treatment, I am living a life worth beating cancer for, and I could not be more thankful for the work it took to build it.
I’ve shared my lessons in survivorship as a guest speaker at the First Descents Annual Gala in Vail, CO, the Life Beyond Cancer Conference in Austin, TX, the iy OMG Conference in Las Vegas, NV, and the Conference For Young Women (C4YW) in Orlando, FL. I’m currently working on my third book, NEW TRICKS: Strategies For Survivorship, which will be released in Fall of 2015.
For more information on my books, visit my Author Page at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/April-Capil/e/B003DNFZXS.