We call the bad things in life “lemons.” We say, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” meaning throw a bag of sugar over it so you don’t see the dysfunction, the mechanical failures, the sourness of your situation.
Lemons grow in warm climates, their juice sour and acidic – much like the emotions we experience when things that we perceive as “bad” happen to us or around us. But that sour taste, that lip-puckering tartness, can play another role – an amazing role – if we embrace it. Lemons are teachers, messengers, angels sent to reshape us. We learn and grow when we welcome them, love them, and squeeze out every bit of juice they offer.
I was handed a life-sucking lemon – a diagnosis of Stage 3C uterine cancer – in July 2009.
I could have viewed cancer as a death sentence, but chose instead to take myself on a wild and dangerous adventure that would prove my tenacity and strength.
After the radical hysterectomy, I could have handed my life over to my oncologist. I didn’t, opting instead to research treatments and creating – with my oncologist’s hesitant agreement – a plan that worked for me instead of the standard protocol.
I could have isolated myself to avoid infection or, even harder to endure, the fears of family and friends. I didn’t do that, either. There were weeks during the year of chemotherapy that I was trapped in my home with dangerously low blood counts. The rest of the time, I was out as often as my energy level allowed.
I chose to turn the sourest time of my life into a positive, life-affirming experience. It wasn’t always easy, but this is what I learned: When life gives you lemons, find someone to whom life has given vodka, and throw a party.
Guest Blogger Linda Angér is a supporter of “A Beautiful Me®” and owner of The Write Concept, Inc., a marketing communications company. Her clients have included Chrysler Corporation, The Crittenton Hospital Medical Center Foundation, HAVEN, The Royal Park Hotel, and hundreds of small businesses across Michigan. She is the current President of Detroit Working Writers.