Pink Power Mom Award

I’m thrilled to be a recipient of the 2014 Pink Power Mom award.

The Kids II Foundation’s, Pink Power Mom network is a nonprofit organization that honors eight women annually who have used their breast cancer battle as a catalyst to make a difference in the community. I’m honored that I was selected because of my efforts with Pretty Wellness. As a winner, I will receive a sizable donation for my charities of choice, so that I can continue to advocate for meaningful breast cancer treatments and resources.

My 2015 donation will be awarded to The V Foundation for Cancer Research. As a former Disney/ESPN employee, I have fond memories of supporting the V Foundation. I participated in many fundraisers and sat on a departmental committee to help build awareness and raise funds to support their mission: curing cancer. On the day I was diagnosed with stage IV disease, one of the executives reminded me that I am not a case study and recited the wise words of coach Jim Valvano, “Don’t give up…Don’t ever give up.” It uplifted me and was the reminder I needed to embrace my positive spirit in the face of hardship.

Another charity that is near and dear to my heart is The Get in Touch Foundation, founded in my hometown by fellow cancer survivor, 2010 Pink Power Mom, author, and friend, Mary Ann Wasil. The foundation’s goal is to provide initiatives to educate girls and boys about early detection. Their Girls’ Program/Daisy Wheel tool has been implemented in 26 countries and teaches children about how to do their own breast self-exams. I sat on the board in the early stages, now years later I’m amazed at the progress and global reach of their efforts.


Here is the official press release for more information on Kids II, Inc. and the Pink Power Mom recipients.

I’m excited to join the sisterhood of this amazing group of breast cancer survivors and can’t wait to meet them at the award ceremony in early 2015.

PPM 8 Image

Research: Acupuncture Adventures

If somebody told me years ago that I would get used to needles pricked all over my body, I would have laughed. Despite always being intrigued by health and wellness trends, my fear of those tiny daggers kept me away. About six years ago, however, when trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, I was desperate to try all-natural methods. It was then that I was introduced to acupuncture.

Acupuncture is an Asian/Chinese modality that’s been around for thousands of years. Thin needles are positioned into certain points (meridians) on the body in an effort to balance the energy flow (chi) throughout. Oftentimes, each patient’s needs are assessed upon the initial visit with a full-body exam and blood work. Once the treatment begins, thin needles are tapped into various points on the skin from head to foot. Treatments last 15-45 minutes, depending on the practitioner. Acupuncture isn’t a one-time fix, follow-up visits are often suggested depending on the symptoms. Many acupuncturists are certified through the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM.) In addition, some doctors are integrating acupuncture into their practices and can be certified through the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA.)

Five Reasons to Go to the Doctor

We all have somebody in our lives who rarely goes to the doctor, claiming they are too busy or feel fine. Or maybe that person schedules appointments only to continually bump or reschedule them. I’ve seldom been that person and because of it, I’m thriving today.

Due to my storied cancer past, I scheduled an executive physical at The Princeton Longevity Center to assure that my health was in check. It wasn’t … but having the information from that visit helped fix it. Now a year later, I’m hoping to live a long life keeping cancer in check. I truly believe that whether one is healthy or not, going to the doctor and having a routine physical is incredibly important. I’m not suggesting we should all go to the doc every time a minor scrape appears. I just hope for all my family, friends and readers that they have someone, a doctor or naturopath, that keeps score on their health annually.



Maintain Good Health:
We regularly do maintenance on our cars with oil changes and tire rotations every 5,000 miles. So, why don’t we think of our annual check-ups in the same mandatory way? An annual physical means screening for overall health issues* and providing vaccinations to prevent serious diseases.

Use Past Data as a Reference:
My doctors have access to years of my medical data because I’ve gone to my physical annually. Whether I’m sick or not, any changes in blood work or new aches can be referenced to earlier notes. It’s easier for my doc to diagnose or refer me to other specialists knowing my medical history. Also, many doctors now utilize electronic medical records, which are promptly available to network hospitals in an emergency. This is incredibly important and wouldn’t be possible without regular doctor visits.

Know the Problem and Fix It:
I sometimes dread going to the doctor for fear of finding out information I don’t want to know. Then I stop this negative self-talk because it only hurts me. Not knowing there’s a problem also means I can’t fix it. Being armed with information about my health helps me find the right practitioners to treat the illness. Ignoring it can potentially lead to bigger problems down the road. Research shows that early detection is important for better prognosis of the disease and potential opportunity for cure.

Utilize Doctor’s Expertise:
Every time I visit a doctor, I interview them. I do the legwork beforehand, researching information on wellness techniques or healthy diets. Then I discuss with my doctors. Sometimes they provide thoughtful insights; other times they refer me to other practitioners or sources. In both cases, I benefit because I take the research I’ve gathered and confirm its credibility. For those not passionate about wellness, ask for a medical/natural expert’s thoughts on what the media is covering on health and exercise, foods, supplements and mindfulness practices.

Build the Relationship:
I’m not friends with my docs on Facebook or host them at my house for a BBQ, but I do have a nice relationship with them. This became incredibly helpful last year when I couldn’t get a PET scan for 10 days after an initial report noted a suspicious lesion. I then called my primary care doctor asking for help. Because she knew me, she took my call and helped expedite the PET scan.

While attending a routine doctor’s visit is a step in the right direction, *some insurance companies don’t cover various tests. Ask your doctor (or insurance company) what screens are not covered and why. Know that there are other options, like scheduling a comprehensive executive physical including some of the latest technologies (i.e CT Coronary Calcium scans to detect early stage heart disease.) I did it, as a 40th birthday gift to myself, and am clearly happy with the outcome, now a year later.

What would motivate you or a family member to visit the doctor regularly?


Sources:, The Princeton Longevity Center,

20 Simple Lessons I Learned from Surviving Cancer

June 1 marked National Cancer Survivor’s Day. Being a two-time cancer survivor, I thought a lot about what this meant to me. What lessons did I learn that made my life better and can be applied to my friends, family and the greater community?

The first time around, cancer gave me confidence. I shopped for wigs with enthusiasm, bought new makeup to highlight my smile (rather than the thinning eyelashes) and had chemo parties to make the IV treatments enjoyable. I conquered breast cancer with positivity and grace. So, when I jumped back into my fast-paced corporate lifestyle, no monumental presentation or top-executive meeting could rock my world. I knew I could master it, because I overcame the greatest battle of all – I beat the big C.

Though the confidence was powerful and definitely a badge of courage after surgery and chemo, my approach to life was to “get back to normal.” I enjoyed forgetting that I once had cancer. My workaholic ways and successful career momentum reinforced that “I was back.” What I know now after my second round of breast cancer is that I missed the bigger lesson. Rather than go back to my normal life, I should have recognized the importance of taking care of myself. Like many in this world, I probably just thought that overhauling my routine was too hard. What I realized is that making a few small changes, little by little, eventually equals big changes in my health.

20 Simple Lessons on How To Take Care of Myself I Learned from Surviving Cancer

20 Simple Lessons on How to Take Care of Myself I Learned from Surviving Cancer


1. Being bald, I noticed my eyes and learned they were truly beautiful. Wow – maybe I am pretty after-all.

2. Feeling tired, drained, nauseous and pain can be a downer. It is ok to be in a funk. Accept it and don’t beat myself up over it.

3. Even having cancer, I can be happy, have fun and laugh a lot. The first time around I was a newlywed and vowed to focus on silly little activities to keep us laughing. Who would have thought?

4. Cancer brings clarity, which makes life a tad bit easier. I didn’t care that I lost my breasts and hair because I just wanted to live. Nothing else was important but that.

5. Grappling with mortality reminded me to be grateful for everything in my life ranging from my relationships to my personal assets.


6. Sleep is ever so important. Cells can’t revitalize unless my body sleeps well. Farewell to the 3-hour slumbers I would subject myself to so I could wake up and work on a presentation or send emails at 4 a.m. Now, I sleep at least 7.5 hours and even nap, too.

7. Move around: walk daily and find an active hobby. Studies continue to support moderate exercise to prevent many diseases.

8. Eating whole foods, rather than packaged artificial items will give me more energy throughout the day.

9. My favorite foods changed, whether it was from treatment induced cravings or eliminating items for long periods of time. I learned that I don’t need Diet Dr. Pepper, Hostess Snowballs and gummy Coke bottles in my life.

10. Staying hydrated will help any toxins eliminate themselves.

11. Water doesn’t have to be boring. Add mint, basil and some fruit and it smells and tastes yummy.

12. Drinking hot water and lemon first thing in the morning, helps rehydrate and balance my body’s alkaline-acidic state for better overall functioning. I also have tons of energy since I’m not dehydrated. I now look forward to this drink instead of my mocha.

Practical Matters:

13. Don’t trust the Internet. Let it be a tool to help gather information, but go to experts to help answer the important questions. This applies to all areas in life.

14. Every patient/person needs a buddy, one who will attend hard doc appointments or monumental events to ask assorted questions or lend themselves for support.

15. Ask questions often. I politely call or email doctors and nurses (or business associates) when I have a random question or concern. It’s their job.

16. Doctors don’t always agree. Get second and third opinions.


17. Some people say the wrong thing, others say nothing…but that’s not important. Cherish those people who make you feel good about yourself.

18. Ask friends and family for help. They want to be there. Give them ideas to help them help.

19. Nature, music and animals are truly soothing. Building a steady relationship with the outdoors is invigorating.

20. I can get through anything because I have a true, non-toxic, loving and supportive best friend. He’s been my rock, my chauffeur, my cancer counselor, my roommate, my partner and my true love – my husband. Love and treasure family and best friends.

These lessons I learned from cancer, but can be applied to any aspect of life. What life lesson do you hold most dear to your heart?

The Overly Sweet Truth about Sugar – A ‘FedUp’ Movie Review

Did you know that in 1980 there were zero kids with type 2 diabetes? Now, there are more than 57,000.

Did you know that between 1977 and 2000, Americans doubled their intake of sugar?

Did you know that sugar is 8x more addictive than cocaine?

Did you know that in most cities you can’t walk more than 100-feet without your brain being activated by advertising or storefronts with junk food located at a kid’s eye-level?

I didn’t. Though I consider myself a well-educated consumer, the FedUp documentary opened my eyes to these statistics and the vast concerns regarding food in our country contributing to fatal illnesses.

What Lipstick and Dancing Naked Taught Me About Cancer: Have Fun

We’ve all experienced horribly gut-wrenching days, the kind that turn our worlds upside down and permanently alter our lives. For many, the initial reaction to being slapped across the face with such awful news is to collapse into a puddle of dark tears … or fall into a state of shock … or maybe even a sense of denial. Any one of these reactions is expected and perfectly acceptable. I would have thought that my world would have crashed after my cancer diagnosis. But, through the haze of anguish, fear and the unknown, I realized that life can still be fun even with cancer.

I first realized this shortly after receiving my first cancer diagnosis in 2004. That’s when I officially became “Caryn with Cancer,” and vowed not to let that awful title define me. I remember being incredibly hungry as I left the doctor’s office. I was tired, and desperately wanted to shake the icky feeling I had in my stomach. So after stopping for lunch, I wandered into my favorite makeup boutique. “Caryn without Cancer” would’ve analyzed NARS cosmetics, discussed her Chanel wedding perfume with the girl behind the counter, and found a new plum colored lip-gloss. So that’s exactly what I did on this day, and I felt rejuvenated for a moment. The lesson I learned? Buying a new lipstick and laughing with the retail staff about silly girl stuff actually made me feel better about what I was about to embark on.

As the weeks progressed, I became inundated with doctors appointments, researching a healthier lifestyle, and figuring out plans around my new “crappy life event.” But luckily I was able to find small nuggets of delight that helped me feel better momentarily. Everything that came with being a girl with cancer was so exhausting, so quick pick-me-ups like buying lip-gloss became extremely important. Each time I allowed myself to have a little fun, I felt like I was infused with a new batch of positive energy that helped me move forward with all the to-do’s.

I realized that even with cancer, I could be happy. I was a newlywed and was determined to enjoy the lifestyle that went along with being a new wife, despite the dire cancer diagnosis just weeks after our wedding. I focused on the positives or filled my life with things that were fun. Of course, this strategy doesn’t cure cancer, but it sure helped me and my family cope during a difficult time.

As I take a laugh down memory lane during this difficult time, here are some unique, silly, and fun bad-mood busters that made me laugh.

What Lipstick and Dancing Naked Taught Me About Cancer 1

10 Silly Pick-Me-Ups That Helped Me Have Fun with Cancer

10. Exercised to Carmen Electra’s Strip Tease videos. The worse I was, the more I giggled.

9. Dined at a Japanese restaurant with tatami rooms (it was private – so no one stared at my bald head or sneezed around my immune deficient body.)

8. Watched Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, and Adam Sandler flicks. The sillier the humor, the better.

7. Asked friends to reach out to acquaintances and had them mail silly notes, photos, and pictures. I smiled every time I went to the mailbox and the efforts meant more than email.

6. Hosted a cartoon night. My son raided the party store, then decorated our house with streamers. Dinner was served with Thomas the Train plates followed by a cartoon movie.

5. Visited Barnes & Noble and bought three magazines. I sat at home, read and relaxed with red wine. Sometimes I put candles in the bath and did the same, but with vegan cocoa.

4. Camped out in our backyard or guest room. Forts, flashlights and ghost stories are always amusing.

3. Created a date night at home – made a new playlist, grabbed takeout and used our wedding china.

2. Hosted a virtual dance party. I emailed my friends a song and they sent videos of themselves, their kids or animals dancing to it.

1. Danced naked by myself jamming to music before jumping in the shower – seriously, it was ridiculous but hilarious.

 What are your favorite fun or silly pick-me-ups?

This feature was the first post on – on the launch date April 2, 2014.

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