"wellness" Posts



High school gave me major anxiety. I couldn’t wait until it was over. The day I graduated? Well, it was the last time I worried about which “lunch table” I would sit at. That is until I was 5 months pregnant. I was hovering over a cheese platter at a party and a random, amazingly skinny pregnant girl, asked me, “So, what’s your birth plan? You are going to have a natural birth right?”

In that moment I  remember feeling extreme panic.  Since the day I found out I was pregnant I was terrified of natural child birth,  I was terrified of an epidural, and I was terrified of ending up a C-Section. Wasn’t there someway they could just magically transport the baby out of the womb?

Too ashamed and embarrassed to share my fears I quietly listened to this mother-to-be as she stereotyped moms into two categories:

Category A: A woman who loves her child enough to fight for a natural birth. She eats well, takes classes, and visualize her cervix opening like a flower. Her doula will usher her child into the world as Enya plays and drums beat. She will only breast feed and shutters at the words “formula supplement”.

Category B: A woman who has a need for convenience. She shutters at the thought of a 12-week birthing class and IF she hired a doula, it was for the massage. She plans on an epidural and deep down obviously hopes for a C-section. (Who REALLY wants to end up, to quote Sean Penn, looking like Madonna “Throwing a hotdog down a hallway.”)

While, I knew deep down the concept of women being on only one side or the other was absurd, I still felt immense pressure to make the right “plan.” So after talking to the lovely, perfect pregnant lady, I ditched the snack table and told my husband, “We need a good birth plan!!!!”

Since we already only ate organic foods, believed in natural methods when possible, and were very active as a couple, my friend suggested we sign up for the “Bradley Method” class. At first, it made a lot of sense. Unfortunately, doctors do not walk you through all the things that happen in the hospital. Nor do they explain you have choices. People assume this is because doctors like the convenience of a c-section. Personally, I think if you get that feeling from your Ob-gyn, no matter what your plan is, it is time to find a new one. What I saw with my doctor when I started asking questions was fear. The fear I will have too much knowledge and go “Google doctor” on her, which would ultimately interfere with the health and safety of my baby.

On the other spectrum of things it was around week 6 of class that I learned if you want to make enemies in natural birthing class ask questions like, “What do you do if your birth does not go as planned?” I had known several people who were terrified during their emergency C-sections or inductions because they were unprepared. So, it made sense to me to just ask about all the “what ifs”. To say this did not go over well with our classmates is an understatement. In fact, the week our teacher finally went over the “what ifs”, half of our class opted not to attend because that was “negative” birth energy. It was at this point I not only realized my husband and I were not going to be invited to the class BBQ’s but when it comes to birth- EVERYONE OPERATES UNDER FEAR.

Sadden, by our lack of bonding in our birthing class I sought solace in my other group of pregnant friends who were ALL about the epidural. While their stories of “how amazing” the drugs can be made me giggle, I wasn’t sold. First off, ‘needle’ and ‘spine’ are two words that should never be used in the same sentence. Plus, I had learned in Bradley an epidural can slow down the birth process if given too early. I also had a few friends who loved the concept of removing the anxiety associated with the waiting game of birth.  The had actually opted for a C-section.  The idea of a spinal and/or surgery still terrified me and sounded traumatizing.  Feeling hopeless and once again afraid, the same question ran through my brain, “Where did I belong as a mother?”

Finally, despite being on the Bradley diet,  I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Immediately, I found myself lying to people about my situation.  I was ashamed.  Would people not know I walked everyday and ate well? Would they think I was lazy and didn’t care about my baby?  I could feel the guilt and emotion taking a toll on me so I  decided I needed some help.  I started working with a doula that was a former RN nurse.  At our first session I broke down crying about; what the doctors were telling me, what friends were telling me, and what Google was telling me!!!  What if I was forced into an induction? It wasn’t what I wanted!! What would people think? Would they think I was a bad mom and caused this to happen? First, she told me to take a deep breath.  Then she told me to start working on my Academy Award for best actress. She said, “You need to seem trusting and informed when with the doctors. If you show fear or panic when describing your needs or wishing they will categorize you as ‘hysterical’ and think you are not being rational. Stay calm, and agreeable when telling her what you want or need.” She also told me to start “acting” around my friends. “You want the best of both worlds for your baby, so listen to all their stories and opinions. You don’t have to choose sides. If they are judging you, don’t play that game”   The plan became I would start meditation, acupuncture and continue on the Bradley diet. My goal was a natural birth. However, we taught ourselves about all the other possibilities that might occur.

As luck would have it, around 37 weeks my baby had a growth spurt and it seemed an induction might be eminent. (Clearly, my negative birth energy was coming to get me.)


We kindly gave our baby girl a little hint…

My Ob/GYN knowing I was open to her advice, yet wanting a natural birth, was supportive in giving me instructions on how to naturally induce labor. For two weeks my husband and I meditated on my cervix opening like a flower, (insert several inappropriate jokes here), we did moxibustion, I drank raspberry tea, we had lots of uncomfortable, ugly sex and I walked 2 miles everyday. I even tried out of desperation an LA urban legend labor inducing salad dressing.

I am aware the idea this dressing would work is ludicrous. I just assumed I would get more chuckles than cackles.

I am aware the idea this dressing would work is ludicrous. I just assumed I would get more chuckles than cackles.

Instead of getting support from fellow mothers on my quest for a natural induction, I found that even the kindest of momma bears can be down right mean. I had more comments on how, “It will never work” than I did “you go girl”. I am not going to lie, in my hormonal and fragile state I was crushed.  However, looking back, I am sure those moms meant me no harm. Unfortunately, judgement is a common language amongst mothers. We have all been guilty of it and fell victim to it.

At 39 weeks exactly, we had an ultra sound with a Periontologist who “called it”. I needed an induction. My doctor assured me that while this wasn’t the scenario I had in mind, this could be, in my case, the best chance at vaginal birth.

What happened over the next 3 days was no picnic. Since, this is not a blog entry on birth control, I will spare the gory details of my induction. I will tell you it was horrifying for me and not in “my birth plan”. However, I will also say my doula, my sister, and my husband were by my side the whole time. My doctor, who had never let an induction go more than 30 hours, was patient and did everything in her power to grant my wish of a vaginal birth. I asked that only midwives monitor me instead of residents. (This a possible request at my hospital) My OB/GYN granted my request and I, in return, worked with her and the midwives to do my part to help. I refused an epidural for the first 2 days. (YES TWO DAYS) When my cervix all of a sudden shut, my doula and midwife explained to me that, sometimes, a very light epidural can relax the cervix and allow the birthing process to continue. In my case, stress and fatigue were my enemies. And they were right. I received a walking epidural and my cervix and I relaxed.


The “walking” epidural allowed my visualization of a beach to become more realistic.

I was able to walk in the room supervised and my body allowed the induction to continue. (By the way, several people told me a “walking” epidural is an urban legend- not true!)

By day 3.5 we knew the induction was not working. I felt shame that I couldn’t even give birth naturally with assistance. My daughter’s heart rate had oddly stayed “zen” the entire 3 days, which I attribute to the meditation, but as zen as she was, she was not dropping down the birth canal. In fact, now that I have met my daughter, I am pretty sure she crawled back up. On the fourth day I sobbed as we all decided a C-section was the safest for the baby and me. My doctor did her best to assure me this could still be the birth I envisioned. She had me pick the music played in surgery, (We chose Enya to keep our sense of humor).

It was obvious to the whole operating room I was scared. The anesthesiologist assured me, once she was born, I would no longer be afraid. 15 minutes into surgery she was placed on my chest for skin to skin contact while they finished. I did not feel the overwhelming relief I had hoped.  I was violently shaking from the medication and frightened she would fall from my chest. The whole surgery seemed surreal. I felt extremely disconnected from my child and my body. Once again, I felt shame. The first few seconds as a new mother… I was already failing her. Then, a miracle snapped me out of my self pity.  My Ipad somehow shuffled from Enya to a Christmas album and the OR filled with laughter as “Silent Night” blared in March. The energy shifted in the room and I finally caught a glimpse of my daughter Delaney.  She was beautiful and she was part of me.

So many emotions were running through both of our bodies at this moment.

So many emotions were running through both of our bodies at this moment.

She wasn’t as big as they had thought, but her head was BIG. She knew better than everyone else she would get “stuck” in a vaginal birth.

My daughters beautiful big head also came with 2lbs  of hair.

My 7.15 oz daughter’s big beautiful head came with 2lbs of hair.

My doula started helping me breast feed in recovery, and our daughter never left our side. Not for a moment. (Many people have horror stories of the dad and baby going to the recovery room while mom is still in surgery) I can honestly say we worked as a team to do what was best for my baby and her gorgeous big head of hair.

I was released from the hospital in under 3 days post surgery. I did not take any pain killers except Motrin. My doctor said for someone who was in labor 4 days, THEN had a c-section, my recovery was fantastic. This was attributed to my diet, exercise and holistic approach to my pregnancy. Still I was genuinely embarrassed to tell my friends the story of my daughter’s birth. As months went by and friend after friend gave birth naturally around me, the pain deepened.  In our society when you are able to give birth naturally you earn some sort of “bragging” right that deserves high-fives and hugs. When you have a c-section no one high-fives you or says, “OMG that is AMAZING, you are so strong!!”

Social media, our broken medical system, and a competitive society has created a mommy war zone.  There are battles around birth choices, birth plans and birth stories. I believe mothers have a right to be informed and make their own decisions. I also think we have a responsibility to be open and stop labeling each other. Not all medical intervention is bad. Not all moms fall into 2 categories. We have to stop judging each others’ choices or stories; it forces us to take sides rather than unite. In the end, we are own advocates and if we want birth to be safer for us, and our children, we need to remember all mom’s deserve a high-five and there is strength in numbers.

So what about the idea of a birth plan? Personally, I think the best plan is to have several plans but if a mom needs that piece of paper to get through the biggest transition of her life, I support her. Remember; no matter how our birth goes, we all walk out that door a mom.





There are so many C words that make your heart flutter like…couture, cashmere, or better yet closet!  I have to admit that I am a big fan of most C words…especially coffee and cash!

But somehow in my 30′s, I had completely forgotten there were other C words-words that make your heart feel like it has stopped.  Words like carcinoma, cancer or chemo.

In my 20′s I had experienced those words first hand with family and friends and while you never forget the “who” in those lost, over time I had slowly forgotten…the “how”.

So at 6:30am on November 4th the only “C” word on my mind was coffee…creme brulee coffee to be exact.

Brian was making me drive to his doctors appointment.  I don’t drive.  So If he didn’t let me make a pit stop…this could be grounds for divorce.  We made our way through traffic in Beverly Hills.  My eyes were definitely on the clock, not the road.  As we approached our destination I saw an oasis in the distance-the most beautiful Coffee Bean EVER!

We had 4 minutes till his colonoscopy appointment. We were practically early!


He looked at me and said “Kara, forget about it.  I don’t want to be late.”

I retorted, “You’re just getting checked for celiacs stop being so dramatic.”

He laughed and said, “Me dramatic?  Ok drop me off.  I will fill out the paperwork out and you run and get your coffee.  You are an addict Lady!”

And with those words I frolicked to the Coffee Bean clueless that in hour our lives were about to be changed forever…by the “C” word I had forgotten.

The rest of the day is pretty much a blur for both Brian and I.  Brian was coming off a twilight anesthesia.  I was obsessing over the thought, “Why was that damn coffee so important to me?” As if I had NOT stopped somehow things would have been different.

I remember the gastroenterologist was wearing a red tie.  It clashed with his shirt.  I also remember he would not look me in the eye.

I remember a women in her 60′s in the CT scan waiting room.  She had a purple bandanna on her head.  It was silk.  She told me, “You get through it.  Don’t worry, you do.”  I wanted to say to her, “Sorry you must be mistaken. You see were in our early 30′s we don’t belong here.”  But instead I said, “Thank you that is a beautiful scarf.”

The doctor who finally told us Brian had cancer was wearing a blue shirt.  It matched his blue eyes.  He was the best dressed I had seen all day.

The tumor was the size of an orange.  The scan indicated 3 lymph’s were most likely infected putting us somewhere around an early stage 3.  He had no major symptoms or signs.

I thought about how two days before we had just returned from a football game at my alma mater.  He had looked so cute in that black and gold shirt.

In my mind I screamed, “Why is this happening?”

The doctor continued to talk.  His vital organs were clear.  We should be thankful.  He said,”A tumor that big, the news is usually a lot worse, even fatal.”

Somehow, we didn’t feel very lucky.

I was wearing my gray cashmere sweater with a hood.  I pulled the hood over my head as too not let Brian see me cry.

The days that followed were to be the biggest tests of our life.  We changed the way we thought, we changed the way we ate and we changed the way we dressed.  We eventually started to un-closet our own Karma.

Brian has asked that I share our whole journey with our readers. So I will continue our story in future blogs. His hope is that you will find inspiration in whatever obstacle you come across in the new year and take it on with an open heart and mind.

And to be honest, that is just the type of amazing man I am married to.

Brian and Tess joke around just 80 hours after surgery.  Brian’s doctors said his release was a record, but I will tell you more about that later.  I just dig the xmas pants and the robe.

Life has a funny way of redirecting our path to get us back on track.  I hope you check back daily to see where the road took us.

Love and Light,

And remember the light inside of all of us burns bright even on the darkest of nights. You just have to remember to open the closet doors and let it out:)




After the news, I told Brian I had to go to the bathroom.  I walked out of the door and found myself frozen in the hallway.

The walls started to feel like they were shrinking in on me.

I wanted to run but I felt like Alice, stuck with no where to go.


I kept thinking, “This cannot be real!!!?????”

I tried to recap the morning. At the gastroenterologist I had been blind sided.  After, we were rushed so quickly to the CT scan there was no time… no time to research. No time to ask the right questions.  And no way to turn back time.

On the way to the scan I had texted my aunt and my best friend because they’re both nurses. I wanted to at least know what questions to ask a scanning technician.  They did their best to quickly debrief me but without a diagnosis… there isn’t much to ask.

When I looked down at my Blackberry there was a message from my aunt.

“What did they say? What do they think it is?”

I was shaking as I texted the words, “Please, not my husband.”

A woman walking out of the plastic surgeon’s office next door slammed into me, knocking the phone out of my hand.  She was wearing a bright pink pashmina.  She did not apologize.

In my head I screamed, “My husband has cancer you BITCH and P.S., it’s too hot for a pashmina!”

Then I thought, “Who are you right now?  Stop it!  What if your anger makes him sicker?  What if God is punishing you for all the things you have ever done wrong?”

I tried to fight it because I don’t consider myself an angry person, but I felt this uncontrollable anger rise inside of me.  I was now furious at everyone and everything.

I felt a tap on my shoulder.  It was the nice dressed doctor who had told us Brian had cancer. He hugged me. Suddenly, I found myself sobbing in the arms of a man I despised just 45 minutes ago.

“I should have made him get tested two weeks ago!  It’s my fault.  I am a bad wife!”

The doctor raised my head, “Two weeks would not have made a difference.  This is a slow moving cancer.  You are lucky you made him go at all.  Get it out.  Get it all out today.”

Snot nosed, I looked into his eyes and said, “I know cancer.  I know how this ends and I can’t.”

He replied. “Yes you can.  You are strong.  I have a really good feeling about your husband.  Fight.  You can beat this, but you have to fight for him.”  Then he walked away.

I raised the hood on my cashmere sweater once again.  Brian greeted me in the hallway.

As we exited the building he said, “I think I should drive. You are upset.”

Defeated, I handed him the keys.  I felt hollow.

Then he looked at me and grabbed my hand, “I am going to beat this thing…I am not going to leave you. I am going to be OK.  Don’t worry my story will end differently.”

Suddenly, something snapped inside of me.  “He was consoling me.  He was worried about me????”

The same voice that was angry just moments before was now whispering, “This CANNOT HAPPEN.  He can not console you.”

And at that moment I knew I was going to fight like I had never fought before.

Tens years of fighting and clawing my way up the ladder in the entertainment industry had nothing to do with job success.  God was preparing me for LIFE SUCCESS.

Every moment that had made me stronger was in preparation for November 4th, 2010.

This was about to be Brian’s and I’s biggest production yet and I was going to direct and produce the shit out of it.

And I wasn’t giving up until we took home the title of Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor!  It was time we un-closeted all that good Karma that was waiting to be released.




1.) Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.

2.) Although there has been a significant rise in the number of young people diagnosed with this cancer in the last 5 years, the recommended screening age for colon cancer is 50. Brian is 35.

3.) Colorectal Cancer is a slow moving cancer and if caught very early has a 90% recovery rate.

4.) You can have colon cancer and feel great.  Symptoms are non-specific like stomach discomfort, rectal bleeding, or slight blood in and around your stool.  Sometimes symptoms can take years to present themselves.  When it was diagnosed, Brian’s tumor was the size of an orange!

5.) Over 9% of MEN AND WOMEN will be effected by colorectal cancer. This cancer is an equal opportunity cancer.

Love and Light,

Remember everything is a blessing in disguise this holiday season,

KK and BL

PS: Next week we will share some of the amazing and tasty disease-fighting recipes I learned about in my quest to get Brian (and what turned out to be myself in the long run) healthy.  We hope this will bring love and health to your table and your families this holiday seasons :)





Outside the Santa Monica Scan Center the world seemed normal.  It was 3pm and a typical November day in LA’s west side.

Bad traffic.  Unbearable heat.  Brian and I chatting about work.

He wanted me to keep my meeting scheduled that evening.  I wanted to cancel.

“I am really excited for you… you need to start doing your own stuff.  This is your chance to get what you deserve from them,” he said.

The harder I tried to listen to him the more I felt like Charlie Brown.  I couldn’t make out a word he was saying.

My eyes wandered…

How come I never noticed before his upper lip twitched when he got excited?…


Maybe after 10 years of being together I had just forgotten



I forced myself to look him in the eye.  I wanted to give him validation I was listening…but I wasn’t.  I actually had several full- blown conversations going on with myself as I stared at him…

–“I need to get a second and third opinion”

–“Who do I know who has had stage 3 Cancer in their 30’s?”

–“Do any of my friends have relatives who are oncologists? Someone I know has to work for Dr. OZ or Dr. Phil or something!”

–“I am sure that bar crawl in Iowa City didn’t help.  Why did I let him eat that burrito and cheese fries? Come to think of it why did I eat that burrito?”

–“Wait – we are supposed to try and have a baby this year.  What if now…??”

–”FUCK! Why I am I so focused on my career?”

–“Speaking of jobs..I really don’t like my job.  He is right.  Why aren’t I working for myself?”

–“Wait!  He loves his job finally…Oh no!  What about HIS new job?”

–“Will he lose his hair? I love his hair.”

–“Maybe I can find a healer or a shaman who can save his hair?  Kara, that is obnoxious.”

–”Wait what about John of God!  We saw him on Dateline!  He cures people.”

–”We love watching Dateline on Friday nights…What will our Friday nights be like now???…”

–“Does Amazon sell books on kicking cancer’s ass?”

–“Crap!  Why didn’t I get my damn crack-berry fixed….I NEED TO SEARCH THE INTERNET!!!”

Finally, we were home. I burst through our front door, hopped on the internet and joined every colon cancer blog I could find.  The subject of every post was “HELP US!!!!!”

An hour into googling my brains out Brian said, “Love you, don’t be late for your meeting.”  He was walking out the front door.

“Wait what are you doing???” I protested,  “You have cancer!”

He looked at me and said, “Nothing has changed since yesterday except the fact we KNOW I have cancer.  You need to go to that meeting now more than ever.  I need to go to work and keep busy as long as I can.”

I forced a smile and said, “Ok you’re right, love you.”

The door shut.  Georgia, our puppy, watched Brian pull out of the driveway.  His car cleared the block, I sobbed and compulsively hit refresh on my screen.  Would anyone write me back????

I received 10 responses in the first 2 hours.  Women whose husbands had colon cancer.  Children who had lost their mothers to colon cancer.  Men emailing me what to except the next few weeks for Brian.  The stories were harrowing and horrifying all at the same time.

I sobbed some more and thought there has to be another way.

Finally I posted, “Has anyone tried to heal or improve their cancer through diet?”

Immediately I received emails about a low-residue diet.  The Diet basically consists of white rice, white bread, potato, ect…

The theory is these foods will pass through the digestive track easier helping the colon to heal after surgery.

As I read I thought, “I am no dietician but white bread blows me up bigger than a buluga whale float in the Rose Bowl Parade…this diet is anyone’s worst nightmare, let alone a cancer patient!”

I scrolled down…most patients commented on how after surgery they did not have regular bowel movements for weeks.  They were constipated and in pain.  “This can’t be right?” I thought.

I slammed my computer shut and screamed!  “What the hell am I supposed to do???”

As I slowly made my way to the shower my eyes caught a glimpse of my dusty bookshelf.

In my 20’s I had many lives and my book shelf was a reflection. The first shelf was cluttered with self help books like ‘Exorcising your Ex.’  The second was books like ‘Shamanism for Dummies’.  The third ‘Learn French Easy.’  But the 4th turned out to be the best life I ever lived.  My Raw-Vegan food phase.

I furiously flipped through the pages scanning for anything that said cancer.  And there it was, a dear old friend I had completely forgotten.  Wheat Grass!  The super of super foods.

In my early 20’s to nurse a hangover I would drag my girlfriend Carolyn to the juicing bar and we would gag down shots of wheat grass.  I vividly remember the gagging but I had completely forgotten how it miraculously cured our hangovers.

At 25, juicing was a way of life for Brian and I.  And we looked hot!  Bk italy


I thought, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” We’ll look hot?

So I knew where to start.  But where to go… I had no idea.  So I showered, changed and did my best to look presentable for my “big pitch.”

As I headed to my meeting I got an email my bosses needed to move our meeting to our company wrap party because their schedule ran late.

Blood shot eyes and I am headed to a bar? Brilliant.

My work colleagues at the bar assumed I had been “pre-partying”.


“Act normal”, I told myself “Or drunk.  Drunk could work… you’re at a bar.”

My stomach twisted and turned.  But I smiled, nodded and clinked cheers.

Then, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  Everyone seemed normal.  They were talking about their babies and their lives and their plans.  I ran outside for fresh air.

Hearing about my friends “normal” lives forced me to face the fact Brian and I were about to experience “a new normal.”   Why can’t we just be normal?

Just when I was about to give up and drown myself in a tequila shot…my blackberry buzzed.

The email said, “Please check out www.chrisbeatcancer.com.  My cancer is too far-gone I think but I have a feeling your husband has a similar story to this guy.  May God Bless You.”  The message came from one of the blogs I had posted on.

This was the first encounter of many my husband and I would have with angels…

Chris of “Chris Beat Cancer” was about to become one of our biggest champions.  In fact, God was about to connect and reconnect us with some of the most amazing people in the world.  He was about to disconnect us with some people as well…

I knew our lives had been changed forever, but I had no idea Cancer was about to be the best thing that ever happened to Brian and I in 2010.

Brian and I hope that all of your struggles in 2010 turn into blessings in 2011. Just this Christmas Brian was finally allowed to eat something sweet. (I will explain why in future blogs). Here is one of Brian’s favorite recipes that curbed his sugar appetite but was healthy! He would like me to share it with you for comfort food during football this weekend! And be sure to check back next week to see our EXTREME KITCHEN MAKE OVER!




4 Organic Yams

Raw Agave Nectar 3/4 – a cup (depending on how sweet you like it)

Organic Pecans or Almonds Soaked (1/2 cup)

Organic Cinnamon (1 tbl spoon)

Shaved Raw Ginger Root (Shave off 4 peels and dice)

Organic Nutmeg (I tsp)

Organic Raw Honey (preferably from a local Bee Farmer)


Bake the Yams in the oven at 375 for one hour. Mash the Yams and add agave, cinnamon, ginger root and nutmeg. Once the batch is fluffy, slowly stir the pecans into the mix. When dishing out, drizzle a teaspoon of organic raw honey on top of each serving.