Author to speak at Carle forum

By Kate Szyszka

The last thing anyone would expect to be on the mind of a 28 year-old woman about to undergo a mastectomy, in her battle against breast cancer, is lipstick. However, that was exactly what Geralyn Lucas was concerned with when she went in for her mastectomy.

On Tuesday, Lucas will be speaking at The Forum at Carle Foundation Hospital, sponsored by the Mills Breast Cancer Institute, about her book, “Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy,” that inspired the Emmy-nominated Lifetime movie of the same name.

In a phone interview, Lucas spoke about her inspiration to write the memoir, the message she hopes to get across to readers and the meaning behind “lipstick.”

KS: What was the significance behind wearing lipstick in your book?

GL: I never felt confident enough to wear lipstick but wearing it to my mastectomy felt glamorous and a little out of context. I heard that a lot of women are wearing lipstick to mastectomies now.

KS: What was the audience that you were trying to reach through this book?

GL: I really wanted to be there for newly diagnosed women. When I was diagnosed, I was reading all these scary medical books, and I really just wanted to hope and laugh. I also wanted college-age women to read this as kind of a “what if.”

KS: What was the response to this book like?,

GL: It was so overwhelming. I did this event to salute survivors, and women couldn’t believe that I was talking so openly and honestly. I was pretty overwhelmed with the response. I hear from so many young girls, like 16-year-old girls with mothers who have cancer, and mothers of women with cancer.

KS: If there is one message you want your readers to take away from this book, what would it be?

GL: Live up to your lipstick. It’s spiritual; it’s not really a story about cancer; it’s kind of more of a reinvention story for all women.