Guidance for Cancer Survivors and Caregivers

Today marks 10 years since my first-ever surgery, a bilateral mastectomy. Fox CT interviewed me to celebrate this milestone and highlight how others can look to handle a similar situation (video above). Being initially diagnosed young, I learned how to navigate through diagnosis and treatment while finding a few laughs a long the way. Below are some quick links to cancer resources. Cancer survivors and their caregivers can use these ideas as a guide to help navigate the diagnosis, treatment and hopefully be comfortable with being their own patient advocate.

Celebrating 10 Years Since Cancer Surgery

Recent Diagnosis – Patient: 

Everyone is different, know there is not one right way to act or feel. These suggestions worked for me in an effort to stay relatively sane while evaluating various cancer treatments.

Support – From Friends and Family: 

When people mention they don’t know what to say to someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, I just tell them to know their audience. Treat a friend/family member in a similar manner, with perhaps a little bit more kindness, in an effort to make them feel some normalcy.

Support – Financial, Emotional for Patients and Caregivers: 

The first few weeks after being diagnosed are filled with many new obstacles, including excessive stress and potential financial burdens. There are many ways to combat these issues, including finding support organizations and using mindfulness techniques.

  • CancerCare – This organization provides counseling, support groups, education and financial assistance for both patients and caregivers.
  • Finding time for exercise and mindfulness activities is helpful: benefits of yoga, acupuncture and walking for cancer patients.

Hope and Inspiration:

Being diagnosed at 31, many of my peers had not faced this disease before. Regardless, facing cancer is life altering, and I wanted to have hope. So I found it incredibly helpful when people shared global survival stories. Here are some quick links where you can find hope, inspiration and motivation from others experiencing hardships.

  • Kris Carr – Author and inspirational speaker known for the Crazy Sexy Cancer brand outlines her journey toward wellness while living with a rare form of cancer.
  • Gotta Make Lemonade – Public figure Samantha Harris and her husband have created a platform to inspire others to overcome life’s challenges. These include cancer and injury as well as professional adversity. My story was featured here, as well.

For more relevant information about my cancer journey and supportive resources, check out our cancer resources page.

Have you been touched by cancer? Please share your story or recommendations for other patients or caregivers.


  1. Huge congratulations on the 10 years and here’s to many, many more.

    • Caryn Sullivan

      Thanks Sarah. It’s hard to believe it has been 10-years. I right there with you…wishing for many more decades. Sending good vibes to you and your family as well.

  2. Love your strength and positivity! And congratulations on surviving and fighting through!! (P.S. Love how you articulate your story)

    • Caryn Sullivan

      Thanks Ana for the kind words. There are days that I don’t feel so strong, but I do better when I try and look at the positive aspects in life. It’s obviously much more enjoyable for me as well as everyone around me.

  3. Happy anniversary!! Your video was amazing. I remember when we were in the small apartment in NYC reading “What Color is Your Parachute?” and we talked about how you wanted TV to be your thing. Well lady, it IS your thing. Miss you.

    • Caryn Sullivan

      I remember that weekend vividly. You taught me a lot about myself as we skimmed through the books. Though our talks through the years have always made me better personally and professionally. That trip was awesome walking miles through Manhattan and ending up looking at Jackie O’s gowns.

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