March 4, 2010

Lemons into Lemonade

A girl walks into a bar.  She’s young, beautiful, and smart to boot.  The bartender, charming as always, asks her, “What will you be having?” And the girl answers, “I’ll have a long life, filled with a great career, a family, and utter enjoyment of each and every day.”  The bartender pauses, wipes the counter, and slowly says in a soft voice, “how about you get cancer instead?”  To which the girl replies, “That’s fine, but I’ll take my original order as well.”

I know most of you come to this blog for stories about food, but sometimes it is important to take a step back and look at how we got to where we are today.  The girl I refer to above is a health warrior named Kris Carr who turned a daunting, if not hopeless diagnosis of stage four eithelioid hemangioendothelioma (an extremely rare sarcoma) into inspiration to live a fuller, healthier, more fulfilling life.

Her particular type of cancer attacks the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, and other connective or supportive tissues and currently, there is no cure or treatment. So Carr was told to simply watch and wait.  Um, right.  And like any good survivor, she didn’t listen to her doctors’ passive advice and instead, decided to strike at cancer before it could catch her.

Carr quickly realized that, while she could not not change the path her life had taken, she could surely control the way in which she drove down that new road. Weeks after the diagnosis, Carr began filming her battle, unsure if she would even be alive to see the final piece. She was determined to document every step, forcing herself to live in the moment.  She faced her disease with grit, humor, and honesty.  She also began to explore food as a healing medium and adopted a completely plant-based diet and an almost obsessive ritual of drinking juiced fruits and leafy greens on a daily basis.  Between the creative outlet and the detox diet, Carr found herself growing stronger and healthier.  She also found her voice and a community of other cancer and chronic disease patients who drew great motivation from her story.

Carr is now a best selling author, filmmaker, and motivational speaker.  She hosts a website called CrazySexyLife and an associated health-hub blog filled with knowledge, compassion, and an achieve-anything spirit.  Her brand continues to grow and her life continues to become richer, all because she threw aside fear and self-pity and turned her scary battle with cancer into a crazy, sexy adventure instead.

Everyone of us will be faced with a road block at some point during our lives.  Whether it is our health, that of those we love, or any other kind of unexpected upheaval, the courses we are currently on will most likely change.  And when they do, it is up to us to sail through it. While I can wax on this subject with ease now, it has taken me some time to find peace and enjoyment with my own journey and I continually work on it, everyday.  There are huge ups and great successes and equally low slumps during which it seems like health question marks will never cease.  But when I’m having my roughest moments, it is stories like Carr’s that help me realign my intentions, pull up my boot straps, and get moving once again. Remember, there’s no crying in baseball.  Just a lot of popcorn.

Today I am honored to be a guest blogger on CrazySexyLife in which I address the challenge of leaving my full-time job to take better care of myself and ultimately, redefining success.  For anyone who has been forced to put health before those other time-honored traditions of career, family, and social time, you will understand the struggle involved with reordering priorities.  But once I fully-committed to respecting my body, and of course myself, the payoff was greater than any holiday bonus.

Before I sign off today, I want to also acknowledge two other blogging goddesses who attack everyday with an equal sense of vigor and vitality.  First, my doppelganger, Jess Thomson, the hilarious host of hogwash.  She writes about food, life, and sometimes her purple glasses.  She is an amazing cook and a wonderful lady who not only knows how to turn wilted kale into a gorgeous pasta dish but also faces the challenges of living with Lupus with bravery and wit .

Then there’s little miss Anne Pao who is the Pao-er house (sorry, had to do it) behind SF Tao of Pao.  Her mission: discover every new food joint, Bay Area activity, or fitness hot spot so you know where you need to be.  In following her adventures, you will get a surely satisfied palette and some majorly flat abs.  Tonight, I’m joining Pao in her kitchen for a no sodium, Puerto Rican feast – I’m actually about to go buy some pig feet now – and I will be reporting on our masterings and mishaps next week.

So remember, life’s lemons are just begging to be turned into a tall glass of lemonade, or better yet, a vodka cocktail.  Get squeezing and live on.

Lauren March 4, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Great post, Kris is such an amazing lady, she inspires me everyday!!!

Your story was beautiful as well!! Big hugs to you!

Iris March 4, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Hi, I found you through your post on CrazySexyLife, and found it very inspiring! I always need reminders that what’s traditionally thought of as important or successful isn’t necessarily the case for every person.

Judi Kanter March 4, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Dear Jess,

I love the way you write and confess, my eyes filled with tears of pride. Congrats on your new career. You are an amazing success no matter what you do.

Smooches and smacks,

Ady March 5, 2010 at 5:07 am

You go girl! Everything about you is so inspirational. Your words… your actions… and your being.
You have a rich amazing story, and you tell it so well. When things get rough.. I’ll try to remember to think of you and your blog. Thank you!

jess March 8, 2010 at 9:04 am

Thanks, Jess… You’re an inspiration right back!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: