The Courage to Embrace Joy and Live Your Bucket List after Brain Surgery with Sharon Aldeguer - an inspiring interview with a woman who survived brain surgery and then decided to go live her bucket list. Click to listen, Pin to Save for later!

Embracing Joy & Living Your Bucket List After Brain Surgery with Sharon Aldeguer

Sharon Aldeguer is an inspiration, and a beautiful example of embracing joy and living your bucket list after brain surgery. Several years ago, she had brain surgery to remove a brain tumor found by her neurosurgeons, and before she went through the surgery, she promised herself that “If I survive the surgery, I’ll go ahead and live my bucket list.” Her courage and humor and love of life is contagious, and I’m so excited to have her on the show.

Brain surgery is a scary experience, but methods have improved over the years. Radiotherapy is now less damaging than it used to be, improving both quality of life and the chances of survival. You can find out more about these alternative methods of surgery on a site like

Since recovering, Sharon has moved to Hawaii and followed her heart to start doing work that lights her up. When she and I first met, we both worked in advertising, with Sharon in finance and me in project management. Sharon has returned to her love of design and the creative arts and now works on programming, has her own company, also works for a start-up, does bodybuilding, and has worked as a trainer as well. If you would want to start it off on your own bodybuilding journey as well, you could view the site to get an idea of supplements and research on the kind of exercises that you could do. This could help you a lot in your own journey.

She has hopes of opening a not-for-profit to support women and girls in following their dreams in technology. She’s an inspiring individual, and I loved talking to her, and catching up about what her life has been like since we worked together.

The Courage to Embrace Joy and Live Your Bucket List after Brain Surgery with Sharon Aldeguer - an inspiring interview with a woman who survived brain surgery and then decided to go live her bucket list. Click to listen, Pin to Save for later!

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Here’s what Sharon and I talk about how you can live your bucket list after brain surgery:

3:45 Sharon’s early sparks of joy, growing up in a large family, and going cherry picking with her sisters, school and learning
6:30 a prank that Sharon played on her older sister involving a ham sandwich
7:00 a new category is introduced on Jump Start Your Joy: bad smells in houses
7:55 what Sharon does now (programmer, project ninja, start up employee, entrepreneur) in Honolulu, Hawaii and what a giant shift this was from her life two years ago in San Francisco doing finance and accounting
8:40 Sharon talks about having a brain tumor, and the surgery she had to remove it, and how it changed everything in her life
10:00 why she was released from intensive care after only a couple of days
11:55 her experience of re-Learning to walk again after brain surgery
12:55 the reconstructive surgery Sharon went through after brain surgery to reconnect her facial nerves
15:00 Sharon’s journey, moving to Hawaii from San Francisco and how that worked
16:00 how Sharon and I know each other
16:35 Sharon talks about how working in finance felt like it was stealing her soul, and how she has since been following her calling to do work she loves
20:00 We talk about how working in an advertising agency ultimately brought us to a place where we were questioning our integrity
21:00 how our new ventures feel so much more fulfilling and like play, and we lose track of time during the day as we work
22:55 Sharon’s advice for people wanting to work on fitness, even if they are not motivated, and her motivation for body building
26:10 Sharon’s dream of starting a non-profit for young girls in technology in Hawaii
31:55 Sharon’s advice on bringing your dream into action (hint: get clear on why you want it and research)
35:00 Sharon’s thoughts on three ways of jump starting your joy


Listen to the episode with Liz Ross, who was the president of the ad agency where Sharon and I met
Sharon Aldeguer on LinkedIn

Embracing Joy and Living Your Bucket List after Brain Surgery with Sharon Aldeguer

What changes in your life have made you follow your dreams?

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17 responses to “Embracing Joy & Living Your Bucket List After Brain Surgery with Sharon Aldeguer”

  1. Rebecca Bryant Avatar

    Simply inspiring. This is amazing and go for her for living her life they way she wants.

  2. Rachel Langer Avatar

    They say catastrophic events change your life. This sounds like she really learned how to embrace life after her ordeal. Always great to come out better and stronger!

  3. Logan Avatar

    Wow, what an inspiration! To think that I complain about being on bedrest for a few months… I can’t even imagine going through something like brain surgery and having to re-learn how to walk.

  4. Debra Avatar

    I love this! It makes me want to go and live my bucket list instead of waiting for something to happen to change my mind!

  5. Wendy Avatar

    What an amazing story. I’ve been talking about making a bucket list forever. This has inspired me to actually do it.

  6. Nikki Avatar

    Sharon is truly inspiring! I love that part of her joy journey involves pursuing your passions. Living out your dream (and bucket lists) are how you truly find joy.

  7. Toni Avatar

    This is great. I had surgery for thyroid cancer three years ago and I’m glad that I made some bucket list life changes afterwards. I definitely learned that my life is more meaningful now.

  8. Tabitha Avatar

    What an inspiring story! I was able to follow my dream of blogging full time once my husband finally graduated from college! Whoop! I love that I get to stay home with my little girl!

  9. Amber Nelson Avatar

    What a great story! Wow, this lady is such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Adam Avatar


    That really wraps up this interview.

    Enjoy life, do what you love, give your gifts, gratitude.

    Thank you Sharon and Paula!

  11. Amanda Avatar

    Love Sharon’s sense of humor and zest for life. From San Francisco to Hawaii and living her dream ❤️❤️ love it!

  12. Paula Avatar

    Thank you Amanda 🙂 Yes, she is so funny and is living life to the fullest.

  13. Paula Avatar

    Thank you, Adam! That is a great summary 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by!

  14. laura londergan Avatar

    what a great story. I personally have had things happen in my life that made me re-evaluate and make changes right then & there. I feel like we are given things at certain times in our life to make the necessary changes to get to where we need to go

  15. Stacey Avatar

    Sharon is an inspiration! I am so glad to hear that life is going well for her. I have two friends that both had brain surgery to deal with brain cancer. They both are doing well, but unable to work do to effects of the surgery. I love that Sharon looks to the positive side of everything and being connected to community. It really helps people heal. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Malek Avatar

    I love stuff like this!! How someone can reignite their life and start doing things they want / have a passion for! This is really inspiring to me because I’ve always thought to myself what would I do if something like this happened to me and I’m so happy she chose the positive, proactive route and man does it sound like she is kicking butt!! Thank you for interviewing her and sharing it with us Paula 🙂

  17. Paula Avatar

    Hi Malek – She really is kicking butt, and has such a great attitude about her life. 🙂 Thank you for listening!