Monday, December 6, 2010

Guest Blogger: Shari Bookstaff, Author of When Life Throws you Lemons...Make Cranberry Juice!

Today's special guest is Shari Bookstaff, author of the memoir, When Life Throws You Lemons...Make Cranberry Juice!.

Shari was 42 years old when she was diagnosed with a benign, operable, brain tumor. Doctors predicted a short hospital stay followed by a speedy recovery. Complications arose, giving her unexpected life-long obstacles.

Her life since that fateful day has been focused on regaining basic human functions: breathing, swallowing, walking, etc. Putting a positive spin on life’s disasters doesn’t always work, but looking for, and accepting, positive things in spite of life’s disasters works. Instead of making lemonade out of lemons, she adds life’s sweet sugar and cranberries to her lemons. When Life Throws you Lemons...Make Cranberry Juice! is her story.

What happens when your whole life changes drastically without warning? On July 26, 2006, something happened that changed my life forever. I had a brain tumor removed. What was supposed to be a short hospital stay followed by a complete recovery became a 9-month hospital stay followed by a life-long recovery. Every aspect of my physical being changed on that day. I had to train my body to do everything again, from breathing to eating to talking to walking. Through it all, my mind was clear. I was aware of my surroundings, even though I couldn't communicate my thoughts very well. How did a life-altering event like this change my perspectives? One thing that has changed is my sense of humor. It is more edgy, and I am very often the butt of my own jokes. This ability to laugh at myself has made others feel more comfortable around, lightened the tone of my situation, and, very often, made ME laugh instead of cry! I came up with a Top Ten list for my own amusement. If it also makes YOU laugh, even better!

Ten Best Things About Having a Brain Tumor by Shari Bookstaff

10. I can tell small children that I was attacked by a shark. They believe me and they think I’m cool!
9. People don’t complain to me as much about trivial problems.
8. People think I’m drunk anyway, so, why not drink?
7. I have no need to go to an amusement park–riding on an elevator gives me the same rush as a roller-coaster!
6. Rock star parking.
5. I get to say, “It’s not like it’s brain surgery,” and mean it!
4. I can write a new book called The Brain Tumor Diet and make a fortune!
3. I can fall into things and watch people around me looking at me like I’m crazy because I’m usually laughing! We went to lunch at a restaurant in Monterey, and I tripped and fell as I walked in the door. I tripped over the step and fell-right into a high chair! Rented surrey: $40; lunch: $25; the look of surprise on the parents of the baby whose high chair I destroyed: priceless!
2. I can use my cane as a weapon-and even bring it on an airplane!
1. If I say or do something stupid, I have an excuse!

Shari Bookstaff grew up in Milwaukee, WI, dreaming of becoming a marine biologist. She made it to California and is currently a biology professor, teaching at a community college near San Francisco. While her specialty is marine mammals, she recently expanded her course offerings to include a class on the human brain. Inspired by her own medical trials, Shari continues to merge her personal and professional interests.

Shari lives with her two children (and two dogs) in a small town just south of San Francisco, near the ocean. While her disabilities make life harder, she is determined to continue walking on the beach, attending concerts, and cheering at football games.

You can find more about Shari and When Life Throws You Lemons…Make Cranberry Juice on her website at

1 comment:

Susanne Drazic said...

What a wonderful attitude the author has. The book sounds very inspirational. Great cover and interesting title.