Life, Reflection, and Cancer

by Lance Ekum on · 44 comments

"Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn't you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are." ~ Rachel Naomi Remen

Today, I would like to introduce Gail Konop Baker.   Gail and I crossed paths recently.  In that crossing, I experienced both her generous heart and a bit of her "story".  Her story is one of challenge, of hope, and of a realization of what truly matters in life.  In her early forties, Gail was diagnosed with breast cancer.  From that, she has built herself back up.  In that process, and as part of the journals she kept during those days – a book, Cancer Is A Bitch, was written.

As you think about your life, and wherever you are in that…read along as you experience part of Gail's life. We never know what fully lies in front of us…

1. Tell us a little bit about who “you” are (family, career, any special life experiences you’d like to share, etc.)
Who am I? That is an excellent question and one that I ponder daily.  Sometimes hourly. Who I am has evolved and is evolving over time. Constants? I am a mother of three totally kick-ass children, a writer and a passionate and curious seeker. Things that have evolved in the past few years? I am a published author, professional speaker and marathon runner.  Things still evolving? I am a yoga teacher-in-training and on a perpetual journey to discover who I want to be.

Lance's Commentary: My daughter and I were recently in NYC.  We saw a sign in Times Square, with those words…"Kick Ass".  She took a picture and made it her phone's background….(it didn't last!!). 

2.  You have written a book about your battle with cancer.  Tell us about that process, and what it has meant for you personally.
I never planned to write a breast cancer memoir. I never planned to get the cancer that would prompt that. But in 2006 after just completing my second novel about a woman who finds a lump in her breast and thinks she might have breast cancer and wonders if she’s lived a meaningful life, I went in for my annual mammogram and was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ and a week later had a lumpectomy.

It rocked my world. Stunned and panicked and paralyzed me. And even after I was told it was non-invasive and they got it all out and I was “cured,” I fell into a funk. I couldn’t write, couldn’t think, couldn’t do anything other than Google health sites and make homemade batches of organic facial creams and scribble my deepest rawest craziest most intimate thoughts into a journal.

I never planned to show those words to anyone. In fact I wrote them thinking this was a way I didn’t have to burden my friends and family with my crazy thoughts. Nobody I was close to had ever had cancer. Not my parents. None of my friends. And while I knew they cared, I felt alone in my deepest thoughts and fears. Eventually I wrote those thoughts into an essay that I called “CANCER IS A BITCH” and sent it to some trusted writer friends who said it was the most powerful thing I’d ever written. But lose the word, bitch, they both said. Nobody will ever publish like that.

Honestly, I didn’t know what I had written or what to do with it. But soon after that I read that Literary Mama was looking for columnists and on a whim I pitched it as a column and they offered me a monthly column. The responses from readers were so soulful, I was floored. Many hadn’t even had cancer but they either knew someone who had or just responded to the midlife issues that I wrote about. Issues like what it meant to reach midlife and wonder if this was the life I meant to live, if I was the person I’d always meant to be. Next thing I knew I pitched the idea of writing it into a book to a lit agent and he offered to represent me and sold it.

But what I was writing and thinking about evolved over time. At first I thought I was trying to record my thoughts and feelings as openly and honestly and deeply as possible. But after I started connecting with readers, I discovered the more open I was about all aspects of my life, the more universal my message. People responded to my honesty, which, in turn, inspired me to share more of me.

The other major incident was that a good friend of mine was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and another neighbor with a stage IV brain tumor, both middle-aged. Both were also mothers of children still at home. At that point, my story evolved into a bigger story. I felt this connection to them (even though I was “cured”). And then beyond that a kind of collective grief. I wanted to speak about cancer in order to try to de-stigmatize it. I do believe that cancer is one of the last standing taboos. You say the word and lot of people wince and physically back off. I wanted to give voice to that. To stand in solidarity with those who had been pierced by cancer’s insidious claw.

More than four years have past since my surgery and the whole experience is starting to fade, other than the fact that I wrote a book about it and still speak and talk about it when people ask, and the profound life-altering effect, I have in many ways left the trauma behind and moved on.

Lance's Commentary:  
Writing can be therapeutic.  As I read your thoughts, I'm reminded of how true this is.  Sometimes, a pen and paper can offer so much healing…

3.  “Cancer is a Bitch”…the title of your book – gives the first impression that pretty much cancer is a real evil.  Could you describe what inspired the title, and what the real meaning behind this book is.
As I said earlier, I originally wrote an essay inspired by the journals and the first line of the essay was “I am sitting topless in the oncologist’s office on Valentine’s Day. Cancer is a Bitch.”  I guess I meant that cancer is too forceful, it backs you into a wall, it sits on top of you, crushing your sternum, it doesn’t let you say uncle, it doesn’t back down. At least that’s how hearing those words felt to me initially. I thought the title would be changed before publication, they usually are. It is a little hard to roll off your tongue especially in social gatherings; I cleared an adult table at a Bar Mitzvah once. And of course all my 12 year-old son’s friends wanted a copy of it and I worried social services might come and take me away. But I do think the title captures the sassy, edgy, humorous tone of the book.
The real meaning of the book is that facing my mortality at such a young age forced me into a midlife reckoning with myself and inspired me to take charge of my life. And eventually soar (well, I’m starting to soar). I hope the message people walk away with is that if or when you get smacked down by a bitch (like cancer or divorce, or an accident, or losing a job, or any other unexpected tragedy), go ahead and wallow and go a little nutty and then you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off and do and be exactly what you want to do and be. Fewer “whys,” more “why nots.” No excuses. No apologies.

Lance's Commentary:
Gail, this is a powerful example of just how much we value heartfelt honesty.  I can't imagine what it must be like to hear those words…the words spoken to you, telling you that YOU have cancer.  Yet, in your sharing of all of this, I think there's this deeper part of all of us – that of how we connect with caring and honesty.
4.  Since writing the book what has this meant for you both personally and professionally?
Professionally? The book launched my writing career.  I had been writing for more than 20 years and while I’d had some minor success publishing in small journals and winning some awards, I hadn’t published a book. While on the road promoting it, I discovered I enjoyed speaking to audiences and that launched my public speaking career.

Personally? The scare and promoting the book inspired me to take even better care of myself.  Since the scare I have run two half marathons and one full marathon, started my yoga teacher training, detoxed my diet and look and feel better than I did in my thirties. I also detoxed my life. I decided now was the time to live exactly the way I’d always imagined.

Lance's Commentary: I love that you've found good out of this!  Cancer is a nasty thing (a bitch, I suppose…).  And from this, I get a real sense that it has helped to propel you into some wonderful directions in your life.  It's so good to hear the positive that has come from a very challenging moment in life. 

5. Tell us one unexpected thing that has happened since writing your book.
I think discovering what a shameless ham I am in front of audiences really surprised me. Not much intimidates or scares me anymore.

6. Gail, what does a typical day look like for you?
I wake around 6:30 a.m. do 10 minutes of meditation starting with a devotion of gratitude. I then do 10-15 minutes of yoga just to get the bodily juices flowing.  Stand on my head to both reverse gravity and get some blood in there. I wake him between meditation and yoga and then go down and let the dogs out and feed them (two yellow labs). Then I squeeze a fresh lemon into a glass of water and make coffee and breakfast, drive my son to school. When I am in focused writing mode (like I have been recently trying to finish up a new book proposal), I try not to get sucked into the internet world that likes to seduce me. Instead, I dive straight into whatever I was working on the previous day, before anything interrupts my brain flow. Two hours minimum. My reward after that is the internet. Facebook is my crack! I answer any pressing e-mails and make a list of practical things I have to do. After that it’s either a run or yoga or on very stressful days, both! Shower and then either more writing or errands or driving the carpool. Or all three! When I am promoting or giving a speech, the day is entirely different. For speaking it’s all about the hair and outfit (kidding… sort of!) and for interviews it’s all about making the same thing I have said many times sound fresh and interesting. I don’t like to rehearse too much for speaking or interviews since I have discovered that I operate better off the cuff.

Lance's Commentary: I find exercise to be so good, and for much more than the physical benefits that really took me down that road.  And – I'm doing my first marathon this year!  So…a typical day for me…involves running (kidding…sort of!!).  We should have coffee someday!

7. Anything new you have coming up?
Yes, I am working on a new book that I am very excited about. The topic is marriage. It promises to be very juicy and humorous and inspiring (at least that’s what I’m hoping).

Lance's Commentary: Marriage can definitely have some juicy and humorous moments…this sounds like a GREAT book!

8.  Deep down, what makes you uniquely “you”? 

I am quirky and curious and very alive. It is hard for me to predict exactly what or whom will turn me on but when I am turned on it’s like high voltage energy gone wild.

Lance's Commentary: "Energy gone wild"!!!  Hey, now that's a pump me up kind of moment!

Closing Comments: Gail, it's an honor having you here!  Your story is inspiring.  As I sit here, never having had cancer…I take this one really important thing from everything you've shared today.  NOW is important.  And am I truly living the life that I desire?  We never know when it could all change.  Thank you for sharing a bit of YOU here today!

You can keep up with Gail by visiting her website, and following her on Twitter.

UPDATE:  Interested in reading Gail's book?  Gail is offering signed copies of "Cancer Is A Bitch".  If you're interested, please contact Gail, including your name and address.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Jay May 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Lance, thank you for introducing me to Gail. This was inspirational on a level that I can’t fully articulate, but just know that it touched me deeply.

Gail, thank you for sharing your story and being so open and honest with your feelings and thoughts. So many people let something like that conquer them, or break their spirit. Thank you for showing us that even something as inherently evil as cancer can be used as a springboard to a better life.


Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills May 25, 2010 at 12:22 am

Lance and Gail, a post like this takes us to the deepest depths of self-examination. When we put ourselves in someone else’s situation we feel their struggle, but we also feel their triumph. We discover new rooms within, the doors of which are thrown open through there experiences. This was heavy and freeing and encouraging. Thank you both.
.-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s Last Fabulous Post ..A Personal Growth Lesson From A Little Bird =-.


SnaggleTooth May 25, 2010 at 2:27 am

Great interview! Thanks for introducing me to Gail n her work- I should prob read her stuff-
I never use the big “C” word, as I’m trying not to break the spell that has so far spared me, but took both of my parents years too early. I know several peer women who’ve survived n gone on to have good lives.
A shame really it takes a mortality crisis to awaken us !
.-= SnaggleTooth´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cove Colors =-.


gail May 25, 2010 at 7:17 am

Wow! How fabulous to wake up to so many great comments already! Thank you, Lance!!

Jay, As much as I hate to say my health scare was a blessing or gift… the truth is, I AM living a better more authentic life now. It’s an evolutionary process but I am more present and grateful and fearless. My hope is that when others read my story that they will be inspired to live their own lives more fully without having to live through the scare.

You are so right, Jonathan…. love the doors within the doors. There is always more to experience, explore, discover about ourselves and others, That’s what makes life so wondrous and grand (even when we’re struggling).

SnaggleTooth, I think a lot of people are afraid of the word and reading or talking about it. That was a huge inspiration for me to talk about it openly. I think it is one of the last standing taboos. And while my scare was very mild, I stand in solidarity with all who have felt ostracized or feared or avoided because of this disease.


Tim May 25, 2010 at 9:19 am

Hi Lance and Gail: It was great to read this interview, very touching and inspirational. Gail, I admire you for getting back up after getting smacked down. It is a lesson that all of us, no matter what smacks us down, can get back up and live better and smarter than we did before. Its also great to learn that you feel better and healthier than you did in your 30’s. Lance, thank you for introducing us to Gail’s story…its a great way to start the week.
.-= Tim´s Last Fabulous Post ..Weekend Musical Diversion: John Lee Hooker and Santana =-.


Karen Carter May 25, 2010 at 9:28 am

Gail, you’re an inspiration for all of us. I’m with Tim, the message that one can endure with the right attitude and a lot of determination rings so true and is so important to share. Thanks for all you do! K.
.-= Karen Carter´s Last Fabulous Post ..Beyond FACTS: Heidi Durrow: Mixed Race People History Month =-.


Lynn May 25, 2010 at 9:35 am

Gail – I’m glad you are doing so well and can inspire others now.
.-= Lynn´s Last Fabulous Post ..Orchard, favorites and catching up =-.


gail May 25, 2010 at 9:35 am

yes, Tim. I am soo much healthier and more youthful and energetic than I was in my 30’s. I could kick my 30 year-old self’s ass now…. with my eyes closed! Thanks for commenting. Checked out your blog, very nice!

Hi Karen! Thanks for the comment. I do think anything that poses a challenge pushes us to be stronger and more resourceful and resilient.


gail May 25, 2010 at 9:43 am

thanks for the comment, Lynn. I am 200% recovered and dedicated to inspiring others in any way I can.


Audra Krell May 25, 2010 at 9:53 am

As a new writer, I enjoyed this very much. I liked reading about your daily routine, the launch of your speaking career and how you manage life outside of writing. I’ll be 40 next week and hope that soon I too will say, I could kick my 20 year old self’s butt any day! Here’s to a lot more “why nots!”


Farnoosh May 25, 2010 at 10:11 am

Gail, what a brave woman you are and what an inspiration. I have had experience with cancer through a loved one and have no idea where the strength emerges for the cancer patient to pull through and survive. And I think the book’s title is JUST FINE :)! Thank you for writing.


Karl Staib - Work Happy Now May 25, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Gails sounds like someone I would like to hang out with. I love high energy people. I think Gail’s discovered the hidden secret to great writing. Write so honestly that it scares even the writer. Good luck on your next book.

I agree with Farnoosh. I like the book title. It tells it all.


Natalia May 25, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Gail thanks for sharing! Lance, thanks for having her on your blog. Will definitely be checking out her book.


gail May 25, 2010 at 12:05 pm

hey Farnoosh, Karl and Natalia! Thanks for the comments. Glad the title is working for you guys.
anyone interested in a personally signed copy, drop me an e-mail.


Cheryl Paris May 25, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Hi Lance and Gail,

Very inspiring and motivating. Yes, “C” word can bring one down… but it all depends on us how we turn tables on “C” right!
I am glad to have subscribed to Lance’s work and I get to meet inspiring and true people.

Cheryl Paris
The Acorn Coach Blog
.-= Cheryl Paris´s Last Fabulous Post ..How to Live Without Regret and Stay Sane =-.


Lance May 25, 2010 at 12:54 pm

@Jay – Hi Jay! What I really loved about this WAS exactly that – the spirit with which Gail came through this with. And that’s not to say it’s all rosy – as I’m sure there very much were moment that challenged her to her core. Yet, it’s just so good to see where Gail is today – and what her attitude toward life has done to bring her to where she is today!

@Jonathan – Hi Jonathan! I think that’s it, too. Gail has shared very openly what this was like. And in that, we connect – both with the challenges, and with the successes.

@SnaggleTooth – Hey Snaggle! Cancer is one of those things that can strike and be a setback, or strike and be something much worse. When that happens early in life – that’s even harder. I’m sorry to hear about your parents. That has to be so difficult. Definitely, Gail’s book is so worth checking out.

@Gail – Hi Gail!!

@Tim – Hey Tim! It happens to all of us….life does smack us all down. Sometimes worse than others. Still, we always have a choice in how we respond to that. I love how Gail has responded to a cancer diagnosis, and how that has also helped to propel her to even greater ways of caring for herself. Awesome!!

@Karen – Hi Karen! Yes, Gail IS definitely an inspiration! And it’s such a great reminder for all of the battles we face, just how important our attitude is in getting beyond these.

@Lynn – Hi Lynn! Gail shines! And that’s evident right in her picture, too – and that wonderful smile she exudes…one that feels like it comes from deep within!

@Gail – Mmmmm….coffeee….

@Audra – Hey Audra!! Somebody has a birthday coming up!!!! (wooHoo!!!) I’m excited for YOU!! And…if you’re kicking your own 20 yr old self’s butt….hmmm….I wonder what you would do to me???? (yikes!!) (HAHAHA!!!)

@Farnoosh – Hi Farnoosh!! It really does have to take a lot of internal strength, and support. Still, there are probably moments that can feel pretty “alone” too. And that’s where a book like what Gail has written can be so good (whether we are dealing with cancer, or just life in general) – it’s a companion to remind us we’re not alone on this road we’re traveling. And – I’m with you, too – the book title is all sorts of awesome!

@Karl – Hey Karl!! High energy!! Mmmm….that sure sounds fitting for Gail! And – this whole idea of honesty in our writing – or really, writing what’s coming from our heart – this is what people connect to.

@Natalia – Hi Natalia!! Thanks for being here! And – you can get an even better feel for the book, and for Gail, by visiting her website.

@Gail – Hmmm….I should probably look for those running shoes of mine…

@Cheryl – Hi Cheryl!! We may not be able to change the outcome of what cancer is doing to us – we can always choose the attitude we’ll have in dealing with it (or any other “setback” life sends our way). And…you’ve nailed it – Gail is truly an inspiring person!!


gail May 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Hi Cheryl Paris,
Thanks for you comment!

And Lance! Thanks again for the the interview.. so glad we “met” (on Twitter!). You have a fabulous blog that I have bookmarked now!


J.D. Meier May 25, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Lance — you always add great commentary with a nice twist of perspective.

Gail — you have an inspiring story and it’s a great example that it’s not what’s on our plate, it’s how we eat it that makes the difference. I’m curious if you feel “on path” now or still searching for your path … and whether you learned anything that surprised you about how to eat better?
.-= J.D. Meier´s Last Fabulous Post ..Why We Make Bad Decisions – Errors in Odds and Errors in Value =-.


Evita May 25, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Hi Gail

It was good to hear a bit of your story Gail. It is always incredible what people are faced with and see how they overcome it. We are amazing, amazing beings. And although this may not be the right time to say – “everything happens for a reason” – I would be lying if I said I didn’t believe that.

You have awoken, evolved into a new version of you. You have begun to see life differently. And with all these beautiful gifts you are now sharing and helping other people in so many ways.

May you always be blessed and have much to hold in those gratitude sessions.

And to you Lance, thank you for another beautifully inspiring and moving story.
.-= Evita´s Last Fabulous Post ..Old Journeys End With New Priorities =-.


brandi May 25, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Gail, I am so deeply touched by your story and your mission….
.-= brandi´s Last Fabulous Post =-.


Keith May 25, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Hello Gail and Lance,

Thankfully, I’ve never had cancer but your story touches me deeply nonetheless. About three years ago my mother was diagnosed with cancer (lymphoma). As I watched her battle through surgery, chemo therapy (losing all of her hair) and radiation, I was amazed at her strength, her determination to survive. She had some very, very bad times but she beat it and came out on the other side full of life and gratitude.

Evita is so right, we are amazing beings! Thank you , Gail, for sharing your story with us. Thank you Lance for having Gail as your honored guest. 🙂

Blessings to you both


gail May 25, 2010 at 9:08 pm

J.D., I do feel “on path.” Although “on path” might suggest something without all the sharp turns and detours and gnarly roots and absolutely unexpected, raw, stunning moments of truth and beauty I have encountered on the path I am on.

Thanks Evita and Brandi, for your kind words. It is beyond amazing to be touch people with my words and experience. Means everything to me….

Thanks for sharing your story about your mother, Keith. I am glad to hear she “came out the other side full of life and gratitude.” That’s beautiful.


Lance May 25, 2010 at 9:55 pm

@Gail – I LOVE that about Twitter…what a great way of really connecting it can be, if we’re open to sharing back and forth. Your thoughts and tips on NYC were awesome!! And…because of your making that connection with me, I have the wonderful opportunity to have you here today!! And that is very cool (…and even…Kick Ass!).

@J.D. Meier – Hey JD! Adding my little bit of commentary is so fun for me – so, glad to hear you enjoyed it too!! And – Gail’s story is just so inspiring!

@Evita – Hi Evita!! We really are amazing beings (that is so well said!)!! This idea of “everything happens for a reason”…I know I have certainly questioned this in my life. Maybe with the word “why?”, or “why me?”, or “not again”, or …(it’s easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves). Today, I DO look at life and say this (mostly). Aha…there I go qualifying it, don’t I? It’s all part of the journey, I guess. And perhaps everything does happen for a reason. (I’m sure this sounds like it’s coming off a bit as disagreeing with you….when in reality, I almost completely agree). Anyway, Evita – I just want you to know how much I value your thoughts. They always take me deeper within myself – and think about what some of these things mean to me. Thank you so much for all of this you have shared.

@Brandi – Hi Brandi. What Gail shares is so filled with good. Thanks so much for being here today….

@Keith – Hi Keith. I’m sure these were trying days – for everyone in your family – while your mother was suffering. And yet – to see she has come out, and is seeing the beauty of life….wow!! Thanks so much for sharing this, Keith. Many blessing to you, my friend…

@Gail – Have a GREAT evening Gail!! Your words here today continue to inspire me!


Joy May 26, 2010 at 1:08 am

Thank you once again for opening your space to such inspiration!

As I read the first time, tears trickled down. The second time, my predominant thought is just “I Love You, and thank you for writing your book and sharing your story”.
Last Fall I was diagnosed with stage III cervical cancer…I am quite bold in nature, quite positive in essence, so I knew the experience would unfold as it was meant to. What I didn’t know was that even just the word cancer would put a barrier between even my closest friends and myself…as if it’s contagious or dirty or something negative that infects everyone. Isolating. A bitch as you say. But, I am the single mom of two precious children so I plugged through the most unfamiliar and I am a healer so I went to work healing myself/allowing myself to be healed. Life changing. On all levels. It’s not an evil to fear, it’s a bunch of cells formed to raise awareness that we then share with those around us. My smile is more radiant than ever–not from radiation, which I thankfully avoided, but from the inner peace I’ve found by allowing Faith to trump Fear. I am most excited to read your book, and I am very thankful that you chose to share your story with us here….thank you! May everyone who reads your words be most thankful for the good in their life and then be willing to embrace each moment as fully as they are capable of…..
Much peace….


Hilary May 26, 2010 at 2:19 am

Hi Lance and Gail .. that was so touching, amazing and interesting .. we just don’t know, as you both say we need to do the best for us NOW .. to ensure we have the best health possible, the best attitude possible should challenges occur.

A little like you .. I’ve learnt so much from being around hospitals, or nursing centres, or hospices in the last 3+ years from two elderly .. who have lived their lives .. but others there haven’t … and I’ve remained friends with them – it’s a tremendous priveleged experience that I wouldn’t have missed .. however painful it’s been – just being the daughter of a mother still alive after 3+ years of being badly stroked and an uncle whose cancer was triggered quite suddenly and his death. I still learn .. and I learn as I read posts like this – thank you both .. sad to think of friends, family and people experiencing these dilemmas but uplifting as to how we cope & the realisation comes later about choices both in life and death. This was amazing .. thank you – Hilary
.-= Hilary´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Silent Pianist Speaks … =-.


Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord May 26, 2010 at 5:55 am

Hi, Gail & Lance! What an extraordinary interview.

Gail, when I read your words, I don’t get a sense that you’re the kind of woman for whom much could get in the way of forging ahead. You seem very powerful to me, and deliberate. And while perhaps your experience with cancer brought that to the surface, I have to imagine that’s an energy you’ve always carried.

I loved reading this interview, not only for the inspiration your words, themselves, directly shared, but for the opportunity you gave me to imagine how I’d react in a similar scenario. Could I be as strong? Could I rope-tie my dreams the way you’re doing now? And better yet: could I emulate the energy I sense from you in my life the way it is now? Without any sort of critical prompt?

Man I hope so, because you really do energize my heart and mind, Gail!

Lance, thank you for another wonderful interview. You know the coolest people!


gail May 26, 2010 at 8:43 am

wow, Joy. I am both touched and humbled by your comment! Thank you. I am very happy to hear you are healed. Much peace to you also.

Thank you Hilary for your kind words.

JoyGirl, it energizes my heart and mind to hear I energize your heart and mind. So thanks for starting my day off on such great energy!


Tess The Bold Life May 26, 2010 at 8:51 am

Lance and Gail,
This interview is awesome! Gail your life energy is in every word. What an incredible writer you are. You sound like a neighbor I’d like to run into everyday with a cup of coffee in my hand for you and one for me too!

Who doesn’t need a fun and wild book on marriage! LOL

Life is precious and it’s been great getting to know you and what a priceless message you have for the world. Wishing you the best on all your work and play. The world needs a big dose of “Gail energy gone wild!”


Vanessa May 26, 2010 at 11:40 am

Lance, and Gail:

Thank you so much for this Lance; for giving Gail this venue to shine, and Gail, for giving your part of the journey a voice for all to hear, and to respond to. SO many parts of your story speak to me, but most of all is your desire to speak truth; to be on high voltage, and to kick ass, all things that I do and when I am not so good at it, keep trying…….thank you for sharing, and I will definitely be visiting your site!!! Peace and love to you, Vanessa
.-= Vanessa´s Last Fabulous Post ..Death, loss, grief. =-.


AVT Coach May 26, 2010 at 9:18 pm

I see you are still writing and posting a quality blog, sharing what really matters in the Jungle of Life. Kudos for your perseverance and growth. It is always a gift to visit.
.-= AVT Coach´s Last Fabulous Post ..How To Be A Blessing =-.


Lance May 26, 2010 at 9:37 pm

@Joy – Hi Joy. Your words are touching and sweet. And just thinking about this…I wonder how I come across to those facing some sort of “bad” in their life? This is one for me to think much more deeply about, and I thank you for that, Joy. And…your smile radiates! Much love to, sweet friend…

@Hilary – Hi Hilary. Thanks so much for sharing a bit more about your journey. I’m sure there have been moments over the last three year that have been challenging for you. And yet…so much good, too…that has come from this. Thank you so much for this…

@Megan – Hi Megan. I felt that very same thing – that Gail really has this energy at her core. And wow! That energy idea is one that I’m holding onto right now…and letting that soak more into my soul. Oh…and I DO know the coolest people….I know Gail … and I know YOU!!!! Doubly cool!!

@Gail – Happy Wednesday Gail!

@Tess – Hi Tess. Gail’s energy reminds me of YOU…and the energy with which you live your life! And…fun and wild…and marriage: that sounds like a pretty great combo to me!!

@Vanessa – Hi Vanessa. Speaking the truth can sometimes be challenging. Vanessa, I know that you know this. Sometimes it comes out right…and sometimes maybe we waver a bit. And it’s all okay…and all part of the journey. And speaking of journey…I am so glad you’re along on this life journey I’m on. Much love to you, dear friend…

@AVT Coach – Hey, it’s great to see you!!! Thanks for popping in! It’s a gift to have YOU here today!!


gail May 27, 2010 at 8:00 am

thanks Tess! I love coffee (even though some people claim I don’t NEED any!). I’m personally sending you some Gail energy gone wild today!

thanks Vanessa! I do believe living and speaking the truth is hard. But I try to walk the walk and talk the talk and live my truth as fully as possible. And when I don’t… I feel the falseness…. and that’s what gets me back on track.

Hello AVT coach… thanks for reading commenting. Checking out your blog now!

Thanks again, Lance!! You have quite the AMAZING following here!


Jannie Funster May 27, 2010 at 9:42 am

Hey, ass-kickers!! 🙂

I did read this wonderful, fun, amazing, inspiring, bitchin’ post yesterday and have half a comment still in limbo on my iPhone — but here I am today on my Real Computer with maybe a WHOLE comment to leave.

I think the title “Cancer Is A Bitch” is EXCELLENT!! It shows humor, and we all can use humor in tough situations — heck in ALL situations. I WILL read the book!!! And maybe the marriage one too, sounds intriguing. You coming to Austin, Gail, for a book singing. Or signing?? 🙂

And as to Internet distractions, I want you to know,Gail, that because of your words on that, this morning I went straight to my work, instead of to The Wonderful Pioneer Woman blog I am addicted to. So off there I go now… And then to give Blue Bunny a new hat for his photo, and a hoe or rake he’s been begging me for. 🙂

.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..ME / CFS Phoenix Rising Video =-.


Jody - Fit at 52 May 27, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Always such inspirational stories on your site Lance! Thank you to Gail & you! It really makes you think why you are complaining about your own life!
.-= Jody – Fit at 52´s Last Fabulous Post ..Mental Muscle, Mind Over Matter & Me Power =-.


Vincent Nguyen May 28, 2010 at 3:13 am

Hi Gail,

I truly commend your courage and strength by sharing us your story Gail.
I was fortunate to become friends with a lady named Sandra Crawford because she too is a breast cancer survivor and wrote an amazing book about her story.
Her book was very emotional and allows the reader to “feel” her pain and triumphs along her journey.
You have great energy and zest for life Gail! 🙂

Here is the book that made me cry along the way by Sandra Crawford

Thank you for inviting Gail so she can share her emotional and moving experiences Lance.
.-= Vincent Nguyen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Al Pacino’s Inspirational Speech- How hungry are you for your success??? =-.


JBR May 28, 2010 at 5:43 am

Wow, your post has touched deeply the soul of my being. Thank you for sharing the realness. Blessings.


Lance May 28, 2010 at 8:53 am

@Gail – Ahhh….we’re talking coffee again. I think it’s time for another cup for ME today!!

@Jannie – Hey ass-kicker friend!! Yes, we sure can all use some humor in our days – it just makes EVERYTHING a bit better. Book singing? Hey, this sounds interesting!! (and…goes well with the whole “keep Austin weird” theme!!) Speaking of that…is THAT what brought to you Austin-land??? You, Ms. Jannie, rock the weird…in some really amazing and cool ways!!!!

@Jody – Hi Jody! We can sometimes let little things bug us. And the real truth is – there are a whole lot of people out there who are going through something much worse…and seeing some positive in it. Gail shines this – taking something bad and turning it into a good!!

@Vincent – Hi Vincent. Thanks for sharing about your friend Sandra. These stories, by the likes of Gail and Sandra, really spotlight what we CAN overcome…with a belief in ourself and a love for life!

@JBR – Thanks so much for reading this, JBR. Gail speaks very much from her truth, and in that – the realness of her soul shines through!


Sandy Salle May 28, 2010 at 9:10 am

What a moving and inspirational story! I think it is very brave of you to have shared your immense struggles with the world. I believe this inspires others who are going through similar struggles to push through and adapt the same courage as you. Truly moving. Thank you!


HappinessandWisdom May 28, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Thank you for this interview. What really caught my eye was the remark ” be who you want to be.” This really emphasizes the power of choice in determining happiness and outcome. In the circumstances described here, one could choose to wallow perpetually, ensuring that misery is heaped upon the illness. Or, one could choose to be as happy as possible, despite the circumstances. It’s great to hear about people who’ve chosen the latter path and who use the wisdom gained from trying experiences to take their lives to new heights. Thank you.
.-= HappinessandWisdom´s Last Fabulous Post ..Review of a big book about happiness. =-.


Lance May 28, 2010 at 4:53 pm

@Sandy – Hi Sandy!! It’s hard for me to fully imagine what this must be like to go through. I do think it would be a challenge to share this with the world – and yet, I have this deep feeling that Gail has found much peace from this whole process (as well as a way to really connect with other people in meaningful ways). Awesome…she is!!!

@HappinessandWisdom – We can also choose our attitude, can’t we. And what a difference that can make – no matter what the outcome of the [disease, or whatever else]. Gail has really found the upside in all of this – and it’s so refreshing to read! Thanks for being here!


Elyse June 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Hey Lance and Gail. That was a fantastic, inspiring interview. Thank you! I’m a reflexologist and I encounter cancer quite often (both in my clinic and in my personal life) and I’m always looking for places that my patients can find strength and motivation. “Cancer is a Bitch” is going right up there. I’m glad I discovered the jungle of life.


Lance June 8, 2010 at 5:11 am

It’s great to “meet” you!! Gail really is so inspiring, and I’m glad you saw that in her also. And what a gift you give in your work as a reflexologist!! Awesome!!


Andrew Walker September 23, 2011 at 3:53 am

Hi there. Thanks for sharing this with us. It’s very nice of you to gave us something that we can read for our life reflection.
Andrew Walker´s Last Fabulous Post ..Unique Golfing Experiences in ArizonaMy Profile


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