Surviving BeautifullyWhen I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, the first book I turned to was Dr. Susan Love’s, “The Breast Book,” known as the breast bible. But the book I didn’t have, something to help me with aesthetic problems, has just been published! It’s a book to help guide you through cancer related beauty issues. I had the pleasure of receiving an advance copy of “Surviving Beautifully,” by Victoria Tillotson and Lana Koifman.

Inspired by Ms. Koifman’s questions about beauty during her breast cancer treatment and mistakes she made along the way, “Surviving Beautifully” was born out of her frustration and presents the information in an easy to read fashion.

As stated in the introduction: “This book is a comprehensive reference guide to let you know what to expect and how to best proceed. It addresses both the most basic and the most complex beauty and body issues during cancer treatment. This book will also help you when your treatments are over. The stress of fighting can damage skin, nails, and hair, but both at-home cures and sophisticated ‘doctor’s office only’ techniques can bring out the most beautiful you.”

Each chapter tackles a different beauty issue: skin care, hair care, breast reconstruction, scar treatment, dental care and makeup/style. All the chapters contain detailed information, expert advice, home care remedies and a frequently asked questions and answers section at the end of each chapter.

The book has an extensive appendix listing: chemotherapy side effects on skin, skin treatments suggested by experts, beneficial skin care ingredients and dental health treatments. There is also a fabulous index in the back so you can look up anything very easily.

I would definitely recommend this book to all breast cancer survivors!


Joan Lunden book Had I KnownJoan Lunden has been a favorite of mine since I found out that she pledged the same sorority as me during college. She’s also a favorite of many because of her honest reporting and approachability. She was an anchor on CBS’s Good Morning America for 17 years and was the main health reporter for the show. Her new memoir, “Had I Known, a Memoir of Survival,” was just released and I received an advance copy of the book to review. She’s written many books in her career, but this book is about her breast cancer journey.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and wrote about her fear, anxiety and lack of control. Most women feel this when diagnosed and I thought that Lunden’s admission of these feelings confirmed that she was just like other women who have breast cancer. The overall theme of the book is how Lunden had always viewed herself as being knowledgeable about breast cancer and healthy living because of the reporting she had done. But she quickly realized that she had a lot to learn about the disease and was completely shocked about certain things, hence the title, “Had I Known.” But, in her own words, she should’ve known. In one passage, she wrote about interviewing Dr. Judith Reichman for a story on type 2 diabetes management for Good Morning America. Off camera, she asked Dr. Reichman about whether she should start taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Dr. Reichman asked about her breast health and mammograms and when Lunden mentioned that she had dense breast tissue, Reichman said she should ALWAYS have an ultrasound after her annual mammogram. Lunden admits that she didn’t start doing that until 2009, when she was interviewing Dr. Susan Love, who mentioned the same thing. That time, she took the advice to heart and wrote, “It likely saved my life.”

Another instance of “had I known,” was her feeling that since she didn’t have a family history of breast cancer, she didn’t have to worry about it. But, after her diagnosis she learned that “only 15 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of the disease.” She wrote, “When I discovered this ASTONISHING statistic, I felt so left in the dark. How was it possible that, after years of being an educated health advocate, I had no idea that such a small percentage of women could use their family history as an indicator?” Again, she was shocked.

Lunden appears bald on People MagazineLunden is very real in her book. She’s a wife and mother and was concerned about her husband and children during her treatment. She also wrote about how hard it was for her to announce her diagnosis to the public and the decision to appear bald on the cover of People Magazine.

I loved how she started every chapter with a quote from a celebrity who has had cancer (not just breast cancer). Most of the quotes are very appropriate and inspirational. One of my favorites was:

“One of the most important things you can do is remember the power of girlfriends…girlfriends saved my day.” Jaclyn Smith (diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002)

Click here if you would like to purchase Lunden’s book, “Had I Known, A Memoir of Survival.”


The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki

October 15, 2015

As you know, I love reading historical fiction. But I really love reading about powerful women in history. I’ve read most of Phillipa Gregory’s novels about King Henry VIII’s various wives and the love and deceit that went on during his reign. I’ve also been reading many novels about World War 2 and have learned […]

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Book Review – “Pope Joan” by Donna Woolfolk Cross

October 4, 2015

I just finished reading a great book about a very strong woman. I love historical fiction and will be writing posts about many books that I read that have a historical twist. So when a friend of mine told me about the book, “Pope Joan,” written by Donna Woolfolk Cross, I downloaded it right away. […]

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The Double Mastectomy Rebellion

July 10, 2015

This video was produced by the Wall Street Journal Video. What do you think about what’s presented in this video? I’d love to hear from you if you had a DOUBLE MASTECTOMY despite your doctor’s advice.  

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The Heroines Choir

May 4, 2015

Pink-Link member, Marilyn Van Houten is a member of The Heroines Choir. I’m a Facebook friend and have seen her post photos of this group and asked if she would like to write a guest post. Not only did she write a post, her friend, Alice who founded the group, also wrote a post. I’ve combined […]

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What’s Your Favorite Thing to do to Keep you Moving?

November 2, 2014

We had some great exercise videos donated to Pink-Link for our October contest! The newly released Freedom2Move Home Exercise Program and DVD series uses principles of positioning to adapt the difficulty of an exercise and make it customizable to anyone- from active athletes to those who aren’t able to move at all without assistance. These […]

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Vitamin D3 and Breast Cancer

October 6, 2014

This is a Guest Post, excerpt from “Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How YOU Can Win The Battle!” by Dr. Shawn Messonnier Research shows that most people are severely deficient in Vitamin D, even those who receive sunlight exposure. It is recommended that vitamin D3 should be a supplement […]

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What’s the Number 1 Tip You’d Tell Your Fellow Survivor?

October 6, 2014

In our August/September newsletter, I posed the question, “What’s 1 tip you’d like to tell your fellow breast cancer survivor?” I rec’d many responses so I’m highlighting some of them here. “The one tip I would like to share with people going thought cancer treatments is to allow yourself  time to heal. Rest when you are […]

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How do You Stay Empowered during Treatment?

August 17, 2014

After receiving my breast cancer diagnosis in 2004, I immersed myself in gaining knowledge about my treatment. I joined many different kinds of support groups and slowly became my own best advocate. We received 5 beautiful Breast Milagro necklaces as the prize for the Pink-Link June/July contest. To determine the winners, I asked the following question […]

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