Thursday, December 12, 2013

Life Goes On

Exactly 5 years ago today at about 3pm, I was told - at the age of 26 - that I had breast cancer. My world of newly dating "Nate the Great," working in advertising and living a carefree life was turned upside down. 

Looking back now, it feels like another life ago. My hair is fully grown in (working it's way to my goal point - symbolically, my chest, of course). I'm engaged to Nate, my best friend, my rock and soon to be hubby! And, I've started my very own nonprofit - Fighting Pretty - to help women out there just like me fight through cancer with strength in their veins, a smile on their face, and lipstick on their lips. 

My sister called me this morning and we cried together. On December 12, 2008, we never thought that in 5 years we could be so happy. In fact, we are the happiest we've ever been. My sister has 2 beautiful and healthy daughters, married to a wonderful man, and I am healthy and happy with my hubby to be and puppy, and so in love I'm about to burst. 

After this traumatic and life changing experience, I have come out on the other end knowing more about myself. I'm strong, I'm amazing and after cancer took my beauty away, I now feel more beautiful than ever. Because inside, I know that I fought like hell and came out the other end a better person. 

So for all of you ladies who have been recently diagnosed, think of me. Fight through your journey and know that I'm waiting for you at the other end to celebrate your strength, health and happiness. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

So Thankful!

It's January 14, 2013. Four years ago today, I was in the middle of the scariest surgery of my life: my double mastectomy. Now, I'm on the subway listening to "Hey Ho" by the Lumineers, thinking about Nate ("I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart!") and can't wait to get go to work and then home to hang out with our new little puppy Archie! 

Thinking back on this year has made me realize how fast life is going. I always think of that quote "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." — Ferris Bueller

Well, I'm looking...and there's not a day that goes by that I don't appreciate it. Thinking back on the year, we've done so much, experienced so many amazing things:

I'm 30! Had the best birthday a girl could ask for! Surprised by all of my best friends!

We went to Puerto Rico to celebrate our friends Azz and Twigs marriage and it was a BLAST!

I got to see my best girlfriends so much with all of Katie and Luke's wedding events and was spoiled by their smiles all summer! And the wedding itself - soooo fun!

We moved to Brooklyn! We officially became adults living in a quiet neighborhood filled with amazing shops, restaurants and splurged on all new furniture! Plus, I bought my first very own vacuum (and I couldn't wait to use it! Don't tell anyone!)

We celebrated my niece Caroline's 1st birthday! She is getting so big and is such an amazing little girl. She really is the smartest. 

We faced 2 scares of cancer in our parents. But they are cured and are doing fantastic (kow)!

I got a promotion! After working at Bloomberg for almost 2 years, I was promoted and am loving my new colleagues and my new gig!

Nate took me to Portugal and Italy where we drank porto and ate preggo, then demolished fresh lemon pasta, several bottles of vino and fell in love all over again.

"Euro Mommy" surprised me in London with Dana! We got to see the Crown Jewels, Buckingham Palace (Dana really thinks she is a princess!), The Tower of London, the pubs, the cabbies, the fish and chips, and so much more. 

And finally, our newest addition: Archie! Our little Aussiedoodle who wags his behind and actually smiles when he sees us. 

I truly can't believe all that has happened in one year and am so thankful and blessed that it all has. 

The year 2012 was amazing but I can only hope that 2013 is going to bring so much more love, health and happiness.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I am sitting at 3 South Place Bar and Grill - a little fabulous, trendy hotel bar in London with my 2nd glass of champagne in front of me. I'm celebrating.

Why? You ask, it was 4 years ago exactly that I received the scariest news ever.

Only yesterday, my mom and sister left London to go back to New Jersey. They were here since Friday and we bonded in a different way than ever before. I think we realized we are all women now (even me, the baby) with our own ways of doing things, our own preferences, but one core similarity: the love we share with each other. "Never over, never under, always together." **more pictures to come**

I'm sitting at this bar, drinking this glass of bubbly thinking about how far my life has come since not only 2008 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer - but the last time I was in London - almost 10 years ago.

I'm a completely different person. There are things I did then I would never do now, things I love now (like this champagne and butternut squash risotto I'm eating) that I didn't even know I liked.

I am so thankful for all I have in my life and can't help but think of my favorite Christmas song's lyrics "so this is Christmas, and what have you done? One year over, a new one just begun... So Happy Christmas... War is over!"

So thank you to my family, the true love of my life, my friends, new co-workers (especially Erika, Mia and Gonzalo) and everyone who has touched my heart. I wouldn't be here today without you.

Happy 12-12-12!!! (And many more!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pink October

Amazing is the only word I can think of for how I feel about the opportunities given to me from the American Cancer Society.

This past September, they called me and said, "Kara, we are shooting the Breast Cancer Awareness October NFL apparel catalog. Would you like to bring your family and pose for us?" I immediately said "Yes!" and of course invited all of my family members - Mommy, Jabe, Dana, Steve, Caroline, Uncle Carm, Aunt Laura, Carmoo, Kimmy and Anna.  The next week, I got a call asking what the name is of the one family member that I would be bringing was. Oops! So, I brought Mommy, my biggest supporter to join me in this incredible experience.

The day was amazing.  There's that word again!

Not only did we meet about 20 other wonderful, strong and incredible breast cancer survivors, but we were pampered with hair and makeup, we posed for the catalog, my mom was the funniest person there and got all the "fans" to get really roudy, and.... I made the cover!

For a copy of the catalog, visit:

The Catalog!

Here are some pic's from the day of the shoot!

Hair and Makeup Time

Mommy & Me

(us being silly!)

Mommy being the best "fan!"

What an amazing day! 

Much thanks to the American Cancer Society!

Hurricane Sandy - you can't get us!

Nate and I went out yesterday to see what Hurricane Sandy was all about and walked down to the East River in Brooklyn Heights and found about 20 other people just like us trying to weather the storm.

Though we made out lucky - still have power, lost cable for a few hours - we realize there are so many out there that are facing true devastation to their homes and businesses.  The Jersey Shore is devastated. My little vacation spot from my childhood - Seaside Heights - almost completely washed away. The Log Flume, gone!  Poor Hoboken - my old stomping grounds - is completely flooded!

It's times like these to look around at your loved ones and squeeze them tight. Because no matter what, as long as you have them - and your health - everything is going to be ok.

Monday, October 22, 2012

PJ Clark's

Four years ago my mom, my sister and I walked into PJ Clark's, a cute bar on the corner or 53rd and 3rd. We just had a discussion with Dr. Montgomery (my soon to be breast surgeon). She gave me the option to have either a single or double mastectomy. What a day. Telling me that if I opt for the single, my chances of getting breast cancer again increase by 1% every year. So when I was 36, I would have 10% chance of reoccurance. At 46, 20% chance. You get the picture. So I opted to eradicate breast cancer in my body and immediately chose a double mastectomy. My sister and mom were a mess. "Are you sure?" they cried. I was never more sure. I told the doctor right away and without a tear in my eye.
After such a surprisingly easy decision, my sister, mom and I went to PJ Clark's to discuss the doctors appointments and decision. We had burgers and beers. A regular tradition after spending hours in NYC doctors offices hearing crappy news.

Two weeks ago (right before our Dolce-Stad European excersion), I was promoted at work! And last week, my coworkers threw me a little party with drinks to celebrate a PJ Clark's. When I got there, I went to the bathroom right near the very table where my mom, sister and I sat to talk about the hardest decision I had ever made in my life. And I looked in the mirror at my reflection and got tears in my eyes. Look at how far I've come? In 4 years I'm healthy, happy, with long hair and a new promotion! Go me!

Thanks so all my favorite people at Bloomberg for making tonight a night that I will always hold close to my heart! Love you guys and will miss working with you so much!

(see the photo of Greta and me below! We are missing Kelly, Dhanusha, Steve, Johnna and Bonnie!)

Onto the next chapter....

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


It's October: Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Before I was diagnosed I never thought it could happen to me. My grandmother had it. She was old! She had gray hair (well, frosted hair really). She had really soft wrinkly skin that smelled of lavender. Sometimes cucumber.

So when I would see pink ribbons, I would think of Mema. My cute little Italian grandma. She never really talked about her experience. Or how scared she was. She was just a bull, a fighter.

Then finally, breast cancer took her away from all of us. Took away her wit, her funny (yet sometimes dirty) jokes, her love for Japanese soap operas and her adoration for her family.

It was then that it all became so real. People get plucked right out of the world because their time is up. And they just leave it all behind. I had been to wakes and funerals before, but Mema wasn't just any ordinary grandma. She was my friend. I told her about school, about my boyfriends, my job, and my friends. She even came to my rugby games in college! She shared so much with me in my life. And then she was gone.

I thought about her experience with breast cancer. That she found something. Something she never expected. So one day in the shower I poked around and I too found something. At 26 years old. But never thought it could happen to me. Because I thought breast cancer only happens to grandma's.

Little did I know that I was suffering from an aggressive type of breast cancer that not only caused me to have a double mastectomy and extensive treatment, but it also spread to my lymph nodes. It  had a life of its own.

Now looking back and living life post-cancer, I realize that anything can happen to anyone. My friend Drew fell from a fire escape. He fell right out of the earth. Why? It's just not fair.

So I've learned that life is so precious. And that every single day is a blessing.

Be nice.
Be kind.
And be careful.
Be smart, have fun and don't ever think you're invincible.