When Life Gives You Lemons

Here’s a piece I wrote for San Diego Magazine. You can find it in their April 2013 issue. I hope you like it.


My favorite news photographer likes to tell me I can do anything with a couple of lemons. Need to keep an avocado fresh? Squirt a little lemon juice on it before you put it in the fridge. Wanna clean some copper? A squeeze of lemon helps out. Well, life recently handed me a whole bushel of lemons.

Ironically, on January 31, I had surgery to remove a lemon-sized cancerous brain tumor. I couldn’t find much use for that particular lemon. I’ve spent the last several weeks wishing this phase of my life could be as simple as coming up with one of my do-it-yourself remedies. Got a tumor? Baking soda and white vinegar should clear that puppy up. The reality is it will take a neurosurgeon’s knife, an oncologist’s concoction, and a radiologist’s isotopes to do the trick this time.

Following the surgery, I thought it might be fun to get my nails painted a Milk-of-Magnesia-bottle-blue. There’s no deep explanation for this; it just struck me as a soothing color. What I hadn’t anticipated was that suddenly hundreds of friends, neighbors, and coworkers joined in the cobalt blue movement by sending in photos of them with blue nails. It was a show of support I had not expected and it still chokes me up.

I don’t know how this chapter of my life will end. I’m hopeful and I’m treating it much as I’ve treated other challenges in my life—with hard work where it’s needed and plenty of jokes where they’re not.

By the way, if you’ve been part of the cobalt blue movement you may have noticed that blue polish can discolor your nail beds. Guess what? A little lemon juice soak will clear that up quite nicely.

Go figure.


Thank you San Diego Magazine!

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized
48 comments on “When Life Gives You Lemons
  1. Lana Parks says:

    GBM sucks….My husband was diagnosed 2/23/12. As I write this, I am sitting in the Neurosurgeon’s examining room with my husband to hear the results of todays MRI. We have gone through 2 resections, radiation and ongoing chemo.

    He unfortunately is permanently disabled, going from being able to sail a catamaran, to not being able to say out loud, catamaran.

    We continue to fight. I wish you the best…lots of strength and positive energy.


  2. coffee says:

    Hi, thanks for sharing.

  3. Hmmm… and to think I thought you’d say just squirt the aphids with lemon juice! 🙂

  4. Kris Quart says:

    Loren – you have an amazing way of making lemonade out of lemons – even if it’s not so sweet this time. I still don’t know why you find the show of support so shocking…”we love you, man!!!” Keep up the blogs and the hard work!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Loren, your sense of humor is your best plan of attach for cancer. Treat every chemo as a gift that is killing cancer, it’s not killing you. Keep laughing, it truly is the best medicine.

  6. Jude says:

    I like getting his blogs! Thanks

    Sent from my iPhone

  7. Celeste Dugre says:

    Dear Loren, I love your positive outlook on life. After the death of some members of my family I vowed to live my life this way as well. Telling my kids I love them every day and not sweating the small stuff:). We’re only on this earth a short while! Thank you for your blog, I look forward to it and excited to see when your name pops up in my emails:) I’m looking forward to the day I see your smiling face on the boob tube again! Love you and keep up the hard work of healing! Celeste

    Sent from my iPad

  8. Vicki Markley says:

    It’s so hard to find the sadness in a story Loren writes. He brings me so much joy through his words. Yet, my heart breaks for him and his beautiful family. May you kick this crap in the ass and reign above it. Blessings!

  9. Debbie says:

    I have always enjoyed your TV segments on natural and healthy alternatives to pesticides in the garden. Life is always full of surprises…so I will keep you and your family in my prayers and in support of your journey I will be wearing blue nails (my favorite color by the way)!

  10. Kathy Greenlee says:

    Still full of grace and wit! You are my hero.

  11. monica way says:

    I like cobalt blue, but theres another name for that color. Its ELECTRIC BLUE. You are ELECTRIC to me…keep on keeping on Loren.

  12. Priscilla says:

    Thanks for making me laugh this morning. I needed a good laugh. Love your writing!! I always love seeing each post.

  13. Linda Morgan says:

    You are right, Loren, about blue being a soothing color. In the Victorian era, people hung cobalt blue stained glass in their windows because the blue light created from the sun shining through the glass was believed to have healing properties. I can attest to the fact that at the very least this blue light is very calming and soothing. I have a cobalt blue rose and hummingbird stained glass piece in my west window along with a row of blue glass bottles and jars on the window sill. When the sun shines through that collection of cobalt blue glass, it is a spectacularly glorious feast for the eyes! The CALM just flows right through my eyes directly into my spirit! I invite you to try it for yourself! 🙂

  14. Jacque Glick says:

    I’m glad you cleared up the mystery (to me) of the blue nails….I’ve asked everyone I know if they knew of any significance, or relation perhaps to a form of cancer, or whatever, but no one knew what I was talking about. I’m amazed at the response you got, couldn’t believe how many nails (even puppies and kitties) were sporting this wild blue color…good for you Lorren, and God Bless!

  15. Of course, then there are always Meyer Lemons!

  16. Dear Loren,
    Get better, feel better, be better…in every way, every day! You are becoming such an icon of strength from the inside out. Isn’t it amazing how keeping your spirits up has an overall healing aspect in your being??!! When your meditations begin to take effect and affect the way you look at life, your reactions to people and situations around you, and to yourself, change. What you put out (haha) to others is subtlety different in a positive way. I can already feel a positive energy in your blogs and podcasts. You are an amazing and strong force to be reckoned with. If I were a blob cell, I’d be worried. In fact, I’d run for my life. Just keep ’em running…right out of your body. For good.
    Give whatever you don’t need permission to leave the premises; if they don’t leave fast enough, kick the hell out of them; It’s your body after all! You’re the boss!! How do you like that for some guided imagery??!!
    Love you, Loren. Always my hero. What you’re dealing with and the spirit in which you are choosing to rise to the challenge, is no small feat. Remember Little Feat?!! But no! You are Big Foot. I hope you can follow my stream of consciousness play on words!! If it makes you smile, that’s good. If you hear the message under the humor, even better.
    I know you may not feel big and strong and burly all the time, but that’s your inner spirit. That’s you. Feed that and nourish it. You will get through this just fine.

  17. Tracey Cribbs says:

    I am a part of the “Movement” and am very proud to be. Just know for each person out there who looks at their colbalt blue whatever it is they are with each glance sending you good vibes and wishes. Be careful Loren you may end up with a bunch of Lemons as your next movement! If you do maybe making shampoo would be a great idea! Love your strength and wit always. Tracey Cribbs South Carlsbad

  18. Nenette West says:

    You will beat the lemon blob Loren. This I know for sure. I wish you well.

  19. Libby Scott says:

    We are sending good positive healing energy to you from DC, wearing my “virtual set” of cobalt nails- (I am absolutely hideous at painting nails) and pondering more potential uses for lemons. Do lemons work on politicians?

    Lots of love……Doug & Libby

  20. Reda says:

    I send you hugs from South Carolina! As a former San Diegan you were one of my on air faves. You can beat this …. I am off to get some blue nail polish!!

  21. Starwin1 says:

    Thank you for the little lemon trick. Stay positive we are praying for you which I know for a fact works. I had a liver kidney transplant almost a year ago and by the grace of God was saved.

  22. jayne says:

    Today is my birthday. I once again turn 39. I love confusing my kids. They are a little wiser to the game now that they are 23, 24 and 26. In earlier times they could just marvel at how I kept being younger than than their friends moms, and then it became just incredible. More incredible as each year at 39 passed by. ‘Mom’ they would ask, ‘how are you doing this?’ ‘Yes honey,’ my husband would ask, ‘how are you doing this?’

    Of course each year I turn 39, I have a long list of what I want for my birthday. Nothing extravagant. I’m married to a teacher afterall. Just a Coach bag. Some Jimmy Choo heels. Dinner at Mr. A’s.

    Uh huh.

    But this year…and from every year forward I’ll tell you what I do want for my birthday. ALL I want for my birthday. I want YOU LOREN to be all healed, forever better. Goodbye blob! And good riddence!

    Got that Universe? Got that Birthday Fairy?
    Thank you! 😀
    With Love -jayne

  23. Joanne Monia says:

    Lemons work wonders! You keep working with those lemons…..they are known to fight cancer…..no matter how tough this may be…..YOU CAN DO IT! DSB 🙂

  24. margaret says:

    Enjoy your blog and send my best wishes for a speedy recovery and my thoughts and prays are with you and your family.

  25. John Moore says:

    Heloise couldn’t have said it better…sending positive energy your way NOW!

  26. Kirsten Bates says:

    Ha! We all love you, Loren!! Peace and love and healing be with you. xo

  27. Chuck Buck says:

    Greetings, Loren

    Most of the times when I think of lemons, I think of pal Loren Nancarrow. I remember once, many years ago, watching you on the news, along with my two young children at the time. You told us and thousands of other viewers that the best way to make your garbage disposal smell fresh was to toss in a discarded lemon before after the glumpty- glump machine had deposed of the remains of the evening and give the machine another whirl. To this day, and every evening when I’m rinsing off the dishes and cleaning up after dinner, I think of what you told us. I still can remember seeing you there, knee-deep in your garden imparting such wonderfully sound household advice. And I’m still thinking of you to this day. And now I need to adjourn andclean up the kitchen.

    Best wishes,


  28. IRISBRANDT says:


  29. Lynn Morgan says:

    LOREN,we have watched you through the years and have always enjoyed you. We will be praying God’s plan for you is to be cured of this incideous disease…
    Ask with a true heart and you shall receive. 🙂 &I hugs to you and your family!

  30. Sofia says:

    Don Tolman will be in Encinitas tomorrow night. You will benefit greatly from making it to his appearance. Check him out on line and I think you will agree. 🙂

  31. Janis Pollard says:

    Wishing you all of life’s richness, joy, peace, jokes, laughter, lemon pie, lemon bars, lemon remedies, for YEARS AND YEARS to come. YOU are a gift!

  32. Maggie says:

    You never fail to make me smile. I love your writing too.

  33. linea says:

    You are an inspiration,to those fighting cancer and those of us who are just on the sidelines hoping and praying for the positive results of your treatment…you are dearly loved by San Diegan’s.

  34. Joan Hansen says:

    Thinking good thoughts for you every day. A big hug for your wonderful family. Stay strong you can fight this.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Guess what else the amazing lemon can do?????Even though it is acidic, when you ingest it, it becomes alkaline…Lemons can help keep one’s body chemistry alkaline, which is what one should do…stay alkaline
    to help prevent inflammation…a must, to help prevent disease, including cancer…D

  36. Nanci says:

    Thank God now I can clean the nail bed!! What would I do without your cures?! Picking lemons off the tree & will be thinking of you. Keep the spirit. Love ya!!!

  37. Kathy and Bill says:

    Loren, just wanted to say we love you! That’s all! We love you!

  38. Betty says:

    You epitomize Lemon Zest! I will love lemons and your memory forever! Betty

  39. Sylvia O. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I think I’m going to go pick a big patch of lemons from my tree and put them in a big bowl as a reminder to take each one at its best. So much you can do with the little fruit. Even its essential oil is uplifting!

  40. Erin Smith says:

    Love this post Loren…..yes, if only lemon was the cure all!! I will, however, continue to try it It on my next life challenge , along with my nail beds 🙂
    Cheers to strength, friendships, and tough chapters…..!!!

  41. judith says:

    I. Am proud to be apart of the cobalt blue nail. Movement

  42. Dawn says:

    I have, like you, treated most of life with humor when all else failed. So keep it up. Lemons were always a favorite of mine. A good book, some chopped up lemons with salt and a branch in a tree until my kids were at least the quarter century mark. I lived in AZ and you need to kick this whole issue in the butt so I can learn how to garden in San Diego.

    Dawn aka Yosemitedawn

  43. Ruth Wolf says:

    God Bless you Loren

  44. Valerie Lee says:

    Love love love…

  45. Jackie Owens says:

    Dear Loren, So love to read your articles, since you are no longer on TV. Hurry and get well, you are missed a big bunch. Love your little household tips. Keep up the humor, it is the best medicine. Jackie

  46. Sending you lots of happy thoughts!!!!

  47. Beth Browne says:

    Loren, I read your article as I subscribe to this magazine. Thank you so much for sharing what you are feeling and going through. As a 20 year cancer survivor, I appreciate hearing your stories. The best medicine you have, I believe, is your family.

Leave a Reply to Kathy and Bill Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 20,757 other subscribers
All Posts
%d bloggers like this: